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Original Artwork by Patrizia Medail “Boulle de Neige”

An original framed artwork by Italian artist Patrizia Medail , signed and dated .
Materials: Antique Ottoman Dress / velvet and 18th century fabric fragment
Her works are created with antique fabric fragments and other mixed media such as old prints, old musical scores, cotton fringes, pieces of ancient rugs , straw, rare 17th and 18th century embroidery , etc.

Press reviews of her work:

Dada Rosso
From the Stampa di Torino 07.06.02

Perhaps it’s because creating an atmosphere was part and parcel of the long-standing family business (as owners of the brandy, Vecchia Romagna Buton, and the legendary Etichetta Nera label). Whatever the case, Patrizia Medail’s sculpture-paintings really do emanate a very special atmosphere, enchanting and transporting us to a land of fantasy and dreams. It started with her own life. Brought up to be a bourgeois Italian signora, in reality, her determined and competitive personality was immediately to the fore, when, as a young girl, she started accumulating an impressive array of skiing trophies (at eighteen she was an Olympic competitor), and riding the horses of the family stable. There was nothing, however, to indicate future success in the artistic field. The idea came later, at the time when she took control of the destiny of the family company, which had been divided up among numerous cousins, and which she had decided to sell to an English group, something she succeeded in doing (the determination of the born sportswoman never fails to win out). In that period, to reduce her stress levels, Patrizia started to “fiddle around” with some old braids and antique damasks found in the attic. So it was that her first collages were realised—fabric copies of the family paintings. When the household supply of fringes, velvets and laces eventually ran out, the urge to create remained, the early results having met with such widespread admiration. In brief, today, Patrizia is considered one of Italy’s most gifted artists, courted by galleries throughout the world; her animals in silk and cotton fringes, part totems, part toys have an hypnotic, ironic and dreamlike charm, and are absolutely unforgettable.


A unique feature characterises our times, which is entirely new with respect to any previous experience of humanity. For the first time, we are producing much more than we consume. For the first time, the sheer volume of goods on the market is so huge that, in order to make way for more, they must not be consumed completely or, indeed, at all. Such objects, with their life often intact, sometimes residual, end up in flee markets, stock warehouses and refuse bins. It is referred to as “necessary waste”, according to the unbending logic of production. For many, it is the ultimate outcome of our wealth. But it is also an enormous reserve of materials capable of generating further, eccentric forms of poetic expression. Over-production has produced a new art, perhaps the most modern and up-to-date form, the art of recycling. It is the task of artists, those creative minds able to read alternative suggestions into these leftovers, to transform waste materials into new artefacts.
Beyond the rhetorical claims to avant-garde status, this is the ultimate explanation for the iconoclastic and creative urge that led Marcel Ducamp to turn a urinal up-side-down, declaring it to be a work of art. It is also the reason why the exploratory effort of Daniel Spoerri, whose coffee pots and buttons picked up at the Saint Ouen flee-market in Paris create dreamlike compositions, defies the banal definition of Neo-Dadaist. This would label him as a mere mannerist re-evoking the creative behaviours of the early 20th century. Spoerri, like Tinguely, Vostell and many others, are none other than the continuers of a language which will go on evolving, as the work of Perugino evolved, the latter being not only a successor but a living consequence of the oil painting introduced by Van Eyck fifty years before. This is also the case of Patrizia Medail.
Patrizia Medail sets out to surpass Penelope. From her mythical Greek ancestor she inherits the female passion for manual weaves and fabrics. She inherits the infinite patience required for such work. But she does not await the return of Ulysses. She applies her creative patience to recycling.
She embarked upon this work by chance, to break the monotony of attending to family affairs, a little like Penelope. By actually doing the work, she discovered her own technique, allowing her to give shape to her poetic vision. She collects oriental fabrics and robes, local hangings and clothes, materials so consumed by time as to be destined for the rag merchant, artefacts imbued with historical texture and long-forgotten craftsmanship. She uses endless lengths of antiquated braidings and trimmings, which no upholsterer would deem adaptable to modern tastes, disassembling these passemanterie to attain a fluffy material to which her hands give form. She finds woollen or cotton-weave mattresses, in wonderful old-fashioned colours, capable of yielding unexpected backgrounds. By playfully combining her textiles to fit her imaginative vision, Patrizia Medail breathes life into an entire cosmos that is surreal or, better still, fabulously extra-real, depicting vases with metaphysical flowers, real animals in unexpected settings or, as here, animals attired as earthly potentates. They are like the creations of an unlikely Hesiod or La Fontaine, in a genetically modified and post-atomic vein, which blend the melancholy of children’s soft toys, tender and cruel as infancy itself, with a keen but also metaphorical awareness of today’s reality, infused with drama, irony and, always, an intense joie de vivre.

Philippe Daverio, art historian and lecturer at the Politecnico of Milan and Palermo University, is former Councillor for Culture of Milan. He directs and presents the cultural and arts review “Passepartout”, broadcast by Italian Television Channel 3, RAI.USAy and Sky Channel, with an audience share of millions of viewers.

Rossana Bossaglia
Il Corriere della Sera, 25 January 1998

…Most of the works [at the Bologna “Arte Fiera” Exhibition, 1998] are figurative with posthyperrealist features, characterised by deliberate photographic effects, or humorous distortions and playful twists. I’m thinking of gifted youngsters like Federico Guide, or the intensely vital and poetic talent of Medail…

Melissa Hoyer
The Sunday Telegraph, 4 September 2000

… At Barry Stern Gallery, Dominic Maunsell hosted drinks for visiting Italian artist Patrizia Medail, who does some extraordinary (and expensive) works using exquisite antique fabrics. Worth a look just for the impact value – particularly her interpretation of a tiger.

Bona Frescobaldi
Il Corriere della Sera, 2 March 1998

..Her workshop is in the ballroom, with mirrors and gilt stuccoes, filled by a cheerful and pompous disorder of old fabrics, ribbons, tassels, braids and paintings of every size and colour…

Maurizio Gennari
Il Resto del Carlino, 22 March 2000

…Patrizia Medail’s “fantastic bestiary” shows that she has metabolised something different; her work is, in a certain sense, a revolt against the status of the lace pillow and embroidery hemmed in by the confinement of high lineage…
…”I brought to it everything I had missed, what I had seen and what I had done and, finally, I rediscovered the challenge and the relish of exertion, something that had guided me throughout my life, leading me towards my goals.
I was racing again and I was happy”…

Antonella Ferraro
Corriere Adriatico, 7 April 2000

… The animals of Patrizia Medail, another “artist traveller” according to the definition of Elisabetta Rasy, are marvellous. Splendid in their impressive size, for the backgrounds on which they are set like jewels, only partially standing out in their three-dimensionality, with the reassuring fringed softness of their fur. Serene, placid and joyful, their glass eyes nonetheless harbour a fearful animalesque ferocity, which speaks of Africa and of the icy polar regions, but above all of a courageous, determined woman, who has managed to overcome the challenges imposed both by life and by herself, to fearlessly go beyond the barrier of her own fragile human nature.

Vittoria Coen, art critic
Corriere Adriatico, 7 April 2000

Patrizia Medail’s work reveals traces of a representational culture in balance between a highly individual naturalism and a marked taste for the scenographic. Like the Arcimboldi’s bizarre portraits and the quests embarked upon by Renaissance scholars and alchemists, her bestiary and minute descriptions of plants and flowers belong to a universe of ideas that still today continues to generate new forms of imaginative expression. She started out with a series of vases containing flowers adorned by fine quality braids and luscious fabrics, set beside masterfully handled “poorer” materials. She then became more daring in her depictions of animals, especially “exotic” ones so often removed from our habitual gaze: polar bears, dolphins, tigers, rendered with such substance that they resemble great pups, the soft toys of childhood. Painting and collage are combined in a rigorous, faultless technique. Her work is a form of recycling and collage entirely unburdened by the hints at performance emphasised in the past by artists like Spoerri (remnants on a laid table only waiting for “the word” to describe an artistic soirée of discussion and contradictions). All that is now the stuff of anthology. Medail’s work occupies a completely different dimension: they possess a deliberately cold iconography necessary to a description that aims at the greatest possible care for detail, in a realism that is both confined within the twodimensional but, at the same time, projected towards the spectator thanks to the use of certain materials. It is perfectly clear that what we see is not the bear, but its representation. The effect is similar to that of a superbly illustrated book in which the animal is photographed with such artistry and imagination as to make it seem unreal. The colours are often strong and vivid, sometimes warm, sometimes ice cold, in this veiled attempt at truthfulness. Patrizia Medail pieces together a mosaic of colours and materials starting from an only slightly suggested grid, a design that suggests a form. The medium gradually builds up on the canvas until attaining a form based on affinities among colours, tones, thicknesses, and on a sense of adequacy, becoming a mountain landscape or a forest from which emerges a solitary animal, or group of animals. As in a photograph, the image is fixed at a particular moment in time, usually with the animal poised for action. This is even more pronounced in the large works, where form and mass cover almost the entire canvas surface. It is also curious to notice how the body of these often ferocious animals (as I said, tigers, panthers, bears) with there menacing gaze, is lengthened by a very long tail. At the same time, the pictures incorporate suggestive silhouettes of umbrella pines and Sicilian agaves standing out like provocative tongues. This great, richly imaginative fresco conveys far away atmospheres and worlds. Rather like Salgari, Medail conjures up countries, landscapes and animals, bringing them to us with the spontaneity of an adventure writer. The lion remains a frightening, wild animal, and yet, we can touch him. This is the tactile character of a work made up, mostly, of glue and scissors.

Reference number



Italy Circa 2001


54 cm x 54cm

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