Born in Bordeaux, France, Yann Leto (b. 1979) has been residing in Spain for over a decade, and recently moved to Rome. In the period between 2015 and 2016 Leto lived and worked in Rome, since he was granted a Scholarship of the Royal Spanish Academy. Leto has widely exhibited throughout Europe, and actively participates in various art fairs. Following his first solo show in Los Angeles in 2019, Leto gained international recognition.
At the beginning of his career, Leto was strongly influenced by American and French comics, the underground culture of the 90s, and German expressionism of the post-war period. Exploring irony as his primary tool, Leto embraces equivocal topics and sociopolitical criticism through his distinctive and liberating painting technique. Although Leto’s paintings often convey different narratives, the portrayals of people in dynamic settings, indoors or outdoors, remain fundamentally in his imaginative worlds. Sports, television, social networks and personal experiences serve as sources of inspiration for Leto from which he draws his ironic ideas and critiques.
Lеto incorporates motifs and iconography from different periods of art history, but always gives his pieces a modern twist. One can witness elements from Cubism, mixed with the fluidity and vibrancy of Matisse’s forms, and many other hints to various artistic styles – a beautiful fusion sprinkled with Leto’s distinct punk attitude. His thought-provoking artworks create narratives that can be perceived as surreal collages. A lover of classical painting, Leto combines inspiration from great masterpieces of art history and incorporates elements from his surrounding environment. This fusion creates collage-like imagery, which is also the result of a collection of hard drives filled with digital files, Google images, newspaper clippings and articles. The radio also plays a crucial role in the creative process, as it gives Leto a continuous flow of information, from sports to the most tragic news. Leto also examines and utilises images from social networks since everything is already ‘an online caricature’. Through investigation of all these sources, Leto generates a variety of different storylines, deeply unique and with no rules for the protagonists – a purely visual and emotional circuit that reproduces new narratives and re-positions individuals in a turbulent society.