Luciano Castelli, Artist in distribution, Switzerland, 1951
Luciano Castelli was born in Lucern, Switzerland, in 1951 and has lived and worked in Paris since 1990. He initially established his artistic career as a sculptor, working closely with another Lucern artist, Franz Gertsch, and subsequently extended his practice to include photography, painting and video. He moved to Berlin where he lived and worked from 1978-1990, becoming well known as part of the expressive, gestural school of painting that flourished in Berlin in the late 1970's and early 1980's (Die Neuen Wilden). Castelli's videos are non-narrative yet complexly structured, taking the form of montages that combine appropriated media footage, photos and paintings the artist has created, and documentations of his live performances. Using these techniques Castelli explores issues of queerness and gender performativity. He examines how people's absorption of images and ideals through the media creates a vocabulary of gender norms through which individual sexuality is expressed. Portraiture in various forms plays a central role in Castelli's videos, photography and paintings, and many of his works involve self-portraits in which he uses costumes and props to 'reinvent' himself for the viewer.