27.02.2024 #art

Gianluca Di Pasquale

My ascetic painting in the midst of so much chaos

«My paintings are silent, because when everyone is making noise, the only way to be heard is to speak softly»

The paintings of Gianluca Di Pasquale are characterized by a meditative and almost ascetic quality. Vast expanses of white space, faceless figures, and softly fading outlines create a poetic atmosphere that invites viewers to engage in a subtle process of subtraction. Di Pasquale’s art, reminiscent of the aesthetic principles of Mies van der Rohe, is not defined by emptiness but by fullness. The immense blank spaces on his canvases, as well as the faceless female bodies and silhouettes that dissolve like dandelions in the wind, offer opportunities for viewers to project their own memories, desires, and personal experiences. Born in Rome in 1971, Di Pasquale now lives in Umbria, after spending years in Milan. His trademark style features gentle landscapes and female bodies dominated by absences. We met with the artist in Milan at his gallery, Monica De Cardenas, which will be exhibiting some of his works at the Miart fair (April 12-14) at the Allianz MiCo stand. In May, Di Pasquale will travel to Rome for a group exhibition at the Tommaso Richter gallery.

You have a very delicate pictorial trait. Almost silent. How do you create art in such noisy times?

Gianluca Di Pasquale :

«Maybe because if everyone is making noise the only alternative to being heard is to speak softly, noise is tiring in the long run, you just need patience, I’m very Zen about this»

You are known for the light worlds that inhabit your canvases where white snow and almost dreamlike landscapes prevail. Where do you draw inspiration from?

Gianluca Di Pasquale :

«Inspiration is everywhere, just listen, but in particular the series of white paintings was born in the Engadine; previously I had already started making paintings where white predominated, but at the sight of those snow-capped mountains it seemed natural to bring that purity back to the canvas, and from there I began a trend that still continues today: basically, every time I find myself in those parts the show repeats itself and it always makes me want to paint those landscapes»

After many years spent in Milan, you chose to take refuge in Umbria, why?

Gianluca Di Pasquale :

«In Milan I spent the most important years of my life: my career began, I became a father, I learned many things and met many people, but at a certain point I wanted to take a break. Lately I felt like I was repeating myself and I couldn’t find new stimuli anymore. So I decided to go to Umbria for a while, a place familiar to me given that part of my family comes from here. However, after the transfer the pandemic broke out and what was supposed to be a break became a completely unexpected radical change. There’s a phrase that says “Life is that thing that happens while you’re making other plans”, that’s basically how it is. So I thought that following fate was the best thing…»

One of your best-known works is the series dedicated to female figures portrayed from behind. Why the choice not to give them a face?

Gianluca Di Pasquale :

«It’s true my women don’t have a face, but at the same time they have more than one, the one that every spectator tries to imagine. The details are their identikit, which create a sort of psychological portrait, their clothing becomes the distinctive element of their identity»

In your opinion, in which film or painting or book has silence been best described?

Gianluca Di Pasquale :

«A film is “The Winter Kingdom”, I saw it a few years ago. As regards a painting I could say Malevich and more precisely the work “White Square on a White Background”, but in reality it is always a shouted silence. Perhaps I would also put Morandi’s still lifes or De Chirico’s “Squares of Italy” on the podium. As for a book, I definitely choose “The Desert of the Tartars” by Buzzati»

Do you prefer that one of your paintings ends up at the Guggenheim or in Lady Gaga’s house?

Gianluca Di Pasquale :

«First at Lady Gaga’s house, I like the idea that my paintings are in a house and that they are part of people’s everyday life with a history and experience. Then it would be nice if one day she donated it to the Guggenheim, which is the story of many masterpieces that are in museums»

Nature is sometimes central to your works. How can its strength be tamed?

Gianluca Di Pasquale :

«I don’t think that nature can be tamed, the blades of grass coming out of the asphalt come to mind: so delicate, but they manage to creep in and over time they can even break it and take back their own space. Over long periods of time, nature always has the upper hand, everything returns to its balance»

And how can we tame the strength of men instead??

Gianluca Di Pasquale :

«Perhaps men self-domesticate themselves, after they realize their mistakes»

In which house would you never want his work to end up?

Gianluca Di Pasquale :

«Obviously in my house, it means that no one wants them, even if someone I particularly care about I confess to willingly keep close to me»

Who inspired you the most?

Gianluca Di Pasquale :

«If we talk about artists there were many and they changed over time, but in real life it was the elementary school teacher who taught us to paint in the afternoon. In general, however, women are my main source of inspiration»

If you hadn’t been a painter…

Gianluca Di Pasquale :

«I would have liked to be an airline pilot».


Interview: Germano D’Acquisto

Photo: Ludovica Arcero

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