Paolo Anselmo

Born in Savona in 1961, degree school of art in Savona Italy.

Anselmo approaches ceramics at an early age, working as an apprentice at the “Fenice” in Albisola. After having spent some time around the world working in the fashion industry (from 1981 to 1995 he was make up artist in Milan, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo working for Ferrè, Moschino, Fiorucci, Versace), at the beginning of the second half of the nineties Anselmo is back in Albisola and opens a studio – gallery where he exhibits his ceramics. In 1998 he leaves Albisola and moves to France where he continues his work as a ceramist in Vallauris, then he opens the first studio in Biot (France), and he works with Reneè Augè Laribè, meeting artists as Jacky Coville, Roger Capron, Hans Berger.

He is back to Albisola in 2001 and opens a new furnace where he makes a production of plastics, often inspired by the animal world. In the same years also collaborates with other manufactures from Albisola including the “St. George”, the “Ernan”, the “House Museum Giuseppe Mazzotti 1903 “, the “Fenice”, “Soravia” and furnace of Michele Savaia. He also produces some decorations on artifacts given by the Faenza born Pier Paolo Garavini.

He creates his sculptures and artwork with clay an ancient material, modelled by hand, he creates animal like fish, cats, birds and fantasy animals starting by an egg shaped piece of clay. Fired refractory clay “terracotta” is hand painted and decorated with mineral oxides, engobes and majolica glazes.

He finds the inspiration for his sculptures by things and people he sees in everyday life, he sees a beautiful woman with beautiful lips he creates fishes with big red lips.

His art is influenced by his past as make-up artist, he is a surrealist and visionary sculptor, he loves colourful art, very strong colours and he doesn’t hesitate to use all of them, his animals sculptures are always unexpected in their shape, he loves to create fantasy creatures by mixing different animals together.

With Paolo Anselmo imagination becomes flesh – flesh of clay animated by the breath of poetry.

Breton recalls in his classic text:
The faculty of deployment of artistic imagination is intimately connected with the variety of the phenomena of the universe.

Variety that our artist can investigate and recreate as few. The imaginative faculty is developed to the maximum in the work of Anselmo. Yet in keeping with Breton, which recognizes the imagination “all powers”, our artist imagines and will retain the power to devise supernatural beings, fantastic animals and amazing objects. Paolo Anselmo manages to bridge the gap between thinking and doing, so they could create – thanks to his mastery of the art of fire – a world different from ours, a world inhabited by fantastic creatures of the air, sea, land , which almost always it gives titles that are the measure of its exuberant faculty myth-poietic.
Ceramics for me is a drug. Every time I open the oven is as if for the first time. Based on the temperature I play with the colours. In ceramics I interpret my feelings and moods when I start a work.

Among the many creations of Paolo Anselmo it is a must cite at least some of the extraordinary beings that inhabit its wonderful personal Zoo. For aquatic fauna it is worth citing the Harlequin Fish, the Granseola from Flinders Island (Australia), the Eel from Isla del Mujeres (Mexico), The White Whale Alexandra from Easter Island, the veracious Octopus from Calabria, the Scorpion Dianchi fish, the Cindy Crawford Fish and the Iron Fish.

For the terrestrial fauna: the Crocodile from the Macau Sea, and the red harpoon dwarf crocodile from Bengala, the ‘Porcocane’, the ‘Topa in casseruola con patate’, the Cat from Algeria that looks straight out of Alice in Wonderland, the fanciful giraffes: Pitti smart, Bom Bom, the Siamese or the double-sided one.

But impossible not to remember even his spectacular owls: The King and Queen, Carmen, Coral Eye. Even everyday objects become things of another world – being them even simple trays: The Twins, Mitochondria, Vase with vagina, saxophone Vase, futurist Vase, Baroque Vase, Vase woman’s heart, ufo Vase, candlestick Vase with croissant, A Thousand Bubbles, Everybody does it, World tour; or – with an eye on current characters – the hilarious Captain Ventosa.

His plates are equally amazing; to name a few, see: Plate meeting, Kumming Fish from the Hong Kong Sea, meeting in South Miami at sunset, Animals under water, Tulum Mexico, True Fakes 1 and 2, blessed Fairy, the Piraña from Sansobbia, rhino at sunset Tanzania. And his extraordinary stoves, for example one called Coral Reef, and how not to admire his masks pseudo-African (African fish)?

(Arturo Schwarz)

Quei pesci così umani …., solo show, Celle Ligure – August 2015

Paolo Anselmo, Mediterraneo Pottery Music Live Tour, Mantova – May 2014

Mediterraneo (curated by Philieppe Daverio) at Casino Municipale San Remo – June 2013

Overplay, Palazzo Albrizzi, side event of 55th Esposizione d’Arte La Biennale Venezia – May 2013

Paolo Anselmo, Salute To Art Basel Miami 2012, Art Fusion Gallery

Paolo Anselmo, Mostri, mostriciattoli ed esseri marini, Mantova – April 2012

Animali da Palcoscenico, solo show, Galleria Il Mulino, Savona – November 2011

Week End con l’Arte – 3a Edizione, Ferrara – December 2011

Gerusalemme Albisola A/R – solo show curated by Arturo Schwarz, Albisola – May 2010

Mano arte chirurgica, Savona – December 2010

Denice. Un Museo a Cielo Aperto, Denice – October 2010

Dialoghi, Albisola Marina – September 2010

La tua opera per un bambino, Milano – June 2010

11 artisti per il Museo a Cielo Aperto, Denice – June 2010

Paolo Anselmo – Chi dorme non piglia pesci Mostra personale presso Grand Hotel et de Milan, curated by Jean Blanchaert and Philippe Daverio, Milano – March 2010

Lo zoo e Paolo Anselmo, solo show Fortezza Priamar, Savona curated by Philippe Daverio – July 2009

13×17, Venezia – September 2007

Paolo Anselmo Safari Fishes, Albisola Marina – September 2003

Elmi Marini e abissi multicolori – First solo show curated by Sergio D’Angelo, Albisola – July 1997