August 10, 2023
“I think it says a lot about humans that we have been creating alternative worlds as long as we have been around, whether it’s a way of escaping our reality or thinking of new ways of living,” says Damien Cifelli. From a stoic greengrocer to a gathering of friends to a bored shop clerk, vibrant colors illuminate a stylish cast of characters in the London-based artist’s paintings.
Cifelli’s work revolves around a fictional world called “Tarogramma,” drawn from his experiences traveling and living abroad, and many of the pieces shown here are part of the artist’s solo exhibition Welcome to Tarogramma at Moosey. “As a kid, I was fascinated by adventure novels, explorers, and the idea of discovering a new place,” he tells Colossal.
I love seeing the distinct visual cultures that are built up and refined over generations. There is meaning behind everything. It’s so nuanced, it would take forever to really understand it all. I realised that if I created my own world, based on my own history and ancestral stories, I could use it as a vessel for all the ideas I have.
Cifelli approaches his practice through narrative, primarily focused on painting but often incorporating additional elements like wood sculptures, clay reliefs, scarves, banners, badges, pins, architectural models, and sound. Tarogramma is “a fictional land with a detailed culture and its own aesthetic, way of living, and understanding of the world,” Cifelli tells Colossal. “The paintings are a visual representation of the place and the people, like documentary images of a new world.”
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