Five years after the death of Italian artist Angelo Titonel (1938 – 2018), the exhibition "Observers" displays for the first time a series of ten large scale diptychs (oil on canvas/wood, 105x190 cm, each), painted by Titonel between 2017 and 2018, before his sudden death on October 7.
As Lorenzo Canova notes: "One of the most remarkable figurative artists in his generation, Angelo Titonel can be placed alongside noteworthy exponents of both European realism and American hyperrealism without fear of being overshadowed. He shares many of their distinctive traits, while keeping the originality of both his style and his conceptual vision."
In this show, twenty faces painted by Titonel 'observe' us. They are portrayed in pairs forming a veritable installation, that "has all the characteristics of conceptual art; it is reminiscent of photography but adds to it an 'existential' touch that derives from the color and the painter's hand as they come together on the canvas", as Canova remarks in his critical text.
"Titonel composes his narrative blending ethnicities and geographies, continents and traditions, East and West, South and North, leaving to the viewer's eyes the task of bearing witness to stories that are unknown but whose outcomes we can intuit in the faces of the women and men who gaze at us from a time suspended, caught between the rapid urgency of the present and the suspension of a parallel dimension. [...]
In a world dominated by visual communication in its most ephemeral and transitory form, Titonel's legacy is his dense and deep inquiry into the psychological, physical, and cultural dynamics of sight. He explores the confines between the digital space of contemporary media and the new potential for metamorphosis and action in painting. He reflects on the age-old role of artist-observer, still devoted to an invisible thread linking the observer and the observed within the circular meanders of a labyrinth of entwined observation and reflection."
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Angelo Titonel (Cornuda, Italy, 1938 – Imola, Italy, 2018) graduated from the "Castello Sforzesco" School of Applied Arts in Milan. He began working as a graphic designer and art director in international advertising agencies but eventually abandoned this career to devote himself to painting.
His first exhibit came in 1964, in Velbert (Essen), Germany. He later moved to Rome where, during the 1970s, he was recognized as one of the leading figures of Italian Magic Realism.
Titonel's numerous exhibitions include shows at the Museo Civico of Bologna (Italy, 1973), the Museum of Contemporary Art of Skopje (Macedonia, 1974), the European Parliament in Strasbourg (France, 1994), the Complesso del Vittoriano Museum in Rome (2001), the Lausanne Olympic Museum (Switzerland, 2005) and the Palazzo Pubblico Antichi Magazzini del Sale in Siena (Italy, 2010).
Besides having many other solo exhibits throughout Europe and the United States over the years, he has also been invited to several international Biennial and Quadrennial events and has been bestowed with diverse awards and rave reviews.
His many prestigious commissions include the Quirinal Palace (the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic), for which he has painted portraits of presidents and key historical characters, including Giuseppe Garibaldi, Giuseppe Mazzini, Massimo D'Azeglio and the Count of Cavour. He was also commissioned by the Vatican to paint the official portrait of then Pope Benedict XVI.
Upon request from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, he created a self-portrait for the Gallery's collection entitled "Artist Self-Portraits".
Numerous Italian and foreign critics have written about Titonel's work: Sergio Bernardi, Rossana Bossaglia, Luciano Caramel, Andrea B. Del Guercio, Federica Di Castro, Maurizio Fagiolo dell’Arco, Francesco Faeta, Duilio Morosini, Rocco Ronchi, Padre Felice Rossetti, Claudio Strinati, Marisa Vescovo, among others.