Born in Turin, Italy, in 1970 where he lives and works now, Massimo Polello is Italy’s leading contemporary calligrapher. For his first exhibition in the UK, Polello has created a bold series of works on paper and canvas, exploring the themes inspired by the Song of Songs.
Picking phrases, words or just letters from the multi-layered Song of Songs, Polello combines these with abstract shapes and colours to express the different stages of love from courtship to consummation.
At the Private View on 5th September, Polello will be creating a new artwork exploring one of these themes by painting live, directly onto the walls inside the gallery.
Polello’ s work uses the classic calligraphic techniques of which he is a master now, combining them with experimental artistic gestures, often embellishing them with mixed media and innovative materials such as resins and varnishes. He has moved beyond the strict confines of working on paper or canvas and is always looking for unusual and inspiring surfaces and materials with which to work and from which to create his unique pieces.
Polello’s professional training began when he studied calligraphy at the Scriptorium de Toulouse in France, after which he worked on developing his own language and personal style of contemporary calligraphy. In the last two decades he has developed an international reputation for his calligraphy, running workshops and working with in different media. He has created several short films, including one with artist/film-maker Peter Greenaway, a video installation piece entitled ‘Peopling the Palace’, which was commissioned for the opening of the Venaria Castle, Turin in 2008.
He sums up his own approach to calligraphy as, “…letters become a means to exist outside myself… going beyond the letters, captured by a sole need to see. They become signs, images, evocations, urgent needs, emotions.”
The images featured here now are all of small, jewel-like canvases that measure just 15 x 15cms and which will be hung as a series of works in our main gallery. Images and details of additional, larger works will be added onto this website over the next few weeks.