24 May 2019

Monica De Mattei’s explosive creativity finds inspiration in a very real contemporary problem in this new collection of “PlasticFish”: namely, the pressing issue of plastic waste pollution.

The artist has always been fascinated by the mysteries of sea life, and adopts a singular approach to warning us of this looming threat, which hangs like a millstone around the untouched maritime universe of her paintings. Starting from environmental evidence, and with the aim of raising awareness, Monica thus transforms her joyful, multicoloured aquatic creations into the starting point for a reflection on the devastating effects of microplastics on the marine fauna that is so dear to her, creating unique pieces that are emblematic of a material that will one day disappear.

The “PlasticFish” of this new series are no less than singular variations on the artist’s well-known “Pesci fuor d’acqua” [Fish out of water] series: stripped of their flamboyant, sinuous waves of colour, these bodies bear witness to the devastating effects of pollution on the sea. The perfect shapes of the artist’s imaginary fishes now include fragments of recycled plastics, as well as remnants of bottles Monica has salvaged, shaped and applied according to specific chromatic criteria – all of which imbues the fish with an almost sculptural, three-dimensional aura.

With this new collection, the artist provides evidence of a painful metamorphic process, one in which the inhabitants of her imaginary creative ocean lose their decorative shimmer, sequins and studs in order to embrace the tough plastic scales of a world that has fallen foul of aggressive pollution. As such, they act as a clear warning of the collective commitment required for environmental sustainability.