Fishes Out of Water

15 March 2019

In Monica De Mattei’s art, the first peculiarity which emerges is a strong use of colour, however a more attentive gaze leads us to discover the predominance of line. Her fish always originate from a profile whose linearity is often curved, featuring a delineation which exudes the artist’s confidence, probably from her architectural studies. In expressing the principle governing his own architectonic language, Oscar Niemeyer once wrote “The universe is made of curves”. The world observed and reproduced by Monica is undoubtedly dominated by the freedom, sensuality and sinuosity of forms. The collection “Pesci fuor d’acqua”(Fishes Out of Water)  is perhaps the clearest example of this characteristic: the outline of profiles becomes so deep that it cuts into the surface and isolates the fishes, enabling them to “jump out” from their “water”. A way of making them stand out and emerge, which also, as the title of the collection suggests, may also make them feel lonely, out of place, or located in a “non-place”. What we see is another characterising aspect of Monica’s language: contrasts, which emerge onto the surface in virtue of a subtle play on colour combinations. A new technical experimentation also comes up in this collection: the use of rolls, recreating curves and waves in a “sea” which is no longer outside, but “inside” the fish.