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How are you seeing your world and where to focus?
Sophisticated, authentic beauty often lurks deep within, and it seems that the beauties test us to see if we can realise the quintessence.

Here we would like to introduce you to a unique painter who remind us how to see the beautiful world hidden in our everyday lives.

Originally from Rome, Domenico Gnoli is a successful stage designer and illustrator before dedicating into painting. Born into a family of artists, despite having an art historian father, he did not fully embrace classical Italian aesthetics introduced by his father, instead, he "rebelliously" joined the school of surrealism.

Domenico Gnoli, Red Dress Collar, 1969
Domenico's life may be short, dying of cancer at the age of 36, but his invaluable career left behind quite a lot of artworks. What they have in common are the seemingly ordinary but enlarged, cropped objects, showing only a fraction of the subject/ scene. Each painting seems to be a mysterious clue, showing only 1% of Domenico's world: Who is the model? What is the context in which they appear?

Domenico Gnoli, Two Sleepers (Due dormienti), 1966
Domenico enlarges his subjects to an almost absurd, even cartoonish extent. It is one of the characteristics of Surrealism to present the subject in an unconventional, unrealistic scale. This school of thought is closely linked to metaphysics in philosophy, which surrealist artists often use dreams and symbols to present the world outside of reality, questioning the existence and meaning of self.

Domenico Gnoli, Red Hair on Blue Dress, 1969

However Domenico does not draw from strange and chaotic dreams, but rather focuses on ordinary, mundane objects. The structure of the painting may often seem simple, as they often focus on only a fraction of the subject, but this over-amplification leaves the viewer puzzled. The tie, magnified 2,000 times, appears to be just two large pieces of rouge. The fine lines and textures, the unexpectedly dominant red colour, lead people to hesitation: it should be, but, is it really a tie?

Domenico Gnoli, The Tie Knot, 1969

Domenico Gnoli, Tie, 1968


Underneath the neat composition, there are conscientious details that are a bit chilling: meticulous embroidery patterns, realistic and precise shadows, and not a single loose thread of hair in the braid. These everyday, extremely mundane images are presented in such a superb state that you will finally realize that there is no longer a reality, even though it is only a bundle of curls, it is perfect, neat, and can only belong to an unknown human/creature in the mysterious world of Domenico.

Domenico Gnoli, The Curl, 1968

Domenico Gnoli, Braid, 1969

Domenico Gnoli, Female bust from the back, 1965

Domenico Gnoli, Curly red hair, 1969

Domenico Gnoli, Scarpa vista da dietro, 1967




Domenico Gnoli, Capigliatura maschile (1966)




Writer: Vanessa Leung (PR)
Edited by OtanO