By Ryan Mario
“Ultimately, it all boils down to the artist’s orchestration of controlled renderings atop a chaos of colours that makes his pieces as alluring as they are accessible.“
Sexy; gimmicky; glamorous – a letter by pop artist Richard Hamilton in 1957 had these words penned down in a letter to architects Peter and Alison Smithson outlining the qualities of the style his artworks bear. True to these traits, a single glance at Italian contemporary artist Manasse Rampino’s paintings is all that is required for one to understand that pop art is indeed designed for a mass audience.
Born 1989 in Southern Italy, Manasse entered an all-out pursuit for an education in the creative field. Upon graduating from his five years of high school with ample knowledge in classical art, oil painting, mosaic, and restoration works, he moved to Rome to study Cinema at a private academy for another two years. Now employed under an Italian fashion and luxury brand, Manasse has much more to bring to the table in both areas of art and design.
And why the need to choose between the two when there is elegance in their synchrony?
Since its inception into the ranks of modern art movements, pop art has always been a “people” art form, whereby its appreciation and pull factor is easily enjoyed by anyone and everyone. Peaking in the 1960s, young artists then were largely underwhelmed by what they were taught in art school and their experiences of subject matters in the museums were unrelatable to their daily lives. As a revolt against the dominant and traditional views of representational art, these artists began drawing inspiration from movies, advertising, product packaging, pop music, and comic books for their imagery.
It was certain that Manasse was well aware of the impact brilliant colours have on viewers. Coupled with his crisp and bold design-centric line paintings of iconic imageries, he was set to provide a stage where contrasts can coexist concurrently. As told by Manasse, “This series was born from mixing different worlds to which I am linked. In my paintings, there is space for everything: classic icons on modern backgrounds; delicate shades on spots of colour; abstract on figurative.”
Manasse’s initiation of his works are anything but delicate. An explosive zest of fluorescent colours presents a bold and unreserved backdrop that is first laid upon the canvas. That in and of itself is a painstaking process since layers of paint flows and splotches can only be applied upon the former ones which have dried to retain distinction between the colours. With the base laid out, Manasse proceeds to paint his subjects on using stark black lines. Easily recognisable by everyone, these subjects ranging from classic Disney characters and popular movie stars to luxury products were selected to invoke a sense of familiarity – a depiction of trends that once were or still are. Ultimately, it all boils down to the artist’s orchestration of controlled renderings atop a chaos of colours that makes his pieces as alluring as they are accessible.
Having only exhibited in Italy before, Manasse’s first tread into multinational recognition as a pop artist was realised through his participation in World Art Dubai 2020. His job posting to Dubai back in 2018 led him to discover the city’s diversity in culture and futuristic outlook, and it is there where he has currently taken up residency to further his artistic pursuits.