Still 3, Lorella Paleni

Still 3, Lorella Paleni


Oil on aluminum panel

50.5x40.5 cm

  • The animal kingdom as we conceive it in our liberal, cosummerist minds is a perpetual competition between one another, an unforgiven fight to stay at the top of the chain. This is how we have managed to justify our barbarous behaviour towards other species, the environment or even among ourselves.

    Instead of interrogating over and over again the human condition, the Italian painter Lorella Paleni shifts her attention to animals in an effort to show the similarities we share with them, evincing once and for all that what we assume to be “animal behaviour” is a biased interpretation of otherness.

    Gilles Deleuze in his book Francis Bacon: Logic of Sensation speaks about what makes Bacon’s characters so akin to animals. According to the philosopher, in Bacon’s work, there’s what he calls a “zone of indiscernibility” where man becomes an animal and the animal transforms into man’s mind. The face is replaced by a stroke, there’s no way to discern the nature of what we see, except that it is flesh.

    Animals on the other hand possess neat faces and may look straight at us like the monkeys in her series Dwellers. “I feel drawn to animals because of their uncanny similarities with the human and the way we tend to look at them. Because a lot of my work, when I deal with animals, has to do with the animal gaze and with meeting this other being as a being per se and not as an object.” The meeting point is indeed the face, more specifically the eyes, the windows through which we recognize ourselves in others.

    This takes us to the Anthropocene, the so called new geological era where humans have triggered the current climate crisis having obliged us to see beyond to assess the impact of exploiting the earth. It is more and more common to see creators turn their attention to other species to decolonize our gaze. Jacov Von Uexküll in his book A Foray into the world of animals and humans: with a theory of meaning introduced his readers to what he called “umwelt”, a concept explaining that living beings perceive the world through a subjective perspective influenced by the environment surrounding them, each way of seeing the world is different for each species. Paleni’s work seems to take this into account as she creates environments where animals live in a different time-space zone, we share our existence with them but communicate with them not via a specific language but through the body or the relationships we develop with them. “With a lot of other representations of animals, they’re often not subjects, they’re objects. Even historically in painting, which is very similar in the case of women, women are represented like a body to please, their body is seen through the male gaze … Animals, they are disposable, they represent something else, an allegory of something but they never are subjects themselves or very rarely so I was interested in them as subjects.”

    Despite not being political at first sight, Lorella Paleni’s paintings unbosom as subtle statements on women’s position, animals and the Anthropocene as well as painting itself. Nostalgic at times, Paleni’s compositions zones of indiscernibility connecting us with the animal kingdom and bringing us closer to unexplored layers of our existence. 

    Milena Estrada


    Solo Exhibitions: 

    2019 Untamed, Galerie de L’OpenBach - Paris (FR)

    2017      Dwellers, E.Tay Gallery - New York, NY (USA)

    2016      OTHƎRWISƎ, Magic Beans Gallery - Berlin (DE)

    2013      Out loud, Kunstalle 1, HB55 Kunstfabrik - Berlin (DE)


    Select Group Exhibitions: 

    2019      Expolaroid, Galerie de l’OpenBach – Paris (FR)

    2019      Prix de dessin Pierre David-Weill - Académie des beaux-arts, Cité Internationale des Arts – Paris (FR)

    2019      Ensorcelés, curated by Joanna Wong & Marie C. Mendes, L.A.R.O. – Paris (FR)

    2019      Listening to the Anthropocene, curated by Douglas Cushing, Sarofim Fine Arts Gallery - Georgetown, TX (USA)

    2018      Indo-European Residency Project 2018, Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan - Kolkata (IN)

    2018      Death Dive, Launch 18, New York, NY (USA)

    2017      Anthology, Charlie Smith London, London (UK)

    2017      Magic + Love x Art, Magic Beans Gallery, Berlin (DE)

    2017      Virtual to Physical: thepostdigitalprintmaker, Manhattan Graphics C., New York (USA)

    2016      I Sky You, Magic Beans Gallery, Berlin (DE)

    2015      Imperfect Containers, E.TAY gallery, New York, NY (USA)

    2015      Commedia: New Prints 2015/Autumn, International Print Center, New York, NY (USA)

    2015      Floating Point, Judith Charles Gallery, New York (USA)

    2015      MFA Thesis Exhibition, Fisher Landau Center of the Arts, LongIsland City, NY (USA)

    2014      The Portrait Show, The LeRoy Neiman Gallery, New York (USA)

    2014      Biennale d’Arte Giovani, MAM museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea, Mantova (IT)

    2014      MFA First Year Show, Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, New York (USA)

    2014      “Networking Tips for Shy People”, Livingston Street Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (USA)

    2013      OCEANS – under the skin of the sea, kunstfabrik HB55, Berlin (DE)

    2013      A.I.R. (Art - Industry - Recycling)Pescheria Nuova, Rovigo (IT)

    2013      "Me, My Sphere, and I", Fellini Gallery, Berlin (DE)

    2013       Run, Rabbit, Run, SVA's Westside Gallery, New York (USA)

    2013       Tarptautinio Tapybos Plenero Paroda, Communications History Museum, Kaunas (LT)

    2013       Summer Show – Generazione anni ottanta, Federico Rui Arte contemporanea, Milan (IT)

    2013       Lost in Chaos, Institut français Milano | Palazzo delle Stelline, ArtGallery, Milan (IT)

    2012       Memorie, WhiteLabs, Milan (IT)

    2012       Premio Francesco Fabbri, Francesco Fabbri Foundation, Villa Brandolini (IT)

    2012       W.A.C. Wells Art Contemporary Prize, Wells & Mendip Museum, Wells (UK)

    2012       Return to Rattlesnake Mountain, Maxon Mills, Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY (USA)

    2012       “Inside Me” PulsArt, Palazzo Fogazzaro, Schio (IT)

    2012        ArtGallery Prize 2012, Galleria Campari, Milano (IT)

    2012        Combat Prize, Museo Civico G. Fattori ex Granai di Villa Mimbelli, Livorno (IT)

    2012        “I”, No Title Gallery’s project, A+A – Slovenian Exhibition Centre, Venice (IT)

    2012         Cloud Nine, Front Room Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (USA)

    2012         UP_nea ’12 – FABULA, Fabbrica Borroni, Bollate, Milan (IT)

    2011         Premio Internazionale d’arte Citta’ di Bozzolo, Chiesa di San Francesco, Bozzolo (IT)

    2010        ONELAWFORALL - UNIT 24 Gallery, London (UK)

    2010         Archiviarti 2010, Fabbrica Borroni, Milan (IT)

    2010         Il mito del vero _ il ritratto,il volto, Arcadia Association, palazzo Durini, Milan (IT)


    Selected Honors, Awards and Residencies: 

    2018      Indo-European Residency Project KolkataAlliance Française du Bengale, Goethe Institut, Cima Gallery, and Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati University Santiniketan - Kolkata (IN)

    2018      Catwalk Art Residency, Catwalk Institute - Catskill, NY (USA)

    2016      2nd prize, Artist Residency Grant award, Le CouveNt - Auzits (FR)  

    2015      Grant Nominee, Rema Hort Mann Foundation - New York (USA)

    2014      TOMS Visual Arts Scholarship, Columbia University - New York (USA)  

    2014      Painting Grant, Robert Gambling - (USA) 

    2014      AZ West - Andrea Zittel Institute of Investigate Living - Joshua Tree, CA (USA)

    2013      Visual Arts Graduate Fellowship, Columbia University - New York (USA)

    2013      Residency Grant, Italian Cultural Institute in Vilnius - Vilnius (LT)

    2013     Menas senuosiuose Lietuvos dvaruose residency - Kaunas (LT) 

    2011-12 Wassaic project, winter resident - Wassaic, NY (USA)

    2011       Public Jury Prize- International Art Prize Bozzolo - Bozzolo (IT)



    2015      MFA Visual Arts, Columbia University School of the Arts - New York, NY (USA)

    2012      Advanced Painting Intensive, Columbia University School of the Arts -  New York (USA)

    2011      Summer residence, SVA, School of Visual Arts -  New York (USA)

    2010      BFA Painting, Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia - Venice (IT)

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