Behind the scenes


Rita Abatzi,

Watercolour and photograph on paper and museum board 30.0 × 44.0 cm

Working exclusively in watercolour and pencil, Paolo Colombo pictures an esteemed Greek musician Rita Abatzi on the bed of his signature chequered squares and fine lines. Spending days meticulously perfecting the mosaic grid, he approaches his practice from a meditative perspective, drawing particular inspiration from ancient mosaics.

Paolo Colombo

About the Artist

Paolo Colombo (b. 1949, Turin) is a prominent Italian artist and curator currently based in Athens. Since 2008 he has served as art advisor for Istanbul Modern; was formerly curator of the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo, Rome (2001-07); director of the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (1989-2000); and notably curated the Iraqi Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Colombo’s artistic journey began in 1977 when he became the first European artist to exhibit at MoMA PS1, New York. Recently he has resumed his personal artistic practice, creating watercolour and pencil drawings featuring characters from poetry, animals, and intricate patterns, inspired by ancient mosaics.

Paolo Colombo is one of the first artists to be commissioned for the ITERARTE variations series, working with artisans in India specialised in embroidery. His latest solo exhibition was at Baert Gallery, Los Angeles (2024). His work is included in public collections at the Benaki Museum, Athens and Istanbul Modern.

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