AWARE, Interview by Ilaria Bochicchio

IVAN DE MENIS

biography works news

08 October 2015

AWARE, Interview by Ilaria Bochicchio

For this occasion, the gallery presents the first solo show in Milan by the Italian artist Ivan De Menis. “Compressioni” (Compressions) is the title of an exhibition featuring 16 works of different sizes. For us, at Aware, a preview of the interview with the artist.  

When and how did your research on material begin, and on the particular technique applied in the “Compressioni” series?   

From my very first works when still at the art academy, I always focused on matter and volume with overlays of materials like felt and gauze. In the latest series of the Compressioni I wanted to mix so-called traditional techniques like oil painting in repulsion with water-base pigments on cotton canvas and contemporary materials like epoxy resin, then enclosing the work with polystyrene panels pressed onto the canvas itself. An operation of opening and closing with respect to the outside that I repeat almost infinitely to crystallize the flow of time with each stratification; a process that is truly interrupted only with the final positioning of the work in space. The Compressioni are a continuation of the path of the “Tessere” (Tiles), in which the resin becomes the protagonist, layer after layer.   

The colors and nuances shaded at the sides of the surface create interactions and contrasts between the plane of the works and the sides. Can you shape this technique, or do you prefer to let the material itself make the “choice”?   

In my works there is a clear contrast between the surface and the border: in the first I seek tones given by the overlaying of the layers of resin, trying to tame the material; in the second I let the color freely run its course, and the signs of the various enclosures done with plexiglas, the sign of my experience with the work.   

You talk about time as a fundamental factor in your work, a Penelope’s shroud made of colors, of your composition. Is this a job that requires a lot of manual skill?   

My work is connected with time. “Tessere,” “Rette,” “Tondi” and “Compressioni” complete my personal alphabet, step by step. Time becomes the fulcrum of my work, a sort of obsession. I decide to interrupt my pieces at a certain point, otherwise they could evolve infinitely. Yes, they require particular manual ability, though I believe that every artists acts with natural spontaneity.   

Does the sculptural rigidity of the finished work translate, for you, into the satisfaction of having somehow “imprisoned” time?   

The work grows slowly and lives with me for a period of time. On the surface you can see the signs of the will to control and to block time, together with awareness of the impossibility of doing so. Each pour of the resin becomes a sort of dome that protects and somehow imprisons time in precious treasure chests.   Which artists have in some way accompanied or influenced you during your personal artistic research?   The artists who have accompanied and sometimes influenced me are above all Giorgio Morandi, Lawrence Carroll, David Lindberg and Donald Baechler.