Stefano Perrone (b. 1985) concentrates his imagery on abstract paintings of figures and still lifes. His body of work presents brightly-saturated visualizations that remarkably depict intriguing concepts of fantasy and surrealism. Perrone’s style upsets the traditionally portraiture by enhancing the principals of the fragmented geometry, adding a contemporary perspective imbued by post-digital characteristics, and experimenting powerful colour combinations on his canvas. The artsit’s semi-abstract human forms do not only capture superficial facial features but also explore various inner feelings, such as despair, agony or unhappiness. Perrone manipulates his subjects and objects on monochromatic grounds that function in contradiction with the linear and unswerving lines of the depicted compositions. These lines present a rhythmic direction fostering a more dynamic presence on the painting result. Not all parts of the composition are usually obvious though; Perrone employs forms of deconstruction by reducing recognisable parts of the silhouette and dividing it into several fractures that interact with colored contrasted sections. It seems that the artist aims to transform his structures into faceless entities, although an asymmetrical clarity still remains.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
The influence of surrealism is rather evident through an eerie juxtaposition of abstraction and cubism lending the painting a dynamic visual texture. Although the vigorous shape of his figures could be more reminiscent of male protagonists on canvases, the Italian painter underlines the gender fluidity of his abstracted figures. “I consider my figures asexual, they are representations of human beings, they are avatars”, the artist points out. Their painting body formation, rendered in a multi-dimensional layering, often varies; it starts from a bold and clearer body shape while building his image that is surrounded by additional linear or swirled lines in different colours. These outlines create an optical illusion that uplifts Perrone’s imperfect structure. The idea of fragmented geometry is also confirmed here as one image is divided into various colours and techniques. This can be more evident in paintings such as “L’uomo a dondolo aggredito dal tempo” (2017) or “Impossibilitato alla ragione si limitava a colpire” (2017).
Born in 1985, Stefano Perrone lives and works in Monza, Italy. With a career in graphic design and digital arts, Perrone is considered a self-taught painter who has developed his own distinctive style. The artist’s work has been exhibited in many galleries, such as the Melzi Fine Art Gallery in Milan and Alon Zakaim Fine Art London.
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Stefano Perrone: I usually start with a study, oil or soft pastels on paper; this phase is very important, because I study the composition of the work, lines, shapes and lights, and sometimes also the palette. Generally the conception of the work takes longer than its realization.Then I start painting.The act of painting is more about execution, I need to focus on the gradients and lines. The subject and the composition is solved in the study process.The ‘vector’, the line that is present in all my paintings, is the last thing I work on, in free hand; it’s the closing element of my work.
AV: How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?
SP: Post-digital, imperfect, vectorealistic.
AV: Can you name any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
SP: I don’t take inspiration from specific artists, but I’m usually more inspired by XX century masters.
AV: Observing your body of work, male figures in different forms and shapes seem to dominate your variegated canvases. If so, is there any particular motivation behind this painting motif?
SP: I consider my figures asexual, they are representations of human beings, they are avatars.
AV: Could you share with us some further details regarding your recent painting named ‘Autoritratto sulla sdraio’, (2018)?
SP: This painting is a selfportait. I took a selfie last summer on a sun lounge, and when I was back in the studio I decided to paint it on a big scale. I’m not use to paint self-portraits, this was the first one I ever painted.
AV: Creating a new painting can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
SP: I am a solitary man, I do not have problems to isolate myself from society. Social life is definitely less interesting than creating. I spend a lot of time on my own; when you feel good with yourself, when you are not bored of your practice, social life is no longer a primary necessity.
AV: How do you know when an artwork is finished?
SP: In my painting’s tecnique, there’s always a last brushstroke. My painting is finished when I finished the painting. As I said, my work is planned with a very finalized study, so the painting process is purely a meditative execution.
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process?
SP: I live and work in my studio flat, in Monza, just outside Milan, in Italy. It’s a open space flat, I live surrounded by objects and books that I collect. I hang most of my paintings and studies at the walls. It’s a kind of test for my works. If I get bored of a work after a while, I rip it.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
SP: Per Kirkeby, Asger John, Tal R at Victoria Miro gallery, London
AV: What do you hope audiences will take from your work?
SP: I want and hope people don’t get bored of my work. I consider my work constantly evolving, always in progress. It’s a long path and I want my audience to be part of it. I hate when artists find their comfort zone and they just repeat themselves during their career.
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
SP: I’d say late morning and afternoon person
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
SP: Half empty, but I’m a very positive person.
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
SP: I recently started a new series of ‘text’ paintings, I feel the need to express myself also with direct messages. I’m also developing new sculptural and installation works, inspired by the masking tape I use for the paintings.
© All images are courtesy of the artist