NEW YORK, NY (August 6, 2014) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present Strani Incontri, an exhibition of new works by Italian artist Alessando Gallo in what will be his debut solo exhibition in the United States.
Gallo merges elements of the real world to create a surreal one teeming with the possibility of ‘strani incontri’, or ‘strange encounters’. His hybrid sculptures embody human behavioral patterns and physical attributes from the neck down while unseemly animal heads mock the human disposition and comically question our relationship with the natural world.
Gallo’s artistic process is deeply rooted in realism and he begins by photographing a model from all angles. He then uses those photographs, as well as images from his sizeable archive of animal wildlife books, as references while sculpting. The mutant species Gallo creates are then placed in typical human circumstances, such as riding the subway or checking their tablet on a park bench, and are so accurately crafted that their presence is unsettling yet familiar.
Themes of loneliness, isolation and boredom are abundant in Gallo’s work due to the inclusion of an animal presence in the mundane minutia of urban life. Every culture has associations between animals and emotions, which are evident in adages such as ‘happy as a clam’ or ‘stubborn as a mule’, and Gallo views his sculptures as psychological portraits relating to these emotional states. Regardless of their distortion, Gallo’s characters exemplifying human nature by humorously embodying our values and vices.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Alessandro Gallo was born in 1974 in Genoa, Italy and is currently based in Helena, Montana. After studying Law at the University of Genoa, Gallo took a foundation course at Saint Martin’s College of Art in London followed by a BA at Chelsea School of Art, graduating in 2002. While studying painting, he began experimenting with digital photography, manipulating images to create scenes of animals in familiar city settings. By 2005, he decided to give his creatures a physical presence by sculpting them from clay. Gallo and his anthropomorphic characters have received widespread popularity in Europe, with his works being featured in the 237th Annual Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. In 2012, he received a first place grant from the Virginia A. Groot Foundation.