Paolo Canevari

Self-Portrait | Autoritratto

Londra, Cardi Gallery
dal 21 Febbraio al 6 Giugno 2021

The exhibition

Cardi Gallery presents Self-portrait / Autoritratto, the first major solo show in the UK dedicated to the work of Paolo Canevari (b. 1963, Rome). Unfolding over four storeys, it presents a portrait of the artist’s practice through installations, sculptures, and drawings the Italian artist produced over the last thirty years, many of which are on display for the first time.
Breaking away from the tradition of painting and the renewed interest for the medium dictated by the growing art market, by the late 1980s Canevari chose to move in the footsteps of American Minimalism and Arte Povera. By the early 1990s he began working with the industrial, readily available materials that he soon became associated with: inner tubes and tyres.

Canevari employs a brutalist aesthetic that allows him to operate at the threshold of irony and disquiet, confronting the audience with stark, political, and philosophical commentary. His manipulation of materials transforms them into ambiguous symbols of the systemic violence that permeates today’s declining globalised world, where the threat of war – whether in the name of spiritual or monetary values – is constant and humankind’s memory is tragically too short. While his works speak of the ecological failure of humankind, highlighting the rhetoric of socioeconomic power structures, the artist leaves them open to interpretation in a non-prescriptive, poetic manner.

The catalogue

The volume explores thirty years of artistic practice of Paolo Canevari (Rome, 1963) through a selection of sculptures, drawings, and installations ranging from the earlier pieces he created in the footsteps of Arte Povera to those made of rubber during the 1990s, and including his most recent Paesaggio and Constellation series, part of the ongoing project Monuments of the Memory. Using a variety of materials and media, ranging from drawing to sculpture, performance, installation and video, Canevari moulds a language he defines “Baroque Minimalism”, where form and concept are shaped upon a multitude of alternating evocative references, to illuminate the dark territories of being human, be it an individual, or humankind.
The catalogue celebrates the artist’s first retrospective exhibition in the UK, held at the Cardi Gallery, London. It is enriched by a commissioned essay penned by Robert Storr, a short story by Andrea Camilleri, and two interviews with the artist, one led by Shirin Neshat and the other by Robert Storr and Francesca Pietropaolo.

London, Cardi Gallery, February - June 2021


Paolo Canevari: Darkness, Danger & Elegance
Robert Storr, 2021

Installation views

Andrea Camilleri


Additional works

Paolo Canevari interviewed in 2018 by Robert Storr and Francesca Pietropaolo

Paolo Canevari interviewed in 2014 by Shirin Neshat

Captions and photo credits

About Paolo Canevari
Selected exhibitions and projects