Matteo Bosi
I always start with a pencil sketch, than the shot on film or digital media
 
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If we wish to critically analyze the works by Matteo Bosi, we should not overlook a number of significant aspects, thus dwelling on and examining all his work with professionalism. There is no doubt that the artist from Italian Romagna region belongs to pioneering Digital Art and his role is even more important.
Today Bosi is telling us how he personally lives his artistic life, going back to the beginning of his career and moving on to the last projects, which are of the outmost importance from a poetic and aesthetic view point.
My first question is perhaps the most frequently asked in interviews, but it let us know a lot about your personality: who is Matteo Bosi? How do you define yourself?
Honestly, I've never been asked this question before. Who am I? Well, I'm a man in transit, never the same, although always himself. Inconsistent and curious.Tell us something about your artistic background and training; what is still pushing you into your research?
I've been studying at the "Ballardini" ceramics Institute of Faenza and got the diploma in 1985.
After a short experience at the Bologna Academy, I started working as a poster designer. I've always been talented in drawing and painting and I've been practising them since the first nineties. Using materials, using clay and working as a painter, all this mainly shaped my artistic identity at the beginning. The real breakthrough came however in the mid-nineties. At that time my father-in-law was a very talented commercial photographer and I started just looking at him… following him in the darkroom. On my website you can find the "akt" section dedicated to black and white photos, which illustrate my personal experimentation in photography during those years, when "Apple" had not come to my life yet.
Many people ignore that those pictures are actually the outcome of manual and digital mechanical experimentations. In 1998 I bought my first Quadra 840 computer and from then onwards I invented a new job and tried to implement a new code in the digital field, a new way to convey my feelings, my thoughts. So I took my first steps and by using a software I made the photo series "Corpi di carta" (Paper bodies).

Today digital tools are used daily. As I've mentioned before, you are one of the pioneers alongside other artists of the Italian artistic scenario. When did you first get in contact with such tools? Do you believe they will continue in the future or they will find it hard to get fully established owing to their technological cutting-edge?
I don't think there will be any problems at all. Any tool shall help and strengthen the story, but it is not useful or sufficient alone. Technical ability as well as technology are not enough to create an artwork. Technology surely helps you, it is useful and instrumental to… but cannot ever replace or damage the artist's skills.
The real risk we may run is overusing "technological performances", which can flatten, depersonalize a work of art. You can be an extraordinary craftsman and an excellent programmer, but it does not mean you are an artist. This is why I've always refused shortcuts: standard filters, affected work, binary codes without keeping an eye on the work. I always try to be focusing on the goal, which is entering the other from the main door.

Since your first works, we can see dreamy, imaginary atmospheres, which reach a surreal world made and shaped by your own symbols. These emotions are even more profound and touching in the last image sequences. No doubt that Duality or Identity are a clear example of that, but I think that the last one – Obsession – represents the real culmination.
Are there any differences between phases or is there something unifying all works in a more targeted scenario?
Nothing happens by chance, either consciously or unconsciously. I'm referring to the idea of temporariness and change characterizing every human being's life. The human being and their identity is the topic I work on. Men telling their stories through the body, thus showing an ever-evolving process. Following a chronological order I'll start with the "Ultra Homines" series, which is the photo sequence featuring the most of digital manipulations and the darkest one too. In almost all images, I tried to express a mystic/religious feeling, as well as my personal idea of satanic icon. The "Duality" series, on the other hand, looks for a revelation in the portrait, even fetishist, and in the hidden identity. Personally I think it is a good work that I realized thanks also to the help of artist and friend Gian Ruggero Manzoni. Later on with "Identity" I searched the flesh, I looked at the shape, the materials, also including, as you can easily see, other animal and dark references. Finally, from a technical/aesthetic viewpoint, with "Obsession" I came back to photography and tried to limit digital interventions as much as possible. I was looking for a clearer image with "Mask" and "Helmet" shots; bodies decorated by metal accessories and veils which hide and thus disclose. But most of all "Dream" – the series fully dedicated to the funeral iconography known by lovers of decadent literature – is where I did not use any digital intervention and left a raw image, fragile in the remains.
A feature which mostly characterizes you and in a way makes you different is, besides your extraordinary technical ability, your – let me use the term – continuous hiding or covering the faces of the main characters. This is certainly linked to the topic of identity. How do you deal with it? And most of all, what are your feelings when confronting yourself with it?
"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth" Oscar Wilde
Your artworks make the audience feel various emotions. We may list many of them, but first of all there are eroticism and death, a dual concept which has been always represented in artists' works. I noticed a few recalls to the great American master Joel Peter Witkin, but also big names of historic and contemporary photography – Gioli, Gilles Berquet, Serrano – who positively or negatively confronted themselves with the body and its primordial impulses.
What does the body represents to you?
The body is a container, a biological clock. It always reminds you of life and death alike. It is a container of impulses, as well as of the soul. It is a means telling us, every day, who we are. (…)
Many people (including myself) will wonder what the creation process of one of your artworks is like. Since you are experimenting all the time at poetic and most of all technical level, I think you should at least partly satisfy our curiosity. Can you tell us something about the creation process of one of your images?
I always start with a pencil sketch, than the shot on film or digital media. Afterwards there are both mechanical and manual steps up to Photoshop. Then I start back again…
After printing, you conclude your works through painting interventions; you use "standard" painting, that is to say colours and brush. By doing so you make your work unique. Why do you feel the need to complete your works this way?
Because actually my work is never completed. Once it has been printed, torn, decontextualized and applied again as a collage and painting, it is still greedy for hands, blood and flesh… scanner.
What do you think about contemporary Italian and international artistic scenario? Are you happy with it or do you find it hard to emerge and make your work be understood?
It seems people abroad are more interested in my work, although this partly depends on the instrument I mostly use, which is Internet. As to the artistic scenario, I do pay great attention to artists and I really love their works. However I always try to consider them according to historical periods and to what they told us or are able to tell. I truly believe that nobody can equal Joel-Peter Witkin in terms of intensity and untidiness. But I cannot overlook real photographers – non-digital ones – either, like Andres Serrano, Man Ray, Gilles Berquet, Gioli, Outerbridge, Robert Mapplethorpe, Louise Bourgeois, Nabuyoshi Araki... just to mention a few of them.
Concerning digital art in Italy, I pay great attention to the work by Daniele Cascone, Francesco D'Isa, Bavari. I think they are some of the most important Italian digital artists, although they are known at international level as well.
Last but not least I'd mention the absolute number one: Dave Mckean, father and prophet of
photograph/illustration/digital.

What about the future? Do you have any special projects or secret dreams?
I do not have any secret dreams, I only have ideas I want to realize. The first one concerns the "Versus" section of my website: in a couple of years, I'd like to create a real interaction with digital images, by working closer with artists. My idea is to realize an exhibition and a catalogue containing the most significant works stemming from this collaboration. I'm currently trying to understand how to reach the highest number of artists to be involved, so as to start the project.
The other project in a way clashes with what I've been done so far.
I'd like to go back to the darkroom, I do miss those smells. I'd love to work again on images in a physical way, I want to get my hands dirty with glue and I want to smell of trichloroethylene.


Dario Lanzetta
eine Nachricht an den Künstler

 

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