His work draws on a wide range of archeological, mythological and stylistic sources, including Egyptian, Etruscan, Greco-Roman, early Christian and Romanesque Art, claiming all of them as legitimate sources in a non-hierarchical manner. The artwork Ecce Homo well represents this union of different elements and languages, merging the sacred with the folk culture, in an unique painting way.
In the same way, he has worked and become prolific in a variety of media, including, in addition to drawing and painting, printmaking in many different techniques and sculpture. Between 1978 and 1980, he was creating monochromatic, primary colored paintings to which he attached geometric elements and found objects, such as twigs and masks, and by 1983 he was attaching sculptural forms, usually in carved wood, to his canvases, lending them a fetishistic quality. In the early 1980s Paladino began to recreate his archaic personages in bronze using colored patinas, and to carve in wood and stone, creating totemic objects and masks as well as truncated animals and human figures. His work, in its proliferation of techniques and sources, can be seen to blur distinctions between sculpture and painting and to set up dialogue between both traditional and minimal modes of representation.
In 1980, in the exhibition Aperto 80, the art critic Achille Bonito Oliva first grouped Paladino with other Italian artists of his generation, Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi and Nicola De Maria, calling them the Transavanguardia(Transavantgarde). During the Nineties, he continued to experiment with materials and techniques, creating etchings, paintings on metal and other materials (cycles Zenith,1999, Laboratory, 2000), installations (cycle Architecture, 2000) and sculptures (Hortus conclusus in Benevento, 1992 and the I Dormienti (The dormant) cycle, 1998 donated in 2000 to the town of Poggibonsi, Siena). In 1990 he created the set design for La Sposa di Messina (The Bride of Messina) by JCF Schiller for Gibellina, building for the first time the Montagna di Sale (Salt Mountain), installation then revived in Naples (1995-96); he curated other theatrical sets (Costellazioni, 1992; Oedipus Re, 2000; Tancredi, 2002; Oedipus a Colono, 2004; Oedipus rex e Cavalleria rusticana, 2007) and more recently, in 2010, he signed the scenery of the tour from L. and F. De Gregori. In 2001 he performed for the city of Rome a monumental mosaic for the new production of the Ara Pacis. Since 1999 he is honorary member of the Royal Academy in London. Paladino has presented his work in numerous solo exhibitions: Monaco of Bavaria, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, 1985; Florence, Forte Belvedere, 1993; Naples, National Museum of Capodimonte, 1995-96; London, South London Gallery, 1999; Florida, Boca Raton Museum of Art, 2001; Prato, Center for Contemporary Art Luigi Pecci, 2002-03; Ravenna, Art Museum, 2005, Rome, Ara Pacis, 2008). In 2011, in the Palazzo Reale of Milan was staged a major retrospective that looks back at the last forty years of his career.
Italian painter and sculptor, versatile exponent of the Transavanguardia(Transavantgarde movement), Paladino merges figurative and artistic references from many different cultural areas, experimenting materials and techniques, working on recycled objects and sculpting archaic totemic figures.