curated by Maximilian Pellizzari
The exhibition sfóndi presents a selection of new paintings by Thomas Grandi. The word ‘sfondo’ (Background) refers to the part of a painting furthest from the viewer’s perspective, on which the figures in the foreground usually appear. At the same time, the title of the exhibition refers to the historical context (e.g. the background of the events) and to the scene in which the action of a play or film takes place (e.g. the background in which the narrative is set).Grandi’s paintings open up suspended scenarios, in which a potential action could evolve, generating imaginary environments that invite us to search for a subject, and a way out.Thomas Grandi’s artistic practice is marked by an conceptual approach to art that led himto develop numerous works formed through and in dialogue with structures from his dailylife, his experience and the context in which he lives. Some will remember the exhibition INTERFERENCES #1 - IL RILEVATORE - DER ERHEBER in 2012 at the Lungomare Gallery in Bolzano. In this context, he presented a project he had developed during the census of South Tyrol’s language groups, for which, at the time, he worked as a census taker. Grandi presented data concerning the colour of the clothes voters wore at the time of voting in the form of colour diagrams. In this way, he generated dysfunctional data to show an ambiguity aimed at questioning the apparent definitive and scientific nature of the collected data. This exhibition marked his transition from conceptual art to painting, a medium he had already been using for some years and which has become prevalent in his production over the last decade.While his most recent works seem to reveal the artists personal negation of conceptualism, they can be understood as a conceptual operation in themselves. Grandi paints almost exclusively with oil pastels by drawing a very dense texture onto the canvas. Through this almost programmatic way of working, nothing is left to chance and each stroke corresponds to an intentional application of colour. Some of the canvases of the CORSO 110514-240518 series, which he exhibited in his last solo show at BERLIN DECKS in Berlin in October 2021, show a lot of unpainted space, while others are completely covered in colour: between the amor vacui of minimalism and the horror vacui of the Baroque.Opposed to representation of reality, the paintings presented in sfóndi are not derived from something previously known. The canvases on display were painted in his studio in Berlin over variable time intervals, the start and end dates of which become the title of each work. During this periods of time, forms may appear or disappear under new layers of pigment, with continuous changes in the painting process. Fields of colour are painted in relation to their complementaries and voids, in a formal and chromatic debate that, above all, reflects the artists inner and transformative dialogue. Thomas Grandi’s practice is characterised by a lucid somnambulism, which confronts the artist himself and the viewer with unknown forms.
Thomas Grandi (b. in Bolzano, 1979) is a visual artist that lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara in the class of Gianni Dessì from 2011 to 2013 and at the Faculty of Design and Art in Bolzano from 1999 to 2004. His work has been exhibited at Jiri Svestka Gallery, Prague (CZ) in 2021; Berlin Decks, Berlin (DE) (solo) in 2020; Künstlerforum Bonn, Bonn (DE) in 2019; Galerie Zwieschenwelt, Berlin (DE) in 2018; Lungomare Gallery, Bolzano/Bozen (IT) (solo) and Festung Franzesfeste, Fortezza/Franzensfeste (IT) in 2012; Stadtgalerie Brixen, Bressanone/Brixen (IT) in 2011; Ex Aria Gallery, Pietrasanta (IT) (solo) in 2009; ar/ge kunst, Bolzano/Bozen (IT) (solo) and Gestalt Gallery, Pietrasanta (IT) in 2007; Lungomare Gallery, Bolzano/Bozen (IT) in 2005.