Patrizio di Massimo
Out Like a Light
9 June – 26 August 2023
Italian painter Patrizio di Massimo unveils the art world’s most intimate yet universal moments in his upcoming solo exhibition titled Out Like a Light at ChertLüdde. Exploring the realms of portraiture, di Massimo presents curators and artist friends as his sleeping muses, creating whimsical and thought-provoking large-scale paintings that delve into art history and contemporary themes pertaining to identity, self-determination and recognition.
Born in 1983 in Jesi, di Massimo is a self-taught painter who made a radical shift from a multidisciplinary practice to focus exclusively on painting in 2015. Since then, portraiture has become the centerpiece of his artistic journey, characterized by a distinct compositional fantasy, Baroque-like drapery, and a fascination with personal appearances. His work embodies the vitality and enchanting details reminiscent of Italian cinema a la Fellini, evoking the extravagance of figurative painting.
In Out Like a Light, di Massimo assumes the role of an uncanny witness to various sleeping arrangements. These moments capture the subjects in a state of both connection and disconnection, protection and vulnerability within their immediate surroundings. The depicted figures, many of whom hail from the Berlin art scene, are portrayed in serene slumber, often in the comforting embrace of their homes or studios. Di Massimo accentuates the uniqueness of each person or couple by surrounding them with carefully chosen props and textiles. Notably, the exhibition features a self-portrait alongside the artist’s wife and a painting of his daughter, altering the perspective of the observer within these artworks.
Out Like a Light invites the audience to partake in the shared dreams of the artist and his subjects, providing a window into their world. Keen viewers of the exhibition will also notice the recurring motif of an animal incorporated into almost every canvas—a playful game of hide and seek reminiscent of a father’s interaction with his young daughter.
Patrizio di Massimo (b. 1983, Jesi) lives and works in London. He graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, London and the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, Milan.
Over the past decade, di Massimo has cultivated a distinct aesthetic that merges figuration with elements from Italian history, particularly drawing inspiration from Baroque tones and dramatic portraiture. His artistic representations exhibit an uncanny and sometimes grotesque quality, exploring various aspects of human nature.
Following his 2013 solo exhibition at Gasworks in London, which delved into orientalist and otherizing attitudes prevalent in Victorian society and their complex and seductive existence in the present, di Massimo has shifted his focus towards a more universal exploration of human nature. His works ambiguously engage with the concept of masculinity, serving as personal interpretations of a broader cosmology that incorporates friends, family, and fictional characters. Whether engaged in conflict or embraced in intimacy, whether depicted in private domestic spaces or on imaginary stages, his subjects confront the real world through their vulnerability and the performative display of emotions. Despite being bathed in theatrical light or adorned with velvet brocade, these characters remain intimately connected to our own desires and frustrations.
Currently, di Massimo’s most comprehensive retrospective exhibition to date, titled Antologia / Anthology (2013–2023), is on view at the Civic Museums of Palazzo Pianetti and Fondazione Cassa di risparmio in Jesi.