When Classical Sculptures Become Pop

Daniele Fortuna and His Colormination

Daniele Fortuna‘s artworks can be spotted from a mile away for their vibrant shades.

Colour is indeed a so important component in his artworks that the artist has even created the world colormination to define his chromatic contamination of classical statues.
As he explained me during our talk, this neologism “comes from a strong word, domination, but combined with something positive; it’s like the colour wants to take its space“.

That’s how his sculptures are ‘dominated’ by pastel tones or by fluorescent, metallic, and even glittered hues.
Also the artworks that, at first sight, seem white, hide inside multicoloured hollows which refer to their colourful soul.

Originally, classic statues were coloured but, for centuries, they were mistakenly assumed white for the severe deterioration of original pigments during time. So, in a certain way, Daniele Fortuna has done a return to the past although adding references to contemporaneity. About this he says: “If we look at all Art’s History, there has always been a remaking of something already created; so, rather than search an absolute originality, I think we need to focus on what we have (also because our cultural heritage is amazing, and it has to be honoured) and to make it more contemporary updating it.”

The pop iconography from which the artist draws is varied: from artworks of the great names, like Maurizio Cattelan, to famous fashion designers’ logos, from worldwide known brands, as Coca Cola, to characters of cartoons, comics and movies like the Smurfs, Batman, and Darth Vader, from famous people, as Albert Einstein, to symbols like the Italian flag and emoticons.

In his artworks there are also references to the world of music, especially the Queen’s one.
The titles of the most famous singles of the rock band are indeed written in capital letters on many statues.
That’s how, for example, we can see the golden Laocoon’s bust with FIND ME SOMEBODY TO LOVE etched on his pecs.

The peculiarity of this artist’s artworks is not only the contrast between classic and pop, but also their material and the working method.
Daniele Fortuna began as a designer, but he soon discovered he didn’t belong to that world founded on profit, measures, and on other requirements which limited his creativity.

So, he decided to focus on artworks which had not necessarily a function or productive rules to follow, and he chose plywood because he already used it during his studying period at IED when he was building maquettes: “The wood was a material I felt already mine. I think it is a warm material because, when you touch it, you feel that kind of porosity, even if I paint it. And this being warm represents me because I am a very friendly person, a companion. Plus, the wood is alive also because it expands and it shrinks, it really has its own life.

At first, he made paintings with wood pieces shaped, coloured, and then assembled like a jigsaw.
After, he realized he wanted to go forward and he said to himself: “Wait, with this plywood I can create volumes too!
So, he started to make sculptures always formed by thin pieces but, this time, assembled to create tridimensionality.

The first subjects chosen by the artist were animals, and later he moved to human faces: “I find interesting to know people and their worlds, and for me, these heads represent the thousands of worlds inside us“.

Wood is not the only material used by the artist because, during years, he experimented his technique with plexiglass, mirrors, and concrete too. Mirrors, in particular, represent for him a direct contact between viewers and artworks: “If I make a Neptune, when you look at the mirror, you become that Neptune. We have to feel a part of the artwork“.
Meanwhile, he created with plexiglass also functional objects like sculptural lamps that colour spaces when lit.

The will of permeating the world with colours is indeed central for Daniele Fortuna who approaches important issues as racism: “If our skin was multicoloured, there wouldn’t be distinctions between people, but we would all feel part of the same multicoloured world!”.

So, let’s allow what surrounds us to always colour our lives. If the ancient men did it, why don’t we?

Useful link: artist’s Instagram page

Photo courtesy by the artist

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