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Born in Venice in 1964 and graduated from the Accademia delle Belle Arti of Venice in 1987, Michelangelo Penso is one of the most influential artists on the Italian contemporary art scene. Specialized in sculpture, installation and drawing, he has always been interested in various materials. His latest works, developing a new concept of sculpture, are composed of materials of industrial origin, such as rubber and polyester belts or pieces of aluminum and steel: genetic structures expanded to fill a real space. In 2004, he took part in the group show at the Via Farini gallery in Milan by Hans Ulrich Obrist; in the same year, during the Nuit Blanche in Paris, he exhibited an installation for the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, curated by Hou Hanru. He held personal shows at the Espace Viellard & Fasciani in Lyon (2005) and at Alberta Pane gallery in Paris (2008). In 2011, the artist was chosen, among others, to represent Italy at the Venice Biennial (Babele di voci, Italian pavilion). The same year, he was invited to the group show Dolomiti Contemporanee, curated by Daniele Capra and had his solo show at Palazzo Fortuny in Venice (Circuito Genetico RSBP, 2011). One of his first shows in 2015 was at Alberta Pane Gallery with the group exhibition Interligne.

Working in a space between art and science, Penso’s pieces are conceived to be understood both in the macro aesthetic and in the micro aesthetic domain. His sculptures and installations are clearly and objectively perceived, but they also recall the other senses, indeed, creating different connections and images in our brain. He is inspired by memory: the memory of a past life in a distant place (as in the drawn moleskins series) or the memory of a genetic and biological form (as in his latest works), to be continuously changed and modified.

“Penso takes his cue from science to create new autonomous forms devoid of aesthetic meaning. These forms might find themselves “at the origin of a possible future”, to quote the title of a recent solo show at the Anti gallery in Mestre (2010)”1. As the artist himself explained: “this research, fascinating for me, is free from aesthetics because it is relegated to the microscopic size of the invisible. [] In this way, a new creative perspective has been gradually revealed, marked by the building of a new biological and scientific aesthetic.”2

1. Lecci Leo, Penso, therefore I am, in the exhibition catalogue Circuito genetic RSBP, Silvana editoriale, Milano, 2011, pages 10-17

2. Penso Michelangelo, ibidem