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Matteo Massagrande | Open House


Open House By Bruce Helander Matteo Massagrande (b.1959) has conquered the ultimate challenge of creating magical, fictional interiors that are not only authentic, but possess a charismatic and undeniable handsomeness. The artist cleverly invites the viewer to become an anonymous voyeur, glancing down hallways that lead to more entrances and obscure spaces that are completely empty except for the distant memories and aging mysteries they may hold. Seduced by the unexpected albeit charming starkness of bare walls and floors, one is drawn inside, encouraged by multiple perspectives that are accented with the remarkable use of light drifting through often open windows, exposing glimpses of lush gardens. Taking a cue from Renaissance masters, Massagrande sets off on an entirely different trail by fictionalizing common areas while concurrently reinventing multiple focal points that carry you forward. This new series of carefully articulated paintings celebrates stark, uninhabited interiors that offer tranquility, skillfully supported by the natural and believable surfaces and designs conceived by the artist. In this latest group of about twenty paintings, Shine Artists London presents a truly enchanting selection of intricate, geometric-based compositions with a recognizable common denominator of constructed vacant living spaces. To express this concept in a verbal description might seem initially rather flavorless and perhaps uninteresting. But that’s exactly the amazing, ironic task the artist has accepted in order to add complexity to simplicity. Massagrande is an expert at creating illumination where none exists; depicting believable, interlocking repeat patterns worn down over time; and a sense of pleasant discovery where decrepit, collage-inspired walls and floors add to a complicated formula of architectonic intimacy that works brilliantly. For those of us who might take pleasure in occasionally discovering the engaging but overlooked aesthetics of a back alley wall filled with curious texture and perhaps over-painted numerous times for decades, there is a virtual visual picnic available in this work of wondrous architectonic elements, including ceilings, windows and doors that the artist bonds together through skillful manipulation of exacting brushwork on board. Producing convincing spaces that allow a subtle light source to drift inside while providing a vanishing perspective outside is a creative undertaking that is difficult to achieve. There is no shortcut available to artists in order to convey what Massagrande clearly has accomplished. In addition to polishing the craft of painting, which takes years of hard work and demanding experimentation, the basic exercise of duplicating a subject matter over and over provides the

maker with a firm awareness, sophistication and confidence that each configuration, although different in respect to location whether real or imagined, has a strong identifiable characteristic that is instantly familiar. The celebrated Italian still-life painter and engraver Giorgio Morandi has a lot in common with Matteo Massagrande. They both studied at prestigious institutions and were inspired by meeting and learning from prominent artists; Picasso for Morandi, and Giorgio de Chirico for Massagrande, who employed references to architecture and the representation of the metaphysical. Massagrande also pursued conservation, and this valuable instruction was crucial to how he learned the techniques of the old masters and developed his technique. Both artists certainly have a great sensitivity to hue, tone, subtle color mixing and compositional balance. But most importantly, both painters’ focus was on constantly replicating a simple theme that was explored over and over again for perfection, where eventually distinctive colorations and recognizable forms all seemed to comfortably mesh. Accompanied by a profound knowledge of art history, Massagrande’s idiosyncratic and knowledgeable interpretation of interior spaces, provide a recognizable signature throughout, right down to tiny details of electric outlets, worn out mosaic tiles and deteriorating, multi-layered collage-like walls. Every room and passageway, once full of life, are now unoccupied, perhaps hiding enigmas from past residents. Decorative floors reminiscent of a Venetian living room or a vintage Parisian kitchen, add an exciting visual departure and counterpoint to the plain, aging, adjoining walls in varying states of deterioration, accentuated by partial views of passageways that retain a fascinating, poetic, rich aesthetic. However, at the end of the day, when the afternoon sun begins to fade through transparent glass panes, and without considering these complicated formulas of space and illusionistic cinematic perspectives, it is the breathtaking technical freshness, exquisite articulation and inherent beauty that make these pictures so very enjoyable to discover and ponder. —Bruce Helander is an artist who writes on art. He is the former Provost of the Rhode Island School of Design, a former White House Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, and former Editor-in-Chief of The Art Economist. He recently was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, and his best-selling book, “Learning To See,” was an Indie Awards finalist.

photographed by Alberto Buzzanca


La Grande Vetrata Mixed Media on Board | 100 x 150cm (39 x 59in) | 2015


La Stanza Rosa Mixed Media on Board | 60 x 60cm (24 x 24in) | 2015


Porta Azzurra Mixed Media on Board | 60 x 60cm (24 x 24in) | 2015


Ottobre Mixed Media on Board | 40 x 40cm (16 x 16in) | 2015


Hortus Conclusus Mixed Media on Board | 80 x 80cm (31 x 31in) | 2015


Il Ritorno Mixed Media on Board 100 x 150cm (39 x 59in) 2014


Poggiolo Mixed Media on Board | 36 x 30cm (14 x 12in) | 2015


La Stanza Gialla Mixed Media on Board | 33 x 23cm (13 x 9in) | 2015


Inverno Mixed Media on Board | 60 x 70cm (24 x 27.5in) | 2015


Il Giardino di Lancenigo Mixed Media on Board | 60 x 70cm (24 x 27.5in) | 2015


Interno (1) Mixed Media on Board | 30 x 30cm (12 x 12in) | 2015


Interno (2) Mixed Media on Board | 30 x 30cm (12 x 12in) | 2015


Veranda Mixed Media on Board | 70 x 100cm (27.5 x 39in) | 2015


La Casa Magica Mixed Media on Board | 23 x 33cm (9 x 13in) | 2015


Le Luci della Casa di Fronte Mixed Media on Board 100 x 150cm (39 x 59in) 2014


Wintergarden Mixed Media on Board | 70 x 80cm (27.5 x 31in) | 2015


Mattino Mixed Media on Board | 70 x 60cm (27.5 x 24in) | 2015


Il Giardino di Hajòs Mixed Media on Board | 33 x 30cm (13 x 12in) | 2015


Cortile Mixed Media on Board | 30 x 30cm (12 x 12in) | 2015


Corridoio Mixed Media on Board | 30 x 30cm (12 x 12in) | 2015


Portico Mixed Media on Board | 30 x 30cm (12 x 12in) | 2015


Notte a Szentendre Mixed Media on Board | 100 x 150cm (39 x 59in) | 2014


Interno Mixed Media on Board | 60 x 60cm (24 x 24in) | 2015


49 Albemarle Street London, W1S 4JR www.shineartists.com info@shineartists.com mobile +44 7957346729 tel +44 20 7499 1616

Matteo massagrande | Open House  

Matteo Massagrande | Open House 03 Dec 2015 - 02 Jan 2016

Matteo massagrande | Open House  

Matteo Massagrande | Open House 03 Dec 2015 - 02 Jan 2016