Hello Matteo, could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Matteo Trentin, and I'm twenty five years old. I'm born in Schio, a small town located in the West of Veneto, and I'm currently living in Vicenza. The main media I work with are installation, performance and mail art.
Please tell us about your beginnings as an artist. When and how did you start?
I have always been interested in human sciences, music and visual arts, and very early on I approached the latter in particular, attending a painting course held by an artist in his studio in Schio when I was seven. Then I didn't particularly carry on my artistic studies until I was eighteen and when, studying history of art at the social sciences high school of my town, I understood that this deepening of psychological introspection would have been translated in a visual way. So I started attending the Painting course at the Academy of Good Arts G. B. Cignaroli in Verona, obtaining a first level academic diploma in visual arts in 2020, when I began my self-employed artistic research.
How do you get inspired? Where do you work, and do you have any particular ritual?
My creative process developed at first showing a particular closeness to an expressionist matrix of figuration which, although not abandoned, during my academic years gave way to research increasingly linked to the practices of disappearance and to a processual and relational approach. In particular, the intervention brings with it a process of de-personification of the (rap)presented identities, whose essential features are impressed on a support that from a fragment (a page removed from fragmentation and reconstituted from its own ashes) takes the form of the fake of an object trouvé: an untitled, belonging to a collective imagination within which every existing person is led to mirror himself and see his own uniqueness legitimised. I'm interested in and get inspired by the concept of memory, and the function of recovery addressed to this one, as soon as it's played by the creative act in the eventuality in which, dropped into everyday life, it assumes an historical and documentary value: as a testimony aimed at attributing new dignity to images linked to a past which (however recent) we are not allowed to re-appropriate completely. These images would in fact be close to oblivion if the creative act did not interpose itself between them and the result of their chronological flow, relegating them once again to the individual as well as the collective sphere. We are faced with a process that, if the evocative power of one’s own interior figures is undermined by the passing of existence, can be reversed as soon as the author subjects them to a practice of de-personification (and, consequently, disappearance), making them part of the collective imagination.
I work in a small studio communicating with the garage of my house in Schio, as if I wouldn't be able to carry on my research in a location which is not close to a private, daily situation. If I need to start a process of combustion I go to work in the yard outside the studio, but it's like everyone looking at my work could feel an endless connection between my artistic process and the physical place I came from, and this point is something that I don't judge so far from a ritual. There is further another operation that I often commit when I am working at a piece and can be red with this value: in the moment I try to handle and cover the images burning away the support on which these are impressed, I use the fire of a candle whose matter dripping cause a layering of combustion and wax. Many times this one breaks away, becoming detached from the work: then I collect the fragment of wax from the studio floor, and I put it inside a case containing all the other pieces formed by the same material, and that I expose with the finished pieces.
The reason why I create is more concrete than how it could seem. At first I make art essentially because I feel it is the only possibility I have to allow something of myself to the other. It is a practice of recovery and, therefore, of therapy aimed at decreasing the distance between my experience and the other people's one (we can say between the individual and the collective). Under this point of view my practice is an existential and relational need.
How would you define/describe yourself and your research as an artist?
What I try to do as an artist is not so far from what every human being tries to do with his own identity: to find a way to recall and keep untouched all the scraps of memory thanks to which have confirmed his uniqueness as an individual, even if without giving up his relational tendency. According to these thoughts my intentions are more related to existence than to art.
All my works reflect this aim, according to which (and through intermediate stratification), they take on the form of ready-mades that seem to have already undergone the action of time, flowing into a re-evocative sphere in which they are configured as an artefact that can no longer be traced solely to the private life of the individual. The object in question also assumes the value of an epiphany, which remains impressed in the memory of those who have experienced it as much as in the observer, with an intent that can be read as (in addition to memorial) therapeutic. All these aspects, from the recollection of memorial images, passing through their disappearance, as if the transition of the objects in which this memory finds expression from a private to a public field are all recurrent themes in my works.
The work I am proudest of is titled “I'm Too Glad To Drip In Front Of You '', and represents the first artist cardboard I made. It is composed by the backside of a second post-war cardboard copied and re-adapted to a photograph, on the frontside, showing a performance during which I let the wax of a candle drip on my cheeks, in place of my tears. A future project I would really like to participate in is a collective held by the mail art archive of Vienna.
With my works I want to make the viewer able to see himself reflected in the fragments that I expose. Those ones take the shape of documents which depict an attempt to preserve all an heritage of images, and to not relegate them only on an inner filed, but also to a public one.
What inspires you (artists, movements, people, styles, etc.)?
The main situations that inspire me are the ones related to artists, movements and styles that involve the use of practices of disappearance, mail settings and actions whose aim is always to be relational. I am really interested in the artistic research of Anselm Kiefer, Christian Boltanski, Cesare Pietroiusti, the mail art network and relational aesthetics.
Is there a story that you can share, a work you are proud of, an exhibition that received particularly good feedback?
My artistic experience is always linked to the themes of the ephemera and the unfinished. An episode that shows these aspects really well is referred to a work that I realized three years ago, and that has been chosen for a collective exposition of an international festival of contemporary art held in Tehran, Iran. This piece was an installation composed by an acetate film (on which I work with oil, wax and combustion) overlaid with photographic print, but it needed a support and a framework: this is the reason why, at the moment of sending the work to the exposition, I packaged it only signing with the tape the points of the edges where the plastic paper got in contact with the photography, and when it was shipped back here in Italy not only the marks took on it with the tape had changed, but also the acetate was cut in two points. The piece would not have stop to be appreciated, despite it was involved in a process of ongoing transformation and break-up that without which it couldn't exist as an artwork.
How being in isolation - due to the pandemic - has affected you related to art practice?
The necessity of being isolated according to the medical emergency that had to be faced during the last year has affected me in the order to increase the relationship of closeness current between my like and the art practice. This happened enough to make me no longer able to feel at ease without working on a new project, and I'm sure that what happened would also impact my future work, even if I still don't really know how.
Is there a specific message you would like to spread to the people who experience your work?
I think that, although the difficult to deal with contents and languages that have never been faced on visual arts (and so it is respect to my research), my works deal with the purpose of recover and get back images which was destined to be forgotten (with the time they belonged), covered by a new value and a new identity that the viewers give them, and that for everybody of them is different.
If it is not a secret… Do you have any current or future projects in mind?
I have many future projects in mind, but nothing of which I can talk about in detail before working on it: and this is only for the reason that I could risk to address too much the free manifestation of the artistic process through a direction rather than through another one. I can say for sure that these developing ideas include the wish of giving a more and more environmental and relational attitude to my work (meant as a real attempt to draw new possible existential geographies through the fragmented and not only individualized, but shared, experience that they stand for).
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