From 15 September to 28 January 2024, Brescia welcomes the Lorenzo Mattotti exhibition, Stories of rhythms and movements, to the Santa Giulia Museum.
This is a place where dancers twirl in space until they fly over seas, rivers and cities, to then land in a black forest, in black and white, the daughter of fear and fairy tales. And where they then return to take back the color in a carnival in Brazil, to immerse themselves once again in a fairy tale, this time rock, but inspired by the terror of Edgar Allan Poe. Or to move to the tunes of a jazz concert that is taking place right there, next to them.
That place, excellently told by the exhibition at the Santa Giulia Museum, is the imagination of Lorenzo Mattotti, told in this retrospective along three fundamental themes in his work (the music, dance and cinema) through 250 works including drawings and oil paintings.
The beautiful melancholic world of Lorenzo Mattotti
A beautiful world, always tinged with a bit of melancholy, but always ready to experiment and play with knowledge, which begins with rock, its music, concerts and musicians.
Representing music, finding a way to draw harmony and give shape to sound is the objective that will never abandon him and which acts as the common thread of this exhibition.
A generous artist, like his drawings
«Music has visually impregnated me and often when I think about the rhythm of my stories I think of it as a metamorphosis of sound», explains Mattotti who followed the installation step by step and naturally the selection of the works with strong>curator Melania Gazzottiand who I have the privilege of having as a companion in the exhibition.
He is generous, as are his drawings, with an unmistakable line, as perfect as they are psychedelic, as essential as they are layered, as colorful as they are black.
He draws, develops every suggestion he encounters to transform it, interpret it, make it his own.
Lorenzo Mattotti and the Venice Film Festival
Then there are the commissioned works that are drawn from that preparatory archive, closely connected with the imaginative world of Lorenzo Mattotti, to be translated into a manifesto (many of his collaborations with film, music and dance festivals, first of all the Mostra of the Venice Film Festival which this year too has one of his works as its manifesto and introductory theme song to the films), in a book, in an animated film, in a painting.
When Lou Reed calls you
So it happened one day that Lou Reed called him to ask if he wanted to collaborate with him. He had read his Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and wanted to involve him in a book that started from his musical work on Edgar Allan Poe.
The Raven was born, a wonderful rock opera and fantastic illustrated book: «I immediately understood what Lou Reed wanted», says Mattotti, «And how free he felt to work on Edgar Allan Poe, told me he felt equally free to work on his music.
Some very strong drawings emerged, which I only felt like publishing in the name of the Allan Poe - Lou Reed alliance: I truly came up with some monsters!
The color is there, dense, pastel-like, material like the materialization of the nightmare and the monster in one's fantasies.
Why is Mattotti's graphic work special?
Because Mattotti's approach is to design graphic space in a creative way, certainly musical as well as interior. Thus the posters for the festivals commissioned from him have exactly that flavour, certainly dreamlike, attentive to dialogue with the viewer, who in turn is curious to enter into those pastel or acrylic or black and white lines: they are all ways of painting the movement on a sheet of paper or on a canvas, giving voice to one's feelings.
Describe the movement on paper
Music, dance and cinema are all moving arts and nothing is static in Mattotti's works, perhaps because everything comes from the movements of his soul.
«The New Yorker asked me to reinterpret the tale of Hansel and Gretel. I remember the fear that story caused me as a child and the work came out as if those images were already there. I used black which was the mystery, the unsaid and the space of darkness in which to give shape to one's fears".
The famous invasion of bears in Sicily
Thus every work becomes a "graphic territory of the imagination", as Mattotti always puts it. Dance together with music enters his imagination as an expression of the body, its specific language, even ramshackle perhaps, like when dancing in a disco and then the cinema, another great passion of the artist who has ventured into also in several animated films («a precision work, fussy, where everything must be invented and drawn, otherwise it doesn't exist» comments the artist) including the best known, The famous invasion of the bears in Sicily and an avalanche of posters for various festivals.
In these cases the eye is the protagonist which is captured by a volcanic imagery, forced (happily however) into the limited space of a sheet of paper to become the project of a world. Indeed, his promise.
Collateral activities at the exhibition in Brescia
There are scheduled screenings of films that have inspired the work of Lorenzo Mattotti and selected by the artist himself, as well as 12 films and a short film for the "Focus Mattotti" film festival at the New Eden cinema starting from October 27th.
Also on the calendar are two animated cinema workshops (Inside Mattotti on 21 and 22 October; Cut Out Mattotti, 11 and 12 November), a masterclass for university students (9/1/2024) and a meeting between Mattotti and the public on the occasion of the screening of his La bête, an episode within the project which involved different authors entitled Peur(s) du noir.
All the info on Brescia Musei
Cover photo: Lorenzo Mattotti, Artista © Fondazione Brescia Musei - Ph. Alberto Mancini