Every piece of Enzo Fiore’s work has a dual value, being both physical and mental, both real and conceptual. “We are made of organic matter,” the artist said, “so, for me, it’s logical that I express myself with it. All living beings start in the earth and end in the earth. It’s the law of nature.” Fiore shines a light on nature’s superiority by replacing paintbrushes for organic matter like insects, leaves, roots and other elements in close contact with it such as sand, soil, stones, bound together with resin and glue and sometimes encased and embedded in it. This unusual process results in a collection of reliefs and furrows, and even reflective surfaces that become veritable skies where the insects are free to fly towards infinity.
Born in Milan in 1968, after studying at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Milano, Enzo Fiore started out restoring old paintings and making sets for the theatre. These experiences taught him true draughtsmanship and attention to detail, qualities fundamental to his work as an artist. The lion’s share of his work are portraits. “Archivio” features famous faces, iconic images we recognise but that aren’t what we expect them to be; works that from afar appear figurative, almost graphic, up close are actually ‘brushstrokes’ composed of roots, twigs, stones and soil, an attempt to reconstruct the figure from the biological perspective. As Enzo Fiore once said, “we are made of a substance that is in a continuous state of mutation, the soil is in our memory and is the basis of our origin.” The figure appears to be about to crumble. In “Genesi”, matter that once lived is assembled in an illusion and metaphor. The image becomes a compendium of entomology: you can only see the final effect when you view the whole.
In addition to portraits, Fiore also works on “Appropriazioni”, where he revisits some of the most famous pieces from historic artists’ work using his characteristic technique. In these works, the act of observation further raises the observer’s emotions, bringing together the admiration for the “already universally known” with wonder for the materials and techniques used. “Apocalissi”, landscapes and cityscapes, is an archive of sorts containing some of the most loved and wellknown places and monuments in the world.
And then there are the sculptures, of humans and animals, that are overwhelmingly intense and powerful, all the more so when, after careful examination, you realise that they have been made by assembling branches and roots as if in an attempt to recreate muscular structure, the figure’s circulatory system.
His more recent work, “Inclusioni”, is a series of compositions where insects and natural elements have been encased in a thick layer of resin. The artist said, “Insects, leaves or fragments appear to be ‘frozen’ in the air as they attempt to detach themselves from the ground. Soil, reconstructed from an almost biological perspective, becomes a line of boundaries, a line of the planet’s surface causing you to reflect on what happens above it, and what happens – or does not happen – below it. The ground is the destination for everything and everyone, from our birth to our death. Life is born here and there it will return. The finite and infinite come together as one.” Bursting with an extraordinary power, his work continues now, as throughout his career, to be awarded and recognised.
Enzo Fiore lives and works near Milan and has represented by Contini Art Gallery in Venice and Cortina d’Ampezzo since 2006.