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March 18th - May 15th 2016

Black Dog by Federico Zanini. 

Location: Veniceinabottle, Castello 1794, 30122 Venice.

Opening hours: 11:00 - 19:00, Tuesday to Saturday.

The exhibition Black Dog by artist Federico Zanini features a mosaic-like composition of portraits. Through the deconstruction and fragmentation of familiar figures, such as faces and bodies of mostly feminine subjects, the artist manifests the will to establish a personal dialogue between the self and the other.


VeniceArtFactory presents a Venetian artist (though by adoption, as Federico Zanini was born in Modena), whose research is exclusively dedicated to the pictorial medium. Zanini expresses his artistic sensitivity with an immediate and non-realistic trait that shapes both the portrayed subject and his own intimate feelings. Colour serves as a guideline for the construction of the figure, thus keeping afar from any attention to the pigment itself. All the faces by Federico Zanini, both the masculine and the feminine, are at the same time portraits of someone, and self-portraits. In an enigmatic way all the different faces mark a constellation of features, in which the artist questions his identity: “Is that you?”, “Is it me?”. Anybody who approaches his works with intensity cannot help listening to the question they raise.

His prolific gallery of portraits, also exhibited on the occasion of the show Black Dog, investigates the psychological nature of the human existence, almost nullifying the physicality of the flesh. The faces he depicts are often blurred profiles, empty silhouettes, identities that have been smudged by his energetic brushstrokes. The subjects of his painting (mostly female figures) “are-not” famous faces, “are-not” aesthetically pleasant or sensual, “are-not” realistic or stylised: his women “are-not”, that’s it. They are unknown, to themselves in the first place. They have uncertain intentions, are vulnerable, in precarious balance while waiting for the unknown, seized in the middle of a discourse. They invite each other, then they repel each other.  This might be the reason why his work seems so cruel and dangerous to these female characters: his colour strokes are tough and straightforward, since through the gesture he strives to face reality and tell its emotions. Distorted features, frozen motions in a void scenery and empty gazes invite to go beyond the sheer image, thus intensifying the relationship between subject and viewer.​

Federico Zanini was born in Mantua, but is Venetian by adoption. He has lived in two cities where painted mobs have crowded for centuries the frescoes on the walls of churches and noble palaces to illustrate sacred parables and historical events, where images of saints and heroes (in painting or sculpture) populate every corner, alley, square, private mansion. Those portraits usually depict public figures, who wanted to be remembered for their deeds and glorified through the idealistic or realistic (according with the epoch) representation of their faces. Zanini, in spite of his classical pictorial gesture and his use of the portrait as a traditional paradigm, explores the boundaries of the genre, thus showing that figurative painting can be a powerful and sharp language, far from any academicism.

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