Paolo Mussat Sartor



April 14th– June 1st 2023

Paolo Mussat Sartor



April 14th– June 1st 2023

Gracis Gallery, in partnership with Photo & Contemporary Gallery, is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition in Milan of the well-known author Paolo Mussat Sartor, a leading figure in the artistic evolution of Arte Povera and in the international scene of modern and contemporary art, also a great master in the field of “research photography”. In the exhibition will be shown about 20 photographic prints of big and medium size made in silver salts gelatine and refined with oil painting between 1992 and 2005. All of these are unique pieces based on the series of Figures, of Roses, of Legs, of Asymmetrical and of Landscapes.

In the 80’s Mussat Sartor felt the need to pull his photographic language into a new dimension, to separate it from the technical sphere of a medium and to make visible what is invisible.
At this point the author started to work directly with colour on the photographic paper and with his own hands, pushing himself and his work into an ambiguous territory and into an elusive border area between painting and photography.

After having developed for some years some singular techniques using oil painting and pigments and the production of toning on black and white photographic paper, Mussat Sartor finally succeeded in creating charming and unique prints, in which themes like vision and inner nomadism arose as oneiric and delicate images, similar to suffused mirages, that show us figures and details of feminine bodies, roses, sights and glimpses of mysterious and astonishing cities. It had been a seamless journey through a hallucinatory photographic obsession, which symbolizes an existential path chasing an unobtainable beauty, swiftly seen and then disappeared.

“In the series of Roses (1991-1992), of Legs (1992-1993), of Asymmetrical (1999-2000), of Figures (2001- 2005) the artists turns thick black backgrounds into white and grey images, as he was able to manipulate light and its changes. These woks share a certain mood and melancholy as underlying emotions that make them distant and elusive. Probably what pushed the turinese author away from the safe path of traditional photography is the strong need of adding to photography a precise state of mind, an emotional factor and most of all something that is independent form the subject of the photo. In this way he manages to separate photography from its predatory and documented tradition, in order to include it in the charming and timeless domain that is his own inner world. Once the Series of Roses, Figures and Bodies had been deprived of their geographic and atmospheric context, they took on the shape of hybrid and poetic images, with a timeless and absolute identity. Thanks to Mussat Sartor’s work, photography moves away from its own comfort zone, which derives from an anterior and hypostatic technique, in order to place itself as a brand new creative space, through which it is possible to evoke images featuring states of mind and potential identities” wrote the art critic Andrea Bellini in 2006 in the artist’s catalogue of his anthology at GAM in Turin.

Furthermore, in the exhibition there will be some small works that show tiny Mediterranean landscapes or architectural subjects worthy of the painting of 1600 and 1700 and characterised by brush works that amplify their pathos and preciousness.

These are painted photographies, in which visual memory is sedimented and transfigured by the pictorial intervention and that reveal their real aesthetic dimension only if seen in person.
What is it that Mussat Sartor looks for in the construction of his visions, in his sharp and oblique glimpses? We believe that the artist follows a glimmer of light, a fragment of beauty, a revealing detail of hope, that could save us from our uncertain condition of travellers looking for a destination.

Paolo Mussat Sartor was born in Turin in 1947, where he lives and works.
Self-taught, he has been a photographer since 1966. In 1968 he began to collaborate with Gian Enzo Sperone and met and photographed the Italian and foreign artists who in those years exhibited their works in his gallery. He exhibited and published Portraits of Artists and documentations of works in art catalogs and specialized magazines around the world.
He also collaborated with art and architecture magazines such as Domus, Abitare, Vogue, Casa Vogue, and Ottagono. In 1979, the publisher Stampatori published the volume Paolo Mussat Sartor Photographer 1968/1978. Art and Artists in Italy, a book that documents ten years of collaboration with some contemporary Italian artists. In the meantime, since 1970, he has dedicated himself to his own research work that he develops through the photographic language. Since 1985 he has worked on photographic prints, specially made by him, with colored pigments and mixed techniques, obtaining unique examples.


April 14th– June 1st 2023


Opening: Friday 14th April from 11 am to 9 pm

Cocktail: from 6 pm


Galleria Gracis opening hours:

Monday-Friday, 10AM-1PM | 2-6PM

Saturday by appointment

Free entrance

P. +39 02 877 807;