We like to experiment with anything that can be used as an art tool. We never get bored of reinventing ourselves.
Italian artist Matteo Mauro mixes analog and digital tools to generate artworks with a distinctly contemporary sensibility. His captivating sculptures reference artistic legacy yet provide a refreshing take on a classic genre. The artist, however, does not limit himself to sculpture; the Matteo Mauro Studio creates a broad array of artworks, including paintings, video art, installations, and augmented reality pieces.
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
Q. Was there a pivotal moment in your life that made you decide to pursue art as a career?
A. It was in my early twenties; I felt unhappy about my life and what I was doing and I was looking for the right path. I have been connected to art from a very young age, as my mother always collected paintings and is a real museum enthusiast. The decision of pursuing a career in art is traceable to the time I started to connect with London’s contemporary art scene. Regularly attending performance art events and visiting artists’ studios, manifested a clear vocation. Then, I decided to not accept an offer to continue to work with Ron Arad Associates; I felt ready to begin my own journey.
Q. You have a background in architecture; does this find its way into your work or do you see the two as distinctly separate disciplines?
A. Despite the
fact that I no longer practice as an Architect, I can clearly see influences of
my studies in my art. The main thing that I notice when I encounter a colleague
artist, is how organized I am in my plans and my studio in comparison, and
how I am able to deal with a team. These are skills that I definitely learned during my
time in architecture. I also see its influence in the way I approach an art
project, the way I plan sculptures and draw them as if they were buildings.
However, in architecture, I felt there were too many restrictions, which I don’t
encounter in art. That is why my choice for art/freedom was a natural thing.
Q. You were born in Italy and have spent a significant amount of time in London, what is the main difference in terms of artistic environment and cultural influences between the two for you? Do you think either, or both, have an impact on your work today?
A. Italy is a great country, which still exists as an old-fashioned state. It is not modern but has personality. It is easy to imagine yourself in a time warp while you walk around Italy. London gives you the impression of living at the center of the world where life is worth living. It makes you forget about the rest of the planet. London has taught me what contemporary art is and how varied it can be. The UK has taught me how to make art catchy, Italy has thought me how to make art special.
Q. Your work seems to embrace elements of ancient, classical culture, yet is produced with modern tools. How do you navigate this balance between the old and the new and what would you like to achieve with this re-imagination of the classics?
A. We still feel connected to art history, and this is something the studio constantly taps into, but we also create things that look very disconnected from history and are perhaps more related to a new wave of art-making, influenced by current trends. We like to continue journeys that were commenced by other artistic talents. Rather than starting from scratch, we like to start with an idea that already worked, recently or thousands of years ago. We believe art is a shared journey that started with the first human beings and that continues endlessly. What I create today will always be connected to what has been done at any time in art history, since we are water from the same river.
Q. You work in a broad array of different media, is this a product of curiosity?
A. Yes, it is. We like to experiment with anything that can be used as an art tool. We never get bored of reinventing ourselves.
Q. You create sculptures both in resin and in bronze, two, one could say, almost contradictory materials in terms of look and feel; what would you like each material to convey?
A. I like to think that resin holds the form only, bronze holds the form and the spirit. The resin is something you can watch and enjoy. The bronze is something you can have a conversation with.
Q. Could you take us through your artistic process for your sculptures? How does an initial idea find its way to three-dimensional form?
A. Every piece tends to start with a title related to a biographical event. This is then written down on paper. A few days or months later, a drawing will begin to appear. That drawing is then modeled in 3d, analogically or digitally. From then on, the sculpture comes alive. Generally, each piece has been thought about for at least 1 year before it goes into production.
Q. What would you like your work to evoke in the viewer?
Joy. Interest. Respect for life. Beauty. Celebration of care. In other words: ART.
Q. You do not limit yourself to creating art – you have also written a book. Could you tell us a bit more about this?
A. Micromegalic Inscriptions is a milestone in our research into classical standards. This is where our most widely recognized art project started; we wanted to tell the history behind our creations. I wrote this book about 5 years ago and still get applauded by readers and critics alike. I am now working on another book: an investigation into the meaning of Art.
Q. What does the future hold for the Matteo Mauro Studio?
A. New art adventures: we are working on 10 new series of sculptures which will be released in the next 5 years; we are moving to a bigger studio where we will organize training for young artists; and much, much more.
Q. Could you describe your work in three words?
A. Good and bad.