Matteo Fato | MONITOR

Image as resemblance
(how portraits are a part of painting)
curated by Simone Ciglia
20 sep 2019 - 30 nov 2019

Matteo Fato’s first solo show at the gallery.

Image as resemblance take place across the gallery’s two venues: its Rome headquarters and its new venue in Pereto (AQ), inaugurated with the show. Conceived as a whole, the exhibition is dedicated to portraiture, one of the central themes in Matteo Fato’s work. Since 2012, following a year of intensive tutoring at the art academy, the artist has focused on portraiture, one of art history’s traditional genres. In this return to his artistic beginnings, Matteo Fato has approached portraiture through an art historical lens.

Paradoxically, the genre, conceived as one of the most definitive ways in which to consign an image to history, appears to resist time even in today’s frenzy of contemporary images. Matteo Fato’s subjects, who span various cultural backgrounds and historical moments, have been chosen for a particular obsession they nurtured all their lives, transforming them – in Fato’s eyes – into true artists. Examples include the castrato singer Alessandro Moreschi; the scientist Nikola Tesla; the German Sinto boxer Johann Wilhem Trollmann; and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. In other instances, the portraits stem from invitations to exhibit, becoming tools with which to explore places, as is the case of works dedicated to Bernardino Telesio, Ennio Flaiano and the astronaut Charles Duke.

Image as resemblance (how portraits are a part of painting) stems from Matteo Fato’s personal portrait gallery, which highlights luminaries such as the artist Scipione or the philosophers Kierkegaard and Deleuze. It also extends his reflections on living people. Here, Matteo Fato creates a constellation of his friendships which offers a study of the art world. His paintings include the gallerist and curator of the show, Paola Capata and Simone Ciglia, as well as Gianni Garrera, a musical philologist who has frequently collaborated with Matteo Fato (including in this show), as well as several collectors and a friend. Matteo Fato’s aim is to draw attention to the various roles which contribute to defining cultural engagement, exploring portraiture formally.

In this Image as resemblance (how portraits are a part of painting), Matteo Fato has concentrated on the essence of the pictorial act, reducing the metapictorial elements which had defined his previous works, and bestowing his paintings with a more overt presence instead. The installation of the works becomes a mise-en-scène, guided by the portrait’s conception – through the striking of certain poses or the presence of certain objects – and accompanied by effigies. Following an already established practice, Matteo Fato has included some ‘foreign’ elements into the show: two previous landscape paintings which detail yet another traditional genre of painting, tracing a connection towards the idea of the portrait as, in the artist’s own words, “the passing of time”.

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