This week’s cover features the iconic art of painter and sculptor Giancarlo Impiglia. Longtime Dan’s Papers readers have undoubtedly seen his past covers in 2017, 2015 and 2013.
Born in Rome in 1940, Impiglia later studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of Rome, specializing in mosaics and murals, before opening a graphic design studio where he created posters and record covers for well-known musicians. He was an artist of the Arte Povera (“poor art”) movement in the 1960s, where he created his first “Blue Jeans” assemblages that commented on the globalizing effect of mass marketing.
Impiglia moved to New York in the 1970s. There, he continued his “Blue Jeans” series, which would gradually shift to focus on and critique the Vietnam War. He began to establish his signature style with influences from Futurism and Cubism, creating a contemporary Art Deco aesthetic with bold colors and hard-edged abstract figures.
In his artist bio, Impiglia writes that his works are not simply beautiful for the sake of beauty; in fact, his figurative works have much more to say about society:
“Their deliberate beauty is a critique on society’s preoccupation with materialism and superficiality, as beneath this façade lies the true meaning of his work: Each figure is depicted as indifferent, faceless satires defined entirely by the folds of their gowns and the glitter of their jewelry.”
His bio goes on to explain that the figures, acting as an extension of his critique and a representation of society, are intended to blend into the background, without identities, ambitions or desires to speak of.
While he is well-known for his signature style, Impiglia has never been limited to it. He routinely finds new ways to express his thoughts and concerns about contemporary culture. His “Camouflage” series — as seen on the August 21, 2015 cover of Dan’s Papers — offers particularly biting commentary informed by his Italian heritage and classical education.
“For almost four decades I have been creating unique paintings, sculptures and assemblages free of established trends and tastes, part of an ever-evolving vision that harnesses my classical education and fascination with modernism,” Impiglia says. “I believe the artist has an essential role to play on the socio-political stage, so within all my work is not only my passion and attempt to find beauty, but also my concerns about contemporary society.”
The artwork of Giancarlo Impiglia has been exhibited around the globe and has been showcased in the collections of institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum (featuring a 1982 poster for the United Nations’ March for Peace) and the Absolut Art Collection (featuring a 1991 Absolut Vodka ad that was part of a campaign showcasing artists such as Andy Warhol).
He is represented by Counterpoint Contemporary Fine Art in Bridgehampton and has been included in multiple 2022 exhibitions at The White Room Gallery, also in Bridgehampton.
His art has also been compiled in three publications — Giancarlo Impiglia: Recent Work in 1982, The Art of Giancarlo Impiglia in 1995 and Giancarlo Impiglia: Paintings for the Queens & Collected Works in 2012.