Marco Cianfanelli (1970-) obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Witwatersrand in 1992. He has taken part in numerous solo and group exhibitions in South African and abroad, and won the prestigious Absa Atelier Award in 2002. This culminated in a residency at the Cité des Arts in Paris, and an Ampersand Fellowship in New York.
Fiercely committed to testing the possibilities for artistic intervention in the public realm and engaging with other professionals from diverse fields, he has been involved in a wide range of projects involving art, architecture and public space. As a public artist, he designed the steel sculpture and mosaic artworks that currently adorn the Hollard Street Mall in downtown Johannesburg, MTN’s head office and the fountain installation at the University of Johannesburg’s new art centre. His work can be found in public and private collections in South Africa (Spier, Absa, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Didata, Bloemfontein Art Museum and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy collections) Europe and the United States.
Cianfanelli’s slick, pared-down and iconographic works are intricately linked with the complexity of loving South Africa. He began his career painting landscapes and continues to be concerned with romanticised space and its inverse — that which is marginalised through the very act of romanticising. He creates work using a wide range of materials and likes to ‘bastardise’ his materials, whether ‘painting’ digitally, making oil paintings and then branding them, digitally manipulating photographs to evoke a sense of nostalgia for the South African landscape.