On first glance the viewer may be inclined to think that the artworks are prints on material, drawings or stencil art. However, on closer inspection the true nature of the artist’s approach is revealed in his unusual and intriguing use of pyrography, the art of decorating wood or leather with heated tools or flame.
For a number of years, Proietto has been a forerunner in championing pyrography - a forgotten technique that goes as far back as the Middle Ages - and has gone on to publish two specialised books on the subject.
Not wanting to be constrained by the rules and boundaries of traditional art forms, Proietto has given a new lease of life to this mark-making tool and seizes the graphical and illustrative means that this technique allows to infuse his works with contemporary sources and symbols.
As a child of the eighties, Proietto’s inspiration stems from music and video games, which is reflected in the strong graphic style and tonal elements within his works. Portraits and figurative icons from video games such as Storm Troopers are drawn in a monochromatic style giving a unique and timeless quality.
The beauty of his work lies in his sculptural approach to working on and into the materiality of the wood, where he is able to create subtle nuances in tones and texture whilst skilfully creating very accurate and minute lines and details.
As a result the images are symbolically loaded – infusing the work with sufficient visual references – and yet leaving the right amount of mysteriousness for the viewer to find their own reading of these scenes where an underlying sense of drama prevails.
Through Proietto’s unique approach, expressionistic reflections of pain and conflict are reconfigured in an emotive visual language, both literally and figuratively, through the transformational power of fire.
Carlo Proietto currently lives and works in Foggia, Italy and will be showing for the first time an important body of work to a London audience. The exhibition runs until the 3rd of April.