Paolo Parisi (Catania, 1965), lives and works in Florence. He is co-founder of the artist-run space “Base / Progetti per l’Arte” in Florence. Experiencing art as a cognitive act through its various materials and processes, the variation of perception and the formation of a personal point of view are fundamental elements in Paolo Parisi’s work. Daylight passing through coloured glass is transformed, imbuing everything it touches with a new and diverse shade. Ultra-sound allows us to hear the movements recorded under the surface of volcanoes. Sculpture, shaped from sheets of corrugated cardboard, can be explored from within, as in a natural cavity. Painting, the principal reason and mainstay of his work becomes a liaison between painting, sculpture and the blending of both in space through the traced perspectives of a collective, elementary geography. Paolo Parisi from the beginning has explored abstract painting to reflect on ways of seeing and has used monochrome to create a physical experience, transforming architectural space and establishing a new rapport between the container and its contents. In the works from 1993 (Rilievi) he transformed some nautical charts with clay and his fingertips, projecting them onto a canvas. Afterwards these were treated so as to maintain unaltered the clay’s natural color. It was a gesture that repeated a pre-existing image in order to re-appropriate, in a tactile way, the spaces, thus rendering a “new image of the world”. Via a series of signs that produced reality as interpreted in the image, Parisi reached the physical realm of painting, its essence and its tautology. The artwork never appears the same as itself because it depends on the position and the gaze used by the viewer.
From 1993 to 2010, he taught Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. In 2010, he began his tenure as Professor of Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. From 2014 to 2015, he was the Director of the Masters Degree in Printmaking and Publishing Art, and in 2015 he became the Head of the Department of Visual Arts and New Expressive Languages. Between 2001 and 2003 he taught as an assistant to Giulio Paolini in the Workshop of Artistic Expression and Techniques for the two year specialisation programme at the Faculty of Art and Design at IUAV in Venice.
From the beginning of the 1990s, he exhibited in numerous galleries and museums in Italy and abroad. His work was exhibited in 2006 at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, München, in a personal exhibition entitled “Observatorium – Gegen den Strom / Observatory (Against the Stream)”. In the same year he participated in the group exhibition “The Interim is mine” at Galleria Civica Montevergini, Siracusa and at “Metropolitanscape”, Palazzo Cavour, Turin. In 2007 his work was included in “Good Morning Babilonia” at Primo Marella Gallery, Bejing and in “Geografie” at Via Nuova Arte Contemporanea, Florence as well as in the project “Fuori contesto” an event of Manifesta 7, Trento, Bolzano and Rovereto. In 2008 he realized the solo show entitled “Observatorium (museum)” at Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato and the sound performance “Nomi dei colori classici (Sinfonia)” for the exhibition “Per adesso noi siamo qua”, at Villa Romana, Florence. From 2007 to 2009 he participated in the traveling exhibition, “Italian Genius Now”, curated by Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Hanoi, White House, Singapore, Korean Design Center, Seoul, Italian culture institute, Tokyo and MACRO, Rome. In 2010 his work was presented at Magazzino d’arte Moderna in Rome in the exhibition “Untitled # 1. Landscapes / (confini in disordine)” and “Niente Da Vedere Tutto Da Vivere” for the XIV International Sculpture Biennale of Carrara. In the same year he realized the installation “The problem of Sharing the Available Space compared to the Color of the Painting. …and the Atmospheric Dust”, a new work inspired by a reflection on modernism and on twentieth century painting, for the group show “Alla Maniera d’oggi. Base a Firenze”, in Florence. In 2011, in addition to his participation in “Broken Fall (Organic)” at the Enrico Astuni Gallery of Bologna and the creation of “Observatorium (Blu.Tally)”, a new sound work for the entrance of the Riso Museum in Palermo, Parisi realized the installation “Commonplace (Unitè d’habitation)”, specially conceived for the Fondazione Brodbeck in Catania. In 2013, following the artist residency in Paris with the support of DENA Foundation and the Riso Museum in Palermo, he made the film “Untitled – postcards (Movie)” which was consequently exhibited at CNEAI, Chatoux, Paris (2013 ); Klaipeda Klaipeda Culture Communication Center (2013) and at the same Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Palazzo Riso Palermo (2014). In 2015 his work was included in the exhibition “Masterpieces from the Farnesina Collection. A Glance at Italian Art from the Fifties to the Present Day” at MSU, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (HR).