Maximilian (Massimiliano Esposito) was born in Milan, Italy, on December 17, 1969. He started painting as a child and despite his art school training, he has maintained an instinctive approach to his work, letting his subconscious dictate his subject matter. The recurring figure of a pre-adolescent child, neither male nor female, lends a coherence to this free-form universe. Since moving to Paris, France, in 2012, his work has focused on that unripe phase of human existence when gender is still undefined and sexuality has yet to be expressed. The melancholy and reflective characters he portrays are experiencing the often difficult and painful transition from childhood games and innocence to the first upsets of adolescence and adulthood.
To me, being an artist comes from a deep-rooted necessity. It’s a natural way to transform your emotions, fears and desires into a concrete object like a painting. It’s the representation of an idea, using a language made up of images – much of it channeled directly from my subconscious, with little in the way of filters. I’ve been making art since I was a child and it’s always been my favorite way to spend my time, to be alone and to be able to visit my inner world. Since arriving in Paris, I’ve started a new series of art works representing pre-adolescent boys – an age when the games and innocence of childhood give way to adult thoughts and concerns. That phase when boys turn into men, between the ages of 10 and 14, is a stage when sexuality is still not fully expressed and when gender is still fairly fluid. My characters are androgynous precisely because I want to represent that sexual duality.