Francesco Vezzoli’s work explores power of contemporary popular culture. By closely emulating formats of various media, such as advertising and film, he addresses ongoing preoccupations with the fundamental ambiguity of truth, the seductive power of language, and the instability of the human persona. Vezzoli works in various media, including embroidery and video.
Francesco Vezzoli was born in 1971 in Brescia, Italy. He received a BFA from the Central Saint Martins School of Art in London in 1995. He first employed embroidery, a distinctly outdated artistic medium, as a reaction against the London art scene of the mid-1990's that contextualized his education. In his early works from 1994 to 1996, Vezzoli reenvisioned twentieth-century masterpieces by Mark Rothko and Josef Albers as modest-sized hand stitched petit point embroideries.
Upon his return to Italy, Vezzoli created his first series of films entitled An Embroidered Trilogy (1997–99), in which the artist cast himself as the inert embroiderer who remains indifferent to the emotive melodramas performed around him by famous divas. In 1999 Vezzoli began to create his signature canvases with laser-print images of iconic actresses, models, and singers, onto which the artist embroidered metallic threads to form tears or blood.
Three of Vezzoli’s works have been selected for the International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Works that he has shown at this exhibition include Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula, which was designed as a hypothetical remake of the pornographic film I, Caligula by Tinto Brass. The trailer featured Milla Jovovich, Benicio Del Toro, and Courtney Love, among others. The next year, Vezzoli entered a film titled Democrazy, about a mock United States presidential election campaign. Sharon Stone and Bernard-Henri Levy play the candidates in that film. Vezzoli is considered an investigator of the myths of pop culture, and his works often feature pop icons and the stars of both the big and small screen, reminiscent of his influencer, Andy Warhol.
Vezzoli’s work has been shown in exhibitions around the world, including at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and the National Gallery of Jeu de Paume in Paris. He currently resides in Milan, Italy.