Raised in the eastern suburbs of Naples, notable for its dreary, desolate non-places, Christian Leperino (Naples, 1979) trained at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Naples, where he began to experiment with various artistic languages: painting and sculpture, but also photography and video, which enabled him to engage directly with the tensions and disquiets of his generation.
In his early works Leperino assigned a central role to the body, transforming it into a surface on which to register emotion and suffering, a support on which to engrave the signs of his own life and experiences. His early cycles of paintings recount the alteration and deformation of the faces of those who taking part in illegal rave parties (Rawe Off, 2001), paintings in which the lesson of Expressionism encounters contemporary subjects and artistic languages. In his subsequent works the account of an existential malaise was associated with the human-urban relationship: soot-laden landscapes, where industrial dust makes the air unbreathable, foreshadowing an apocalyptic scenario in which the human presence almost vanishes (Cityscapes, 2007).
The body and a concern for topical issues were also at the center of the work The Other Myself, winner of the first edition (2014) of the ShowYourself@Madre competition. Twenty-one faces aligned on three levels, sculptures cast in white plaster, are the traces of dramatic but often invisible stories, which here reaffirm their presence. The women and men portrayed are migrants and political refugees met in Naples, involved by the artist in a sculpture workshop, when casts were made of their faces. The material absorbed and recorded their stories, brought to life through the features and expressions of these direct protagonists. The dialogue between presence and absence, identity and otherness, the body and its image, provides the backdrop to a reflection on identity, the ability to recognize and meet the Other.
Leperino says: “The title came to me while thinking about the words of Abraham, my Ivorian friend, before his head in chalk: ‘It’s beautiful, it’s another myself.’” With The Other Myself Leperino confirms his ability to use different materials and procedures to create a narrative that traverses social scenarios, becoming a poetic discourse.