Antonio Riello is an Italian artist who works in pretty much every sort of media you can imagine. Within this any subject is also fair game. He manipulates and mauls this subject matter, recreating it into something new and also reflective. The art all revolves around his central tenet; to Riello ambivalence is the "symbolic form" of the modern age. When looking at his art it is helpful to keep this in mind.
His work at Scope Miami 2016 was largely made from glass.
"One distinctive feature of my work is to focus about the ambiguous nature of human violence and its tools (notably weapons) I decided to suggest the idea of an "aggressive fragility". In order to get this I combined a weapon (a pistol) with the most fragile kind of matter par excellence: glass," says Riello. "I am well aware that glass as a medium in contemporary art is a 'slippy and dangerous' one. It is very necessary to have a purpose to use it, instead its charm can become, artistically speaking, pretty unwelcome and unexpected."
"A certain amount of ambiguity (disturbing and quirky) is always present in all my artworks. In very specific case of CIVIL WAR the elegant minimalism of the 'frozen' glass is in blatant contrast with the 'Pop-Style' of the pistols," he says. "A kind of paradoxical hotness embedded in cold. A piece where quality and quantity can melt together in a weird unity."
Riello says working with Berengo Studio in glass is a paradise for artists.
"The people working there are really available and focused on artist's idea. So over there on Murano Island, step by step, one can create and test until the required artistic result happens. Melting, mixing, assembling, warming, cooling, colouring, polishing, throwing away, restarting. That is the way," he says. "I collaborate also with a young talented independent glass blower, Massimo Lunardon, usually working with a different type of glass, the Pyrex Glass."
To see more and keep up on news on Riello head to www.antonioriello.com
"Since that time I have considered myself nothing but an artist (although at University I got a degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry). Dealing every day with people, creativity, cultures, history and, of course, different materials is always a great experience," says Riello. "What I have to add is that it is necessary to be very resilient and very self disciplined to get results. The common idea of the artist life as a 'layabout relaxing experience' is totally wrong. Being a professional artist is a job very serious and demanding, where one is fully-immersed around the clock."
Everyone who aspires to be an artist should have the words above stuck to their bathroom mirror to be read every day.
Riello, as noted, works in a wide variety of media. He is a painter, designer, sculptor, photographer. He also has worked in a medium many don't widely consider art (yet), video games. Video games, in many ways, are an avenue to raising consciousness that goes beyond a painting or sculpture--and it can be a positive or negative consciousness.
"My personal attitude is to find out, for every new idea of mine, it's perfect companion in terms of media. The match must be carefully chosen and planned. I don't like the idea of be enslaved by a particular technique or media," says Riello. "I want to master them instead and, in order to do that, for every work I arrange a team of specialists working with me (with the exception of drawings and painting usually)."
In 1996 a wave of immigrants arrived--mostly from Albania. Riello chose to make art about this arrival.
"I made it (using) my wicked and ambiguous nature: (it was) a playable video game named ITALIANI BRAVA GENTE (ITALIANS GOOD FELLOWS). (It was) a way to mock the new rising xenophobia (and sometime even racism) of Italian people." he says.
The video game was noticed and was seen as a bit scandalous, which was part of his intent. He chose to use a video game as the media because most other media in Western society is politically correct. They do not truly reflect the negatives in society. Riello says that when it comes to "dirty matters" such as racism, colonialist attitudes, violence and war? Look at the games as a barometer.
"(People say) 'it is just a game.... (but) if we want to see the filthy and embarrassing side of our lifestyle we should pay attention to the video games, actually a sort of moral garbage." he says.
Riello's game brings a moral component into the gaming universe. Such games need not be "moral garbage." It is also fascinating how games have changed as they have become more a part of the larger society. There are numerous games that now have a moral component built in; moral decisions are part of the game. It is worth wondering if any of today's game designers know of Riello's early thoughts on the subject.
In 2017 Riello has work on exhibit at the Boca Raton Museum of Art that ends July 2, 2017. He also has solo exhibitions coming in London and Bologna.
"In May I take part of Biennale di Venenzia with an installation of mine." he says.