Italian artist Michela Ghisetti's paintings and sculptures explore materiality and abstraction, examining issues of diversity and representation through a feminist lens.Read More
Born in Bergamo in northern Italy, Ghisetti has been based in Vienna since the early 1990s. From 1988 to 1992, she studied painting and graphic design at the Academy of Fine Arts of Carrara in Bergamo, before going on to study at Vienna's Academy of Fine Arts from 1992 to 1996. Ghisetti cites her extended travels around Africa as a major influence in her practice.
Michela Ghisetti's diverse output of painting and sculpture across her career reflects a propensity for material experimentation, gestural expressionism, and cultural objecthood.
Ghisetti's early works explore the representation of women in contemporary society, as seen in large-scale, hyper-real portraits such as AFUA/THE PATH (2012), CHARLOTTE (2012), and FELICIA (2010). Posed like a studio glamour portrait with directional lighting illuminating the subjects' expressions, Ghisetti's coloured pencil drawings magnify and contemplate the portrayal of women in visual culture.
A dramatic stylistic shift can be identified in Ghisetti's practice around 2015, when the artist turned towards abstract expression. Embracing materiality and excess, Ghisetti's later works explore oppositions and harmonies between colour and mark-making.
Magic Carpet Right Love (2015), executed in acrylic and coloured pencil on cardboard, features multiple luminous stripes converging to form an arrow-like shape against the backdrop of fine, irregular vertical lines. With a similarly repetitive approach to mark and gesture, Ghisetti's 'Salt Bags' and 'Tutto' (both 2016–2017) series play with stippled and striped phosphorescent colour against contrasting blackened backgrounds.
Ghisetti's adoption of a bold, Fauvist palette is seen in the work IN WHOSE WATERY VASTNESS LIFE BEGAN 1/2021 (2021), an expansive acrylic painting on cardboard featuring hot pink, acid yellow, and cobalt blue, where paint is splattered, stippled, layered, and treated with fluid dye-like consistency to generate variations in opacity and texture. Similarly, the 'Moana' series (2021) comprises multiple abstract studies in lurid technicolour, with tonal depths and textural inconsistencies combining to mimic the appearance of a coral reef.
Ghisetti's sculptures reflect the influence of African culture, demonstrated in the 'Magic Girl' series (2019), in which Ghisetti constructs figurative assemblages with wood and inverted shekere, the West African percussion instrument.
Ghisetti has presented in solo and group exhibitions in Austria, Italy, and Germany.
In 2021, the Albertina Museum in Vienna presented Tutto, the first major retrospective of Ghisetti's work. Ghisetti has held solo exhibitions at Galerie Albrecht, Berlin (2022, 2018); Bildraum 07, Vienna (2018); Galerie Gans, Vienna (2018, 2013); Galerie Bildraum, Vienna (2017, 2015); and modulart, Vienna (2016).
Ghisetti's work has featured in group exhibitions at Galerie Albrecht, Berlin (2018); Albertina Museum, Vienna (2017); Kunstverein Steyr, Austria (2017); Galerie Gerersdorfer (2017, 2016, 2015); Galerie Gans (2017); Galerie Wolfrum, Vienna (2016, 2014); STRABAG Kunstforum, Vienna (2015); Studio d'Arte Cannaviello, Milan (2015); RLB Kunstbrücke, Innsbruck, Austria (2015); and Hipp-Halle, Gmunden, Austria (2014).
Ghisetti's work is held in numerous Austrian collections, including at the Albertina Museum, Museum Angerlehner, and the STRABAG Artcollection, among others.
Misong Kim | Ocula | 2022