“Oliviero Rainaldi’s work has a liquid component – of a body taking shape by “being freed” rather than “by being removed” – that is heightened by the contact with nature. (…) The vital element of water, but also the lethal power of its force are there in the myths evoked by this artist from Abruzzo (…) with the sculptures’ very titles: from the birth of Venus to Moses’s deeds, from Narcissus’s mirror to the death of Marat” (Lea Mattarella) [Rep 30/4/2011].
For the launch of the new “Art Integration” program, Oliviero Rainaldi was invited to contribute to creating continuity with the urban fabric, a connection between art and life outdoors, with his works. Like in “Echos” as well as his latest installation “The nature of things” – still open at the new Sculpture Park of the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), the artist preferred using gold for some of the works. “The Nature of Things” presents four bronze sculptures – Battesimi Umani (2003), Battesimi Umani II (2009), Argonauta (2010), and Caduti (2013) – that have been gilded with the pure 24-kt gold-leaf (10×10 format) produced by Giusto Manetti Battiloro.
Born in Caramanico Terme in 1956, Oliviero Rainaldi is a sculptor and painter. During his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts first and at the Faculty of Theology later, over the course of time, the artist has increasingly cultivated his interest in the connection between art and liturgy. This continuous exploration has led him to construct his own personal and symbolic artistic style.
His linear works have a perfect, almost archaic simplicity. Focusing on the human figure since 1976, Oliviero explores man through drawings, paintings, and sculptures, creating compositions of a hidden narrative character. His human figures are often isolated, with the body always predominant. Whole or fragmented bodies are often in contact with nature, almost as if suspended in the air or were liquid bodies. Simple figures connected to archaic and medieval cultures. These works include the Gisant series (1990), Battesimi Umani (1992), Caduti (1993), or the more recent Santo (2000), Conversazioni (2001) Vergini (2006), and Malebolge (2007).
Oliviero Rainaldi’s works have been shown in various museums and exhibitions in Italy and abroad, in such important spaces and marvelous locations as Palazzo Venezia in Rome, the Villa Aldobrandini gardens, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Bologna (MAMbo), the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the GAM in Rome, the Polk Museum in Florida, the MASP – Museum of Art of São Paulo, and many others.
The artist also boasts numerous commissioned works, both of an ecclesiastical and of a social and cultural nature: liturgical furnishings for churches and many sculpture-prizes dedicated to the themes of peace, human rights, and culture. One of his most recent partnerships, still underway, is with the Maserati Group for which Rainaldi has worked on a number of commissions, like the aforementioned “The nature of things” or a backlit marble sculpture in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary.
One of his most eagerly awaited exhibitions in 2015 was “Echos – Sculptures by Oliviero Rainaldi”, at Shanghai’s MoCA, curated by Peter Benson Miller. The 45 works on display included sculptures, drawings, and paintings. “Echos” was a very powerful show, with an especially important symbolic value. Here, the eclectic artist built “a spectacle of horizontal and vertical, of abundance and emptiness, of immersion and appearance, of existence and non-existence, of intimacy and exposure, even of mountains and seas”. The choice to decorate the works by using various materials, from pure gold leaf to bronze, contributed to making everything even more exciting.
Gold plays an important role in the emotional sphere of Rainaldi’s works, in which a typically Western language and style continually converses with an extraordinarily eastern Zen materiality.