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ARTDISTRICTS 2017 Professional Achievement Prize

Photo: Antonio Vanni

The editorial committee of ARTDISTRICTS has selected artist Diego Santanelli as the recipient of the 2017 PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT PRIZE. The award was created by our publication to homage the trajectory of contemporary artists who have made a significant contribution in the field of visual arts.

The selection has been based on the commitment Santanelli demonstrated in developing a solid artistic body of works. The recipient of ARTDISTRICTS  PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT PRIZE will be featured in our December issue, which runs concurrently to Miami Art Week 2017.

Diego Santanelli (Naples, Italy, 1965) started his creative path at a very young age. A self-taugh artist, his career have been based on explorations of several pictorial techniques. After working for decades as a physician, in 2008 he decided to entirely focus on his oeuvre. In April 2009, Santanelli exhibited a series of works that he called “the spatulas” at the Maninni Gallery, in Naples. Then, in May 2009, he exhibited in Paris at the Espace Pierre Cardin, where he had his official artistic debut with his “Hiddenart” series, a body of works based on the combination of collages and thermosensitive enamels.

His current series “Apocalypse” was born in 2013 as a result of his explorations with different materials during his previous series (Hiddenart). Influenced by Pollock’s action painting, the artist reaches to create a technique that he called “branching” based on the principle of “pouring” vigorous masses of painting onto the canvas, allowing the materials to mix themselves at their will. The canvas is covered with several layers of painting, whose trajectory over the pictorial surface Santanelli masterfully controls. His ability to control “the pictorial accident” is the core of these works. The name “branching” comes from the process of superimposing and linking layers of pictorial materials over the canvas surface. The result are riches and robust paintings that can recall mystical landscapes.

These series have been defined as “Apocalypse,” as they are the result of the emotional and intellectual maturity of the artist. He comments, “It has been a long and difficult journey of self-discovering. I experienced intense life challenges with insecurity always at my side. It was a journey of introspection and catharsis, of inevitable loneliness. I tirelessly tried to leave the pain behind, starting again and again from scratch without any destinations. A journey to discover my own soul, my own essence, which sometimes felt lost. I was imprisoned into a dimension to which I didn’t belong to. Through my contact with artistic creation I found my own center. The miracle is accomplished.”

“Apocalypse” reveals the most hidden and less known meaning for this biblical prophecy: Apocalypse as a renaissance.

Santanelli lived and worked in Paris for several years. He exhibited at the Chavals de Sable (June 2009), the Grand Palais (November 2010); the Hippopotamus (December 2010)–where he was guest artist at the Wilson Balda Show. Additionally he exhibited at Maison de Van Gogh Museum (Auvers-sur-Oise) in February 2010; as well as at Galerie de Medicis and at the Circle Jobart Barjot, in March 2010. While in Paris, he exhibited in his native country at the Diocesan Museum, in Mantua (December 2009); at the Chartreuse, in Capri (June 2009); at Castel dell’Ovo, in Naples (January 2010), at the Saloon of the Congress, in Porto Cervo (May 2010); at Museo delle Catacombe, in San Genaro, Naples on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. He also exhibited at the Museum Saint Rita (September, 2011); the Pirelli skyscraper, in Milan on the occasion of the Salone del Mobile (November, 2011); at Arte Fiera, in Bologna (January 2012); at the Ducal Palace of Ferrara (March 2013); the Castel of Saint George, in Mantua (October, 2014); Posillipo Theatre, Naples (March 2015); the Palazzo Ceriana-Mayneri, in Turin (June 2015).

Santanelli’s works have also been exhibited at such international venues around the world as the International Art Centre of Dubai (April 2010); Sao Paulo International Art Fair (April 2011); the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (June 2012); the Museum of Modern Art, in Dubrovnik (September 2013); the Deichtorhallen, in Hamburg (November 2013); Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center, Vienna (March 2014), Art Palm Beach, Palm Beach (January 2016), Art Boca Raton (March 2016).

His works are part of private and institutional collections in Paris (Espace Pierre Cardin), Milan (Mario Valentino collection), Museum Maison Van Gogh (Auvers-sur-Oise, France), Renato Zero collection (Rome), Museo Diocesano (Mantua), Umjetnika Museum of Modern Art (Dubrovnik), and also in private collections in his native country as well as in Dubai, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Vienna, Dublin, London, Jerusalem and Beijing.

His work was auctioned at Pandolfini (Florence) in 2010.

He has been featured in such European publications as Flash Art, France Soir, Radio Antena Uno, Corriere del mezzogiorno, La Repubblica, Il Mattino, Napoli Flash 24, Il SudOnline, Tiscali, The Travel News, Diario Partenopeo, Chiaia Magazine, Il Velino Campania, Il Roma, Il Denaro, Il Messaggero, among others.

Diego Santanelli lives in Miami Beach, FL.

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