Italian, b. 1969
Lives and works in London, England
Maurizio Anzeri intricately embroiders onto vintage photographs with colored thread, producing unforgettable, otherworldly portraits and landscapes that are as surreal as they are sublime. In Anzeri’s portraits, serious-looking children, sophisticated adults, and prim newlyweds are all utterly transformed by his threadwork. With each piece, Anzeri’s vivid, precise filigree of embroidery obscures the subjects’ faces, yet these masks seem to amplify something inherent in each sitter, who sometimes nearly disappear beneath the artist’s obsessive process. In Anzeri’s deft hands, what was once a portrait is something else entirely: a formal, sculptural, diagrammatic artwork in which identity and expression are both camouflaged and revealed. As Anzeri has remarked on his uncanny creations, “As long as something creates a reaction, it’s alive.”
In his portraits, angled rays of vividly colored thread radiate from natural and built environments. The artist’s recent expansion of his practice to include landscapes stems from an interest in the idea of ‘electricity’: electricity that we emanate and absorb and its manifestations. In his altered landscapes, mysterious emanations suggest unseen phenomena, and allude to the spiritual and mystical.
Maurizio Anzeri studied sculpture and graphic design at the Camberwell College of Fine Arts (1996–99) and at The Slade School of Fine Art, London (2002–2005) obtaining an MA in Fine Art and Sculpture. Anzeri’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally, at venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA; Saatchi Gallery, London, UK; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; Somerset House, London, UK; Siauliai Ausros Museum, Lithuania; National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway; and the Dong Gang Museum of Photography, Seoul, Korea. His work is held in public and private collections including Museo Cantonale, Lugano, Switzerland; Museum Kunstpalast, Germany; and the Saatchi, Gagosian, Rothschild, and Alexander McQueen collections.