Francesca Leone 'Beyond the Water'
21st September - 12th October 2012
In September 2012, the first UK exhibition of one of the most distinctive contemporary
artists, Italian portrait painter Francesca Leone, will open at Opera Gallery London.
Curated by Director Jean-David Malat, the exhibition will consist of 20 new canvases,
highlighting the maturing of the painter’s technique and the virtuosity of her portrait
Francesca LEONE was born in Rome in an artistic milieu: her father
Sergio is the famous film director, creator of masterpieces in the
world’s film industry (the most renowned probably The Good, the Bad
and the Ugly); her mother was the first ballerina at Teatro dell’Opera
in Rome. After attending a course in scenography design at
Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, she decided to devote herself to
painting. She specialized in painting and graduated with Professor
Lino Tardia at Rome University of Fine Arts.
Throughout her career, Leone has focused on the psychological fluctuations of an
image, representing emotional states and personal feelings. Her cinematic canvases
and dynamic brushstrokes do not allow the viewer to look away, capturing the
humanity of a face. Her first solo exhibition was in Palermo, Loggiato di S. Bartolomeo,
in April 2008.
“The first time I saw the works of Francesca Leone I felt a deep, extraordinary
These are the words of musical composer Ennio Morricone. In June 2009, Leone
created a portrait of Morricone, which was subsequently awarded ‘McKim 2009’ by
the American Academy in Rome.
Photography and film are both points of departure for Leone’s works. Having sprung
from the world of ‘motion pictures’, she somewhat ironically takes a frozen image and
generates the illusion of movement with the paintbrush. This is done with the splash
and flow of water over a person’s face. The title of the paintings ‘Flussi Immobili’ (or
‘Motionless Flows’) paradoxically represents what Leone is getting at: capturing
movement in a static medium. Streaks of water catch the light, producing a mirage of
high-speed trickles and drops.
The work of both Francis Bacon and Eadweard Muybridge is called to
mind when considering Leone’s pieces. Their analysis of movement
through still photography froze the human form in expressive gestures.
Leone similarly manipulates falling water in order to create an image
charged with expressivity, and which represents the instinctive and
fleeting reactions of these faces.
The use of water generates multiple meaning within Leone’s paintings. Not only does it
say something about universal vitality but it also touches upon an individual’s fluid
state of mind: subtly referred to in the exhibition title ‘Beyond the Water’. Leone brings
her own emotional state to bear on these pieces. She has spoken of a “newfound
tranquility” in her own life which one can infer correlates with the motif of water and
the idea of purification. The overriding impression gained from the images is that
peace of mind is hard-won, and that finding it is a far from painless process. Dark
backgrounds and obscured faces emphasize this struggle.
Ultimately, there is truth, trauma, euphoria, elation, depression; all captured within
Opera Gallery London
Opera Gallery is a global network of 11 galleries all around the world, from Singapore,
to New York.
Directed by Jean-David Malat, the London branch opened in 2005, and is located in
the heart of London’s most luxuriously selective; Mayfair.
Showcasing only the best art to offer from the masters of street and contemporary, the
gallery attracts and invites art amateurs, art connoisseurs, and most of all art lovers.