Art is fluid. And so is the enormity of creative forms of expression. Together, they make an artist’s imagination into moldable pulp. From that emerge significant innovations that depart from the predictable. Operating in that vast universe of looking beyond the conventional, Daniele Sigalot explores the world around him with a spin, turning the usual perspective upside down to create contrasts rather than the predictable linear narrative. And that’s what makes Daniele Sigalot’s art a runway of disruptive projects.
Words Jennifer Paldano Goonewardane.
Daniele Sigalot, the nomad, the free-spirited contemporary artist from Italy, had his work exhibited at this year’s Investec Cape Town Art Fair through Anna Laudel Gallery. His artworks stand out for their joyfully idiosyncratic nature, including his sculpting and the witty post-it notes on aluminium that arouse a desire to explore this artist’s universe of creativity beyond the exhibits.
Daniele is an embodiment of his work. He is unassuming and witty, like his art. A man from an advertising background, who abandoned that amid the vicissitudes to pursue art, prefers to call himself the accidental artist. He is the unintentional artist with that distinctive and terminal tickle for imagination. He is a creative genius dabbling in the unorthodox who has, over the years, metamorphosed into the global art arena. His works are housed in private collections, commercial spaces and celebrated in exhibitions. But ask him what he is like, and his answer is pithy – Just a tall and punctual guy. Beneath that veneer is a complex mindset watching the landscape, peering into the world through his looking glass and interpreting his thoughts beyond the rules of art to provoke feelings, opinions, and judgment.
His bewilderingly and perceptively contrasting installations are interpretations and expressions of the mind, triggering insightful thinking. The mundane can inspire him. The sun and the sea are the most potent factors that inspire him from nature. A field of grass and a football rolling on it are equally inspiring to Daniele. There is complexity in his work, his interpretation of the past episodes through his mind’s eye, metal pieces gathered into lotuses and rotund clumps, from capsules to pompoms; he uses a range of materials, from cardboard to metal. He creates mosaics, digital displays, drawings, and paintings, primarily unconventional in bringing forth a project’s theme. There is deep insight and profundity that back his creative works. It is easy to stand before his works to read his complex take on contemporary life’s interaction with the past and the present.
Daniele creates mosaics, digital displays, drawings, and paintings, primarily unconventional in bringing forth a project’s theme. There is deep insight and profundity that back his creative works. It is easy to stand before his works to read his complex take on contemporary life’s interaction with the past and the present.
One may mistake his paper plane installations as some breakaway origami inspiration, reminiscent of whimsical childhood play with fragile shapes navigated on imaginative runways and skies. Daniele has taken an ordinary object of childhood fascination into his art installations. Still, it is the complexity and fluidity of creativity that he enjoys dabbling with that titillates the mind’s eye. The outward appearance of the planes belies the sturdiness of the metal they are actually made of by the artist. The aircraft is crafted from aluminium and stainless steel but appears like a flimsy object made of paper. The artist enjoys the mystification and ambiguity they create, the delicate appearance as opposed to its inherent fortitude buried in its rhythmic stoicism. The airplane project is a large installation that has traveled to several galleries worldwide.
Daniele has been taking his art to new places, from London to Barcelona and Berlin to Naples, seemingly looking for a gush of creative adrenalin amid the canvas of a new landscape. And so, for Daniele, the changes have rejuvenated his creative wisdom because changing cities has meant that everything around him changes too. As often, the human artist is integral to that change, and the art that one churns out reflects the artist’s response to the altered surrounding. Says Daniele, “Cities are full of humans, and sometimes humans are very inspiring. So moving to a new city often means meeting new friends and hopefully stealing drops of their wit and wisdom”.
While Daniele explores a great deal into the past and the present in investigating and exposing his creative cosmos, he does not think that it is the artist’s domain to believe that they are entitled to teach society through their work, not even if they are teaching art. Despite that belief, he admits that sometimes an artwork emerges bigger and more profound than the artist, embracing a life of its own, which naturally transcends into a piece worthy of provocative assessment and teaching.
Just like his art, the studio that he launched in 2009 in Berlin has quoted its fair share of attention because La Pizzeria does not sell any pizza but has been the huddling space for discourse and dialogue among a host of connoisseurs, friends, and even the odd bods with the slightest inkling for the creative. It is funny when Daniele explains the reasoning for the unusual and confusing name, that the average German perceives an Italian as worthy of respect only behind the kitchen. Well, that’s something for reputation, more so a perennially present stereotype. Daniele, the satirist, decided to play to that stereotype and “make fun of those who made fun of me.” The payback was good for Daniele; the attention it garnered was what he desired, and the massive name painted on the wall created the confusion the artist loved to generate. American visual artist Andy Warhol’s studio – Factory-influenced the very unusual name. In choosing to name his studio La Pizzeria, Daniele yet again dipped into what he was most good at – irony, and La Pizzeria, now in Naples, Sigalot’s new home of inspiration, seems to be flourishing even without its staple on sale.
Daniele has taken an ordinary object of childhood fascination into his art installations. Still, it is the complexity and fluidity of creativity that he enjoys dabbling with that titillates the mind’s eye.
Like every artist, Daniele harbors a dream project. He describes it as several complex ideas, which he admits will take much work to realize. He needs time and solitude to allow those ideas to eventually blossom. Like good wine, Daniele quips an artist must wait for the right time. In the meantime, Daniele continues to show his installations and other artwork in selected venues, spending substantial time putting his projects together, a life that he claims is fun. A life that takes him to places. Allows him to meet interesting people. A blessed life it is, says he when an artist is lucky enough to make a decent living from their work.
Paper planes, a childhood fascination project.
3,900 Sponges on the floor.