Poison Toffee Apples tells through 18 brand new oil on canvases the story of Furry, a child characterised by a peculiar hairy face. The character pictured by Pedroni furthers a tension aimed at pursuing fantastic and bizarre effects, which are typical both of the hyper-contemporary Pop Surrealism and of Mannerist and Baroque painting, which were inspired in turn by outlandish exotic subjects able to raise wonder and marvel in people.

Around the seventeenth century, the interest for particular sciences and for the study of animal and vegetable monstrosity intensified; a similar path was followed by painters, who produced bizarre creations to be inserted in the most important European courts and to give birth to galleries of notorious paintings, in which curious characters were depicted: dwarves, men with two heads or incredibly obese… It is then that, while looking through these antique portraits, we find the first Furry, painted by Lavinia Fontana at the end on the 16th century and embed by Ferdinando II Gonzaga in his collection of “mirabilia”. The artwork shows Antonietta Gonsalus, daughter of Petrus Gonsalus, whose family was affected by a rare pathology called Hypertrichosis universalis, which was also noted by Ulisse Aldrovandi in his Monstrorum historia, as well as in the paintings by Lo Spagnoletto and Agostino Carracci.

Furry, the 17th century hairy girl, wears an elegant dress, with a high lace collar and golden buttons and a hairstyle decorated by flowers and little bows... the present Furry, instead, wears a green dress with a high collar embellished by a red ribbon fastened by a teddy bear, and her long hair is done up with a bow. Her wonder-room is a snowy landscape that alludes to loneliness, which is obstructed only by Poison Toffee Apples, quiet companions that witness the sometimes misunderstood contrast between the external poisonous peel and the sweetness of the core.

Through the bittersweet taste of the typical fairy language developed by the artist in his works, the paintings retrace Furry’s life by describing her fragilities as well as her emotional strength. From frame to frame, the protagonist overturns the audience’s expectations by mastering the diversity of her body and showing how insecurity can turn into fortitude. Through these works, not only the beholder, but the artist, too, undertakes an introspective journey to look for fears and weaknesses as typical of childhood as unique for each of us. In this way, the artist dedicates special attention to that ambiguous femininity or masculinity that often causes discrimination among children. Pedroni holds Furry’s hand and, step by step, penetrates into her story to walk through all of her insecurities, while tracing the lines of a fable about the acceptance of oneself and of the others, in order to eventually re-emerge as a new and stronger person.

Paolo Pedroni, born in Brescia in 1983, has cultivated his passion for drawing since he was a child. In 2015, he graduated from the European Institute for Design but, even if working in the field of interior design, he never forgot his passion for drawing and painting. In 2011, he was featured in various group shows in Italy, while in 2012 he started his graphic collaboration with Dorothy Circus Gallery for the publication of the three volumes about the story of the gallery. With the discovery of “digital painting,” he started moving his first steps into the Pop Surrealism world and began exhibiting his works in both Italian and international galleries; thanks to his characteristic subjects, Pedroni caught the interest of the Korean brand Junn. J, which hired his for its 2015 collection, presented during Paris Fashion Week at the Palais de Tokyo. While neither forgetting nor denying digital art, in 2014 Pedroni re-discovered oil painting – uncontested protagonist of the exhibition Poison Toffee Apples.