Milan is an ancient city in Northern Italy with a centuries-long reputation for being a major art hub. Today, there are many emerging artists coming from the Italian city who deserve recognition for their excellent work. Milan has numerous venues for the display of modern and contemporary art, including the famous Museo del Novecento and the chic Fondazione Prada. Tourists from all around the world visit Milan to see the amazing works its artists and fashion designers have to offer. Below are six contemporary artists that show the dynamic atmosphere of the city!
Emerging Artists From Milan
1. Manuel Scano Larrazàbal
One notable contemporary artist from Milan is Manuel Scano Larrazàbal, a Venezuelan and Italian artist originally from Padua. After spending his childhood in Caracas, which he left in 1992 following Hugo Chavez’s failed coup attempt, Scano Larrazàbal studied contemporary art in Milan at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. Today, his list of accomplishments is long and impressive. He has had his work featured at a variety of prestigious institutions, including the MaRS Gallery in Los Angeles and the Galerie PACT in Paris.
One prominent exhibition of Scano Larrazàbal’s work took place in 2015 at the MaRS (Museum as Retail Space) Gallery in Los Angeles, California. The exhibition was titled Inexorable Acephalous Magnificence or How the Shit Hits the Fan and consisted of many large works on paper. Compositions like Untitled (Worry Later), 2014, were created using industrial paper, washable ink, water, and dyed mashed cellulose. Scano Larrazàbal’s use of these materials created unforgettable works that caught the attention of many.
According to the gallery curators, the work in this exhibition “explores self-perceptions of causation and will.” While the large-scale pieces on industrial paper were a main focal point for the show, the gallery had other works by Scano Larrazàbal as well. During the artist’s residency at the MaRS Gallery, he created a ‘drawing machine’ that consisted of hundreds of different colored markers suspended on strings over a large-scale paper. The machine was displayed at the exhibition, where oscillating fans were installed to move the markers and create a new work on large-scale paper as the exhibition went on.
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2. Beatrice Marchi: A Collaborative Contemporary Artist
Collaborations are an important part of many areas of contemporary art, and Italian artist Beatrice Marchi is no stranger to this. Like the aforementioned Manuel Scano Larrazàbal, Marchi studied her craft at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan and has gone on to have an impressive list of accomplishments. Much of her work is displayed in collaborative forms, or in exhibitions in which her work is displayed along with the work of other artists.
In one instance, the emerging artist incorporated collaboration into one of her solo shows. In 2015, Marchi had her second solo exhibition at the art space FANTA in Milan, which is located underneath an out-of-service train bridge. Through this exhibition, titled Susy Culinski and Friends, which was supposed to be a solo show, Marchi incorporated a collaborative spirit into the theme and design of the exhibit. Prior to the show, Marchi invited female artists she either knew or admired to contribute a piece of art about sex to her exhibition. In total, 38 artists were featured in the show.
Another example of the collaborative nature of Marchi’s work is her 2021 collaboration with artist Mia Sanchez, titled La Citta e i Perdigiorno. The two emerging artists joined together to create an exhibition focused on telling a story: each of their works focuses on some sort of fictional character. Marchi’s 2021 work The Photographer Lens is an example of one of these characters. “I am simultaneously working on a new video, a series of paintings, and sculptures that are related to a fictional character with a long photographic lens that I call ‘The Photographer,’” Marchi said in an interview.
3. Margherita Raso
Like many of our other emerging artists from Milan, Margherita Raso earned a BA from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. After graduating from the institution in 2014, Raso has been featured in many art shows around the world, in cities such as Milan, Brussels, New York, Rome, and Venice. Currently, she is earning a Master’s in Fine Arts in Basel, Switzerland, where she continues to impress with her robust work.
Like Beatrice Marchi, Margherita Raso also had a major solo exhibition at the FANTA art space in Milan. Raso’s exhibition took place in 2017 and was titled Piercing. The contemporary artist utilizes many mediums in her art, including fabric, magnets, tuff stone, porcelain, wood, and bronze. Many of her installations involving fabric have a tangible effect on the environment of the exhibition. Guests at Piercing were greeted by a giant, dynamic archway made of fabric and magnets that drastically changed the appearance of the exhibition space.
Raso has also put a contemporary twist on the ancient art of sculpture with pieces like Bianco Miele, 2016. Much of her textile art is displayed using some form of sculpture or physical installation for hanging, but Raso also has an impressive grasp on traditional sculpture techniques. She puts a modern twist on many of these pieces by using unconventional materials, but Bianco Miele and its classic bronze composition is a standout among her work.
4. Gianni Caravaggio: Baroque Traditions and Contemporary Art
Gianni Caravaggio is considered by many to be one of the pioneers of today’s generation of emerging artists from Milan. He shares a last name with an early baroque Italian master painter, but his art is unequivocally unique. In his work, the sculptor utilizes many artistic techniques of the Baroque period and combines them with contemporary ideas. As a result, his work contains themes relatable to a modern audience while upholding the centuries-old Baroque tradition.
According to his artist profile, Caravaggio has an artistic goal “to renew the sculptural idiom by combining traditional materials such as marble with other, more unconventional ones, including talc, paper, and lentils.” Over the years, Caravaggio’s work has been showcased at numerous museums and art galleries, including the Museo del Novecento in Milan, the Kaufmann Repetto galleries in Milan and New York, and the Galerie de Expeditie in Amsterdam.
One great example of Caravaggio’s mixing of the old and new is his 2014 piece Giovane Universo. The name of the piece roughly translates to the young universe, and it is constructed from Carrara marble spheres and bronze wire. The sculpture is roughly the size of a human hand, adding a deeper meaning to the work. According to the Andriesse Eyck gallery, where the piece has been displayed in the past, “there is an analogy between the desperate attempt of the sculptor to give shape and the inevitable tendency of entropy of the universe.”
5. Loris Cecchini: Module-Based Sculpture
Our next emerging artist from Milan is Loris Cecchini, a master of module-based sculpture. This contemporary artist has grown over the years to be one of the most internationally prominent Italian artists, known for his striking modular sculptures with unique site-specific installations at various important locations around the world. Cecchini’s work is installed at sites like the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Sinsegae Hanam Starfield in Seoul, and the Cornell Tech Building in New York.
Some of the most notable works in Cecchini’s catalog are module-based sculpture installations which are made of hundreds of tiny steel pieces, all interconnected. Cecchini’s website says that this structure “appears as a biological metaphor: cells that hatch and bloom releasing molecular components in dialogue with space.” The artist’s 2013 piece Sequential Interactions in Alfalfa Chorus represents one of these module-based sculptures, constructed from welded steel modules.
While Cecchini is well known for his module-based sculptures, he has many other styles of works and projects. For example, in 2016 he installed a treehouse in Grenoble, France called the Garden’s Jewel. The treehouse had a sculpture shell made of polyester resin that was covered in his signature welded steel modules for added style. He also had a Stage Evidence series that featured replicas of familiar objects. Though the objects depicted in the series were everyday things, like a violin or an umbrella, they were cast in grey and appeared to be collapsing. Through his variable style and consistent skill, Cecchini represents one of the great contemporary artists of present-day Milan.
6. Fabio Giampietro: An Emerging Artist Making Digital Cityscapes
The final emerging artist on our list is Fabio Giampietro, an artist from Milan, Italy who creates intense and dynamic figurative paintings. The emerging artist credits futurism and Italian artist Lucio Fontana’s work as his main inspiration, and he employs a technique of subtracting the color from a canvas to create his paintings. According to his website, “every step inside Giampietro’s work also guides our voyage inside of the nightmares and the dreams of the artist’s mind, more vividly and presently than ever.”
Many of Giampietro’s recent works are black-and-white cityscapes, like his 2020 piece Scraping the Surface-Milan. Like many of the other emerging artists, much of his work explores a link between old and new. In Giampietro’s case, he has embraced the digital art sphere and auctioned many of his recent pieces as NFTs or digital non-fungible tokens. The contemporary artist’s work has appeared in many digital auctions and exhibitions, such as an exhibition titled The Gateway presented by NFTNow and Christies and the SuperRare Invisible Cities exhibition curated by An Rong and Elizabeth Johs.