Giulio Paolini was born in Genoa in 1940. He has lived in Turin since 1952 and for a few years has also been spending part of his time in Paris. His first publicised work was Disegno geometrico in 1960, a canvas on which he completed solely the preliminary geometric outline.
Paolini's works have always centred around specific themes of art, relating to progressively wider areas that reduce their uniqueness and allow them to allude to an infinity of possible existences. His paintings from the years 1960-1964 portray a broad array of instruments and techniques used for painting and drawing (cans of paint, brushes, easels, canvas preparation, squaring up). In exhibition projects, including that of his first personal exhibition at La Salita in Rome in 1964, he analysed the relationship between works of art and the exhibition area and the behaviour of the observer. This led to works - paintings or installations - that projected their own image within the area where they were displayed (2200/H from 1965; Quattro immagini uguali from 1969) and featured the use of photography (with photographs that had never been taken by the artist, such as those impressed upon canvas in the works entitled Diaframma 8 from 1965 and D867 from 1967: the first shows Paolini while he is transporting a canvas, the second while he is transporting the previous work). Paolini theorised the concept of quotation as a means of conveying his own emotions to the observer. In his art, quotation always takes the form of textual incorporation, combining works reproduced in photographs, paintings by other artists, plaster casts, old prints or literary passages. In Giovane che guarda Lorenzo Lotto, the title integrates the work which consists of a life-size reproduction of the painting by Lotto entitled Ritratto di Giovane, and for a brief moment transforms the observer into Lorenzo Lotto.
>From 1969 onwards Paolini worked intensely in the theatre, for many years in collaboration with Carlo Quartucci. In addition to invitations to the Venice Biennial (1979, 1976, 1984, 1993, 1997) and to Documenta in Kassel (1977, 1982, 1993), the 1980s also brought an increasing number of personal exhibitions in museums in Italy and abroad and publication of books containing his writings, as he assiduously complemented his work with writing.