Nicola Samori is known for several approaches to making his theatrical and disturbing two- or three-dimensional images, the latter through wax or carved marble, the former through supports of copper sheets or wood and peeled back semi-dried oil paint. See for example, Kazimir (2010) and Destino dell' Occhio (2011).Read More
He specialises in a form of aggressive baroque art that humiliates the neoclassical tradition exemplified by 17th-century Old Masters in the Netherlands and Bologna. Samori ridicules those civilised painted images by turning them into objects of pity or revulsion, as evidenced by Seer (2011), Agnese (2009), June 27 (crowned) (2014), and Ciclope (2020). It is an emotional and physical attack on the cumulative weight of art history pressing down on contemporary European artists, believing in the power of 'irresponsibility' and 'wounding' to hit back—a retaliation in search of freedom.
The wounding is assisted by his admiration for modernist artists like Lucio Fontana and Alberto Burri, who are known for 'mutilating' basic painting support materials, and also his interest in moulage, where he creates hideous skin diseases or injuries. Sometimes he also removes the faces of portraits from other supports and attaches them flipped over on to new heads to create voided 'holes' as in Il veleno nelle ombre (2010).
These works can be seen as an attack on a specific period of art, or they can be more widely interpreted as a ferocious dismissal of all types of art, sweeping the whole concept of art practice to one side. In this way, these works reject not only art but also anti-art, including themselves.
Like, for example, the photographer Joel-Peter Witkin or the sculptor Adriana Varejão, Samori occupies the Grand Guignol corner of the contemporary artworld—with its interest in shocking, and deformity and body parts—an area related to the grotesque.