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Valentino Vannini


Valentino Vannini, an Italian-born British artist based in London, has established a practice centered on the act of cruising, a defiant and resilient expression of queer identity in the face of societal norms. Through installations, sculptures, prints, and drawings, he delves into this liminal space, capturing the performative nature of seeking intimacy – infused with anticipation, loneliness, and anonymity. While not explicitly depicting the body, Vannini traces its presence, challenging conventional representations and examining how we navigate this elusive realm of intimacy.

In his latest series, ANON - DTF, a collection of monolithic sculptures confronts the viewer. Subverting references to brutalist architecture and classical sculpture, Vannini disregards traditional muscular architectural elements and juxtaposes materials. The stability of these concrete monoliths is undermined by their awkward, drooping ascent towards the ceiling.

Petroleum jelly, smeared along their shafts and crowning their peaks, serves as a material antithesis while also humorously exposing age-old sodomitic insults. Glass casts of lube sachets, embedded within the sculptures, act as anthropological markers and behavioral relics. Prolificallyoozing down the sides of the monoliths and onto the floor, the lube celebrates abandonment, vulnerability, and pride in a playful, frictionless manner.

These brutalist sculptures assert their presence in the environment, their placement in public spaces reflecting a sense of anarchism. They can be both lost in the architecture and yet intensely present, intrusive even. As viewers move around and interact with them, the experience becomes performative, echoing Vannini's artistic inspiration from Gordon Matta-Clark.

The sculptures themselves are crafted from concrete and vaseline, the latter material playing a significant role in Vannini's work. It serves as a reflection of various themes, particularly the queer experience, especially growing up in a country like Italy where the word vaseline carries pejorative connotations associated with gay sexual relationships.

Vannini's most recent project which is developing during his residency at Standpoint Gallery is an installation of tubular shapes that allow for partial glimpses of objects made from fibers suspended within an industrial mesh. This installation stems from the concept of permeability, mirroring the nature of our bodies. Vannini finds fascination in the way organic fibers and synthetic materials, both derived from the city, become entangled and permanently affixed to the structure. This boundary, once a rigid separation, now becomes a site of significance.

Valentino Vannini's work invites us to engage with the complexities of queer identity, intimacy, and the fluidity of boundaries in a playful, yet profound manner. His sculptures, installations, prints, and drawings challenge our perceptions and encourage us to confront the nuances of human experience in all its rawness and resilience.

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ANON – DTF Surprise, Somers Gallery, curated by Olga Tarasova- Street Photography by Valentino Vannini

ANON – DTF MA Degree Show, City & Guilds of London Art Sc - Photography by Valentino Vannini

Studio work, Standpoint Gallery (residency) - Photography by Adela Blanco

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