Turning what is not-familiar (un-heimlich) into something familiar (heimlich), cracking the certainties of everyday habits, transforming trivial items in icons. Riello's for 30 years has been working with his distinctive wittines in order to make clear that irony is the right (and very serious) approach to Contemporary Art. His irony knowns how to play with what is taken for granted, underscoring alternative points of view and new perspectives. His work may be naturally associated to Aldo Mondino's one and to younger artists like Erwin Wurm (Austrian) and Martin Kippenberger (German). An artistic attitude with a lot of intellectual transgression and refined taunt. His Ladies Weapons (real military guns decorated like elegant accessories for sophisticated ladies), Tarokki (an array of curious fakes luxury items), Italiani Brava Gente (an art videogame about Italian xenophobic attitude against Albanian people, made in 1997), Ashes to Ashes (the amazing glass urns cointaining the relics of his personal library) are all mirroring the artist relationship with Western Civilization and his paradoxes. Riello has also a defining sense of jest (mot d'esprit) and a particular taste for detournements, someway a kind of British "witticism" perhaps originated through the long time he is used to spend in London.
However Antonio Riello, although playing in the Conceptual Art context, all the time pays all carefully attention about the visual impact of what he makes. His Ex-Voto, military airplanes and rockets painted and decorated like the ceiling of Veneto churches, borrow from Tiepolo family frescos the typical atmosphere of Venetian skyes. Somebody could says his pious missiles seem fit enough to go directly to Heavens where God is in charge.
Riello most recent works keep going between real life and cultural Wonderland: recycling coconut fibers and playing with AlterModern icons he rescues the humble doormate from sloppiness and the banality of domestic routine. Here the traditional place for a coosy cat is occupied by a shit recalling directly the eponymous Piero Manzoni's "canned shit". There the usual "Welcome" is traded with a gorgeous palm, a hommage to the celebrated palms of Mario Schifano. The Terre Rare (Rare Earth Elements) is a group of 17 works that artistically deals with the Periodic table of Mendeleev. Another kind of un-heimlich, a turbulence in the "Natural Order of Things". Finding inside a doormate the language of Chemistry (and its parafernalia of symbols) is of course an aesthetical experience and tantamount a suggestion to merge-and-mix different languages and realities.
His work is represented by
DANIELLE ARNAUD GALLERY, 123 Kennington Rd, London SE11 6SF, UK
THE GLOBE GALLERY, 47 Pilgrim St, NewCastle u Tyne NE1 6QE, UK
KANALIDARTE, Viua Alberto Mario 55, Brescia 25121, Italia