10 June 2019

In the “FishEye” series, Monica De Mattei plays on both the title and the construction of the subjects depicted, with a reference to the typical photographic effect achieved by a specific kind of wide-angle lens of the same name, i.e. a fisheye.This lens creates a circular image containing an approximately 180° field of vision, its English name being derived from the obvious similarities between the rounded photographic lens and the typically glassy eyes of a fish.

In this collection the artist jettisons an all-encompassing imaginative and visual field in favour of a close-up, microscopic view of the subject, which encourages the viewer to engage in a more considered, thoughtful interaction with the marine world and its enigmatic silent creatures. This is true from the multitude of fish in “Acquario infinito [Endless Aquarium] to the concentric visions evident in “Maternità” [Maternity]; whether floating in the abstract waters of “Oceano 4.0” [Ocean 4.0] or then leap out in the rolling waves of colour of “Il pesce che non c’è” [The Fish That Isn’t There] and find itself as one of the “Pesci fuor dacqua” [Fishes Out of Water], drifting uncertainly in search of their own sea.

Following the thread of an ideal, intuitive line of reasoning, Monica gradually moves from a general, holistic creative vision to a specific one, eventually focusing on one specific detail in the “FishEye” series: the fish’s head and its deep black eye. In these circular canvases, the large fish heads – embellished with a baroque decorative style composed of golden embroidery and coils – seem to scrutinise us, delving deep into our souls and turning the painting’s typical function on its head. We’re no longer sure whether we are observing or being observed. But perhaps the artist is encouraging us to let ourselves go, to try to immerse ourselves in the depths of the marine universe in order to reconnect with our most intimate, hidden nature, safely buried as it is in the depths of our mysterious inner sea.