GIUSEPPE VENEZIANO MASH-UP
20 October 2017 to 5 April 2018 Galerie Kronsbein Munich
Disciples at the Last Supper with smartphones, a scantly clad girl with the pearl earring, or a version of a Van Gogh sunflower which has falling victim to a sprayer – Giuseppe Veneziano's drawings are sometimes subtle, sometimes grotesque, and always are critical, provocative interpretations of well-known works from art history. For the very first time, the internationally renowned and highly acclaimed artist, celebrated in his home country of Italy, is exhibiting in Germany. As a member of the artistic groups "Italian Newbrow" and "Italian New Pop", the studied architect is regarded as one of the leading representatives of New Pop Art. Unlike Andy Warhol, Veneziano dares with an intelligent, uncompromising takedown of celebrated idols rather than merely playfully presenting them in a new light. In this way the contemporary artist lends a whole new validity to the Pop Art movement. Galerie Kronsbein Munich will show Giuseppe Veneziano's œuvre from 20 October 2017 to 5 April 2018.
Already in his childhood, Giuseppe Veneziano began expressing his talent and his provocative style of creativity. His hobby was to decorate the sidewalks of his Sicilian hometown of Mazzarino with oversized faces of popular Italian comic book heroes like Goldrake, Candy Candy or Tiger Man. He found inspiration in Vasco Rossi, Rambo, Jim Morrison, Andrea Pazienza, Charles Baudelaire, Louis I. Kahn and Ilona Staller, better known as Cicciolina. To this day, the portrayal of popular cartoon characters remains one of Veneziano's core themes. Over the years, he has also devoted himself to the sabotage of public figures or figures of contemporary history such as Frida Kahlo, Amy Winehouse, or Dalí.
However, the viewer’s joy of recognition is quickly nipped in the bud: Veneziano presents supposed childhood heroes such as the harmlessly amiable Goofy with a pistol in his hand – and beside him is Mickey Mouse, lying in a pool of blood. The artist portrays the superhero Batman sniffing a line of coke. Idols from art, politics or religion sacrifice their splendor and dignity in Venetian's artistic interpretations. He spares neither the nose-picking Queen, nor the mugshot of Jesus holding a "Je suis Charlie" sign in his hands.
In contrast to his rebellious, taunting artistic style, the biography of Giuseppe Veneziano, born in 1971, is fairly straightforward: at the request of his mother, but against his own intentions, Veneziano attended a Technical College. After six years he completed his architectural studies in Palermo. During his studies, he was active in the student movement and worked as an illustrator and cartoonist for various Sicilian newspapers. Meanwhile, inspired by Paolo Coelho's "The Alchemist", Veneziano lives and works in Milan.
The art world first took notice of his work in 2004 during an exhibition by the writer Andreas G. Pinketts at the Milan bar "Le Trottoir". A short time later, his portrait of Osama Bin Laden, along with his controversial and much-debated image of the artist Maurizio Cattelan wearing a noose around his neck, landed on the cover of Flash Art magazine. His first great award for his work at the St. Petersburg Biennale is a milestone in his artistic career. The exceptional Italian artist received worldwide public attention when he brought historical figures such as Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Berlusconi together with cartoon heroines and porn stars on canvas for the occasion of the Olympic Games in Beijing. The international press titled the provocative picture with "The Cavalier's Orgy" – an interplay between sex and power. In 2011, Veneziano participated in the 54th Venice Biennial, and with his exhibited work "I usually wear Prada" he inspired Dolce&Gabbana to create two new designer pieces for their collection. In 2012, art critic and curator Ivan Quaroni selected Guiseppe Veneziano from 60 Italian artists for the Italian-Chinese Biennale.