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Luca Giovagnoli: “All art is autobiographical”

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Luca Giovagnoli: “All art is autobiographical”

Photo credit: Luca Giovagnoli

Text: Anna Mar

March 6 2023

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Luca Giovagnoli was born in Rimini in 1963, where he still lives. This city, one of Europe’s most notable seaside resorts, is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for the subjects of the artist’s paintings. After his studies, Luca started working as a graphic designer and presented his first solo exhibition in 1990.

His sexually explicit paintings stir the imagination and evoke emotion. As a filmmaker, Luca recreates moments from life on canvas, and it’s up to your imagination how the story unfolds.

I believe that, like great feelings, a person's destiny also begins with a spark of passion. Can you tell us about how your passion for painting began?

I think the first spark of passion for painting came from going to museums with my parents as a child. I was enchanted by the paintings of Botticelli, Raphael, Caravaggio and the other Renaissance painters. Also by the many art books at home that I read continuously. Then came also the passion for the great comic illustrators of that period such as Juan Zanotto and John Buscema. I like to think that in my work there is a mix between painting and comics.

Your paintings are mostly done in a gloomy palette. What inspires you to work with this color palette?

Mainly my work develops in two cycles, one linked to the territory, of my city and one on the theme of sexuality and the palette differs a lot between the two themes. In the paintings related to sexuality, I use darker colours perhaps because it is a more intimate, darker theme on which there are still many taboos and it comes naturally to me to use a certain kind of palette.

What impression do you want your work to make on the viewer?

I think the important thing is that the viewer has an impression, any emotion that can be a memory, a feeling, a desire and why not, even of disgust

I know you like Federico Fellini. He said: "The artist is the medium between his fantasies and the rest of the world ". Would you say that your paintings are the product of your innermost fantasies?

It’s true, I love Fellini and his entire universe, his erotic drawings are wonderful and I think they have also influenced me a little. So I will answer this question with one of his quotes: “all art is autobiographical”. Then each viewer can filter it in their own way.

Where do you get the inspiration for the subjects of your paintings?

From everyday life. From my city, which is Rimini. A city of riviera with hundreds of hotels and I like to imagine how many stories and micro-stories of love, of betrayals and liaisons of people begin and end in the summer chaos.

Your works are imbued with a sexy vibe. What is female and male sexuality for you?

Sexuality for me lies in the details and begins to manifest itself long before the physical act. I believe that there can be more sexuality often in an involuntary gesture, in a look or even in a word rather than in an explicit act. And this applies to both women as well as men.

Our society is still quite puritanical. Have you encountered criticism of your work and how do you feel about it?

It is normal to receive criticism when showing your work. Considering the themes I deal with, I think it is inevitable, everyone is free to express their own opinion as I am free to paint what I feel. A work that is not sincere is useless.

Who are your favorite visual artists?

Social media is now a necessary tool for an artist. However, it is also true that censorship and this exasperated political correctness jeopardise the freedom and creativity of an artist. On social media one unfortunately has to abide by rules that in my opinion cannot be circumvented. The only thing we can do is show work that is not considered suitable for social media in galleries or studios!

Do you have any exciting projects coming up?

For this year I am planning an exhibition in Taiwan in July and in Miami in December. In March I will hold an exhibition in Italy on the theme of fatherhood together with Omar Galliani, a great artist whom I respect very much.

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