b.1969, Milan; Lives and works in Milan
Italian sculptor Matteo Pugliese moved to Sardinia in 1978, where he lived with his family for the next 12 years. During this time, he developed a strong love for drawing and sculpting and worked on his artwork without any formal education. In 1995, he was awarded a degree in Modern literature from the University of Milan with a thesis on Art Criticism. In 2001, he rented a private space in the center of Milan and there, he organized and financed his first solo exhibition. Only 18 months later, he held his first “official” exhibition in a gallery in Milan, and just months later, he held another solo show in Brussels. Today, his works are on permanent display in galleries in Italy and in major cities throughout the world, such as Rome, Hong Kong, London, Brussels, Lugano and Antwerp. His works have been shown at some of the most prestigious international art fairs such as the Hong Kong Art Fair, ArtFirst (Bologna), Miart (Milan), Arco (Madrid), Fiac (Paris), Eurantica (Brussels). In 2014, Pugliese was selected to create an installation in Italy’s oldest café, Caffè Florian, a very prestigious honor given to just one artist per year.
On Pugliese’s innovative bronze sculptures, Luca Beatrice, Italian art critic and curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennial, stated: “His sculpture [is] absolutely figurative and at the same time absolutely contemporary. These are adjectives that at first sight are hard to force into coexistence. Pugliese has adopted the path of a renewed Pop Art, original and hyper-contemporary, that dismantles the old dictates on statuary into strongly characterized and newly gestated expressive fragments…One can discern in the tense nerves and imposing limbs of his sculptures the dense musculature of the giants on the Sistine Ceiling or the sixteenth-century anatomical studies of Leonardo da Vinci, and find in the poses some hint of bacchanals, saints (Sebastian in particular), Last Judgments – but Pugliese avoids the risk of a sculpture so purely classical as to seem anachronistic…. In a display of titanic potency, his modern Telamons do not support the weight of the architecture holding them, but are an integral part of a whole from which they try to break free. The bodily violence imposed by the material is emancipated in the sculptural details, rendered dramatically expressive by Pugliese’s hands.”