Giulia Andreani (b. 1985) repurposes personal memorabilia and archival photographs through painting to address forgotten histories, often through a feminist lens. Recalling the collage of Max Ernst and Hannah Höch, the artist uses watercolour and acrylic to reproduce, alter and combine motifs from these photographs generating new layers of meaning. Working primarily in Payne’s Grey, a blue-grey hue at once warm and cold, Andreani presents figurative work untainted by the artifice and power of painterly colour. The artist also looks to the aesthetics of Italian cinema including Pietro Germi’s tragicomic neorealism, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s hyper-mannerism and Luchino Visconti’s decadent lighting.
Themes central to Andreani’s practice include women’s position in society, motherhood, trauma and forgotten figures in political and art history. The artist addresses notions of historical amnesia and unearths buried narratives, specific and universal. She creates a dialogue with the past to render visible those made invisible, prescient stories that can guide us into the future.
‘When you see a Giulia Andreani exhibition, it comes back to haunt you for a long while, with memories of faces, gazes, gestures, details, an item of clothing, an attitude, an accessory... Her pictures engage us not only while in their presence, but also long afterwards through memory, in the same way as a sentence from a novel or a scene from a film keep jumping out at us, without our asking them to. [...] Faced with strange scenes, and goaded on by curiosity, the viewer sets out in search of clues that they will not always find. For as they know, enigmas are at play beneath seemingly harmless, unremarkable appearances – battles that may be violent or silent, visible or imperceptible, but always both private and political.’
Jean-Marie Gallais, ‘Cave Pictricem (Beware the female artist!)’, in Giulia Andreani, exh. cat., Labanque, Béthune; Galerie Max Hetzler, Paris; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dole; Paris: Dilecta, 2019, p. 42