Tales of Art gallery in Imola, Italy, is exhibiting the debut solo show by Julio Anaya Cabanding opening on April 27th and organized in partnership with Musei Civici di Imola. The young Spanish artist, whose public interventions and captivating studio works have caught the attention of mainstream media worldwide, will present his first ever gallery solo exhibition titled Unstolen, as well as his debut institutional presentation.

Curated by our friend and contributor Sasha Bogojev, the exhibition was conceptualized as an overview of Cabanding’s unique practice that is based on liberating precious classic masterpieces and bringing them closer to the general public. Through his poetic public interventions, Malaga-based artists started recreating the pieces from a local museum into abandoned and unpopular urban spaces through his hometown. Painstakingly rendering the image of a classic painting displayed in a museum, together with its framing, light and shadow effect, he wanted to juxtapose his trompe-l’oeil remakes of classic old masters against the remote atmosphere of abandoned places as well as started building an unprecedented bridge between the common people and often elitist fine art world. This unique concept brought the artist a lot of international interest and after showing his works through Spain, in Canada, and painting public works in Scotland recently, he is now opening his big solo debut in Italy.

Invited to present his work in Imola, a historic city that was a temporary home of Leonardo da Vinci back in autumn of 1502, the young Spanish artist wanted to mark the 500th anniversary since the death of the famed Italian Renaissance artist and polymath. Intrigued by the fact that it was Imola where Leonardo created the world’s earliest surviving ichnographic map, both beautifully drawn using delicate colors and washes and technically precise, Cabanding decided to pay a tribute to the master by recreating his Head of Leda drawing which was actually a study for the lost painting Leda and the Swan. The drawing will be presented at the Museo di San Domenico along with the drawings and studies by Leonardo’s contemporaries such as Carracci, from the museum’s permanent collection. Through such gesture, the artist is creating a glitch in his creative process and instead of “stealing” the work from museums to place them in urban space, he is bringing a very personal item that wasn’t originally created to be shown publicly, into a public institution.

The gallery presentation will include an overview of the artist’s public work captured on photographs as well as an original intervention painted on the walls of the gallery, along with a whole new series of studio works created exclusively for this exhibition. Including the iconic works by Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Monet, Friederich, Camprobin, or Vuillard, his studio pieces are painted on found cardboard which was primed through a custom developed process making it rigid and time resistant. Part of the new series of studio pieces will be displayed in a site-specific installation that will be built in the main space of the gallery, and the cooperation with Musei Civici di Imola is further extended by creating copies of the works from their collection, including the Portrait of a Woman by an unknown painter from Bologna, which was stolen from the museum last year, only to be found a few months later at the house of a local “collector”. Unstolen will be on view through the June 9th.