World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 173 - Mattia Papp
One of the works In the exhibition 'Traces of personal presence' at the Twelve Twelve Gallery in The Hague, was 'Santo Spirito Wall 2017' by Mattia Papp. It showed a wall of the famous Santo Spirito church in the heart of Florence, a church visited by all tourists. At the same time the outside wall had become quite dirty with yellow and green colors.
Mattia Papp, originally from Florence: "Everything had happened to that wall. It had become part of everyday life. There had been peeding and vomiting and that left its mark. It was bleached out and also greened because of a kind of moss that started to grow. Despite that, I also found it to have a great beauty. The beauty of Florence has two aspects: on the one hand there is harmony in images, buildings, churches. At the same time you can see that the city is being neglected due to decline and decadence. I made a moodboard at the Royal Academy in The Hague on which you see the destruction of a beautiful building. "
Theatricality and monumentality
Mattia is a great admirer of the classic Italian painting tradition. "I love the iconography. Catholic paintings are beautiful and powerful. There is theatricality and monumentality. You see it throughout southern Europe, not only in Italy: saints, monumental figures, also in the public domain, on squares and streets. They usually stand on a pedestal or a larger stage, in tabernacles, they look at the people from above. "
Not only the sacred and profane are mixing, that is also the case with harmony and horrors. "A painting of Jesus who goes to heaven with wounds on his body. Sint Sebastian pierced with arrows. Destroyed cities, wailing women." You also see that in the present time, says Mattia. "Look at what took place in the city of Afrin in Syria. That has an equally heavy impact." In his work, Mattia tries to create a link between the former Italian aesthetics and what is happening in the world now. He makes, as it were, an update of classical iconography with the help of archetypes.
Mattia no longer felt catholic when he was 14 years old. But three years ago, he is now 24, there was a new connection with faith. "Not that I suddenly became a believer again, but it was more a celebration of Catholic culture and Catholic heritage. I see something divine in for example a dead tree where moss or mushrooms appear or in friendship, a work of art and even in horror. There is something sublime about all those things. "
Does he have a key work, a work that served as a turning point? He even appears to have three.
The first is 'Allegoria', a large canvas measuring two by three meters, with three scenes: on the left a ruin of the fish market in the Piazza dei Ciompi in Florence. The square is named after the Ciompi, loose workers, who were not allowed to join the Florentine Board because they were not members of a guild. At the fish market ruins you see ISIS fighters with hostages at their feet. In the middle you see protesters who went on the streets in Burkina Fasso in 2014 because their dictator, who had been in power for 28 years, wanted to change the constitution. And on the right Syrian refugees and people who fled the Brazilian favelas because of the Worldcup 2014. Burning crosses in the background. All scenes are situated on a lawn, a reference to the early Renaissance and the Flemish primitives, the shape of the mountain is Titianesque. The work is a 'monument' for injustice and six centuries of Italian paintings.
Mattia: "I first presented this work at the Hague Royal Academy, KABK, in June 2015 and then in the Santa Caterina Church in Lucca in Italy, in April 2017. It was part of a project, ‘Lucca, Incontri sul bello'. The work was placed at the end of a real grass carpet of seven by three meters. An original composition by Simone Tecla could also be heard from eight speakers. "
The second key work is 'San Sebastian'. You see Sebastian with red arrows in his body with a white loincloth. Ominous black, light green, dark green and white skies in the background. "The aesthetics are close to those of modern art, in particular modern art from the Netherlands."
The third key work is the above-described 'Santo Spirito Wall 2017' and the fourth a video work with an HDTV screen, a tabernacle with a living painting with his friends as scenic figurants with the title 'Nimph'. "A contemporary work with classical elements. You see Italian architecture and contemporary culture with social media and digital art. "
Mattia Papp has been drawing and painting since his fifth, he says. "I always wanted it. From my mother's side there were several painters and sculptors in the family." In Florence he went to a secondary school for beginning artists and then he chose an Academy in the Netherlands. "We have a strong connection with tradition in Italy, while young Dutch artists are much more involved in contemporary popular culture. The Dutch are more inclined to look ahead. Both cultures can learn from each other. That happened in the past and I want to promote that exchange again. "
What is his experience with the art life? "Five years ago I had a few exhibitions in Italy. During my study period at the KABK (2013-2017) I also had a few exhibitions and after my graduation, in July 2017, eight exhibitions. This summer I will have an exhibition in The Hague with more colleagues at an event in Kijkduin organized by a Belgian theater company. At this moment I am working with a friend on a graphic novel, I draw, he writes the text. A bit commercial. I hope it will be published. Maybe in Italy. "
With all the body
Finally, what is his philosophy? "When I paint, I do it with all my body. Sometimes I am naked. I use buckets with colored water. The studio turns into a battlefield, it is an incredible mess, but at the same time I sometimes paint something delicate. I love to immerse myself in paint or even in mud. I am very physical. "