Paolo Pibi taps into the vein of an artistic manifesto which, since its inception during the early part of the 20th century, has forever changed the landscape of creative exploration: namely, that of the Surrealist movement. Pibi’s thoroughly engaging imagery originates from the recesses of his subconscious mind and with little conscious directing or editing, he allows his paintings to establish their own reality, narrative and meaning. His compositions construct themselves from chaos and an unfiltered processing of inspirations, influences, dreams, emotions, et cetera. The destinations his creativity leads to are often as mysterious and compelling to Pibi himself, as they are to his audience, and so together we meet amid the magic of fantastical landscapes and scenes of enigmatic wonder.
Paolo Pibi is a fine artist who was born in 1987 in Oristano, Sardinia and is currently living and working in Milan, Italy. In 2006 he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sassari and began working for the L.E.M (Modern Aesthetic Laboratory). Afterwards, Pibi exhibited his work in several museums and galleries in Sardinia and participated in a F.R.A.C. museum residence (Regional Fund of Contemporary Art) in Corte in Corsica, France. Then, in 2011 Pibi began working with a few Italian galleries and has since had solo shows at Studio d’arte cannaviello in Milan, Esentay Gallery in Almaty, Kazachstan and last year at Apart Spaziocritico in Vicenza.
WOW x WOW is delighted to have had the opportunity to catch up with Paolo as he was preparing new work for his upcoming solo exhibition at Franco Marconi Gallery. We hope that you enjoy getting a little glimpse into the thoughts of this phenomenal young artist. Read on!
Hi Paolo, thanks very much for making the time to have a chat, we really appreciate it. To get us started, can you give us some background on what has lead you to this point in your professional life, be it your formal training, serendipity, etc.?
I don’t believe in serendipity. I work a lot and I’ve made many sacrifices over the years. I studied at a technical and commercial institute and I spent all my time drawing during lessons and therefore I graduated with the lowest grade each year. Nonetheless, I managed to never fail and repeat a school year, so that I could get out of there as soon as possible. Then, I decided to join an art academy, so that I could completely dedicate myself to painting.
We’re interested to hear about where you’re currently living and what you like about the area? Where does your sense of community stem from as an artist? Do you feel part of a close-knit scene in your home city, or do you connect more with other creatives online? Is community something that is important to you and your creativity?
Right now, I live in Milan. I moved out from Sardinia four years ago. I’m very emotionally connected to where I grew up. My sense of community probably comes from there. Milan is a very active city from an art perspective, but I don’t feel connected to a specific context.
Talk to us about growing up. In what ways did your childhood and upbringing affect your relationship with the arts?
At home there were colours, canvases, paint brushes, contemporary art magazines, guitars, keyboards… These were the toys I grew up with. The problem was that I was (and still am) a muddler. Whenever I started painting, I quickly stained everything around me, I never closed the oil paint tubes, I never cleaned up the brushes. Of course, my parents always got mad at me, so much so, that they used to hide the colours to punish me. Maybe this was a crucial factor: painting became a prohibited thing for me; children go arm to arm with prohibited things. So, thanks Ubaldo and Tonina!
We’d love for you to share some thoughts about the current themes you’ve been enjoying exploring through your art.
Right now, I enjoy painting people. I’ve been painting landscapes without human presence for the last four years, but now I feel like exploring this artistic footnote.
What have been some of the greatest breakthroughs you’ve experienced within your learning as an artist? Those moments that have opened up whole new creative avenues or that have led to you taking large leaps forward in your development?
Probably, the most crucial one was the time I spent attending the art academy. It was a sort of incubator where I could explore everything. I made videos, art installations, pictures, sculptures and absurd paintings.
Have there been occasions when images you’ve created have revealed something to you after their completion; something that maybe you hadn’t been consciously thinking about while making them? If so, we’d love to hear about one such occasion.
Always! I start painting without knowing what I’ll end up doing. I do not have a project or a picture in front of me. When I put myself in front of a canvas, a stream of spontaneous and overlapping pictures edit themselves bit by bit until something begins to take shape. When I finish a painting, I always ask myself what message it wants to deliver, what sense it makes. Often, I understand them by looking at them again years after I completed them, thinking of the period I was working on them. Sometimes, instead, someone else explains them to me.
Being an artist who works within the visual realm, can you shed some light on some of the most important inspirations and influences on your work that aren’t visual?
Surely, music strongly affects my painting.
Where does your focus lie while you’re painting?
What would be the greatest compliment you could ever receive about your work?
I wish people could go beyond compliments on the technique.
In order to get a better understanding of the personality of an artist, it can help to get a peek behind the curtain. Would you be willing to share a story from your own life, possibly one whose memory you find yourself returning to for inspiration, or maybe just a tale about a hardship you’ve overcome which has helped define the person and therefore artist that you are now?
I am very discreet. I prefer talking about my works.
If you could own one piece of art from any of the world’s collections what would it be and why?
I am not sure. In this very moment I would like to have Paolo Ucello’s drawings on perspective. But, I’m not sure. I’ll think about it and I’ll tell you next time.
What’s next for Paolo Pibi?