Elio Varuna was born in Rome in 1975. He lives and works between Rome and Berlin.
Varuna has shown his artwork in many private galleries and in public museums in Italy, in Germany, in China, India and in the United States, for example in a solo show at the National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome as well as in the group show “Apocalypse Wow!” at MACRO (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma) and at PAN Museum (Naples). In 2008, Varuna was selected by the Ministry of Culture to represent the young Italian art during the “X Settimana della Cultura”. He was the only Italian artist who participated in the 2009 -Biennial of Shanghai called “ANIMAMIX - The New Aesthetics of the 21st Century” which took place at the MoCA of Shanghai.
His work has been reviewed in several press articles, as well as in TV shows and in radio interviews. The Italian public channel RAI 4 has produced a documentary film about him.
A part from his paintings, Varuna has achieved great success by posting his bill boards in different cities, through which he tries to sensitize the public awareness of art.
Varuna has deepened his artistic research by studying esoteric Eastern cultures, alchemy, and European pagan tradition, that he compares to modern Western civilization, thereby decoding the inner connections to nowadays’ life and its implications with globalization.
Since Elio Varuna embarked on this Dantesque journey, he has translated his experiences into unique acrylic paintings. His manner of matching elements within imaginary landscapes recalls surrealistic techniques such as those used by Max Ernst and Salvador Dalì. Alternating objects like cups, salami, fabulous animals, asteroids, or fairy-tales’ characters, that often emerge from his works, seem to replace the “bold metaphor” of the Surrealists’ aesthetic.
In his works, Varuna generates his own mythology by updating the outward features of ancestral characters and by transfiguring and alienating sacred myths of their cultures. Specific symbols and painted ceremonies indicate alchemists’ rites that need to be discovered. Varuna’s paintings allow the observer to catch a glimpse of dreamworlds where even peculiar apparitions alternate with elements of a surprisingly real world.
Moisty environments, liquids, water or other flowing elements, embodied in soap bubbles, blood, fountains etc. can be seen as allegories of life, or might allude to hidden sexual desires that are sublimated to creative effusions in Varuna’s artwork. Dream-like visions, full of objects of everyday’s life, are the leitmotiv of his work: the unavoidable dichotomy of universe, where darkness is opposed to light, male to female being, and reality to imagination.
In the age we’re living in – which the artist Varuna recognizes as the era of Kali Yuga – the only way to conciliate the opposites, will be achieved by the artistic procedure of dis-solution (the alchemist motto “solve et coagula!”).