Valerio Nicolai


Valerio Nicolai uses the space of painting to confront art history’s consecrated subject matters with elements of the prosaic and the everyday. The traditional still life, a tool for both deadpan description and ambiguous symbolism, is declined into contemporary commonplace objects, images and banal situations. Drama and humor end up inhabiting his fictional scenes, building a tension between glorified artistic topics and the realistic, absurd way they can come into existence.

Valerio Nicolai (Gorizia, IT 1988), lives and works in Milan. He studied at Accademia delle Belle Arti in Venice. Nicolai was awarded the Licini Prize in 2023 and the 2020-21 Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant.

His work is currently presented in Diario Notturno at MAXXI L'Aquila until May 2024 and in PickPocket, curated by Massimiliano Scuderi and Renata Lucas at Fondazione Zimei. He also have a solo show curated by Alessandro Zechini at Museo Osvaldo Licini, Ascoli Piceno.

Recent solo exhibition include : Campoli Presti, Paris (2023), Sole con le code, Clima, Milan (2022); Birthmarker, Galeria Madragoa, Lisbon (2021); Heart’s rock and Potato’s spirit, Las Palmas Project, Lisbon (2018); Prospettiva di una matrioska, smART Foundation, Rome; Trasformazione permanente di un mago in formica, Treti Galaxie, Turin (2016).

Recent group exhibitions include Pittura Italiana oggi, curated by Damiano Gullì for Triennale Milano (2024), Panorama Monopoli curated by Vincenzo De Bellis (2022); Expectations, curated by Fondazione Zimei, Pescara (2022); Movie Buff, curated by Alfredo Aceto, All Stars, Lausanne ; Sul Disegno e la Pittura (Ne Usciremo), curated by Renato Leotta, Galeria Madragoa, Lisbon; Basta, Palazzo Monti, Brescia (2021); Stasi Frenetica, curated by Ilaria Bonacossa, GAM Torino ; Quadriennale Arte 2020, Roma; Art Residency - Port Tonic Art Center; SWAMP HORSES, Spirit Vessel, Espinavessa (2019); straperetana 2018, curated by Saverio Verini, Pereto (2018); Trigger Party, curated by Andrea Magnani e Zoe De Luca, Marselleria, Milan (2018); Shit and Die, curated by Maurizio Cattelan, Palazzo Cavour, Turin (2014).

Selected Works