Fleeting Frames: Videos and Drawings of Gianluigi Toccafondo at the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago

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Opening Tuesday October 5, 2010 – 6pm
through January 14, 2011
Monday through Friday 9-1 pm / 2-5 pm

Gianluigi Toccafondo drawing

Exciting, dreamy, funny: the videos by Gianluigi Toccafondo are made with hundreds of drawings, magically assembled in a rapid succession of screen-shots. All of his short animation clips have recognizable traits and could be mainly defined in terms of slightly ephemeral speed and lightness. Toccafondo developed his personal exuberant style through an unusual fusion between the fixity of painting and the dynamism of cinema. The preparatory drawings and sketches for his animation art, as well as his videos, will be on display at the Institute’s gallery in order to provide viewers with an in-depth understanding of the artist’s aforementioned unique strategy, the so-called ‘painting in motion.’

Gianluigi Toccafondo, Pinnochio (videoframe), 1999.

The exhibition will feature 42 drawings part of five series of short animation movies: La Pista [The Track, 1991], in collaboration with Simona Mulazzani, takes inspiration from some images of Fellini’s Ginger and Fred; Pinocchio (1999), which tells the usual adventures concerning the puppet in a highly innovative style, completely different from the graphic tradition of the fable; La piccola Russia [The Little Russia], a mature and complex work of over 16 minutes, based on a mix of autobiographical events and rural elements. A special section is dedicated to the works Toccafondo specifically developed for the American audience: Scott Free Logo (1997, a 16 second animation created for Tony and Ridley Scott’s production company; and Levis Jeans (1993) for a women’s advertising campaign.

Gianluigi Toccafondo stills

Toccafondo, who worked extensively in the Unites States, recently gained huge popularity thanks to the stunning 3 minute long footage which serves as an introduction to Ridley Scott’s new feature movie Robin Hood. The inspiration for his animations mainly comes from his father’s pottery work: during the process of creation of an artifact, it is in fact possible to capture the beauty of a form in movement and perceive the appeal of the passage from one figure to the next. For his short films, Toccafondo uses a method based on the re-elaboration of the image: he takes an image, a photo or any other preexisting idea and modifies it through painting. “Cinema is my starting point. I make photos from film-clips; I xerox them on paper and then paint on them, transforming the original subject. Finally I make the shots with 35mm film and they become cinema again.”

Gianluigi Toccafondo, Robin Hood (videoframes), 2009

Gianluigi Toccafondo (San Marino, 1965) graduated from the Istituto d’Arte in Urbino. He has illustrated many design books for some Italian publishers such as Fandango, Einaudi, Mondadori, Little More, Giunti, Pulcinoelefante, Salani, Feltrinelli, Frassinelli, has designed covers for Fandango since 2000 and has collaborated with magazines such as Linea d’ombra, Lo Straniero, Internazionale, Mano, Abitare, Telema, Macrame, Diario. In addition to producing various film shorts, he has created famous TV trailers and commercial campaigns for international brands. His artistic production has been exhibited worldwide. In particular the Ottawa International Animation Festival devoted a retrospective to his works and career in 2005. Recently, he has been assistant director for Matteo Garrone’s film Gomorrah. He currently lives and works between Milan and the countryside near Bologna.

The artworks displayed are on loan from Galleria D406, Modena and Acme Film Production.

Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago
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