Art Basel 2013: Artist Carlito Dalceggio Fuses Buddhist Dogma and Disney

Carolina del Busto
Artist Carlito Dalceggio standing next to his Mickey-Buddha sculptor
The Ricart Gallery's newest location is planted firmly in the heart of Wynwood's Art District. The walls are a bright white, and positioned neatly at the front windows -- as well as the roof of the building -- are two Pinocchio statues painted by artist Carlito Dalceggio. Some might remember Dalceggio's 2011 Art Basel exhibit, also hosted by the Ricart Gallery, titled "Death of Lies."

Now, Dalceggio is back in Miami once again for Art Basel and imagining all sorts of new creations with a hint of Disney magic for his "To Set Fire in the Heart of the World" exhibit. Instead of Pinocchio, this time Dalceggio is experimenting with Mickey Mouse's head and Buddha's body.

Originally from Montreal, Canada, Dalceggio travels the world taking art and transforming it for new audiences every chance he gets. Using the money he makes from one show, he funds a studio in a new city and begins a new art project. Dalceggio has showcased his art in Paris, Mexico, Shanghai, Bali, New York City, Istanbul, and of course, his hometown of Montreal.

When Dalceggio works on his art, he says, he forgets the natural order of time and spends countless hours in his studio. Taking refuge in the second floor of the Ricart Gallery, Dalceggio has the freedom to work all day and all night if he pleases.

When we reached the second floor of Ricart Gallery, it was like walking into a completely different universe. The walls were completely covered in color, and there was no concrete floor to be seen but instead paint splatter, confetti pieces, glitter, and scraps upon scraps of discarded - or undiscovered - material. To add to the different dimension, music reminiscent of meditation was playing; peaceful, and the kind that can elevate your soul if you listen to it long enough.

As we tread carefully, not wanting to disturb the art process, Dalceggio lightly declared, "You can step anywhere!"

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The way the studio looks -- with all the bursts of color and contrasting images -- it almost could stand alone as work of art itself. Dalceggio explains how for him, "the creation is really a ritual. I see it [as] very shamanic and ritualistic, so I always have to go into a trance to feel free and loose - and lose your human shape, almost - to go look at the world and get a vision and then bring it back to the world of humans." The studio is like a temple, he says, and it acts like a place "where reality does not exist."

For Dalceggio, when creating new art, he never considers the individual number of pieces he will complete; "For me, it's all about creating one energy, one vision, so whatever's needed to create that, I'll do it." His art can take the form of sculptures, writings, videos, paintings, projections, and small drawings, all of which he utilizes for his Art Basel exhibit.

Despite Art Basel being a few weeks away, Dalceggio says he will still be working on adding final touches and small details to each piece "until the day the exhibit opens."

"I love a lot of details, and I like how people can dive into the vision and spend time and discover details and secrets and create their own legends and their own stories." Dalceggio adds how he hopes attendees will experience "seven minutes of freedom" as they walk around the gallery.

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Alex Anico
Alex Anico

Not impressed. You know props to him and any artist but this pop culture infusion specifically the "let's use a Disney character and put them in an out of context or awkward setting" technique is played out. I'd be more impressed if he focused on the abstract nature of his work. When I see people doing this kind of art I shrug it off and move on and forget about it...

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