born 1951 in Lucern, Switzerland
Luciano Castelli became well known between 1979 and 1983 as a representative member of the Berlin expressive, gestic school of painting, known as the New Wilds. But he had already established an earlier artistic career in Lucern, around Franz Gertsch, and in 1972 he had sculptures in the first "documenta" exhibition there. In addition, his friendship with the Parisian photographer Pierre Mollinier had led to an early encounter with photography.
While sculptures, paintings and large-format drawings soon found their way into international exhibitions - at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirshorn Museum in Washington and the Mus?e de Beaux Arts, Lausanne, for example . The Mus?e de la Photographie Europ?ene in Paris opened with his work. In the tradition of self-portrait he places his person in the scene, in a photograph, on the canvas or on paper, transformed, made-up or masked, thus inventing himself and others as objects of desire. In Germany his works always resemble a gift from France; now theblue, red and gold of a Sonia Delaunay are rendered at home here by Castelli.
On occasions expressive Berlin gestures and coloursappear, but the drawings in particular are distinguished by an elegance familiar from Matisse but not apparent since then. It is thus appropriate that Castelli has also been living and working in Paris for some years - at the Place Pigalle, of course. His work has become more complex since then - the influence of French esprits is not to be denied. The new works are invitations to explore; much is familiar yet encoded at the same time, the colourful world of a de Stael or a Hartung is modified by thoughtful mid-tones. Everything is dominated by an artistic sovereignty and pictorial quality such as can only appear in Paris - and which can be embodied with particular grace by a citizen of the world whose origins are in Switzerland.