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The Golden Sleeper of Mimmo Paladino


Domenico Paladino (also known as Mimmo), is an Italian artist, painter, sculptor, gilder, and engraver.

Born in Paduli, near Benevento on 18 December 1948, he was introduced to painting by his paternal uncle Salvatore.

This led him to attend the Benevento Artistic High School and the Lucio Amelio Gallery in Naples where he met the painter Antonio Del Donno.

In 1968 he held his first show at the Galleria Carolina in Portici (Naples) where he met the young Achille Bonito Oliva, an encounter that would mark his entrance into the Italian Transavanguardia movement.

At the end of the 1970s, he was among the supporters of a return to painting, in contrast to the Minimalist and Conceptual Art trends.

His works are permeated by figuration and color, in both expressive and material terms, as seen in his work with the emblematic title Silenzioso mi ritiro a dipingere un quadro” (Silently I withdraw into a painting), from 1977.

Over the years, Paladino’s art has been characterized by a wide-ranging experimentation in technique and media (painting, sculpture, engraving, scenic design, and cinema), through which he has developed his own personal style based on the primitive power of the image.

His iconography recalls the traditions of the earth, alternating figurative elements from Egyptian, Etruscan, and early Christian art with abstract signs and simplified forms, typical of modern poetics.

Paladin has held numerous exhibitions all over Europe, North and South America, and Asia. Many of his works are in the permanent collections of such major international museums as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Various works use gold leaf, including theCiclo dei Dormienti, which was placed in the Boboli Garden for the Ytalia exhibition held in Florence, 2 June-1 October 2017.

Here, in this historical Florentine park, known all worldwide for its beauty, a Golden Sleeper can be found in the basin of the Neptune Fountain.

Mimmo Paladino’s gold sculpture rests comfortably in the water – an unknown, solitary figure symbolizing human nature in a state of repose, suspended between life and death.

The statue floats and moves on the water, its lightweight, polyurethane-foam structure protected by a layer of fiberglass.

The fiberglass surface was covered with gold using a water mordant gilding technique and 18 booklets, each with 25 leaves of 24-kt yellow gold produced by Giusto Manetti Battiloro.

It is a site-specific installation that contrasts with Neptune’s strength and force, intent on striking with his trident, invites the visitor to reflect on human nature, ever engaged in a continuous conflict between chaos and calm.


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