Matteo Nasini “Il Giardino Perduto” at Operativa Arte Contemporanea, Roma

6 December 2017

Matteo Nasini, Il Giardino Perduto, Exhibition detail
Courtesy Operativa, Rome

 

Operativa Arte Contemporanea presents Il Giardino Perduto, a new solo exhibition by Matteo Nasini on his ongoing reflection on the idea of landscape. The exhibition engages with each and every room of the gallery, as the artist’s delicate sensitivity takes over the environment and invites the viewer to enter the space and build their own perceptual and contemplative path. Il Giardino Perduto, 2017 is composed of massive column shafts made of a wood-and-iron core then gently tapered in wool and set up throughout the gallery space as a sort of minimalistic architecture and abstract landscape, in between the artificial and the natural. While the main space has a strong architectural essence, Nasini dedicates the rooms downstairs to a more intimate and abstract idea of landscape. A sound installation pervades the ambiance, allowing the viewer to let go to an immersive listening to the translation of the electrical activity of a sleeping brain to spontaneous and accidental music compositions. Within this sound landscape, the Dream Portraits (porcelain sculptures made by transforming brainwaves in tridimensional solids) become the sounding boards that amplify and potentiate the music, thus facilitate the dive into the dream state.

On the occasion of the exhibition at Operativa we publish an excerpt of a conversation between Matteo Nasini and Davide Daninos, co-curator of the show Intuition at Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, where Nasini’s works were displayed recently this year.

Davide Daninos: I would like to start from something abstract, from your own idea of landscape. It is a returning concept, in your work: as a place to let your wind sculptures resonate, as a soundscape in your aural environments, and as a representation of landscapes, either oneiric in your Dream Portraits or in plain color, with your wool columns.

Matteo Nasini: To me, sound spatialization—i.e. the dislocation of a sound source throughout space—is a key instrument. Our acoustic tradition is based on a frontal approach: an orchestra plays and you listen to them from the front. However, either in the woods or in the city, we constantly live in a spatial acoustic dimension. Therefore, to me, landscape has a great meaning in music. Also in Sparkling Matter, the relation between sleep and sound cannot be translated into a normal concert. As the performance often takes up one full night, people should be able to lay down. Thus, automatically, the spatial environment created is deeply different from a concert. It’s closer to a ritual, as a music form.

 

Matteo Nasini, Il Giardino Perduto, Exhibition detail
Courtesy Operativa, Rome

 

D.D.: For the exhibition Intuition, in Palazzo Fortuny, we have softly distributed the recording of such sounds generated from a sleeping person’s brain. Each time I enter that room, I have the same physical perception: those noises hit me in my stomach and chest. Then, when I listen to the same recording through the headphones, it is a whole different feeling. It is like discovering a new medium. Through spatialization, sound moves from one headphone to another, overlapping the geography of a dreaming brain with our mind’s internal spatiality.

M.N.: Thought is circular. For the performance at the Galleria Nazionale in Rome, I positioned twelve speakers so to reproduce the number of electrodes used for an encephalogram. Spatialization was creating a sort of expanded brain. On vinyl, since here we think in terms of stereo sound, I took the right side and the left side of the brain and I positioned each on one channel. When you hear sounds going from one side to another, that is the brain activity originating on its right side, later to be sent to the left side. This was the process.

D.D.: It almost seems like a stimulation tool for the listener’s mind to pursue the same mental paths of the sleeper. It made me think of how the brain electrical activity is a complete language in itself, that we can partly control, but partly it happens spontaneously.

M.N.: It is a language that tells us something, but does not tell us the contents of our thoughts. It speaks of a certain physiognomy. Sculptures and audio pieces have their own narrative. To me, they have very much to deal with portraiture.

D.D.: Robert Morris also realized in the 60s a series of self-portraits by transforming his own electroencephalograms into artworks. Besides signing and framing them, Morris used to create bronze plates to indicate which track each part of the brain was responsible for. The plates highlight how our thoughts result from multiple electro-chemical phenomena happening all simultaneously. Thus, one could find your work choral as well, due to the fact that even the brain and thoughts are spatialized. They have their own tridimensional presence and their own lasting of time, that become perceptible through sound and matter in your works.

M.N.: Absolutely. Beginning with sound, I happened then to work on the wool pieces, on a more environmental scale [Il Giardino Perduto, 2017]. It may not be immediate at sight, but those are coming directly from a sound spatialization. When I make those, my mind is set on how sound is diffused through space. I think of what color the sound frequencies have, given that each color corresponds to a certain light frequency. Using sound as a paradigm of thought, everything gets filtered through such vision. Sound becomes an interpretation.

 

Matteo Nasini, Il Giardino Perduto, Exhibition detail
Courtesy Operativa, Rome

 

D.D.: You mentioned that the columns are part of the project Sparkling Matter from the very beginning, although you did not have a chance to produce them until now. Your first idea was to create a place where you could ritualize listening and the fruition of dreams.

M.N.: At the beginning, I had the idea of the incubation ritual, the archaic practice of sleeping in a sacred place–temples to caves—so to find answers in dreams. Like an oracle. I was really impressed with the idea of this practice applied to an exhibition: from a sound point of view, it is closer to a ritual than to an entertainment form; from an installation point of view, it subverts the very rules of a museum or a gallery. Thus, an exhibition becomes a place where new things happen, where the audience may enter and sleep.

D.D.: The act of sleeping is first of all a private one, maybe the most private, as we disappear even from the very control of our conscience. Counter to an exhibition experience, which is public and collective.

M.N.: It is an intimate, private action, taken out to a public place. Where we can be “differently conscious” [laughs]. We are always conscious, but we are differently so when we dream. Sculptures are, instead, the element that allows on a more canonical exhibition, by offering something to see. The sculptures are translated the performance into objects, thus being the last step. First, there is sleep, and its translation into sound during the night. Then, once the performance is over, I take the waves and go print them out.

 

Matteo Nasini (Rome, 1976)
Matteo Nasini artistic research originates from the study of sound to later materialise into forms that observe and deeply analyse both the surface of sound and plastic matter. His studies result into a methodological use of sound installations, performances, audio-visual works, and sculptural pieces. His most recent works has been exhibited at: Clima Gallery, Marsèlleria, Fluxia, Fonderia Battaglia (Milan); MAXXI, Macro, Nomas Foundation, Operativa, La Galleria Nazionale, Fondazione Pastificio Cerere (Rome); Villa Croce (Genova); Villa Romana (Florence); Palazzo Fortuny (Venice); Art O Rama, Damien Leclere (Marseille); EDF Foundation (Paris); Espace Le Carré, Palais Beaux-Arts (Lille); La Panacée (Montpellier); IIC, Hammer Museum (Los Angeles); Marsélleria (New York) and Rawing (London).

 

Matteo Nasini, Il Giardino Perduto, Exhibition detail
Courtesy Operativa, Rome

 

Matteo Nasini, Il Giardino Perduto, Exhibition detail
Courtesy Operativa, Rome

 

Matteo Nasini, Il Giardino Perduto, Exhibition detail
Courtesy Operativa, Rome

 

Matteo Nasini
Il Giardino Perduto
7 December 2017–17 February 2017
Opening: Friday 7 December, 7pm Operativa

Arte Contemporanea | Via del Consolato 10, Roma
Opening times: Wed–Sat, 4:30–7:30pm
Email: info@operativa-arte.com
www.operativa-arte.com