Massimo Agostinelli is an Italian-American contemporary artist from New York, based between London and Switzerland. He specialises in photography and printmaking, using innovative mediums and techniques to create various forms of ‘word play’ and ‘visual poetry’.
At just 30 years old, Massimo Agostinelli art is already much-loved by the contemporary art world. He has gallery representation around the world, has exhibited in several museums and participated in a number of prestigious art fairs.
He also features in public and private collections in Europe, North America and South Africa, and powerful patrons have chosen to purchase Massimo Agostinelli pieces to add to their own assets, including the likes of Leonardo Di Caprio, the Niarchos family and various luxury hotels.
After gaining his BA from Webster University (Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Art) Agostinelli pursued apprenticeships in printmaking, typesetting and typography. It was here that the artist began to explore the relationship between visual arts and language.
While matching meaningful messages with powerful images, the artist often examines the possibility of written words taking the life of their own and living independently from images, drawings, paintings or sculptures that contain them. By exploring how words may exist separately from an image they constitute, the artist draws from the heritage of Pop and Conceptual artists such as Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger, and Jenny Holzer.
“I wanted to find a way to create a fusion or bond between words and imagery,” he told Widewalls. “The two components must correlate seamlessly and essentially become at one with one another.”
The relation between bold text and iconic image is animated by the viewer’s individual response to the text’s expressive voice, and the message created by the juxtaposition. The results toe a line between poignant and cryptic, allowing clarity to slip in and out of reach.
The Palindromes series (2014) is a sequence of coloured mirrored “canvas” sheets imprinted in relief with iconic artistic and historical imagery. Each bears a palindrome, which reads the same backwards as it does forwards.
Agostinelli’s appropriation sweeps across the Western timeline, capturing allegories from Greek mythology and Renaissance painting, 20th Century politics, through to modern day popular culture.
Each artwork, although unique in expression and emotional response, and vastly differing in original source, is brought together by compositional uniformity and historical significance. Displayed in series, the viewer moves between works that speak intensely to isolated and accentuated aspects of human nature, complete with polar contradictions: good, evil, beauty, greed, hope and prejudice hang together in equal measure.
“We know that all extremes eventually meet at a common point just like a palindrome illustrates, but what we don’t always know is how to find that essential balance,” Agostinelli explains. “In my work I aim to depict connections, which are both historic and timeless, giving us a sense of continuity and progression”
“The work symbolizes something different to each individual, just as a mirror’s reflection changes depending on who’s standing in front. I encourage people to physically move around in order to fully engage with the work, everyone is different and everyone has their own point of view. Seeing the art from different angles allows your eyes to find their own place naturally.”
In contrast, his Anagrams series (2015) features portrait photographs of pop culture icons including Michael Jackson, James Bond and Clint Eastwood, as well as old masters of classic painting and historical figures in the case of Queen Victoria, Mona Lisa and Shakespeare.
Wordplay has inspired artist Massimo Agostinelli to create a series of works focusing on the enigmatic meaning of expressions associated with famous people and iconic objects.
Using a lenticular lens printing process, Agostinelli forms a 3D effect which reveals several layers of hidden meaning, movement and depth. The viewer experiences an anagram written across the portrait – for instance, ‘MICHAEL JACKSON’ changes to reveal ‘SLICK ON EACH JAM’ dependant on the viewer’s angle. The lenticular lens allows for the text to alternate and flip back and forth seamlessly depending on the angle viewed.
Every anagram is symbolic and characteristic of the person portrayed. Words transform from ‘Victoria Englands Queen’ into ‘Governs A Nice Quiet Land’, while ‘Statue of Liberty’ morphs into ‘Built to Stay Free.’ In communication and effect, these compelling and richly allegorical artworks reinterpret the iconic themes of heritage with a contemporary material and voice.
If you are looking to buy Massimo Agostinelli art to enjoy in the home and potentially benefit from as an investment, pay Maddox Gallery a visit. Based in the heart of Mayfair and Notting Hill, our galleries are staffed by expert Sotheby’s-trained art consultants who are on hand to advise, educate and support visitors.
Contact us if you would like to find out more about Massimo Agostinelli art for sale, or to learn about the other talented contemporary artists we represent.