Paolo Porelli received his degree in painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome. In 1990, he opened his own ceramics studio. Since that time, he has produced sculpture and functional pottery. In 2012, he co-founded c.r.e.t.a. rome, an international center for ceramic arts. He was elected a member of the International Academy of Ceramics in 2021.
Porelli has exhibited widely in Europe, the US and Asia. "Figure Out: Catastrophe or Regeneration", his first solo show in an American museum will open at the Holter Museum of Art in Helena, Montana this summer. A single file of statues will wind its way around the gallery space. The works were created in residencies at Arch Contemporary and The Clay Studio of Philadelphia.
In Italy, the Museo della Ceramica of Savona will include his "Madonne Protestanti" in an exhibition dedicated to the Madonna "Ho visto la Madonna!" slated for March through May.
The presentation of the selected works of the 3rd Blanc de Chine International Ceramic Art Award will be held in Hangzhou, China this September. Porelli's installation Panthèon Blanc” is composed of a group of almost 30 pieces, heterogeneous in nature and dimensions, arranged on five rows of ascending steps. Each sculpture reflects an openness to the influences of the history of art of all times and places, passing through the votive sculptures and figurines of the Western and Eastern traditions to linger over the white porcelain figures of Blanc de Chine.
In 2022, his installation "Madonne Protestanti: Terzo Atto" was presented at Argillà in Faenza. He also participated in the ceramic biennial "Ethos: Keramikos 2022", curated by Vittorio Sgarbi (above). Later that year, his work was selected for the 40th Mostra Internazionale della Ceramica d'Arte di Gualdo Tadino, curated by Rolando Giovannini and Nello Teodori.
Last year, his American solo show "From Stereotype to Archetype" was finally held, after being postponed due to Covid. The exhibition included two series of works produced during a 2020 residency at Arch Contemporary, based on 3-D printed models and historical figurines (right below). He also participated in "Visioni Contemporanee: Venti Artisti a Castel Sant'Angelo" in Rome with three large-scale figures of saints (left below).
In Italy, his collaborative project with Maurizio Tittarelli Rubboli "RefleX: figures for reflection" (right below) was presented in a solo show at the Palazzo Ducale in Gubbio in 2021. Selected for the 61th Premio Faenza (cancelled due to Covid), it is an installation of 29 terracotta figures glazed with in-glaze lustre that extends along the diagonals of a rectangular wall to emphasize orthographically the final X of the word reflex. The modeling of the sculptures was done by Porelli during his residency at EKWC (European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands). Starting from two models printed in 3-D, a plaster mould was produced to create multiples. Later each figure was slip-cast and modified to endow each with individuality. Other works made at EKWC with the same technique have been selected for the Korean International Ceramic Biennial 2021 (left below) that are on display at the Gyeonggi Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art.
Since 2011, Porelli has participated in numerous international residency programs. This year, he will be a Guest Artist in Residence at The Clay Studio of Philadelphia, Next year, he will be a Visiting Artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana, timed to coincide with his solo exhibition at the Holter Museum from late July through September 2023. In the winter of 2024, he has been invited to the University of Arkansas as Visiting Artist.
Past residencies include the Woodman Family Residency in 2021 and the Winter Installation residency at Arch Contemporary in Rhode Island in 2019/20. From December 2018 to March 2019, Porelli was a resident at the European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands/ Sunday Morning@EKWC. A solo show "Protestant Madonnas" curated by André Groeneveld, at the Firma Van Drie in Gouda, presented a series of more than 200 sculptures produced at EKWC. At the beginning of 2017, he was guest artist in residence at the Jingdezhen International Studio, then in August, he was in Dehua, China for the Blanc de Chine International Ceramic Art Award residency program.
In 2019, he was shortlisted for the "2020 Taiwan Ceramics Biennial" at New Taipei City Yingge Ceramics Museum and for the "Cheongju International Craft Competition 2019", Cheongju, Korea for work made during the ICCA residency in Dehua, China. The "Ceramics of Europe Westerwaldprize 2019" in Westerwald, Germany included his life-size statue "La Primera" as well as the installation "Globalisation Camouflage" made in Dehua, China. His work "Triade" was also selected to participate in the XIV Biennal Internacional de Ceràmica de Manises 2019. In the summer of 2018, his work "Votive Wall" received the 2nd prize in the 38 Concurso Internacional de Ceràmica-CICA 2018", in L’Alcora, Spain. He participated with his work "Metallic Idols" in the Ceramic Art Andenne 2018", Triennial, ("Contemporary Expressions of Italy", curated by Martha Pachon Rodriguez) in Andenne, Belgium. Selected to represent Italy in the European Ceramic Context 2018 Open Call exhibition in Bornholm, Denmark, he presented the installation "Jingdezhen Quintet". Other group exhibitions include the 2nd Porzellanbiennale in Meissen, Germany, the Italian biennial, “Ceramics in Love”, 58 Mostra della Ceramica in Castellamonte and "Tra-Vasi ovvero Vasi Comunicanti, contenitore e contenuto nella ceramica contemporanea" in the Nobile Contrada del Nicchio in Siena. "Deconstructing the Conversation" at Morgan Glass Gallery in conjunction with NCECA in Pittsburgh, PA, USA included three of his figurative pieces.
Earlier solo shows include "Idols + Divinities" at Heidmann Art Salon, Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, MO, USA (2018), and "Humanae Terrae", his 2-person show with the Spanish artist, Sophie Aguilera Lester, curated by the director of the Museo Internazionale della Ceramica of Faenza, Claudia Casali, at the Honos Art Gallery in Rome, Italy (2017). His fellowship residency at Red Star Studios in Kansas City culminated in a solo show "Humankind:The Sublime & the Ridiculous" in 2016. He was also a summer resident artist at The Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Guest Artist in Residence at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, artist in residency at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild and visiting artist at Kansas State University.