We like to experiment with anything that can be used as an art tool. We never get bored of reinventing ourselves.
Matteo Mauro is an artist born in Sicily and currently based in London and Milan. After graduating from the University College of London with a degree in Architecture, Mauro worked with several influential designers, such as Ron Arad and Isaie Bloch.
Coming from Sicily, Mauro often finds himself immersed in the world of classical art. However, his artistic approach departs from traditional classics as he developed his unique technique that mixes analogue and digital tools. With this, he generated a distinctly contemporary sensibility, which critics have deemed hyper-contemporary. It is his explorative and timeless approach that produced fresh solutions that mediate infinitely between reality and dreams.
Mauro’s works have been exhibited in various museums and galleries worldwide, such as Royal Academy of Arts, Marte Museum and Museo della Fabbrica. Mauro has also been awarded the Master of Arts prize in 2018 and the International Van Gogh Prize.
Q. Was there a pivotal moment in your life that made you decide to pursue art as a career?
It was in my early twenties. I felt unhappy about my life and what I was doing. I was looking for my way. I have been connected to art from a very young age, as my mother always collected paintings and she is a museum enthusiast. The decision to pursue an art career is traceable to the time I started connecting with London’s contemporary art scene. Regularly attending performance art events and visiting artists’ studios, made clear a vocation ready to be manifested. Then, I decided not to accept an offer to continue working with Ron Arad Associates as I felt ready to begin my own journey.
Q. You have a background in architecture; do you feel like this find its way into your work or do you see the two as separate disciplines?
Although I am no longer practising as an Architect, I can clearly see the influences of my studies in my art. The main thing that I notice when I encounter an artist colleague is how organised I am in my plans and studio and how I can deal with a team. Skills that I definitely learned during the architectural time of my life. There are also influences on how I approach an art project, how I plan sculptures and draw them as if they were buildings. However, I felt too many restrictions in architecture, which I don’t encounter in art. That is why my choice towards art/freedom was natural.
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?
Italy is a great country, which still lives as an old state. It is not modern but has its 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 centre 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 diverse it is. The UK has taught me how to make art catchy, and Italy has taught 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?
We still feel bonded to art history, which explains why the studio constantly taps into this realm. But we also create things which look very disconnected from history and perhaps relate to a new wave of art-making influenced by current trends. We always like to continue journeys that are commenced by other artistic talents. Rather than starting from scratch, we prefer to start with an idea that already worked, nowadays or thousands of years ago. We believe art is a shared journey that began with the first human being and still goes on as an endless journey. What I will 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?
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?
I like to think that resin holds the form only, but bronze holds the form and the spirit. While 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?
Everything often starts with a title related to a biographical event, which will then be transferred onto paper. A few days or months later, a drawing will begin to appear. The drawing is then modelled in 3D, analogically or digitally. From then on, the sculpture is alive. Generally speaking, each piece is thought for at least one year before 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?
Micromegalic Inscriptions is a milestone in our research into the classical standards. That is where our mostly recognised art project started. We wanted to tell the history behind our creations. I wrote this book around five years ago, and we still get rewards from the readers and the critique. 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?
New art adventures. We are working on ten new series of sculptures which will be released in the next five years. We are moving to a bigger studio to organise training for young artists and much much more.
Q. Could you describe your work in three words?
Good and bad.