Alberto Magnani is a highly skilled Italian artist, his vibrantly colourful shirts and ties pay homage to the great artists of the Renaissance, yet are strikingly contemporary and modern. One of the greatest tests for any artist is the handling of fabric; here the folds and contours are expertly rendered. The Italians have always had a love affair with fashion and style, this fascination with colour and clothing perhaps stems from development of pigments, such as gloriously expensive top brands.
If one takes a look at a Titian masterpiece, such as ‘Bacchus and Adriadne’ at the National Gallery, one is struck by the incredible craftsmanship and vivid colours employed in the tunics and capes. Magnani continues this great tradition, his shirts and ties are imbued with their own life force, they exist in their own right as beautiful objects without the need for a wearer. The folds and patterns can be seen as an abstracted shape. Magnani transforms an everyday item of clothing into something that is sublime and highly sought after.
“Every morning they are waiting for us, neat in the closet or thrown on a chair, mute and loyal.
They are our clothes, an inevitable extension of our self. I do not know up to what point I let myself be conditioned by their power.
We know very well that they speak for us. Sometimes they express our narcissism, a wish for freedom, a sexual aim, and above all a need of uniqueness. From this constant need is born the phenomenon of fashion.
However, for me clothing has a life of its own, even without being worn, not connected with fashion.
How fascinating is a shirt hung on a hanger, its soft appearance, its gentle pleats, the thick shadow inside, the clear and straight light on the collar or the sober and stiff look of a jacket or a coat.
They are no longer lifeless objects, but become mute actors of our daily comedy.”