Mimmo Paladino

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Mimmo Paladino (born 18 December 1948) is an Italian sculptor, painter and printmaker.


Paintings and drawing[edit]

Mimmo Paladino was born Domenico Paladino in Paduli, Campania, southern Italy. He attended the Liceo Artistico of Benevento (Benevento Art High School) from 1964 to 1968, when minimalism and conceptualism dominated the international art scene. He played a leading part in the international revival of painting towards the end of the 1970s. His first work, in line with the prevailing conceptual climate at the time, showed an interest in photography, but in 1977 he had already moved on to the creation of two major tempera murals, one at the Toselli gallery in Milan and one at the Lucio Amelio gallery in Naples.[1]

In 1980, he exhibited his work at the Venice Biennale, in the "Aperto 80" exhibition. Other Italian artists present included Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi and Nicola de Maria: the leaders of the Transavantgarde movement. However, it was largely thanks to a picture exhibition held in a range of Central European museums, from the Kunsthalle in Basel, to the Museum Folkwang in Essen and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, that Paladino finally consolidated his international fame. Meanwhile, two personal exhibitions were held simultaneously in New York that year, by Annina Nosei and Marian Goodman, extending his fame to the United States.

In 1981, the Kunstmuseum in Basel organised a major personal exhibition of paintings, curated by Dieter Koepplin. This was then also put on at the Kestner-Gesellschaft in Hanover, the Mannheimer Kunstverein in Mannheim and the Groninger Museum in Groningen. The Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Bologna also dedicated a personal exhibition to him that year.


In the early 1980s, he began making his first sculptures. Exhibitions followed, one after the other, and in 1981 Paladino took part in "A New Spirit in Painting", at the Royal Academy of Art in London, and the Paris Biennale.

In the following year, 1982, he took part in the Sydney Biennial and the "Documenta 7" in Kassel. This was followed by three major personal exhibitions that same year: in Humlebaek, thanks to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, in Wuppertal, at the Museumsverein, and at the Staedtische Galerie in Erlangen.

He exhibited at the Transavantgarde exhibition in 1983, at the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, the "New Art" exhibition in London's Tate Gallery that same year, and the "Det Italienska Transavangardet" at the Lunds Konsthall in Stockholm, the following year.

At the same time, two major personal exhibitions were dedicated to him, the first at the Harbour Museum in Newport, Los Angeles, and the second at the Musée Saint-Pierre Art Contemporain in Lyon, in 1984. In 1984, Paladino also exhibited at the "An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture" show, at the New York Museum of Modern Art. He was then invited to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, and also took part in the "Contemporary Italian Masters" exhibition at the Chicago Council on Fine Arts.

Drawing always plays a fundamental part in Paladino's work, and he was the leading participant in the 1983 "Nuovi Disegni" exhibition at the Kunstmuseum in Basel. He also took part in the major exhibition "Skulptur im 20. Jahrhundert" in this Swiss city, the following year.

He was involved in other major personal exhibitions, including the rich 1985 retrospective exhibition dedicated to him by Munich's "Staedtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus". Other exhibitions were held at the Kunstnernes Hus in Oslo (1985), at the Kulturhaus in Graz and the Moderne Galerie Rupertinum in Salzburg (1987). Further collective exhibitions were held at the San Paolo Biennial, the Paris Biennale, the "Bilder für Frankfurt" at the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt (1985). In 1988 he had a personal room in the XLIII Biennale in Venice.

He put on personal exhibitions at the Villa delle Rose, Bologna (1990), the Belvedere in Prague (1991), the Museu de Arte in San Paolo (1992), the Forte Belvedere in Florence (1993), and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Monterrey (1994).

In the 1990s, he began carrying out important interventions on urban spaces, such as the permanent "Hortus Conclusus" installation in the San Domenico cloisters, in Benevento (1992). In 1994 he was granted a personal exhibition in Naples, in the Scuderie di Palazzo Reale, Villa Pignatelli Cortes, and piazza Plebiscito, where he installed the "Montagna di sale".

In 1999, a major exhibition in the South London Gallery featured "Testimoni", a new complete collection of 20 white Vicenza Stone sculptures and "Zenith", a series of works in mixed techniques on aluminium. After the installation of "Dormienti" designed in 1998 for the Fonte delle Fate in Poggibonsi, he presented the "Dormienti" installation, in 1999, in the Roundhouse cellar in London. The work is set to music written especially for the occasion by Brian Eno. That year he was also decorated with the title of Honorary Member by the Royal Academy of London. Later, Paladino created the set designs for Veglia (1992) directed by Mario Martone, in Benevento, Schiller's La sposa di Messina (1994) directed by Elio de Capitani, in Gibellina, and Edipo Re (2000) at the Teatro Argentina in Rome, directed, once again, by Mario Martone.

The 21st-century[edit]

In 2001, the general catalogue of his graphic work was published (Opera Grafica 1974-2001), curated by Enzo di Martino, for Art of this Century, New York – Paris. The Centro d'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, granted him the most comprehensive retrospective exhibition ever organised by an Italian museum, curated by Bruno Corà (2002).

In 2003, together with Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi, and Nicola de Maria, he put on "Transavanguardia 1979-1985" at the Castello di Rivoli Museo di Arte Contemporanea, curated by Ida Gianelli. He also put on personal exhibitions at the Reggia di Caserta, and in Galleria Scognamiglio in Naples and Galleria Valentina Bonomo, Rome (2004). He presented a travelling exhibition on Pinocchio at modern art museums across eight Japanese cities, in Venice's 17th-century Scola dei Battioro and then at the Museo Civico di Udine, the Museo di Palazzo Pio a Carpi and in Rotterdam (2004–2006).

In 2004, he created the doors for the Padre Pio church in San Giovanni Rotondo, designed by Renzo Piano. In 2005 he exhibited at the Museum der Moderne Rupertinum in Salzburg, and the Loggetta Lombardesca in Ravenna put on "Paladino in Scena", a major exhibition of his theatre work, curated by Claudio Spadoni. In June that year, he put on an exhibition of major sculptures at the Galleria Internazionale d'Arte Moderna Ca’ Pesaro in Venice, curated by Enzo di Martino, for the Biennale.

At the end of 2005, he put on a major exhibition dedicated to Cervantes’ Don Quixote, featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings and a film, at the Museo Capodimonte in Naples. As requested by Marco Müller, the film was presented at the 2006 Venice Film Festival, with great success. That year, he also created the doors for the San Giovanni Battista church in Lecce (designed by Franco Purini), concluded the intervention in piazza dei Conti Guidi, in Vinci, and exhibited at the Cardi and Christian Stein Gallery in Milan, and the Waddington Gallery in London.

In 2007, he produced two theatre set designs for OEdipus Rex and Cavalleria rusticana, for the Teatro Regio in Turin, and put on a personal exhibition at the Galleria Civica in Modena. In 2008 he presented a major installation at the Museo dell’Ara Pacis in Rome, set to music by Brian Eno. That year, the University of Lugano granted him an honoris causa degree in Architecture. In June 2008, "Porta di Lampedusa - Porta d'Europa", an important monument in memory of migrants deceased at sea, was inaugurated.

In 2009, a group of his sculptures was shown "en plein air" in Orta San Giulio, Lake of Orta, in a show curated by Flavio Arensi; among the various works it was a horse floating to the shore in front of Villa Bossi, the Town Hall. On 10 April the same year he installed a big blue horse over four metres high (13 feet) at the Amphitheatre of Vittoriale degli Italiani di Gardone Riviera (BS), house-museum of the novelist Gabriele D'Annunzio.

He is interested in the relationship between visual art and sound and has worked with the sound artist Brian Eno on the installation I Dormienti for the Roundhouse, London in 1999 and on a piece for the Ara Pacis Museum in Rome in 2008.[2] Paladino's works have been featured in Piran Coastal Galleries.[3]

In 2009 an exhibition of his sculptures, curated by Flavio Arensi, filled the streets, squares and buildings in the incomparable setting of Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta. The exhibition catalogue consists of forty eight original, unpublished photos by Gianni Berengo Gardin: the famous photographer made a series of portraits of Paladino and his works. In 2010 Mimmo Paladino designed the set of Work in Progress, a tour which featured the reunion of the famous Italian singer songwriters Lucio Dalla and Francesco De Gregori, thirty years after their previous joint initiative. On April 10 of the same year, he created an installation of a large blue horse measuring over four metres in the Amphitheatre of the Vittoriale degli Italiani in Gardone Riviera, the house-museum of Gabriele d’Annunzio. At the end of January 2011 he designed the new permanent room at the National Archaeological Museum in Villa Frigerj in Chieti devoted to the Warrior of Capestrano and he opened the exhibition of sculptures that focused on the “new Warrior”, housed at the exhibition centre of the Carichieti Foundation in Palazzo De Mayo. In 2011 the city of Milan devoted a large retrospective to the artist at Palazzo Reale in front of which the monumental Mountain of Salt was installed in Piazzetta Reale. His works were also displayed in the same premises as part of an anthological exhibition on the Transavantgarde curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, together with works by four other leading members of the artistic movement. An important exhibition on his ceramics was held in the Museo MIC in Faenza in 2012 and, in the same year, he designed an installation of a large marble cross in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. During the Summer, at the Ravello Festival, Flavio Arensi sets up a monograph of sculptures within the striking setting of Villa Rufolo and on the square of the auditorium by Oscar Niemeyer. For the occasion, made a short film called Labyrinthus, written with Filippo Arriva for the fourth centenary of the death of Gesualdo, with Alessandro Haber as Prince and music by Franco Mussida (PFM). In 2015 has a solo show at Biennal of Venice - Italian Pavillon. In January 2016 Joe Antenucci Becherer sets up a monograph of sculptures at Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids (MI).

Paladino currently lives and works in Rome, Paduli and Mattinata.

See also[edit]



  • Flavio Arensi, "Paladino at Palazzo Reale", with essays by Arthur Danto and Germano Celant, Firenze, Giunti, 2011
  • Enzo Di Martino and Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Mimmo Paladino, Graphic Work 1974-2001, New York, Rizzoli International Publications, 2002.
  • Giancarlo Politi, Paladino: Lo Specchio, Milan, Politi Editore, 1992.
  • Margaret Failoni, Mimmo Paladino, Kyoto, Japan, Kyoto Shoin, 1990.
  • Giovanni Testori, Mimmo Paladino, Brussels, Artiscope, 1989.

External links[edit]