Michele De Luca is born in Pitelli (La Spezia, Liguria). He starts painting since childhood, studying at the Artistic High School in Carrara (1968-72) and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, where he graduates in set design in 1978. He experiments with new languages with musical, theatrical, literary experiences, as well as pictorial and works as set designer (and researcher), with authors and directors like: Luigi Faccini, Ansano Giannarelli, Gianni Amico, Antonio Salines, Roberto Lerici. He lives and works between Liguria and Rome, where he teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts.
Artist and poet always committed on a distinctive and meditated abstract research which sees, as matter of constant reference, the light as physical component that interacts with painting. In the late seventies he paints a series of landscapes, still lifes and figures that refer to the expressionism of Oskar Kokoschka and James Ensor. Since 1982 he performs oil works in which the color thickens in pasty lumps and he begins to use the bitumen, which will become the protagonist of his paintings until the '90s.
In 1983 he realizes in clay a series of small heads characterized by deep furrows and by exasperation of the physical features. Always in 1983 he moves to Rome and paints works in the gesture nearby to the tachisme of Hans Hartung (Lo strappo del cavallo; Pratiche del volo), and in the violent colors to the painting of Edouard Pignon (Il guardatore dell’eclisse). (Nicola Corradini, Saur Allgemeines Kuenstler-Lexicon, Die Bildenden Kunstler aller Zeiten und Volker, Band 25, KG Saur, Munich - Leipzig, 2000)
His pictorial experience evolves from a figurative and Mediterranean expressionism to a kind of gestural, lyrical, constructive and material post-informal. “From the beginning De Luca shows a markedly expressive and instinctive personality that, in the second half of the seventies, determines the pictorial event in material solutions of physical consistency” (Enrico Crispolti, "This Time", n. 197-198, May-June 1997) by creating landscapes, figures, portraits of evident expressionist matrix.
In Rome, in the early eighties, his pictorial research is characterized by a gestural art of signs (which recalls the Action Painting, or Nuclearism), culminating with the great painting, made in public, with the performance “La grande massa inquieta”, Pitelli, 1984 and “I modi della poesia” at the Folkstudio in Rome, 1985, or by loading even further the image with psychological tension through an obsessive gestural repetition, highlighted by intense and dark tones (cycle of “Ossessi”, 1984-86) assembling poor materials as wood, strings, cardboards, iron and recovered materials, that refer to primordial and magical fetishes on three-dimensional and sculptural supports, as in the large installation "Non fiori ma Opere di” for Arte & Vento Gallery in Sarzana, 1985.
In 1985 his first major group exhibition entitled “Kaos, dall’Alfa all’Omega", Casabianca Museum, Malo, Vicenza. In 1986, in Rome, he comes into contact, through Mirella Chiesa, with the collector and gallery owner Ennio Borzi, who in 1987 organizes in his “Break Club” gallery, his first important solo exhibition, presented by the critic Paolo Balmas. “Organicity and abstraction, order of the cell and order of the crystal, proliferation and division, synthesis and analysis. De Luca is not a tidy artist, a logic compiler of programs; he is a keen and volcanic poet who loves continually to retrace his steps in order to resume the conversation, to exhaust the inexhaustible.” (Paolo Balmas, Michele De Luca, Break Club Gallery - Rome, 1987)
Since 1987 he works on a series of large black compositions on wood and collage of pressed cardboard, dramatically material and dark (Alfabeto Morse, 1987;Primavera degli antipodi, 1987; A lato perso, 1988) in which he discloses his strong and original stylistic character. During the nineties, along with the black matter, he extends very dilute oil colors on aluminum foils geometrically arranged, putting in dialectic relation the brightness of the metal support and that of the color streaks, as in the works: Cercare/il tempo è curvo, 1992; Iperbole chiara, 1995; Vasi comunicanti, 1997; Tres, 1997-'98; Eco sola, 1990; Tabula tattica, 1990.
"In the last eighties De Luca is in Rome, operating among the most authentic Italian forces of the new generation of artists, engaged in a proactive dimension characterized by an extraordinary density of existential motivation". (E. Crispolti)
"His pictorial research, between the eighties and nineties, focuses its autarkic expressionism inserting geometric pieces of nailed and painted metal sheets, where the new chromatic-formal rhythm lightens, with blue oil, the bituminous black so far occluding. The work, always implicitly referred to light, declares its intention in the cycle "Taratura della luce”, which, after the onset of the nineties, features a line of research still under way". (Enrico Crispolti, "Tempo presente", n. 197-198, May-June 1997)
"His work is now characterized by a kind of dynamic opposition of the materials used: to the bituminous black, material with a strong and violent visual impact, De Luca opposes the brightness of the oil on metal and wood". (Gabriella De Marco, "La Pittura In Italia, Il Novecento/2 1945-1990, second volume", Electa, Milan, 1993)
"The painting of De Luca thus renews the intensity of a characteristic lyrism made of excited and disturbing revelations of ligth, which states along the ‘90s among the the most original propositions of his generation". (Enrico Crispolti, AD Architectural Digest, n. 236, January 2001)
Since 2000 he paints in large chromatically brighter compositions, always on cold ranges, realized in oil on wood and metal, placed in metal sheet pieces nailed and painted, and in large acrylic on free canvas, which displays as tapestries in striking installations and which tend to virtual space openings, evoking endless perceptions of light or primordial flashes of cosmic events. He also works on sculptures from simple forms of geometric asymmetric solids in aluminum and wood painted and that play with grindings of perspective and deceptions of visual perception, mindful of the theatrical and scenographic experiences, in addition to many projects, tracks, drawings and works on paper. It is remarkable the creation of artist's books and notebooks in monotype, where there are also phrases, verses and poems with sketches and drawings in ink and mixed techniques, which form real poetic and visual pathways in which it is revealed its dense imagery verb - visual. He exhibits in international shows of painting and visual poetry in museums and galleries in: Paris, Tokyo, London, Havana, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Melbourne and in Finland, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates. (Ph. Nicola Bottinelli)