Piero Figura’s imagination envelops and colours Gallery 93

“Art is born out of the need to share my imagination and my inner world: I am like an eternal Peter Pan who wants to put happiness into circulation”.

These are the words of Piero Figura on show from 18 to 30 September at Gallery 93 in Piazza Santa Maria in Castello 7, Prato.

His beginnings as a designer for international furniture and jewellery brands; then illustrator, set – designer for the great masters of photography, professor at the IED; …today painting: Piero Figura is creative in a total, electrifying, authentic way.

In a world where specialisation seems to win out in all fields, he has the curiosity, the desire to discover new territories of the great creatives of the past, to which he combines an almost childlike imagination. But it is not a question of lightness, it is rather a way of facing life, giving back precisely what life has given him.

“I had a happy, peaceful childhood. Telling a universe with colours and shapes stolen from the world of children is a way of maintaining a link with those years, so full of joy,” Piero said during our meeting.

Collaborations with companies such as Athena Peltri d’autore and Seguso Vetro di Murano since 1397, made him internationally known in the luxury sector. Then came fashion: Vogue gioiello, in years when there was freedom to express oneself without limits; and friendship, as well as a working relationship, which linked him to Giovanni Gastel, the master of photography of our time, for whom he was a trusted set designer. The common trait that distinguishes them both is their grace, the delicacy with which they present themselves to others: Piero, as Giovanni used to do, enters on tiptoe, without clamour. And he wins you over.

“Design, fashion, theatre, painting: everything is art. – Piero tells us about his vision of work and creativity – They allow you to externalise what you feel and there is no second rate or more noble medium. My approach is the same for all sectors. Certainly, painting is the world where I have the most freedom: with no commercial or commissioning constraints, I can choose the material and the message to give”.

Painting is recent history for Piero Figura: a trip to Lanzarote 3 years ago and a fascination for perfect and beautiful cacti. Back home he thought about them and felt a strong desire to protect that thorny but fragile nature. He painted them wrapped in playful fabrics, with large polka dots or stripes and bright colours. Brushes and colours have been in his heart since he was a child, when he would look with admiration at the metaphysical and surreal works of De Chirico and Dalì and put those particular strokes on paper. Starting to paint was easier than expected, and when the desire for protection became viral and worldwide, the Sotto il drappo series was born: canvases of different sizes wrapped in large drapes. Again stripes or polka dots, now his hallmark, and two colours: the colour of the fabric and the white of the canvas. His first retrospective exhibition that recounted Piero’s path from design to art was in Viareggio, this summer at the Villa Paolina Museum: “I enjoyed the idea of being a guest of Paolina Bonaparte” – he tells us with enthusiasm. Shortly before the exhibition in Viareggio, Cinzia Lascialfari had sought him out for her gallery. The meeting, the spark immediately: both effervescent and eclectic, they liked each other immediately and the idea of an exhibition seemed natural.

To Gallery 93 Figura brings his series Under the Drape, and two cacti, to mark the start of this new journey. “I’ll let you in on a secret: in each work there is a small triangle of canvas not covered by the drape, hidden at the edge: an escape route, because you can also want to escape from protection and security” Piero tells us with his reassuring smile.

Francesca Lombardi

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)