Guido Airoldi was born in Bergamo (Italy) in 1977. He graduated at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. His interests are painting, collage and performance. In 2007 he exhibited his first solo show- “Dichotomies”- at the Castle Colleoni in Bergamo (Italy). He participated in numerous exhibitions and awards, immediately obtaining appreciations for the quality of his work. In 2010 participates in the Fourth Arte Laguna Price where he is selected among the finalists. On this occasion he exhibited his works at the Arsenale in Venice and he won the Special Prize “Catch by the Eye, Save in the heart” that will allow him to exhibit in London. He also won the Special Award “Koller Gallery” that allows him to have an exhibit in Budapest. He joined the exibition group “Archiviarti” at the Fabbrica Borroni in Milan, curated by Fiordalice Sette. Here his work was noticed by Mattia Munari, a gallery owner who works in Padua and Milan, which immediately places it among the selected artists from the gallery and puts him on the staff: “Ex circus” is the first exhibition in Milan in the Amphitheater Gallery. Then he exposes “Animals Recovered” at the Triangoloarte Gallery of Bergamo, curated by Paolo Bosc. In 2011 the city of Lecce and the Salento University organized the exhibition Circus Lupiensis, curated by Carolina Lio, in the Castle of Charles V. Then he exposes Car On Air at Superstudiopiù of Milan. In 2013 he exhibited at the Fabbrica Borroni (Milan) Silenzi Manifesti in the project Italian Spirit and then QUOD SUM HOC ERITIS at the Triangoloarte GALLERY of Bergamo. In 2015 he exhibited the installation “Heimat” at the Galleria Toselli in Milan and Silenzi Manifesti by Isolo17 a Verona. Nel 2016 exposes Focus at the Zoological and Paleontology Museum of the University Federico II and at Anywhere Art Company gallery in Naples. Presents BesDiario, in Equinozio d’Autunno 2016, at the Castello di Rivara-Museo d’arte contemporanea, curated by Franz Paludetto. He was finalist of Arteam Cup 2016. In 2017 he exhibited at the Fondazione Stelline di Milano and he is again Circus Lupiensis at the Castello di Rivara-Museo d’arte contemporanea. After this, there is the consecration by the public, the critics and the art market. His works are in fact present in the major contemporary art fairs in Italy (among them: AAF and AAM in Milan, Art Padua, Bergamo Arte Fiera, Art Fair Bologna, ArtVerona, Paratissima in Turin). Airoldi lives and works in Verona and Bergamo.
The World as a Picture
‘What décollagists showed is the world turned into a picture.’
Those concise words, self-explanatory and meaningful, belong to the well-known French critic Pierre Restany, the founder of Nouveau Réalisme.
The world here means objects, materials, posters, items produced and manufactured by society and ultimately by people, which the artist uses and transforms by giving them a new identity.
There is an unusual perceptive approach to reality, which is inherent and coherent in Guido Airoldi’s works; it is an artistic procedure that comes to life with a process of appropriation that is further investigated, manipulated and finally reinterpreted.
As a recondite outcome and fulfilment of the ready-made, Guido Airoldi turns whatever fragment of the urban landscape he touches into unconditional expressive meaning. Guido Airoldi proceeds painstakingly wandering through the town, carefully observing the landscape and the walls to which other people have consigned their painted story-telling. That is the first phase of an artistic procedure that we can identify and call performative, i.e. linked with the fulfilment of a body language that conveys a sociological concept. For obvious reasons, the night becomes the trusted companion during which the artist Airoldi comes on stage and performs with meaningful gestures, developing a captivating and exclusive rapport not just with the town and the wall, but particularly with an immaterial and indefinite instant.
Once the poster and the inner state have been identified, they are then turned into a creative idea, thereby conjuring up, for the time being only in the artist’s mind, what will become a work of art.
A gestural expressive quality that draws on the meaninglessness of perceptible pre-existent images and searches through the concreteness of an inanimate medium bestowed with an intense and far-reaching creative perspective.
The scope of the artistic gesture through décollage that is performed by Airoldi, albeit inevitably and with a reason, can be traced back to masters such as Jacques Mahè de La Villeglé, Raymond Hains, and Mimmo Rotella. These are fundamental, and yet cumbersome, historical figures, from whom Airoldi took inspiration, observing and studying them carefully and humbly, fully understanding the importance of knowledge acquisition, and yet, at the same time, moving away from them and starting on a new and independent course of painted story-telling.
After the phase of examination and identification of a suitable poster, this is the time for artistic creation and development.
The criterion and the method adopted by Airoldi in this phase moves away from the forcefulness of the act of detachment from the affiche medium towards a pensive and meditative mood that requires absolute precision and at the same time the painstaking retrieval of the reclaimed material.
This procedure sees Airoldi wearing a white coat and turning into somewhat of a psychoanalyst methodically and professionally taking care of his patient.
The panoply of assemblage to which the artist gives life back is multifarious, an example being the series Animali Recuperati (Retrieved Animals) taken out of the original context of billposting and reintroduced in a different setting.
The chosen medium is first sterilized and amended by removing imperfections or fragments unsuitable for its expressive use, and it is then laid on white paper, with no interference with its leading role.
Then, Airoldi sets about a painstaking delicate and precise pictorial intervention, outlining and completing the deleted parts in order to structure the final image in a detailed way.
The poster, wrenched from its pristine life, is still carrying inescapable wounds and bruises, intentionally left unaltered by the artist in order not to conceal the memory of the past, lest the communicative purpose for which it was originally conceived be forgotten. The meaningful contrast between the colour, the texture, but at the same time, the precision and the definition of the paper on which the artist has affixed the acronym A.R. (Animale Recuperato, Retrieved Animal) and of the print of an official sanitary inspector rubber-stamp calls to mind the didactic, but also creative, cataloguing typical of outdated zoology atlases.
Circus posters and animals that have been used to advertise circus events, which Airldi has chosen as his creative source, take the shape of an itinerary though Italian towns that the artist has undertaken with a view to salvage the posters that would otherwise have been consigned to oblivion.
The representation of death, specifically intended as memento mori, can be found in the series Danze macabre (Danse Macabre) : a spectacle through which Airoldi intentionally picks up on the theme of the triumph of death, analysing and recapturing one of the most pervasive topics in Western art, especially in the late Middle Ages.
These images have a strong visual impact and great communicative force, and they provide us with allegories of death and they have the same function today as they had in the past : they alert the mind and the soul of the beholder to the great leveller, making everyone equal, because it does not spare anyone.
The medium of these works does not have the same purity that we have already noticed in Animali Recuperati, as it is created by the poster itself, or by the layering of posters.
The subject matter of Danze macabre also tells a different story; their medium is made up of parts of posters which are cut out, broken down and then put together again and devised in such a way that they depict apocalyptic scenarios related with the concept of the futility of life, with more than a hint of witty critical irony.
Guido Airoldi’s endeavours are not limited to the themes heretofore discussed; his propensity to experimentation leads him to incorporate into his posters other means of expression, such us high-tech.
The journey advances from the town to the countryside, the Venetian Po Valley, to be precise, where the artist retreats to move away from the urban landscape and enjoy moments of silence and reflection, towards infinity and beyond the never-ending horizon of our thinking. Silenzi manifesti (Manifest Silences) is a series of works that take their inspiration from the artist wandering in the countryside, over the earth, across meadows, and from time to time, into abandoned farmhouses.
The medium from which the artist starts his artistic achievement is, as always, sheets of posters retrieved from the town, specifically the layering of many affiches, up to twenty, glued one on top of the other with the same adhesive that is used by bill stickers. Subsequently, the adhesive is left to dry and pressed under a roller and the printing press used in chalcography.
Unlike with Animali Recuperati, Airoldi’s procedure is not limited to the choice of a retrieved poster and his creative work on it : in Silenzi manifesti he also uses photography; he identifies personal feelings that he goes through and then he himself takes pictures of them and prints them out by laser.
Simple, minimal landscapes, wrapped around in an atmosphere of meditative quality, engrossed in soul-searching and in silence as opposed to the hurly-burly of the outside world around us. Forsaken places, abandoned interiors, flaked-off walls, forlorn objects that take us to the past lives of those who used to live there but not any longer either because they have moved somewhere else or because they are dead now. Lives, nay discreet presences, still lingering in the air which Airoldi documents in his works as if not to let time run its course and destroy their memories.
The poster in Airoldi’s hands becomes a 3D object and turns into a veritable sculpture. The paper of the poster is wrought and structured; it is shaped as simple and minimal living space, or small houses that are only apparently precarious, but that are actually protective and safe shelters where to hide away. Not just a roof above your head where to take shelter and go about your daily life, but primarily hearth and home where to get your bearings as you reach out to the others and to the outer world, an innate root that was with us before we were born and later became our point of reference, our compass for life. Each of us should take full responsibility for the place and the environment where we live : we are also what we live. Each of us should be fully aware of the environment where we live and should maintain morally sound behaviour and not irresponsible behaviour; only in this way will we be able to take care of ourselves and show self-respect.
In conclusion, Guido Airoldi reaches his objective to redefine his relationship with the world of art by bringing in an intense, life-affirming energy, thereby broadening its horizons.
Alberto Mattia Martini
Guido Airoldi (1977) è nato a Bergamo e vive a Verona. Nel 2002 si laurea all’Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera di Milano. La sua attività artistica è orientata verso la pittura, il collage e la performance, con una particolare attenzione al recupero di immagini preesistenti. E’ stato finalista di The 4th International Arte Laguna Art Prize, esponendo nei prestigiosi spazi dell’Arsenale di Venezia. Qui ha vinto i premi Catch by the Eye, Save in the Heart e Koller Gallery Special Prize, ottenendo la possibilità di esporre a Budapest e a Londra. Nel 2010 presenta il ciclo Animali Recuperati alla galleria Triangoloarte di Bergamo e la mostra Ex Circus da Anfiteatro Arte a Milano. Quest’ultima lo presenta nel 2011 ad Arte Fiera di Bologna mettendo a confronto il suo lavoro con l’opera storica di Mimmo Rotella. Sempre in quell’anno il Comune di Lecce e l’Università del Salento hanno organizzato la personale Circus Lupiensis, a cura di Carolina Lio, presso le sale del Castello di Carlo V. Espone in seguito Car On Air presso Superstudiopiù di Milano. Nel 2013 presenta la personale Silenzi Manifesti presso la Fabbrica Borroni di Bollate nell’ambito del progetto Spirito Italiano e QUOD SUM HOC ERITIS presso la galleria Triangoloarte di Bergamo. Nel 2015 espone l’istallazione Heimat presso la Galleria Toselli di Milano e Silenzi Manifesti da Isolo17 a Verona. Nel 2016 espone Focus presso il Museo zoologico e paleontologico dell’Università Federico II di Napoli e presso la galleria Anywhere Art Company nella città partenopea. Presenta poi, la personale BesDiario, nell’ambito di Equinozio d’autunno 2016, al Castello di Rivara-Museo d’arte contemporanea, a cura di Franz Paludetto. Nel 2017 espone alla Fondazione Stelline di Milano e di nuovo Circus Lupiensis al Castello di Rivara-Museo d’Arte contemporanea a cura di Franz Paludetto. Nel 2019 partecipa per la terza volta con Heimat ad Equinozio d’autunno al Castello di Rivara-Museo d’Arte contemporanea a cura di Franz Paludetto e al Parlamento Europeo di Bruxelles. Sempre nel 2019 il progetto Specula a cui partecipa viene presentato al MANN Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. E’ ideatore e co-curatore del progetto “I piranha non sentono i sapori”.
“La sua ricerca visivamente leggera e semplice si sviluppa su delle carte dove compare solo la forma di un animale senza contesto, appena circondata da una sottile cornice bianca oppure isolata e racchiusa in una teca di plexiglas. Sono opere talmente dirette che a prima vista possono persino sembrare illustrative, ma che sono invece lo sviluppo di profonde, elaborate ed originali riflessioni intellettuali e, soprattutto, umane. L’artista pulisce il più possibile il suo lavoro perché è il suo mondo interiore ad essere pulito, e dà alla luce delle opere ordinate, minimali, silenziose, quasi asettiche nella loro perfetta calibratura. Qui i suoi soggetti vengono protetti in una dimensione curativa e catartica che ha un che sia di medico che di eroico. Le immagini che compongono le sue opere sono, infatti, state tolte dal chiasso della strada e dall’usura del tempo, sono ritagliate, re-incollate su una carta bianca e pura e poi medicate nelle loro parti mancanti con lievi e discreti interventi pittorici. In definitiva, questi animali – o meglio le loro rappresentazioni – sono stati salvati, e svolgono nell’opera un periodo di convalescenza infinita, accompagnati dalla sigla AR (Animale Recuperato) e da un vecchio timbro della USL.” Carolina Lio