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Enrico Magnani

Enrico Magnani is an international contemporary Italian artist, known for combining art, spirituality and science in his works. His path led Enrico through science (he was originally involved in research on nuclear fusion), first to figurative painting and then, from 2006, to abstract painting. His first exhibition was opened in Milan in November 1997. Within a few years he became internationally known for his extraordinary works of art. Since 2010 his works have been presented in museums, foundations, private galleries and public institutions in Europe and the USA. Enrico Magnani has exhibited in Turin, Milan, Reggio Emilia, Prague and Chicago, among others. In 2018 his works were exhibited in the Sala del Cenacolo (Chamber of Deputies) in Rome and in 2019 at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) in Geneva. At the LNGS (Gran Sasso National Laboratories) in L'Aquila the artist has designed a wall with integrated and permanently installed works of art.

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When did you start working as an artist?

I started painting very young, I was about seven or eight years old when I found oil colours at home, but I developed a passion for physics and growing up I decided to follow an academic path in science. Then I worked as a researcher in nuclear fusion, but I never stopped painting. I painted every year of my life. In 2010 I decided to become an artist full time.

Why did you start working as an artist?

I believe being an artist is part of my DNA. Work and life should be in harmony and not two separate things. If you are an artist you live for beauty, freedom, creativity and evolution, and you want to be surrounded by and spread them, if possible, all around. But first you have to realize the feeling that is driving you. Sometimes this feeling is hidden by the noise of the world, but if you pay attention, inside yourself, you recognize the fire that moves you and it cannot be stopped anymore.

Who and what inspires you?

I use to say that an artist must be an ambassador of principles greater than himself. I believe in intuition, which you can use in art as in science, when you want to bring new ideas in this world. Intuition comes when you suspend rational thinking. The great men of the past, in science as in art, are my travel companions: from them I drive solace and good advice to face the difficult moments, to persist and to trust my intuitions even when only a few people understand them.

In which way did your former job in science influence your art?

The world of science and the world of art are not as far away as it might seem. Both are involved in investigating the unknown to add something new to the knowledge of humanity and to make us evolve. Tools and dynamics are very similar, only the object of investigation can be different. I can say that besides being an artist, I am still a researcher.

Do you want to say something with your art?

With my art I try to connect art, science and spirituality: they are all different ways to convey principles of evolution; they must interact and influence each other to increase knowledge and consciousness of the human beings: this is what counts for me. I believe the most important thing is to leave this planet as better beings than when we arrived. A work of art must have four pillars on which to rest, like a table: content, aesthetics, innovation, and tradition.

What materials do you work with and why?

Technique is for me just a tool to express a message. Each message has its own tool. If I want to drive a nail, I use a hammer, if I want to take it off, I use pliers. The tool depends on what one wants to do. In my artistic career I have used almost all materials, from natural to synthetic ones: earth, sands, plastics, paper, tar, clay, metals, gold, oils, acrylics... What matters is the message; technique and style are just a consequence.

What is important to you in your work?

What matters to me, as an artist and as a man, is to do useful things and to do them well. In this specific case, is sending a useful message to the people. With my art I want to stimulate the public to reflect on certain themes that are sometimes overlooked, but are very important. I like to think that my artworks are a catalyst to stimulate people to investigate the unknown, the mystery of life and universe.

What are you working on at the moment?

Since 1995 my attention was on the human being, I was a figurative painter; then I focused on the symbols, the myths, and the four elements of the Greek tradition; in 2006 my works became abstract. Since 2017 I'm working on cosmic themes: supernovae and dark matter, this great mystery that fascinates and intrigues the world of science and beyond. What will come next?

Could you say something about the technique of your last series “Supernova”?

The paintings of the “Supernova” series, in no phase of their creation, are touched by my hands, brushes, or any other instrument. The pictorial surface lies horizontally under a film of water. I select the colours and where to drop them, and then I move them from the centre to the borders, using jets of water and air, exploiting the centrifugal force like in stellar explosions, until I see something that surprises me. As in life, I have a limited power on reality: there is something under my control, and something not.

What do you want to achieve in 5 years?

Never stop to renew myself and my artworks. I want to create always more engaging and communicative works that can positively influence, stimulate and inspire a large number of people. As an artist who wants to convey a message, the audience is fundamental. I expect my audience to grow more and more in number and interest in the themes I am working on.


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