Despite the restrictions issued by the Italian government, Andrea Festa Fine Art reopened its door to the public with the double solo exhibition of artists Tom Poelmans and Danilo Stojanović, showcasing their works for the first time in Italy.

The artists participated to the opening on March 7: on that occasion, they had the chance to meet the Roman visitors and talk about the themes and imagery characterizing their art. The two semi-arcs in Andrea’s home gallery divide the space in two symmetrical rooms, whose domestic aspect and intimate feel makes it the perfect space to host a double solo show.

Alongside Poelmans’s, Stojanović’s works form the half of the exhibition by the title of Mourning the Red Cactus, curated by Domenico de Chirico and featuring eight new artworks: Untitled, The Earring Snatcher, Still Life (Skull with Candles), Small mouthed devil, Last days of Red Cactus, Head of a Thousand Gazes, Destroyer, and A Touch of Metamorphosis.

Born in Pula, Croatia, Danilo Stojanović holds a BA in Fine Arts – Painting and an MA in Fine and Performative Arts – Painting from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, where he is currently based.

Andrea Festa was following his career in Instagram before contacting him to propose a collaboration just one month before the opening of Mourning the Red Cactus. Of the eight paintings exhibited, two of them were created specifically for this exhibition—Destroyer and Head of a Thousand Gazes—and all were chosen together with curator Domenico de Chirico.

Created between 2020 and 2021, the artworks are about themes that are interesting to Danilo, who describes them as inspired by Gothic literature, thriller, sci-fi, metaphysics, classics, still life, and sculpture-like, rigid forms.

The rigid head at the center of Head of a Thousand Gazes represents a very melancholic male figure with a distant gaze. Its palette swings between blue-ish and green-ish tones—liquid tones—where Danilo plays with the “Freudian concept of the uncanny—sometimes that is vaguely or very similar but alien.”

“I try to play with the idea of the unseen, because, in the era of social media, people do not pay much attention to the paintings,” Danilo said. “It’s always good to give a second look to every work. No sketches. Very spontaneous.” In his detail-filled scenes, the artist tries to focus on intimate situations which he studies a lot, while other works are more gestural, allowing him more freedom to experiment—like his untitled head study.

Danilo likes the concept of the home gallery—a trend that is rising in the international art world—which makes the experience more intimate to potential customers, who can see how his work adapts to a domestic environment and how they can place it in their own homes.

The title of the exhibition originates from confrontations Danilo had with de Chirico discussing the biggest painting featured in the exhibition, a still-life representation of the Last Days of the Red Cactus, conceived as “grievance around this sacred object which comes out of this big painting,” the artist said.