Louisa Gagliardi draws from the canons of painting, contemporary graphic design, and advertising to create atmospheric, large-scale paintings suffused with technologically inspired surrealism.Read More
Gagliardi was born in Switzerland. She received a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design from Switzerland's École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne (ECAL) in 2012.
Gagliardi's artistic practice emerged from her graphic design training, which saw her design publications and advertisements for exhibitions and luxury brands before she shifted her focus to her independent artwork. She started exhibiting paintings in 2012, transferring her image-making skills from one discipline to the other.
Social media is a recurring theme in Gagliardi's work, with most of her subjects lit by an artificial light that suggests the presence of a screen beyond the edges of the picture plane. In her otherworldly treatment of the human figure, Gagliardi speaks to the curation of oneself—both online and off. In doing so, she invites viewers to reflect on the self-mediated personas we create in our increasingly visualised and socialised worlds.
Both phantasmagorical and sensual, Louisa Gagliardi's uncanny images begin as pencil drawings. She then scans her sketches, retracing them digitally using Photoshop, before printing them onto vinyl and applying varnish, clear gel medium, and nail polish. The resulting paintings are flat, luminous, and eerily smooth, executed in tonal palettes that at times resemble photographic negatives. Dancing between translucence and dimensionality, Gagliardi's compositions bridge the divide between the enigmatic and the banal.
In Palm Reader (2019), a pair of large, cupped hands holds four identically dressed and faceless figures wearing matching trousers and sun hats. The hands, figures, and textiles are all rendered in the same unsettling, waxy shade of pink, reminiscent of bologna cold cuts.
For her first solo exhibition at rodolphe janssen in Brussels, Notes for later (2017), Gagliardi pondered the solitude of nighttime, the liminal space that exists between sleep and scrolling through your social media feeds one last time. In Maze (2016), an androgynous figure appears backlit by a greenish digital glow, ghostly tears shimmering like liquid chrome against their glossy skin. Throughout the exhibition, similarly androgynous figures consider one another through lenses or gaze at themselves anxiously in shards of mirrored glass.
In 2017, Gagliardi was selected as one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Europe for her contributions to The Arts. Gagliardi is the recipient of several awards, including the 2019 Cultural Prize of Sion, the 2015 Pullman X Wallpaper* Prize, the 2014 Swiss Design Award, and the 2012 Canton Bank Prize.
Louisa Gagliardi's work has been included in both solo and group exhibitions. Solo or two-person exhibitions include Louisa Gagliardi and Yves Scherer, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, New York (2022); Wishful Thinking, Antenna Space, Shanghai (2020); Side Effects of Satisfaction, rodolphe janssen, Brussels (2019); and Holdings, Openforum, Berlin (2018).
Group exhibitions include Sausage Party, rodolphe janssen, Brussels (2022); Permission, Swiss Art Awards 2021, Basel (2021); and Collection as Poem in the Age of Ephemerality, X Museum, Beijing (2020).
Gagliardi's work has been up for auction numerous times, with realised prices ranging between US $6,250 and US $12,500. The record price for this artist at auction is US $12,500 for 8:30 p.m. (2016)—a large-scale painting depicting two ghostly avatars with smooth, luminous faces and glowing fingernails emerging from a dark background—which sold at Phillips New York in 2019.
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