Press Release, November 2018
On November 29th, Matèria in Rome presents Grass is greener: an international exhibition project that brings together two artists working through two fundamental forms of visual art: Giulia Marchi with photography and Magnus Frederik Clausen with painting.
The project is structured in two parallel exhibitions, the first taking place at Matèria until 26 January, 2019 and the second opening at Annual Reportt in Copenhagen in January 2019. Grass is greener arises from the interest of curator Paola Paleari to explore how a long-lasting yet always current relationship, such as that between photography and painting, can manifest itself in operative terms through the practices of a photographer and a painter put in contact for the occasion.
The first phase of the project consisted in an exchange of visual materials, texts, citations and references that took place online and which allowed the two artists, who had never collaborated before, to find a common line of work. From this dialogue, which unfolded over a year and a half, the centrality of the "presentation vs. representation" binomial emerged as the two poles of the sphere of action in which the visual artist moves in his/her translation of reality. In other words, by assuming the external world as the "level zero" in image creation, the visual artist can fundamentally operate in two ways: by interpreting it linguistically or by presenting it as it is.
Starting from these reflections, Marchi and Clausen have worked on a series of new artworks that see the image as a space where the modalities of presentation and representation often coexist and overlap. The differences and specificities - often of a formal nature - on which a large part of the comparison between photography and painting is established are thus circumvented in favor of a structural community based on the medial nature of both artistic forms. Also the boundaries between genres are dissolved, to the point that the same image can simultaneously be read as a self-portrait, a still life or a landscape.
The two exhibition spaces play a fundamental role in the project. The exhibition at Matèria presents the final result of Grass is greener in the form of unpublished works realized for the occasion and previously produced works reviewed in light of the whole process. The exhibition at Annual Reportt will instead consist of a reinterpretation of the experience that led to the creation of the exhibition at Matèria, from which it will use some elements in order to expand the dialogue between photography and painting by introducing the dynamics of reproduction.
Giulia Marchi (b. 1976) is an Italian photographer whose images are the result of experimentation, often exemplified by her use of polaroids and pinhole cameras. The unexpected results of this approach restore a purified vision of reality described through abstraction. Her research deeply relies on her passion for literature and written narrative. In collaboration with Mustafa Sabbagh, she produces the artist book 17:17 (Danilo Montanari Editore), currently housed in MAXXI Museum’s collection in Rome. Amongst her main exhibitions are: Rokovoko (solo show at Matèria, Rome, 2015); solo booth at 2016 London Art Fair; group slideshow curated by Anna Fox (Tate Liverpool, 2015); Murmur (group exhibition at Flowers Gallery, London, 2016); one giant leap (double solo show with artist Xiaoyi Chen at Matèria, Rome, 2018). In the same year, she is awarded the Rotaract Prize at Artefiera Bologna for the artwork Camera Anecoica.
Magnus Frederik Clausen (b. 1981) is a Danish artist who is currently dedicating his practice to painting after having worked with different and media, ranging from installation to performance and video. He counts numerous international solo and group exhibitions. His relation with Italy started in 2010 on the occasion of a residence in Amalfi, continued with two residences at the Danish Academy in Rome in 2012 and 2014, and developed into his first solo show in Italy, The Tomato Syndrome (Palazzo Lucarini, Trevi, 2014) and his participation at the 56° Biennale di Venezia within the collective project Machines of Loving Grace / Black Flag (2015). Together with Mads Lindberg, he runs the art platform JIR SANDEL.
Paola Paleari (b. 1984) is an Italian independent author and curator, currently living in Copenhagen. Among her main projects, she is member of FSK Foreningen for Samtidskunst, the Danish Association for Contemporary Art, and former Deputy Editor at YET magazine, a publication dedicated to international photography. Her main area of interest is the photographic language and its relations with the visual art practices and contemporary culture.
Based in the neighbourhood of San Lorenzo in Rome, Matèria opened its doors to the public in 2015. The gallery proposes an exhibition programme that touches upon all aspects of Contemporary Art, with a particular focus on the role and use of the photographic medium. Since its founding, Matèria’s purpose has been the furthering and development of the work of its selected group of artists.
The gallery programme features four exhibitions per calendar year, conceived and produced directly with its artists and often in dialogue with the space through a site specific approach. Matèria’s gallery shows strive to further the research and experimentation aspects of artistic practice, with the results of this approach often showcased in a growing list of Italian and international art fairs.
Annual Reportt is an exhibition platform and ad hoc laboratory for investigating the overlapping peripheries of various artistic disciplines, including design, art, architecture, music and performance. With a focus on language, transmission, mediation and translation within the arts, the platform seeks to facilitate a critical discourse within the field of contemporary cultural production. The platform is run by the office for graphic design, typography and research Alexis Mark, and was established in 2017.
Opening: Thursday the 29th of November, 7pm.
Exhibition period: 29 November 2018 - 26 January 2019.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 11am-7pm.