Introduction “Milk, Blood, Dark” and “Divine Flesh” by Massimiliano Geraci

Massimo Paganini’s artistic research gyrates around the body like (Deleuze and Guattari’s) desiring machine; node of urges and passions whose rhythms, rising and falling, contracting and easing, form a weave of affections which both precede and exceed the classic pairing of love and death. It is a tangle which Paganini chooses to evoke, rather than define, through the rhythmic repetition of the recurring colours: red, white and black.
This articulation in an essential chromatism and the theme of following one’s self along the paths of desire, excitement-release-tranquillity, is continued and maintained throughout Paganini’s art by way of photography, drawings and installations.
If on white the body expands, tends towards melting, to lose itself and to merge into everything; on red it is the flesh turns to itself, starting from its edge in order to continue searching inwards and beyond, right to its core. In contrast, black closes the limbs like a fist: on black the body is erect and strives for maximum tension in order to reach the exterior, or simply the next instant.
In Paganini’s colour and sign, the material which forms the body is followed, battled, lost, and recovered under continuous muscular stress. It has both an erotic and an athletic tension, as explosive and liberating as a laugh, allowing you to see the sounds being perspired from the flesh, all the while being suffocated, restrained, and only just able to exhale. As in the tranquil surrounds of the artist’s favoured Hamams, Paganini’s bodies let themselves go. Wrapped in sheaths of steam (white again), they abandon themselves to a positive passivity, but not without having already enjoyed their pleasure.
Disposal of the body and its sensory mechanisms, but also disposal of the charcoal (a willow tree that has been stripped, dried and “baked in a vacuum” to be precise) which, in the words of the artist, “caresses the paper,  which itself becomes like flesh in its wake, exhaling  a breath of impalpable smut, or frustrates, breaking itself on contact with the surface, crumbling on itself in an explosion of shards saved in the half-closed palm of a hand.”

Massimo Paganini’s drawing is active, created in and by its own materialisation: a gesture. It is a decelerated and contracted dynamism set in the fluid instant with the alchemy of carbonized charcoal: mineralised flesh or flesh-like mineral. Primeval moods, muscular tensions, tight like the arch of a tendon, emerging through removal, as though the charcoal - instead of remaining fixed - were being scraped away by a dense primordial black.
Modern aesthetic research has tended to set drawing against colour. In general, colour is used to evoke, to open the imagination, to symbolize movement in time and space; emotion and expression stretched to breaking point. Furthermore, it is used as an ornament, an artifice or even a sleight of hand. The design and signs more generally, act as instruments of precision, clarification, veracity, formal definition both conceptually as well as ideologically. If the colour is visceral, the design is skin and bone. That which the colour transports and distances, the design blocks and closes. Nevertheless, as Baudelaire said "A good drawing is not a hard, despotic, motionless line enclosing a form like a strait jacket [...] Drawing should be like nature, living and reckless." Massimo Paganini’s sketches embody this exact quality, blurring the binary distinctions of modern beauty which still influence us.
Paganini portrays feminine figures by drawing on real images, attracted by the images’ skin and convinced that it is the drawing itself that grows skin. However, the “freeze frames” from which he takes inspiration, rather than drawing your eye to a transcendental dimension, communicate a collapse which tones down the clarifying character of the drawing, bringing it to a primordial dimension, as humid and porous as the female climax that it represents. Keeping with the body which becomes a membrane in the moment of the orgasm, the drawing’s ‘skin’ is then epidermal because it is simultaneously visceral, while both bulging and sagging. A sign that defies the balance, and a look that follows the lines, wrapping itself around itself like a Möbius strip, in one instant inside, then inexplicably out.
Paganini fully expresses this necessity for space - that sheaths and flexes, that refracts gazes beyond the surface of the image - in the series entitled “Volumes”.
These pictorial structures, chromatic high-relieves wrap themselves with digital print techniques in order to escape their bi-dimension.

The Plexiglas on which the drawing is printed is projected, ruby-coloured, and at the same time absorbed, creating an ensemble of tonal fluxes and shadows which in chasing each other, bring the piece into three dimensions. He projects architectures that generate perceptual flux, that delight once again a rapport of experiential resonance - in this case being portrayed on a formal level - with the Hamam (“the vapour and marble cathedral” as Paganini like to refer to them), with its lateral alcoves for massages, even more intimate and hot, even more uterine and amniotic.