Curious to learn more about Alessandro Papetti? His biography, translated by his studio assistant in Milan, can be found below.

Alessandro Papetti: Biography 

Alessandro Papetti was born in Milan in 1958. The years from 1980 to 1986 were a time of study and of his first solo shows, followed by his participation in exhibitions in Italian public spaces from 1988 onwards.

Between 1988 and 1990, his painting concentrated on the theme of “Ritratti visti dall’alto”, a cycle to which Giovanni Testori would devote an article in “Il Corriere della sera” in 1989. This wide-angle view of real life was followed by a cycle of paintings, created between 1990 and 1992, entitled Reperti (Relics), in which his attention was more focused on detail, a sort of analytical study of form, and on the marks left by time in factory workshop and interiors. A natural consequence was that, from 1992, Papetti’s study of industrial archaeology would become more in-depth, as shown by the 1996 exhibition at the Musei Civici in Villa Manzoni, Lecco, amongst others.

From 1992 on, he began participating in exhibitions in public spaces and various art fairs in Europe and the United States. From 1995 on, he started working between Milan and Paris. In 1995, he met writer and biographer James Lord, who dedicated an important critical text to him in 1996. In that period, the subjects of interiors and portraits were running parallel in Papetti’s painting, with particular attention to the study in-depth examination of the nude, topics of the show “La forza dell’immagine, la pittura del realismo in Europa” held at the Gropius Bau Museum in Berlin in 1996, and “Sui Generis” at Pac in Milan, commissioned by Alessandro Riva. Together with the need to “move out”, to go head-to-head with the “container” with a psychologically different attitude, these studies led him to create the paintings in the cycle Acqua (Water), from 1998 on, exhibited for the first time at the Studio Forni in Milan in 1999. Bodies suspended in motionless swimming pools or, as in the series Il bagno di notte (Night-swimming), caught just before plunging into the blackness of a see illuminated only by a livid, lunar light. These were some of the first images of figures in outdoor setting.

The result of his new pictorial cycle and of the preceding cycle dedicated to industrial environments was the production of Cantieri navali (Shipyards). In the first show dedicated to this new theme in 2002, Papetti exhibited the landscape of industrial ports, dry docks and gigantic hulls, together with a cycle of huge faceless nudes. It was the expression of the bodies of ships and humans in their greatness and fragility. Between 2003 and 2004, he as invited to take part in many museum exhibitions, such as the one dedicated to Giovanni Testori at the Palazzo Reale in Milan or the exhibition “La ricerca dell’identità” commissioned by Vittorio Sgarbi and showing in various different public spaces in Italy.

In 2005, he took part in the exhibitions “Miracolo a Milano” at Palazzo della Ragione and “Il paesaggio italiano contemporaneo” at Palazzo Ducale in Gubbio.

In the same year, the Fondazione Mudima dedicated a first retrospective to him, entitled “Il disagio della pittura” in which Papetti exhibited the last twenty years of his painting in a selection of works ranging from “Testorian” figures viewed from above, to the latest paintings of that period on the theme of the “Città”. Six months later came the show entitled “Il ventre della città”. Rapid urban landscape “portraits”, a “run-by” across streets and piazzas in front of people and palazzos within which life seemed to tick away motionlessly and where the windows represented the passage from inside to outside, from a secret, personal life to the life forcibly shared in the chaos of space that flows by quickly. Snatched images of time and place represented in the exhibition fundamentally by the two opposing outside and inside themes.

In all these years, Papetti has regularly retraced his steps, revisiting to his past pictorial cycles.

His interest in the subject of industrial archaeology has led him to continued study of the method and subject, and to the production of a series of paintings dedicated to the former Renault factory, exhibited in 2007 at the Musée des Années 30 in Paris, in a show entitled “Ile Seguin”.

In 2007, Vittorio Sgarbi invited him to take part in the show “Arte italiana. 1968-2007 Pittura”, at the Palazzo Reale in Milan.

Again the year 2007 saw him take part in the exhibition “La nuova figurazione italiana. To be continued...”, at the Fabbrica Borroni in Bollate.

In 2009, he took part in the show “No Landscape - La sparizione del paesaggio”, held at the Fondazione Bandera in Busto Arsizio and the group exhibition “L’anima dell’acqua” at the Ca’ d’Oro in Venice.

In 2009 Papetti exhibited his cycle of circular paintings dedicated to water, forest and wind, in the exhibition “Il ciclo del tempo” at Palazzo Reale in Milan, curated by Achille Bonito OlivaIn this works the sense of perception is altered within the dimension of circularity (each painting is 8 meters diameter) which appears disorienting. In 2010, Papetti has three solo exhibition in Tokyo, Vancouver and the Palladio’s Villa Manin (Italy).

Over the last fifteen years, Papetti has exhibited his works at important art fairs and collaborated with several foreign galleries. In 2011 has attended the Biennale di Venezia with the Italian Pavillon, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi and the Cuban Pavillon as well. Still devoted to industrial archaeology, in 2012 his show entitled “Factories of Utopia” is been held at the Moscow Museum of Architecture - Muar. At the end of the same year is the solo exhibition “Autobiografia della pittura” at  the Contini Art Gallery with a critical essay by Luca Beatrice in the catalogue.

During the springtime 2013 many important solo exhibitions took place out of Italy, the first at The Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg, then in Berlin at the Halle am Wasser @ Hamburger Banhof curated by Frederik Foert and Gianluca Ranzi and in Paris at the Mairie du Ier arrondissment.
At the beginning of 2014 the artist participates at the exhibition Doppio sogno curated by Luca Beatrice and Arnaldo Colasanti held in Palazzo Chiablese in Turin.
Papetti has exhibited his works for the last fifteen years in the most relevant international fairs and he collaborates with many foreign galleries.