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Gianna Liani: From Venice Biennale To Ultra Pop Art

Sometimes, art seems to jump out of the canvas and manifest itself in front of your eyes. At least, this is what happens when you view the works of Italian artist Gianna Liani. From excelling at the Venice Biennale to developing her own Ultra Pop style, Liani has led an exemplary career behind her.

Early Life

Gianna Liani was born in 1946 in Martignacco, a small town near the Italian city of Udine. While she grew up in a large family with modest means, hers was a troubled childhood. As such, from early on, Liani cultivated a maturity and understanding of life uncommon in kids her age.

Despite this outlook, Gianna Liani had no intention of becoming an artist. After finishing her education she got married and her first son was born in 1968. Together with her husband, she ran a nightclub-cum-restaurant. Eventually, the couple opened a shop that created personalized, handmade gifts. The duo was solely responsible for creating, customizing, and packaging the gifts. It was here that Gianna Liani’s artistic spark was first ignited. Creating personalized gifts for her clientele, Liani gave wings to the creativity within her and manifested the first impressions of a great artist. She even mentored many other youngsters that went on to become artists in their own right. Thus, in the 1980s, Gianna Liani stepped into the foray of professional art.

Illustrious Career

Gianna Liani started presenting in exhibitions in 1989. However, her first breakthrough came in 1995, when her work ‘White Horse’ won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. Since then, Liami has been a part of more than 3 dozen solo and group exhibitions. Outside Italy, she has held exhibitions in France, UAE, Croatia, Germany, and Spain. Within the United States, Liani has had her works displayed in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Florida. She has continued to be a part of the Venice Biennale, participating in 2009 and 2013.

In 2021, Liani participated in the ‘Troisi Poeta Massimo’ exhibition, which was organized to celebrate the works of Italian actor Massimo Troisi. Held at Castel dell’Ovo in Naple, the exhibition saw a vast array of artists paying their own tribute to the legendary actor. For the exhibition, Gianna Liani created ‘Massimo Troisi I Will Remember You Forever’ (2021), a pop and expressionist painting that depicted the artist. The work employed vibrant colors as well as objects like enamels and resins to make the painting three-dimensional. In 2022, “The Postman behind the scenes. The faces of Massimo Troisi” was organized in Procida, Italy where Liani again presented her work. The exhibition ended on January 6, 2023.

Artistic Style

One of the art forms Gianna Liani was heavily inspired by was Pop Art – particularly, the works of Andy Warhol. There was something about creating artworks that seem to jump out of their two-dimensional constraints that appealed to Liani. It was this that inspired her to create her own signature style – Ultra Pop Art (In Progress). Liani’s works don’t just seem to pop out – they actually do! A combination of various objects, like ornaments and beads, provides a 3D layer to her artworks that makes them more surreal. However, the material she uses the most is biocomponent resins. These resins, once cured and hardened, form a very stable and durable object. This provides longevity to her works that regular materials simply can’t.

There have been many other artistic influences on the style of Liani; these include Gustav Klimt, Jean-Jacques Henner, and sculptor Dale Chihuly. Thus, Liani delves into a variety of art forms without restricting herself to any one theme or medium. What remains consistent in her works is the use of color. Liani believes in using the full extent of the color wheel to provide a certain surrealism and fantastic aspect to her paintings.

Gianna Liani continues to live in her hometown of Martignacco, but frequently travels to London for work as well as to visit her family.