Statement

by Monica Mazzone

Statement

Be attracted to the “Nearly” and the “Infinity” focus attention on the idea of universal concept. Numerical and mental places become catalysts for contradictory truths. Alternative worlds, sometimes objective, sometimes narrative, sometimes sentimental and nostalgic turn into Image-Objects filled with meaning and intimate experiences. The creative method is saturated whit the feeling of an abstract memory, something atemporal. Emotional attention, ambiguity by definition, is the customary obsession. The quantity of a unit of measurement, be it real or arbitrary, thus becomes a quality index of the expression of the universal concept. The Work is the prerequisite by which to indicate, to talk, to tell, to say, to demonstrate and to express the possible inclination to Infinity.

Monica Mazzone

by Stefano Castelli

Milan 2017

Premio Cairo Catalogue - art prize

Carefully prepared with mathematical equations, the works of Monica Mazzone are a search for what the artist has defined as “emotive geometry”.
The manual creation brings irregularities and movement to compositions that are only apparently minimal.

The work for the Premio Cairo, Composizione per movimento unico, unites sculpture and panel painting.

The installation opens a series that the artisti is devoting to an inquiry into classical architectural orders and has as its starting point the orthogonal projections of Doric columns.

The viewers can pass through the work: in this way they find themselves at the intersection point of the orthogonal axes, surrounded by an interplay of fullness and voids, two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality.

Humanity finds its centrality in such disciplines as mathematics and geometry, wrongly held to be depersonalising.

 

Stefano Castelli

Monica Mazzone, i paradossi di una geometria emotiva

by Stefano Castelli

Milan 2017

August Issue of "Arte" - art magazine - N.528

(Italian Version)

Nella prima fase del suo lavoro, Monica Mazzone (Milano, 1984) elabora complesse equazioni matematiche, cercando di influenzare il risultato sin dalla scelta delle variabili.
Ne derivano forme rigorose ma suggestive, una sorta di “antiminimalismo” declinato in disegni, sculture di alluminio, quadri-scultura e oli su tavola.

Lungi dall’essere mere trasposizioni di forme geometriche, le sue proiezioni ortogonali “in negativo” e le sue elaborazioni dei paradossi della geometria euclidea sono realizzate a mano e contemplano dunque l’imperfezione.
≪La geometria ha una carica emotiva≫, spiega. ≪Mi affascinano le dicotomie della matematica, il fatto che un’affermazione possa essere vera e falsa contemporaneamente≫.
Un simbolo efficace del controverso rapporto tra vero e falso, reale e virtuale che caratterizza i nostri tempi.
 

Stefano Castelli

 

ZZ

by Rossella Moratto

Varese 2018

Exhibition critic text

(Italian Version)

È la zeta che li tiene insieme. Sembrerebbe questo, a prima vista, l’unico trait d’union tra Monica Mazzone e Aldo Mozzini, artisti di sesso e generazioni diverse che procedono in direzioni apparentemente ostinate e contrarie. Invitati a tradimento da Ermanno Cristini a riss(e)  e costretti a convivere in una stanza tutta per loro, sembrano voler esprimere forze centripete che spingono verso direzioni divergenti: verticalità e solidità contro orizzontalità e morbidezza, levigatezza e geometria contro scabrosità e spontaneità, ordine e proporzione contro disordine e sproporzione.

Il dialogo formalmente impossibile tra Mazzone e Mozzini è pero tutt’altro che un discorso chiuso: è invece una partita aperta in cui, sebbene tesi e antitesi non trovino né tentino una sintesi, le opere si nutrono della reciproca diversità raggiungendo un inaspettato quanto bizzarro equilibrio. Gli opposti non solo si attraggono, ma finiscono per compensarsi. L’apparente paradosso in realtà nasconde un comune sottotesto: il lavoro sulla specificità del contesto, in quanto spazio architettonico ed espostivo per Mazzone e in quanto identità, storia e vissuto per Mozzini.

Monica Mazzone parte dalla realtà concreta dello spazio per arrivare a definire la forma delle sue sculture grazie a un metodo logico-matematico che si sviluppa su presupposti teorici e parametri oggettivi, anche se arbitrariamente scelti, che determinano un risultato incontrovertibile. Questa razionalità deriva dalla tensione verso la perfezione che l’artista individua nella logica rigorosa del processo. La forma e le dimensioni delle piramidi tronche ottagonali è la diretta conseguenza dalla complessa elaborazione grafica della proiezione della planimetria che, privilegiando l’andamento dell’asse diagonale – la zeta – viene completata con degli elementi triangolari – i vertici mancanti – che fanno da raccordo con le catene che scandiscono orizzontalmente e ritmicamente la sala espositiva. L’artista crea così una relazione necessaria tra l’opera e il contesto e tra scultura, pittura e architettura: il procedimento è riportato pittoricamente in un dittico, eseguito con una tecnica raffinatissima per sovrapposizioni di velature, che è quasi una dichiarazione tautologica ma allo stesso tempo apre, grazie al colore, uno spiraglio alla dimensione dell’emotività che è sempre sottintesa nel suo lavoro e bilancia la freddezza post-minimalista delle sculture.

Questa emotività latente avvicina Mazzone alla sensibilità di Mozzini e, in particolare, a questi lavori, intrisi di umanità. Anche l’artista svizzero ha lavorato in stretta relazione al contesto, inteso non come spazio fisico ma come luogo di la foto di ZENTRUM è di Patrizia Giambi narrazioni e di memorie. L’uso di materiali di scarto e di riciclo, ricorrente nella sua pratica, è finalizzato al racconto poetico del percorso artistico di Ermanno Cristini, che dirige lo spazio e lo ha abitato per diversi anni, utilizzandolo anche come studio. Prendendo a prestito alcuni suoi oggetti personali (i celeberrimi zoccoli che richiamano la serie realizzata dallo stesso Mozzini) e parti di sue opere – o citandole e ispirandosi espressamente a esse – realizza sei nuovi lavori idealmente a quattro mani che danno corpo a una relazione amicale e professionale. Collocate in ordine sparso, sono presenze morbide, destrutturate, che testimoniano il gesto che le ha modellate, quasi una carezza, e rimangono, come spesso accade nei lavori di Mozzini, come appunti lasciati in sospeso di un discorso che pone la questione della relazione tra spazio privato e pubblico e tra dimensione intima e sociale della pratica artistica.

La zeta, che ironicamente li tiene insieme, è l’ideale linea spezzata che sintetizza la complessità delle relazioni che legano le opere al contesto – che nel caso di riss(e)  è già in sé un’operazione artistica – e le molteplici possibilità di sperimentazione creativa in continuità con esso.

Rossella Moratto

 

Monica Mazzone

Nata a Milano nel 1984, vive e lavora tra Milano e New York. Fra le mostre personali: L’intenzione di una retta, Studio Maraniello, Milano, 2016; ThePerfect Universe, Merkur Gallery, Istanbul, 2014; …Per un quasi infinito, Formentini Gallery – Nuovo CIB, Milano, 2009. Nel 2012 è stata ospite dell’Intership Program presso The Peggy Guggenheim Collection di Venezia. È autrice della rubrica d’arte contemporanea Fruit Soap ed è membro attivo della redazione della rivista d’arte E IL TOPO. Numerose le partecipazioni a collettive, progetti speciali in spazi pubblici e privati in Italia e all’estero e concorsi, tra cui Premio Nazionale delle Arti, 2009; Premio Lissone, 2012;Premio Combat, 2016; Premio Cairo, 2017. Nel 2018 sarà ospite presso International Artist Residency Program at Nars Foundation – New York.

www.monicamazzone.com

 

Aldo Mozzini

Nato a Locarno nel 1956, vive e lavora a Zurigo. Fra le mostre personali: Lokal 14 Zürich, 2016; De Bernardo & Mozzini, Vebikus Kunsthalle, Schaffhausen, 2015; Vorzimmer OG 9, Zürich, 2013; Radix, Frohe Ussicht, Samstagern, 2011; Villa du Parc,Centre d’Art Contemporain, Annemasse (F), 2010. Fra le mostre collettive; La Ruche et la valise, Villa Bernasconi, Genf, 2017; JetztKunst Bern, 2017; Schena da vedro, Kunst(Zeug)Haus, Rapperswil 2017; Obsession Dada, Cabaret Voltaire, Zürich, 2016; Grosse Regionale Alte Fabrik, Rapperswil, 2016; Sviluppo-Parallelo, Kunstmuseum Luzern, 2015; Impression 2015, Kunsthaus Grenchen, 2015. Ha vinto numerose borse, residenze e premi tra cui Anerkennungsbeitrag UBS Kulturstiftung, 2014; Swiss Art Award, 2012; Atelier in Bucharest, Pro Helvetia, 2010; è professore alla alla Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Zürich

www.mozzini.ch

www.risseart.jimdo.com

Estetica Matematica

by Leda Lunghi

Monza 2017

Exhibition critic text

Mathematical Aesthetics

What makes the theory of relativity so acceptable to physicists despite the fact that it runs against the principle of simplicity is its great mathematical beauty. This is a quality that cannot be defined any more than beauty in art can be defined but it is a quality that people who study mathematics usually have no difficulty at all in accepting. Paul Dirac (1933)

Can numbers be art? The answer is yes, the relationship between mathematics and art begins primarily from our looking at things and our desire to interpret and understand it.

We need to decide which eyes to use in observing this science that Nobel prize-winning scientist Paul Dirac defined as absolute beauty, considering the mathematical equation a guide to truthfulness.

Which type of viewing must we use to relate to mathematics? From which vantage point must we attempt to understand this universal science that dialogues constantly with the arts from the fantasy, irrational, and creative point of view? Both art and mathematics address the infinite realm  of consciousness.

Mathematics may be complex as a field of knowledge, but the human soul is even more so,  and soul is what we need if mathematics must be examined in every aspect. Delving into the show, analyzing the artists’ differences and convergences, we see just how many visions this science affords, a science no longer considered arid and constraining but shown here in its most eclectic and harmonic form.

Through the artists David Reimodo, Monica Mazzone, Elisa Cella, and Elisa Leonini, mathematics becomes audible, colorful, and infinite. Harmony and curiosity are mathematics’ bedfellows, and when numbers entwine with art, the result can only be soothing, graceful, and musical.

Mathematics is the vector employed by Monica Mazzone, who perceives Euclidean science as an obsession and attempts to create a world that contains infinity and perfection through logic, a world in which harmony succeeds in being rational and sublime. As Pythagoras writes in Lives of the Philosophers: “Virtue is harmony, and so is health and every good and every divinity. Consequently, all things are formed to the rules of harmony”. This was the philosopher’s idea of aesthetical mathematics: things exist because they reflect an order and are what they are because they reflect mathematical laws, conditions of existence and beauty, such as harmony and the proportions of the parts of a whole, concepts that are clearly identified in the insistent investigation required of this artist – who finds the genesis of her essence in these Greek theories – in order to reach totality. Monica Mazzone develops a site-specific orthogonal projection by imagining numerical and mental spaces to be reached through equations she formulates herself, representing space on the basis of its representational possibility, intended as the option of creating a three-dimensional image. The result is a flat geometric form, the modular trapezium. This investigation of three-dimensionality through two-dimensional drawing reveals the need to develop an empirical basis for  a concept that otherwise risks remaining only an ideal, the thought affirmed as the underlying principle of her studies.

Leda Lunghi

L’intenzione di una retta

by Rossella Moratto

Milan 2016

Exhibition Critic Text

Monica Mazzone: The Intention of a Straight Line

The striving for perfection may seem obsolete today, in a complex and entropic era that has buried the great ideologies under the blanket of postmodernism, leaving ample space to subjectivity and narcissism, and an expressiveness that demands a kind of freedom without constraints. However, it is a  more current issue than ever if understood as the claim of a type of creativity that is opposed to the cacophony of a fantastic proliferation, in a brave attempt to give a systematic horizon to one’s own practice, in a continuous self-reflective effort: to reduce the variety of phenomena to limited and constant elements, justified, and developed with a strict internal logic, with the intention to strive for perfection.

This is the thrust that moves Monica Mazzone’s research:

the adoption of an analytical perspective that—distant relative of the Conceptualism of the 70’—declines it in the present and in the limits of a disciplinary specificity which justifies its foundation on theoretical and objective parameters, albeit arbitrarily chosen.

Mazzone takes personal issues that affect the ability of individual expression and the relationship between self and world as a point of departure. Nevertheless, she always determines some limits, restrains her radius of action and her tools. There is a clear need for “self-truth” [1] (verità di se) and also, rejecting the immediate drive-guided and self-centered expression, the need to contain and rationalize one’s own emotions to make them communicable, in the secret ambition to create a universal visual language.

However, this is not resignation of one’s subjectivity but the will to found it consciously entrenching one’s practice on concrete methodological premises. It is the choice of a disciplinary and specific commitment, based on the formalization of the process and on a deductive development, on the adoption of mathematical criteria that starting from a given hypothesis come to an unexceptionable conclusion.

«The mathematical approach in contemporary art is not mathematics itself and hardly makes use of what we know as mathematics. It is primarily a use of processes of logical thought towards the plastic of rhythms and relationships .»[2]

This sentence by Max Bill perfectly describes the intent of the artist, that is, the will to visually convey the logical relationships that underpin her work.

The initial question is “What is the smallest possible gesture to create an image?”: The analysis of the Point in Space and its development is the answer that gave rise to the series of sculptures IL MINIMO (the minimum), conceived by speculating the movement of a point on an area by improperly using a 3D software, forcing it to behave as if it was operating on a two-dimensional plane—making the Cartesian axes to match—thus generating graphics, ellipses and hyperboles from which simple geometric shapes derive, that are then multiplied and assembled.

This rationality is reflected in the harmony and balance of the work, the result of an immediately perceptible consistency.

The obvious reference to Minimalism is a present but remote suggestion in the polygonal geometry of the Image-Objects—thus Mazzone defines her works by highlighting the overcoming of the idea of sculpture and painting, and of two and three-dimensionality—and their variations, as well as in the two-dimensional works: flat colour fields­, painted without gestural traces matching the colours according to a complementary logic, which combinations evokes emotional horizons. In the use of color—although normally the artist prefers shades of gray which she considers the equivalent in colour to silence—there can be detected a polysemic parenthesis, because the complementary opposition recalls the duality present in the real, and the less frequent use of gold alludes to the pictorial tradition.

Starting from IL MINIMO, Mazzone takes a step further and presents a new series of Image-Objects that expresses the consistent evolution, focusing on the progress of a straight line, in its many representative possibilities, virtual or actual. The straight line is a drive in its becoming, the emotional component that pushes and moves the point, is the intentional motor of the Picture-Object: according Mazzone it means “to add to the minimum forms a controlled emotional charge’, making empirical the geometric process that produces a visual image with a sentimental impulse, summarized by the title “The Intention of a Straight Line”.

Explicitly referring to orthogonal or isometric projections, Mazzone creates continuous forms that represent the tipping space and—by matching the two-dimensional projection with three-dimensionality—incorporate in themselves their processing power. They are transcriptions of a conceptual process that is made concrete by describing a hypothetical but plausible dimension, mental and real at the same time.

So, the identity between sculpture and space becomes apparent, and the indissoluble relationship between Image-Object and exhibition environment, as in La porzione della metà, a geometric assembly embracing the supporting column of the exhibition hall, of which it represents a possible development. Or as in Elenchi, which mirror themselves, one being the negative part of the other; or even Proiezionesemplice2, a diptych that depicts, almost tautologically, the concept that underpins the whole ensemble works.

Mazzone’s Image-Objects are the bearers of a double intention, theoretical and related to the praxis, imaginary prototypes, each of which is an attempt to arrive to a more precise balance between formal outcome and conceptual principle. Ideally these Image-Objects are part of a movement to approach perfection, they reflect a tension towards the absolute and at the same time a reflection, cool and detached, of their own relationship with the present.

 

Rossella Moratto

 

[1] «Verità di sé », Dino Formaggio,  I giorni dell’arte, p. 131. (Complete disclosure of one’s own operating structures)
[2] Max Bill, The Matematical Approach in Contemporary Art, in «Structure», serie III, n. 2, Bussum, Holland, p. 65, riportato in Filiberto Menna, La linea analitica dell’arte moderna, Einaudi, Torino, 1984, p. 73.

The Perfect Universe

by Merkur Gallery

Istanbul 2014

Exhibition Press Release

For the first time ever, the Merkur Gallery in Istanbul presents a project of an Italian artist with a solo show by Monica Mazzone. “The Perfect Universe” is a study into the idea of being able to perceive and express visually the obsession for perfection, unattainable by definition, in anything plausible, in a trend, in an ambition.

Thus, the fascination with the universal concept of “Infinity ” is transformed into the creation of alternative parallel worlds in which one may evade. These numeric and mental places, emotional catalysts for attention, are translated into “Image-Objects” and “Color-Images”, categories according in which the artist works not bothering to create paintings, drawings or sculptures, but using the installative setup as a visual support of the numerical supposition, the fundamental principle for each work. Monica Mazzone, in fact, applies mathematical rules to determine each point both in the artworks space and in the gallery space. The geometry is proposed as a guiding principle of the creative act that accompanies the artist’s necessity to “think in colours”. The purple and green become parts of the platonic androgyne, yin and yang, masculine and feminine, dualities for excellence. The artist herself explains that “…everything stems from the need for unconditional love, where the concepts of time and attention play a key role in the search for the perfect emotion, as if the action to make could coincide with the internalization of the sentiment”. In each Image one can feel the perception of an abstract memory, atemporal; the depictions are intended as micro narratives, tales of faraway places and at the same time, as maps that lead to an infinite world-unlimited-Iperuranio. The possibility to create a Perfect Universe.

Merkur Gallery

…per un quasi infinito

by Matteo Fontana

Milan 2009

Exhibition Press Release

Monica Mazzone: …For an almost Infinite

The survey Be/Twin goes on at Galleria Formentini with Monica Mazzone’s exhibition Per un quasi infinito, which will open Tuesday March 12 2009, 7pm.

Organized thank to the support of Bayer per la Cultura and Brera Fine Arts Academy, the survey gives a voice to the experiences of young Italian artists, whose ideas sometimes intertwined and overlapped, give back a kaleidoscopic and fascinating vision of the world, complex and never obvious.

Monica Mazzone’s oeuvre is also going in this direction, it focuses on a binomial among the most fascinating of contemporaneity: Art and Science.

Our always-more-technological world is truly a negation of Art? Monica Mazzone is not convinced in any way, moreover, she re-launches Art through Science, or better: she makes Science to be a vehicle for Art, because if Art’s aim is to open new roads, to surprise and to open questions, so it is indeed true that today Art and Science overlap more often than we believe. The artist says: “Today, I believe, scientific research can bring something new. This is why in my work, I always start from science.” Science (and Art…), which aim can truly be an “almost infinite”, the best approximation to the infinite, temporal and spatial.

The exhibition, composed of five high-impact installations of  great conceptual coherence, revolves around the topic of the search for stability. Monica interrogates herself about the world, about the current  mechanisms of            fixation of instants, moments, of on-going processes, that are crystalized in her work, however not losing their vital characteristics. It is not death what the young artist is interested in, but on the contrary, the deepest mechanisms that regulate life, that make it stable, durable, continuous, and may be eternal…

A life that bursts out from a work like  “Talli/Spillo” , photo on paper mounted on aluminum, which depict the sections of an uterus and of a glans, and through the digital pictorial evolution,  “fix” genes and chromosomes in their spectral being, in their instantaneous and eternal existence and at the same time in their essence (projected to the future) of genetic patrimony, of givers of life.  A subtly paradoxical “photography of evolution, which seems to propose a bi-univocal relationship between both terms, as in the very well-known Heisenberg’s Law: Of an object, one can know speed and position, but the more one knows the first, the less one knows the second.

Monica Mazzone works on the edge of this theorem, she fixes that which would be theoretically impossible to fix, she insists on an oxymoronic “stationary movement” that becomes extraneous to the idea of “stabilized life”, and that contains a hint of  something reassuring, familiar (“Talli” and “Spillo” are the nicknames of the artist’s parents when they were child) and at the same uncanny, artificial (as is life in the world today).

Above we were talking about “Bi-univocal Relationship”, which not by chance is the title of another work in the show, composed by thuja branches (a conifer known as the Tree of Life). These branches are disposed to form a small wood, a “protected reserve” stable and immobile, a life that defends itself and auto-reproduces, that closes on itself and protects its existence, something always similar to itself, a given moment that extends to the infinite, as in a bubble. And precisely bubbles are at the center of other two installations. “Delle quasi sfere” is the first one, of a vaguely ludic character. A machine to produce soap bubbles based on a chemical component that makes each bubble to live longer. The ephemeral (the soap bubble) that becomes durable. “The sphere”—Mazzone explains”—“is the perfect form, it has its own equilibrium, an intrinsic stability”, mathematically expressed with the famous number π, that links the diamter with the radio of each circle, and three-dimensionally, of each sphere. In this sense, Monica Mazzone’s work seems to reach to the same mathematical roots of the world, to its constitutive elements,  to present itself as a sort of “golden proportion of life”…

Bubbles (this time of glass) return in “Sezione di brivido stabilizzato”, to symbolize the minuscule particles of air that form under the skin when the human body shivers. The artist begins with the minimal, localized and instantaneous sensation of the shiver, to “fix” it, and once more, to ask about its nature, about its essence. It is a long a shiver without an end the one that accompanies the viewer, who in the space of the gallery, moves among the visceral works by Monica Mazzone, among her artistic-scientific researches of an impossible stability. Against the always lurking chaos.

And so now the construction of the last installation, “Macrocosmo in microcosmo stabile”, is the perfect mise en abyme of Monica’s thought: a sealed transparent glass inside which live—in perfect harmony and independence—some small plants, without oxygen or water, but able to produce by themselves what they need for surviving. The glass is the microcosm, the plants are the macrocosm that found the strength to stabilize in an apparently hostile, inhabitable environment. An environment that became a small bubble of safety and stability, a small “contemporary world”, to paraphrase Fogazzaro, that exists and that’s all, that perpetuates itself in the most perfect—and at the same time disturbing– formula for stability that brings together life and non-life, time and space,  stability and change. Because life have to be preserved (may be) forever. Or almost…

 

Matteo Fontana

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