Francesco Vezzoli, Gioventú Bruciata (Natalie Wood, Santa Catalina Island, California), 2014, inkjet print on canvas with metallic embroidery in star-shaped frame, 54 7/8 × 57 3/4 inches (139.4 × 146.7 cm)
Francesco Vezzoli’s work explores power of contemporary popular culture. By closely emulating formats of various media, such as advertising and film, he addresses ongoing preoccupations with the fundamental ambiguity of truth, the seductive power of language, and the instability of the human persona. These include a trailer for a remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula (2005), starring Vidal himself, Helen Mirren, and Courtney Love; an advertising campaign directed by Roman Polanski for Greed, a fictitious perfume; and elaborate, site–specific performances inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luigi Pirandello, and Salvador Dalí that have featured superstars like Catherine Deneuve, Cate Blanchett, and Lady Gaga. Though Vezzoli employs a diverse and varying array of media, needlepoint as remained a signature technique from the outset of his career. Initially emulating famous actors who practiced needlepoint on and off–screen—from Vicente Minelli to Joan Crawford, Cary Grant, and Greta Garbo—as time went on, it became a more profound and contemplative activity which he referred to as a world of feelings, crises, obsessions and depressions historically unified with the craft.
Francesco Vezzoli was born in 1971 in Brescia, Italy. He received his B.A. in 1995 from Central St. Martin’s School of Art, London. His work has been exhibited at many institutions including The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2002); Museo Contemporania Castello di Rivoli, Italy (2002); “Comizi di Non Amore (Non–Love Meetings),” Fondazione Prada, Milan (2004); Serralves Museum, Portugal (2005); Fondazione Cini, Italy (2005); Fondazione Prada, Italy (2005); Le Consortium, France (2006); Tate Modern, London (2006); The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2007); Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2010); Qatar Museums Authority, Doha (2013); MOCA, Los Angeles (2014); Museo Bardini, Museo di Casa Martelli and Museo Bellini, Florence (2014); MoMA PS1, New York (2014); Museo Museion, Italy (2016); and Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Monaco (2016).
Vezzoli currently lives and works in Milan, Italy.