For this occasion, the gallery presents the first solo show in Milan by the Italian artist Ivan De Menis. “Compressioni” (Compressions) is the title of an exhibition featuring 16 works of different sizes. For us, at Aware, a preview of the interview with the artist.
When and how did your research on material
begin, and on the particular technique applied in the “Compressioni” series?
From my very first works when still at the
art academy, I always focused on matter and volume with overlays of materials like
felt and gauze. In the latest series of the Compressioni I wanted to mix
so-called traditional techniques like oil painting in repulsion with water-base
pigments on cotton canvas and contemporary materials like epoxy resin, then
enclosing the work with polystyrene panels pressed onto the canvas itself. An operation
of opening and closing with respect to the outside that I repeat almost
infinitely to crystallize the flow of time with each stratification; a process
that is truly interrupted only with the final positioning of the work in space.
The Compressioni are a continuation of the path of the “Tessere” (Tiles), in
which the resin becomes the protagonist, layer after layer.
The colors and nuances shaded at the sides
of the surface create interactions and contrasts between the plane of the works
and the sides. Can you shape this technique, or do you prefer to let the
material itself make the “choice”?
In my works there is a clear contrast
between the surface and the border: in the first I seek tones given by the
overlaying of the layers of resin, trying to tame the material; in the second I
let the color freely run its course, and the signs of the various enclosures done
with plexiglas, the sign of my experience with the work.
You talk about time as a fundamental factor
in your work, a Penelope’s shroud made of colors, of your composition. Is this
a job that requires a lot of manual skill?
My work is connected with time. “Tessere,” “Rette,”
“Tondi” and “Compressioni” complete my personal alphabet, step by step. Time
becomes the fulcrum of my work, a sort of obsession. I decide to interrupt my
pieces at a certain point, otherwise they could evolve infinitely. Yes, they
require particular manual ability, though I believe that every artists acts
with natural spontaneity.
Does the sculptural rigidity of the
finished work translate, for you, into the satisfaction of having somehow “imprisoned”
The work grows slowly and lives with me for
a period of time. On the surface you can see the signs of the will to control
and to block time, together with awareness of the impossibility of doing so. Each
pour of the resin becomes a sort of dome that protects and somehow imprisons
time in precious treasure chests.
Which artists have in some way accompanied
or influenced you during your personal artistic research?
The artists who have accompanied and
sometimes influenced me are above all Giorgio Morandi, Lawrence Carroll, David
Lindberg and Donald Baechler.
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