Just meters away from his 10-year-old son’s elementary school in a small Eastern Paris suburb, Giorgio Petracci sits in his light-filled studio. He speaks to me through Zoom, seated in front of his newest painting 1538. The piece is vast in scale, emoting feelings of serenity and stillness. Like tasting the cleanest water, or breathing the freshest air, to look at Petracci's work is to enter a different atmosphere devoid of polluted fog: clear, calm, and quiet. Petracci, humble in his practice, shares his story of an idyllic childhood in a small Italian city, much like the quaint Fontenay-sous-Bois where he now resides. The contemporary artist explains how he eventually found his passion for painting and sculpture in the bustling hubs of Bologna and Paris.
Growing up with his family in Fermo on the Eastern Italian coast, Petracci’s exposure to fine art was minimal apart from his own hobbies of painting and design, which he kept close to his chest. Although his family was not against art as a passion, in practice, they acknowledged that it wasn’t necessarily a sensible path. At the age of 18, Petracci moved to Bologna, Italy to pursue a career outside of art. But Bologna, vibrant with artists and designers, unveiled to the young artist that no path was impossible.
Petracci quickly became acquainted with a plethora of student artists, from painters to dancers and performers, who in a few years time, and with Petracci’s help, formed an artist collective known as XY. For two years, this group took turns exhibiting its artists’ work throughout the city of Bologna, even being asked to curate shows and put on performances for the local University. This experience was integral to Petracci rediscovering his passion for art, and provided opportunities for him to showcase his talents. Some of these artists, one of whom is now a teacher at the University of Bologna, he still keeps in close contact with.
After university, Petracci found himself working professionally in interior architecture and furniture construction, working for esteemed firms such as Giorgio Armani. With this position came many responsibilities, but ultimately a great deal of artistic freedom. Despite the amazing opportunities for travel and creative liberties this position offered, however, Petracci could not escape his desire to paint, and by 2015, he dedicated his career to being a full-time artist.
From his years growing up by the Adriatic Sea to Parisian architecture, many images and memories influence Petracci’s abstractions, images that the artist can’t forget. Although he continues to visit the cities that he considers to be part of his artistic journey, these days his inspiration comes from discovering new places inside himself. “Now I am traveling in a different way, in a more personal way,” he states.
For Petracci, each of his pieces represents a crack, or an opening into a world in which we discover new ideas and understand our existence and image on this earth. “In our lives,” he says, “we have moments where we can see things clearly, but they are really short moments because we are occupied by other things.” Petracci’s paintings are windows into alternate dimensions where things not visible to the naked eye can be seen: matter and existence, innovations, and undiscovered landscapes. This opening into abstract thought is, for Petracci, constantly agape and ever-changing.
Inspired by the likes of architects and abstract artists Cy Twombly, Raoul De Keyser, and Zao Wou-Ki, Petracci’s work speaks to the creation of unknown worlds and pushes the viewer to follow a path of personal and emotional discovery. This year, Petracci is excited to explore incorporating music, sculpture, and writing into his practice, and to share more about his story through various forms of multimedia. A champion in his practice, Petracci's innovation in the art space will continue to move viewers across the globe, push boundaries, and challenge human existence beyond this realm.
Sugarlift is excited to feature Petracci’s work in the newest Hudson Yards restaurant, Greywind, with esteemed chef Dan Kluger this coming Spring. For more information about Giorgio Petracci and his work, please visit sugarlift.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.