Part 1 of 4
For Homemade, Andrea Mastrovito is drawing upon his own personal experiences of upheaval to inspire his work. Mastrovito will be leaving New York at the end of the month for his home in Bergamo. Ahead of his departure, Mastrovito seeks to record the environment in which he and his family are living. Using an intimate frottage technique, Mastrovito will archive his domestic space through drawings of his immediate surroundings, created by covering household objects with paper and rubbing pencil directly over them. Each drawing will carry the unique trace of the objects that composed it. Together they will create a portrait of the artist’s New York home and produce a lasting document for the artist and his family to remember their particular story of this time, as told by the space and the objects they lived with.
"The next few weeks will probably be the last we will spend in this house. The contract expires in a month and the owner does not intend to renew it. Also, our families in Bergamo will soon need a hand. For this reason I started to map both the house and some of the objects that it contains. Some coins, my son’s toys, the floor, the curtains hanging on the windows... All this reality, in its roughness, is recorded by the stroke of my pencil and frottage, through which it comes to life and forms new shapes, the shape of my small family: myself, my wife, and my son. A family portrait, a lifesize triptych of everything I can find in my home that is materially viable to use. Through this frottage, the bond between us and our home becomes even stronger, especially in these days of forced quarantine." - Andrea Mastrovito
Part 2 of 4
In the intervening weeks, Andrea Mastrovito has confirmed his plans to leave New York City for Bergamo. As his family packs up their home and prepares for the journey, Mastrovito has continued to catalog their dispositions and his surroundings through the method of frottage. An automatic drawing practice the artist has used for more than 20 years, the process allows him to methodically capture and process the nuances of this space and time. As this project has developed, Mastrovito has begun to combine the resulting drawings of his wife and child with surface details of the floors, carpets, found coins, toys, constructing life size collages of the likenesses of his loved ones.
As the days go by, I become more and more comfortable with the frottage technique. Now the whole house and its surfaces seem to speak to me in a new sort of language.
I am reminded of Max Ernst and his "Histoire Naturelle" in MoMA’S collection, with his "home" frottages, which refer to an “Other” world. "The fugitive" is the most famous example.
Here, there is no escape route and we must confront ourselves, so the “Histoire Naturelle" turns into a "Histoire Familiale" in which we measure ourselves daily, reflected in the traces left by our pencil on our self-portraits.
Part 3 of 4
Andrea Mastrovito has been steadily building a family portrait of his wife, child, and self through life-size paper collages. Each collage is composed of an intricate web of visual components, created through frottages of the objects that fill his home. Mastrovito carefully selects the items he uses to form these portraits in order to authentically represent his family members. For example, his son’s portrait is composed of the toys he plays with regularly, and his wife is made of coins. This week, Mastrovito added himself to his collection. With frottages of Queen’s The Miracle album record, a grid of VHS tapes, and an art book on Picasso’s Blue and Rose periods, the artist uniquely portrays himself through items that define his home life.
My new family has taken shape: Mattia through his toys and the suitcase in which he hides; Francesca through her design books and our home’s curtains; I through my art catalogues, books on vampirism, and my films.
There are two common elements for all of us:
Coins (who has more, who less, in the end it’s always about money in New York!), and wood (through the frottages of tables, floors, and cutting boards, wood embodies our faces, our arts).
Three modern Pinocchios intent on telling each other a lot of lies just to stand up on our feet.
Part 4 of 4
Andrea Mastrovito’s family portrait is complete. After meticulously cutting out each of the collaged pieces that comprise the three works, Mastrovito pasted them onto thick sheets of paper, rebuilding them and making them stronger than they were before. His process poetically reflects upon our collective need to reassemble our society and its structures in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. As the artist prepares to return to Bergamo, these portraits serve as a beautiful testament to his family’s New York home and their experience of lockdown within it.
I finished: I pasted the portraits onto three large sheets of Rives BFK paper.
To do this, I had to dismember our bodies into small parts, apply glue, and then reassemble them on the sheet.
They hang in the dining room like three large mirrors, broken and then recomposed so as to match them with our faces.
In mine, I reflect myself perfectly: the low gaze, which seeks reality, and the hands in the pocket, which seek the keys to the house.
About the artist
Andrea Mastrovito (b. 1978, Bergamo, Italy) is a multimedia artist whose practice is characterized by its constant evolution. His work reconceptualizes painting and drawing and extends far beyond the studio to occupy and confront different audiences and communities through public performances and installations. Mastrovito has had solo exhibitions and screenings at institutions such as Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome (2019); Queens Museum, New York (2017); Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring, New York (2017); Ryan Lee Gallery, New York (2015); and the Italian Cultural Institute, New York (2014). His work has been included in group exhibitions at Palazzo Polli Stoppani, Bergamo (2019); the Italian Cultural Institute, New York (2016); International Studio & Curatorial Program, New York (2014); and The Courtauld Institute of Art, London (2014), among others. Mastrovito lives and works in New York.
From July 9 through September 7, 2020, Magazzino presents Homemade, a special exhibition of new work created by eight New York-based Italian artists—including Alessandro Teoldi, Andrea Mastrovito, Beatrice Scaccia, Danilo Correale, Davide Balliano, Francesco Simeti, Luisa Rabbia, and Maria D. Rapicavoli—during the global quarantine. Originally launched as part of the Magazzino da Casa’s digital program, Homemade culminates with an in-person exhibition of the final artworks created over the project’s two-month duration, which will open to the public on July 10, 2020.
Magazzino Italian Art will begin welcoming the public back to the museum starting Friday, July 10, 2020 in accordance with state, regional, and local guidelines of the phased reopening of the Mid-Hudson region. Find out more information on Magazzino’s summer programming, as well as new health and safety protocols.
Alessandro Teoldi (b. 1987, Milan, Italy) is an artist whose practice involves textiles, sculpture, drawing and painting. In his work, Teoldi hints at the dissociative trauma of separation and creatively transforms the human need to establish affective connections with simple, everyday materials into intimate artistic mediations.
Francesco Simeti (b. 1968, Palermo, Italy) is known for his site-specific installations using wallpapers, sculptures, and 3D collage.
Beatrice Scaccia (b. 1978, Frosinone, Italy) is an artist and writer. Her visual works, which take the form of drawings, paintings, and digital animations, explore the absurdity of the human condition.
Maria D. Rapicavoli (b. 1976, Catania, Italy) is an artist whose practice developed from a background in photography, film, and video, and has expanded to include sculpture and site-specific installation.
Luisa Rabbia (b. 1970, Turin, Italy) is an artist whose practice encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture, and video.
Danilo Correale (b. 1982, Naples, Italy) is an artist and researcher whose work investigates labor, leisure, and laziness as metaphorical lenses into the post-modern sociopolitical and economic landscape.