Paolo Canevari (Rome, 1963) is known for using different media, such as drawing, video, sculpture and installations. His aim in his works is to convert the passive state of mind into an energetic, creative act. His pieces are underpinned by reflections on the impermanence of art, the meaning of sculpture and the relationship of the work with the contemporary social context. Since the early ’90s his material of choice has been rubber tires, and black has been his chosen color. His modus operandi sets out to revisit everyday life and the most intimate aspects of memory, mingling symbols and icons, pop culture, historical representation and political consciousness. His poetics combines the expressive modes that developed from the ’60s onwards and knows no boundaries of genre or subject. In 2011, with the series Monuments of Memory, he began to explore the traditional languages of painting, drawing and sculpture.
Canevari’s first solo show was in New York, where he lived from 1989 to 1990. Since the ’90s he has exhibited in numerous international group exhibitions in Los Angeles, Paris, Kiev, Wien, Frankfurt, Dublin, Geneva, Taiwan, Liège, and at events such as the Rome Quadriennale (1999), Venice Biennale (2007), Quadrilateral Biennial of Rijeke, Croatia (2014), and Bangkok Biennale (2018). In the 2000s he held important solo exhibitions at venues including Center for Academic Resources, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok (2000); Galerie Cent8, Paris (2001); Palazzo delle Papesse, Siena (2001); Galleria Christian Stein, Milan (2001, 2002, 2005, 2010, 2013); MoMA P.S.1, New York (2004); Sean Kelly Gallery, New York (2006); MART – Museum of Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto (2006); M.A.C.R.O., Rome (2007); MoMa, New York (2010); Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art, Prato (2010); GNAM, Rome (2010), and The Drawing Center, New York (2011). In 2015, the artist inaugurated the permanent work Souvenir in the space of the Olnick Spanu Art Program in Garrison, New York.
His work has interested writers of the caliber of Andrea Camilleri and Valerio Magrelli, and critics and curators such as Alanna Heiss, Klaus Biesenbach, Chrissie Iles, Brett Littman, Germano Celant. The latter, in particular, dedicated an important monograph to Canevari published by Electa (2010) and included the artist in Arts & Foods. Rituals since 1851 (Triennale di Milano, EXPO 2015).
His works are held in renowned private and public collections including Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art, Prato; MoMa, New York; Louis Vuitton pour la Creation, Paris; Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami; M.A.C.R.O., Rome; MART, Museum of Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto; Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg; National Institute for Graphics National Chalcography, Rome; GNAM, Rome; Perna Foundation, Capri, and MAXXI, Rome.