Milan, Federico Guida's painting on display at Fondazione Stelline

Painter Federico Guida takes center stage with his exhibition 'Arbor' at the Fondazione Stelline in Milan: works dealing with the theme of the cross are on display.

Great contemporary painting returns to the Fondazione Stelline in Milan with the exhibition Arbor by Federico Guida (Milan, 1969), named after the Latin name for the word “tree,” which presents large new works in which transcendence and humanity, science, religiosity and history coexist. The exhibition, curated by Mimmo di Marzio, occupies the spaces of the Collector’s Room and the Cloister’s Quad riportico from November 10 to December 11, 2022, and can be visited in the Quadriportico until January 8, 2023.

The exhibition presents the artist’s most recent production, which goes beyond the pictorial tradition and appropriates installation styles and languages. Guida, in his research, starts from the material and the meaning of an object charged with very strong symbolic values not only religious, which is the cross, for a journey through the meanings that in all cultures (including the initiatory one) represent the ascending path of man towards Truth, towards the Absolute. Through his works, Guida investigates the symbolism of the cross as a “family tree” and the foundation of the human condition, seeking the continuous balance between the ascending verticality toward the mystery of the divine and the earthly horizontality of the everyday and vanitas.

The formal element of the cross, which recurs in the works, is a citation of the medieval shaped crucifixes of Giotto and Cimabue preserved in Florence, and becomes the pictorial surface for a composition in which symbolism and narrative, abstract and figuration are intertwined. Each installation, oil paintings on linen applied on wood, takes on a strongly conceptual significance that interweaves the values of the sacred and the profane. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of his research, however, lies in the symbolic journey that gives rise to the exhibition’s title, Arbor, a journey that has strong connections to the entire polysemantic universe that characterized medieval art, in which the religious theme was often pretextual and metaphorical of other messages. More earthly and sometimes esoteric.

Federico Guida, with the Arbor project, - as curator Mimmo Di Marzio reminds us - brilliantly fits into a strand of research that - between painting, philosophy and sculpture - sees in these times also thecontemporary art exploring the theme of the sacred which, as rightly noted by the anthropologist Ivan Bargna, never seeks the “religious,” as much as the transcendent in the form of the numinous, under the sign of the impure, violence and contamination, eroticism and suffering, blood and feces.

The exhibition is accompanied by a substantial catalog in Italian and English published by Prearo edited and with texts by Mimmo di Marzio.

The exhibition is organized by the Fondazione Stelline in collaboration with The Bank Contemporary Art Collection, an important collection that brings together relevant evidence, and carries out precise research on new pictorial trends in Italy with sporadic but significant forays into international painting. The Bank has always paid special attention to the figurative genre that has forcefully returned to the spotlight; the exhibition dedicated to Federico Guida is therefore characterized as a new stage in the path addressed to the promotion and enhancement of Italian art. The collection now brings together more than one hundred contemporary artists and is conceived as an organism that grows, evolves and transforms to make their work known nationally and in Europe.

Federico Guida, born in Milan in 1969, where he lives and works, has always painted and drawn, a passion passed on to him by his grandfather and father. He attended theBrera Academy of Fine Arts and worked in the studio of painter Aldo Mondino. His painting focuses on the human figure, on ordinary people, far from the search for aesthetic beauty. He boasts a solid technical background and a figurative language rich in personal connotations. He expresses himself through photography, oil paints, paints, acrylic, chalk and fabric. Nude human bodies, immortalized in twisted and intertwined poses, prompt meditation on the drama of human existence, softened by the natural softness of flesh that emerges in the lesson on light learned from Caravaggio. He has narrated Milanese nights, asylums, wrecks young and old, along a personal and unique path in continuous stylistic refinement and with attention constantly turned to the body and soul of man. Numerous national and international exhibitions, his works can be found in private and public collections.

For all information, you can visit the official website of the Stelline Foundation.

Pictured: Federico Guida, CROCE#2 (detail, 2019-2021). Ph. credit: Bruno Bani

Milan, Federico Guida's painting on display at Fondazione Stelline
Milan, Federico Guida's painting on display at Fondazione Stelline

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