Lino Frongia was born in Montecchio (Reggio Emilia, Italy) in 1958, where he still lives and works. Having earned a diploma in fine arts from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Bologna, he began painting immediately. His early work very clearly reflects his unique vision: a focus on artistry and brushstrokes, as well as the recurring use of citations.
His first solo exhibition was hosted by the art gallery La Minima in Reggio Emilia in 1980. This was followed by several contributions to prestigious collective exhibitions, among which the inclusion in the XI Quadriennale in Rome in 1986. That same year was the year of his second personal exhibition, this time at the gallery La Tartaruga, in Rome.
Frongia’s works from this period are shaped by a lighthearted return to Mannerism and Baroque art (he draws inspiration from the work of Titian, Rubens, and Van Dyck), as well as a mastery of technique. His citations are consistently tinged with visionary power: a metallic light illuminates his works, pouring over dazzled creatures distorted by their hypertrophic muscles and hypocephalic bodies.
In the years that followed, Frongia abandoned these early traits in favor of a more intimate and gentle approach. The human remains at the heart of his artistic investigation in this phase, as he concentrates on portraits, self portraits, and depictions of enigmatic characters who share ambiguous glances while immersed in a timeless space. The latter are reminiscent of the aimless waiting that characterizes the post-metaphysical works by De Chirico or of the realism in Antonio Donghi’s paintings.
Having experimented with a series of paintings “in the dark” by using lightless chromatisms, the dawn of the twenty-first century sees Frongia turning to minimalist design. In these works, perspective lines become evanescent or topsy turvy, distorting the images, while the notion of the double becomes central. He also enriches these works with recurring symbols, such as the carriage, the door, and the cherubs.
An ample retrospective exhibition entitled “Lino Frongia: works 1979-2009” was part of the 2009 edition of the “Festival dei Due Mondi” in Spoleto.
In 2021, Rovereto’s Art Museum, MART organized a personal exhibition of his works.