Artist born in Palermo, after dropping out of both law and film school, and collaborating with well-known Italian directors, Manfredi Beninati began devoting himself to drawing. He spent some time in Spain and England and, in 2002, when came back to Italy, he began to make sculptures and figurative paintings that drew directly on real or (often) imaginary childhood memories.
In 2005 Beninati was selected as one of four artists to represented his country at the 51st Venice Biennale where he received the audience award for the Italian pavilion. In 2006 he was given a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome as part of the Rome Prize. He currently lives and works in Palermo, Rome and Los Angeles where, together with his wife he has founded an experimental theatre group. He is represented by James Cohan Gallery in New York, Tomio Koyama in Tokyo and Galleria Lorcan O’Neill in Rome.
Beninati’s paintings and drawings often seem to lack subject and order: through the use of stratification, he seeks a non-hierarchical balance in which all the objects are portrayed on the same plane. Be it a household interior or an imaginary landscape, every sort of setting has the same value and becomes a chance to seek new order. Thanks to his fluid brushstrokes, the artist plays with color gradations and glazes to recreate a rarefied, and sometimes unreal, atmosphere, describing figures that seem to slowly emerge from an often dreamlike, imaginary background.
The otherworldly nature of this Sicilian artist’s soft focus dreamscapes is reminiscent of a childhood of fairytales. Beninati’s figurative works reflect a state of innocence that exists behind the subtlety of pastels and candy colours. His paintings depicting children surrounded by flora and fauna seen through layers of light and softly applied colour have been described as “somewhere between Bosch, Renoir and Thomas Kinkead”.
2. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manfredi_Beninati