Enea Toldo (Locarno, 1988) is a Swiss self-taught painter based in Milan, Italy, who paints on canvas or wooden panels he plasters with a mixture of raw earth, sand and straw. These backgrounds respond to precise environmental reflections, his practice revolves around the use of natural and low-impact materials. In his paintings, he addresses current urgent issues like waste, extinction and rising sea levels. He moved to strictly painterly research in 2019 after learning to plaster with raw earth while building an oven for the farmhouse he was living in. Prior to painting, he had a decade-long career in graphic design. In 2024 he had a solo show at Condominio in Milan, Italy and participated in the group show wtf - we tolerate failure at Spazio In Situ in Rome. In 2023 he participated in the group shows 室内景观 (Paysages Intérieurs) at La Rada in Locarno, Switzerland, La Regionale at Villa Ciani in Lugano, and the international residency ExtrArtis in Sorrento, Italy. In 2022 he was awarded the ExtrArtis Art Prize, being selected at ReA! Art Fair at Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan, Italy.

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[design studio website]

[PDF Portfolio (8,9 mb)]

Solo Exhibitions
2024 Saluti dalle terre di domani, curated by Caterina Angelucci and Andrea Elia Zanini, Condominio, Milan
2022 I'd be more dirty if I could, text by Simona Squadrito, Un villaggio differente, Milan

Selected Group Exhibitions
2024 wtf - we tolerate failure, curated by Alessandra Cecchini, Spazio In Situ, Rome
2023 La Regionale 23, curated by ACXSI (Daniele Agostini, Giada Olivotto, Sibilla Panzeri, Sébastien Peter), Villa Ciani, Lugano
2023 Play_ACT, curated by Giovanni Menna, Palazzo Gravina, Naples
2023 室内景观 (Paysages Intérieurs), curated by Yimei Zhang and Neda Zanetti, La Rada, Locarno
2022 ReA! Art Fair, curated by Milena Zanetti, Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan
2021 BLUESHOUSE, curated by Giada Olivotto, BluesHouse, Milan
2021 Ecosistemi, curated by Eleonora de Biasi and Irene Crosta, Alle Ortiche, Serre San Nicola, Genoa
2021 Costellazioni, Galleria espositiva El Bagnin De Gorla, Milan
2019 Fuori Fuorisalone, Spazio 1B, Lugano
2017–2018 The Most Beautiful Swiss Books, Zurich/Rhode Island (USA)/San José (Costa Rica)/London/Paris/Copenhagen/Oslo/Vienna/Brussels
2016 SWISS STYLE NOW, 41 Cooper Gallery, New York*
2011 Nel segno inciso, Museo Vincenzo Vela, Ligornetto

2022 ExtraArtis Art Prize 2022, ReA! Art Fair
2017 The Most Beautiful Swiss Book, Bundesamt für Kultur Schweiz
2016 European Design Awards, gold, category «Best of Show»*
2014 Type Directors Club New York, «Certificate of Typographic Excellence»*
2011 Premio Nazionale AAAC GIOVANI INCISORI

* with and on behalf of Raffinerie AG

Publications and Texts
Art Maze Magazine Double Issue 32-33
, 2023
Opera Magazine Issue 11, editorial, text by Raffaella Ferraro, 2023
I'd be more dirty if I could
, by Simona Squadrito, 2022
ACT! Programme, artist statement, 2022
ReA! Art Fair 2022 Catalogue
, text by Milena Zanetti, 2022 (catalog)
NOIA Magazine Issue 2
, online and print, 2022
Die schoensten Schweizer Buecher 2016
, Bundesamt fuer Kultur, Bern, 2017 (catalog)
Abbracci Arborei
, Stopdesert, Lugano, 2013
Quaderni 74: Enea Toldo
, Associazione Amici dell'Atelier Calcografico, Novazzano, 2011
Syndicom N.16
, Syndicom, 2011
Poetica Pittura Tipografica
, Selfpublished in 25 nmbered copies, 2009

2023 Artist in residence, Savvala (Latvia)
2023 Artist in residence, ExtrArtis Artists Residencies for Creative Economy, Relais La Rupe, Sorrento

2022 Getting It Across: Communicating Your Art Practice, ACT Programme
2008 Studied Graphic Design at Centro Scolastico per le Industrie Artistiche, Lugano

Artist statement
I work with raw earth-based plasters, an artisanal technique used in natural building, onto which I work using oil and watercolour paint. Some of my paints are ground-up earth mixed with linseed oil, every stroke applied by brush or thorn I apply, is spaced from the previous stroke, to allow the image porosity and to avoid hierarchy within the materials. Similarly, using low-impact and locally foraged materials like volcanic sand, they bring their own chromatic or light reflection, traces of heat and depth — the work reverberates a relation to the environment.

If I were a prehistoric plant, maybe I could grow spines’ suggests the thoughts on mutation that run through my practice. Prehistoric plants have survived millions of years, able to adapt to the harshest climate changes, seeing them stand around in pots, I wonder if they now use human beings to propagate.
Places I visited in Malaysia ought to be submerged by 2050, according to current calculations. Using local sand rather than straw, with flowers, grasses, and leaves; I mimicked an uncertain future in the material fragility of the paintings.

Though I have a slightly sarcastic undertone towards humanity, the works are colourful and bright and look like they could grow, a clash between what I think and what happens during painting. The work starts with ways of relating to natural environment and its uncertain futures. It is imagery as seen from the point between one’s eyebrows; amidst, but off-center.

© Enea Toldo, 2023

They use us, 2023

Expressing fragility is as important as expressing strength, 2023

Eighteen post cards, 2023

Rifugio dall'umanità 3/1/2, 2023

Il frutto, 2023

Vortice, 2023

Se fossi una pianta preistorica mi farei crescere le spine, 2023

Al fiume quando ero fragile/Letto di sassi, 2022

Untitled petrol devil 20, 2023

The two headed and the two tailed snake, 2022

Fruits, plastic, fire, 2022

All'infinito ci mordiamo, 2022


Luce blu arancia, microdosi, alghe portate dal fiume, letto di sassi, 2022

Flavia, Giovanni, Sara, Francesco, Marta, 2021-2022

Petrol Devil V, 2022

Untitled (Totentanz study), 2021

La grande moria, 2021

Totentanz II, 2022

Totentanz, 2022

Untitled Cacti (per te), 2022

Oh, this one looks like an apple too, 2021

Oh, it looks like an apple, 2021

La tecnica è solo un mezzo per esprimere la vita interiore/Untitled Cacti 4, 2021

Untitled Cacti 2, 2021

Untitled (Cacti), 2021