27 Elisa Anfuso


"Elisa Anfuso, è una pittrice italiana che trascorre la sua vita da artista nel paese delle meraviglie."

"Mine is a continuous voyage in and out of me, an incessant rise to the surface to breathe, and then sink back down, to deal with monsters."

Elisa Anfuso is an incredible painter from Catania, Sicily. Elisa began exhibiting art in 2010, and her work is collected internationally. She won the Arte Laguna Prize in 2010, and was a finalist for the Art Mondadori Prize and the Combat Prize in 2011.

'Mondi Celesti XVI', 2016

Elisa was born in Catania. On her website, she says she began drawing at a very early age. She graduated with honors from the School of Fine Arts in Catania, where she now teaches painting.

'Mondi Celesti XIV', 2017

Elisa's work centers on existential angst - the difficulty of living with insecurity, doubt, and, in many of her works, solitude - but she does it with this levity and loving humor. As it says on her website:

"The world narrated by Anfuso tells us about everyday heroes, whose dignity is expressed through the courage to live, despite joy and pain, as we can see in [the series]: Dreams and Meat or Eva’s Falling.  It is a kind of reality, an acceptance of life, never with resignation, but with the courage of a kind of humanity that has in itself the capability to evolve. Elisa Anfuso’ ancient and yet modern reality is a light and fascinating suspension of everyday life, so that the soul can understand, through the eyes, how reality, however critical, carries with it the importance of being human."

'Mondi Celesti III', 2016

Elisa goes into more detail in this interview (in Italian) with Rebecca Gironi (Womade, no date):

"Art is always a very subjective fact. Each work is the result of devouring the world and spitting it out in a different form, after having let it flow and rest in the belly, even before it enters the head. Mine is a continuous navigation inside and outside of me, an incessant rise to the surface to breathe, and then sink back down, to deal with the monsters who, it is well known, love the abyss. Here, painting has given me the courage to immerse myself, and the theme of my research is perhaps this sea itself, which sees us shipwrecked in search of a possible meaning."

'Come se poi non avessimoi che piume tra bisogni e desideri', 2012

Elisa explains later in the interview how her subjects form a silent dialogue with the viewer, "evoking indescribable feelings that only the soul can hear." She also discusses the theme of having a dark half:

"I take up the theme of the "double" to give shape, and pictorial matter, to the Shadow, ancestral figure, dark sister. "Each one is followed by a Shadow. The darker and denser it is, the less it is incorporated into the conscious life of the individual" says Jung. Painting it, for me, is the only way to be aware of it."

'Cannibalismo', 2012

Elisa's art is full of symbolism, many recurring frequently. Red thread, for example, figures again and again in her work. Elisa explains (Gironi, no date):

"The thread unites, creates paths and connections, maintains equilibrium, generates improbable ones, but above all the thread binds, and the bonds remind us who we are, what our limits are and what we are tense towards."

'Il cielo copre, la terra sostiene', 2014

The birds, meanwhile, reflect the souls of the people - at times light like a sparrow, at times dark, fat, and sharp like a crow, at times empty and fragile like a paper crane.

'Delle tentazioni e di altre consuetudini', 2012

Elisa's compositions have mostly been limited to figures in spare white rooms. But, her most recent works have begun exploring outdoor landscapes, a bit reminiscent of renaissance portraiture. She explains (Gironi, no date):

"Each change corresponds to a changed narrative need, so the rooms have opened their windows, and increasingly aware thoughts have begun to branch out in the desire to touch the sky, or sometimes the ground. It is as if I needed to look inside for a long time before I felt the need to look outside, and only when that room could no longer contain me could I open myself to the world. And, unexpected blossoms were there to surprise me."

'Delle beatitudini e di false primavere', 2012

'Dicotomie dei giorni nostri', 2012

'Moscacieca,' 2012

'L'età dell'innocenza', 2013

'Potrebbe volare ma non vola. Potrebbe cadere ma non cade', 2011

'Sustantia', 2015

'L'Età dell' Innocenza II', 2015

'L'Altra Eva IV'. 2018

'Apri gli Occhi', 2015

'Estasi e vacuità', 2014

'L'Altra Eva I', 2018

'L'Altra Eva II', 2018

'Casa Bianca', 2011

'Il Giardino di Erica', 2011

'Sleeping Beauty', 2014

'La stanza dei giochi di Penelope', 2011

'In camera caritatis', 2014

'Tra i miei rami', 2017

'Strade di carta n.3', 2009

'L'equilibrista', 2014