The work of Omar Galliani is perfectly aligned with the philosophy behind the artistic choices made by the Galeries Marval Antique & Contemporary Art. We have the honour of showing his work in Neuchâtel (Switzerland) from 22 June until November 2018. The marriage of antique and contemporary is a distinctive feature of Italian culture that Omar Galliani is unable to renounce: in 2005, at an exhibition at the State Archives in Turin, one of his drawings was compared with Leonardo's preparatory drawing of the Angel of the Madonna of the Rocks. This highly prestigious event established him as a serious contemporary artist, worthy of being likened to possibly one of the most famous Italian Renaissance artists in the world. Omar Galliani's work displays an intense interaction between classicism and modernity, offering us examples of pure poetry; Renaissance tradition is interwoven with a contemporary vocabulary, with distinctive cuts in figures and the inclusion of 'sign-figures' in oneiric atmospheres.
In Italian drawing and in the pursuit of beauty, he is the artist of seduction; like every great artist in any period, he produces original work of the highest quality. Although Galliani experiments with various techniques, from painting to installations, his studies focus on pencil and charcoal drawings. In contrast with conceptual art and contemporary multimedia techniques, Galliani uses the picture as his primary language of expression and reintroduces classical subjects and iconography, contaminating them liberally. His favourite subjects are women's faces or details of bodies that come out of the canvas or the panel like visions or apparitions in an almost magical chiaroscuro atmosphere. This is his hallmark: the dualism of light and shade, filled space and empty space, the metaphor of good and evil, and the dualism of his mirror images that testify to two planes of reality.
"The technique," as Giuseppe Bacci writes in the catalogue of the exhibition From the Drawer of my Drawings at the Villa Coppetti Civic Museum in Castebellino (Ancona), "whether it is pencil or pastel, bends to the long process, to the delicate, repeated passage of the imperceptible interweaving of lines, marks, nuances; the image suddenly materialising like an essence that is as enduring as it is impalpable. A combination of enhancement that aims to inspire awe of beauty by plunging the soul into the universal sentiment of being reconciled with oneself. If the artist manages to lift our being towards that which is noble and to move us, it means that he has achieved his purpose and will assume legendary status as a great artist."
Born in 1954 in Montecchio Emilia (Reggio Emilia), where he continues to live and work, he is one of the most important Italian artists of international renown. A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna, he teaches painting at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. Already in 1978, when Galliani was still a young man, Enrico Crispolti singled him out for his extraordinary drawing skills and his power to evoke emotions, inviting him to the Premio Michetti with the Installation Ritratto di Dama con unicorno. Various successes and accolades led to the artist being invited to three consecutive Venice Biennales, to being among the artists selected for this year's Beijing Biennale, to having work exhibited in the contemporary art collection of the Uffizi in Florence, and to competing on the art scene not only with the most important contemporary artists, but also with the big names from the past.