GUGLIELMO CASTELLI: WHAT A WONDERFUL THING TO FALL

My story starts from afar, from illustration for children, through fashion, theatre and cinema.

By Balthzar Malevolent

GUGLIELMO CASTELLI: WHAT A WONDERFUL THING TO FALL

The figures in Italian artist Guglielmo Castelli’s paintings seem to float, suspended between disappearing into and emerging from the muted colours that pool around them. The paintings have the appearance of being viewed from underwater. The vaguely discernable scenes hint at stages, café booths, public spaces in which solitary figures are on display but seem desperate to melt away. There’s a tension between spectacle and concealment, and an indeterminate sensuality. Working in a fluid and emotive style, Guglielmo’s ghostly characters are permeable, penetrable, dissolving and disintegrating. They are defined not by their physicality, but by their surrounds. The colours that feature most often are murky and mottled; water-logged. They cast a haunting, somber tone to the work. To peer beneath the surface though, one finds a richly textured world inspired by fashion and history. With delicate brushstrokes, Guglielmo paints intricately detailed patterns resembling textiles and luxurious drapery that envelop the figures (Klimt’s luscious paintings come to mind).

Guglielmo lives and works in Turin, Italy. He has had numerous solo exhibitions in Italy and Europe and been included in many national and international group shows. We spoke with Guglielmo ahead of his residency in California, USA, to find out more about what he’s working on and life in general.

"My story starts from afar, from illustration for children, through fashion, theatre and cinema. I have always found it extremely interesting to try to create spaces within the pictorial figuration, which could give the viewer the opportunity to imagine different stories, add elements, remove others. In such a difficult historical moment, which speaks of separations, walls, relationships and interactions too fast to understand the depth, painting gives a longer time, more meditative. I studied theatrical scenography, I read about great dramas, great loves and great falls, this helped me to have a new alphabet for my painting."

"I believe that this process of mapping bodies within these often claustrophobic spaces, too small to contain all those corporeal masses, is fundamental for crossing that fine boundary between figuration and abstraction. At the beginning of my painting I had monochrome backgrounds where I made my figures float, then something changed… When I injured my leg and had to give myself a medicine to dilute the blood, I asked myself: how can I use the same dilution procedure that I use on myself in my painting? And here we are."

Guglielmo Castelli

In other news, Proenza Schouler Resort 2021 RTW Collection. Fashion Show photos from New York Fashion Week (Dec, 2020).

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