Mimmo Paladino’s Rhino for Pomilio Blumm

A powerful, unmistakable symbol able to recall both the chthonic roots of being and a combination of tastes and modern sensitivities, a contemporary aesthetics, all with the same evocative power. Thanks to the audacity of its shapes, its plastic contrasts and the hybrid, almost machinelike nature of its mighty body.

This is how Mimmo Paladino describes the work he dedicated to the company Pomilio Blumm and to its symbol, the rhinoceros, whose winding profile has been also symbolizing the Blumm Prize project and its aim: to explore the most inventive or elusive ideas and give them a new representation.

Why painting a rhino? What’s so enthralling about this subject?
The rhino’s shape has always raised the artist’s interest, not just the painter’s. In visual arts, for instance, one cannot avoid thinking of Dürer’s extraordinary drawing: the unmistakable style and etching technique make his rhino a sort of metal machine or a warrior’s armour. We could keep going back in time with other references, but my idea was to convey in my painting the quality of the animal skin, its highly tactile essence. Hence, the choice of an earthy material. The rhino is matter at its purest form, with a sculptural shape par excellence, so I tried to convey it.

The rhinoceros is also a powerful symbol, able to recall different ideas and images.
I personally don’t like symbols very much. Although the rhino undoubtedly represents an archaic, distant, primitive living being that we’re no longer used to think of. It’s something contemporary, yet connected to a very remote past. The rhino is also a subject allowing many possible representations, not only through painting but also with other tools.

Blumm Prize arises from the belief that the artist, more than any other social personality, is able to “show the way” and to intuitively understand before the others where the ethical and aesthetic sensitivities of a community are headed.

It was always like this. Whether because following a method or by innate ability, the artist always had some sort of “antennas” to grasp social, sociological and cultural changes, consciously or not. As for myself, I think our age needs to find a form of reflection and slowness, which is something man requires by nature. I really like the final sentence from Federico Fellini’s “The Voice of the Moon”: “If we all kept quiet…”. Sounds prophetic. We’d all better keep quieter today. And the rhino is a silent animal: noisy when riding wild, but also able to stand still, in silence, almost meditating.

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