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Gabriele De Santis

°1983, Rome (IT) – lives and works in Rome (IT)

Developed through a multiplicity of media including painting, installation, video and environment, Gabriele De Santis' work explores the channels and vehicles of the globalised collective imagination. He does this from a point of view that combines his Italian roots and his position in art under advanced capitalism.

De Santis’ works often operate like slogans or catchphrases promoting a certain meaning of mobility, speed and ascension—like his paintings and pedestals wearing roller-skates or handlebars, his works activated by being thrown on a trampoline, his slide installations, the recurring icon of a suspended Michael Jordan, or the semi-fetichised figure of the skateboard. This momentum, or state of weightlessness, is characteristic of contemporary forms of communication and existence, in keeping with what Baudrillard called “the ecstasy of communication”.

Through the constant use of sports allegory, De Santis also examines the mythology of the artist through that of the competitor, the athlete, and treats the exhibition space as a codified, euphemised social space. The artist also sees this “signage” as the principle of the constitution of a “personality”. Each sign or object is understood not just as a “vehicle” of social, even national identification (football or basketball teams, the theme underlying his new exhibition at Valentin gallery, in a kind of Italy vs USA match, or even skate culture), but also as a sign of the globalised world of entertainment.

In his attention and recurring references to contemporary signage (emoticons, hashtags, punctuation marks) and to the mobility of the mediums it is written on, these works evoke an ever-fluctutating referent. These signs taken from social networks, De Santis brings into tension with stabilising elements that are supposed to represent cultural rooting: the “painting” sign, the marble or the column. If the marble and the column refer to slow, verticalised methods of shaping culture, to its intrinsic conservatism (and also to its “foundational” Italian identity), these signals deal with the immateriality of virtual language, its instantaneousness and pervasive horizontality.

(courtesy of Valentin, Paris)

Recent solo shows include Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Limoncello, London; Depart Foundation, Los Angeles, Jose Garcia, Mexico City; and Mostyn, Wales. Recent group shows include Centre Pompidou, Paris; Icastica, Arezzo; Frieze Sculpture Park, London; Maison Particulière, Brussels, Slopes, Melbourne,; Nomas Foundation, Rome; ISCP, New York; and CAC Vilnius.

Gabriele De Santis is represented by the following galleries;
click through to discover more of his work.

Frutta, Rome  

Valentin, Paris 

works by Gabriele De Santis