Paolo Canevari (born Rome, 1963) is an Italian contemporary artist. He lives and works in Rome.

The artist’s multifaceted work has made him one of the internationally acclaimed Italian artists of his generation. Canevari sought mobile mediums from drawing to animations and video, or sculptures to installations. He evokes recognisable imagery or universal symbols in tandem to their unique materiality and characteristics. 


Starting with a background of sculpture, Canevari treats his work with an expressive rhetoric. Fascinated with the iconographies of the war which has since shaped modern Italian culture, Canevari has been deeply engaged with commentaries on the concepts of religion, the urban mythos of happiness, or the notions of creation and destruction. His examinations with video evokes deep imagery which is ephemeral yet visually striking; rejecting notions of the permanence of monuments, and questioning the significance of artistic sculptures in modern society.


Since his series of “Monuments of the Memory,” Canevari continues his research on the declination of artistic and linguistic forms of expression with drawing, painting, and sculpture; everything fragile is poetic, and drawing in its nature is that example of fragility and poetry. He investigates the concepts of absence, the power of the individual’s imagination, and the personal experiences in relation to the work of art and its universal symbolism.


With his Wearable Art projects, Canevari delves into his ideas of drawing, painting, or sculpting iconography and recognisable imagery into another dimension, into something we can wear.  Lupe Romane incorporated the ancient Roman micro-mosaic techniques, and features the She-Wolf, a significant symbol of Rome, celebrated for her nurturing and protective powers. His most recent project, Sweets, also engages with universal imagery evoking emotions of nostalgia. Playing with aluminium foil that comes from candy wrappers, the casted silver rings evokes memories of our childish behaviours, where we fiddle with such limited, yet malleable materials.


As he underlines in one of his statement: “I believe that the most important inspiration for an artist’s work is people’s way of thinking. Spirituality, as part of the human condition, brings with it a presence, a meaning, a symbol, a soul. I utilise icons in my work as a way of connecting with this fundamental truth. A tire, a skull or a bomb are recognisable images and part of our universal knowledge, just as much as a sacred image, or an image of a dog. What I do is use these icons in a new context, or structure, that places their meaning in jeopardy”.

photo credit Alessandro Moggi