Maurizio Donzelli. Etcetera.
curated by Luca Cerizza
23 March - 16 May 2017
Opening: Thursday, 23 March 2017, 6 - 8.30pm
Cortesi Gallery, 41&43 Maddox Street, London W1S 2PD
The work of Maurizio Donzelli (b. Brescia, 1958) focuses on mark, drawing and
ornament as hub around which all other tools of expression seem to gravitate.
These characteristics are visible both in the realization of the work and in the
ways in which the latter is exhibited.
The first-ever solo exhibition in the UK dedicated to Donzelli’s oeuvre, which will be
held at Cortesi Gallery, presents a series of works from the last two years of his
artistic production, in particular, a selection of acrylic drawings and “Mirrors”.
Whether Donzelli’s drawings take the form of watercolour on paper, acrylic on paper
or acrylic on silk, they are above all a track, a tracing, a rhyzome. If they can be
compared to a path realised with the mark, this path is not prepared according to
any pre-ordained scheme. If anything, is the point of departure that indicates the
direction, because what interests the artist about drawing is above all the
beginning, “the image as revelation”, as he declared.
From that first moment – which seems to allude to the biological development of life
forms – the artist becomes the conduit for a stream of sensation, guiding and
following a path and inner cadence that leads to the formation of the work. The
latter should be seen as an articulation of marks; abstract, but of organic origin, as
if they were a “germination” that has never really come to an end.
Donzelli pursues a certain fluidity, a continuum of sensations that will lead past the
threshold of control through the symbiosis between body, materials and surface in
As in his drawings and his “Mirror” works as well, Donzelli tries and clearly manages
to lose control over the final outcome of his aesthetic undertaking. In the former, a
temporary absence of self is achieved through a sense of “dilation” manifested in
the fluidity of the relationship with his materials and movement, in the way the
work unfolds; in the “Mirrors”, on the other hand, this loss seems to be brought
about in advance. Taking an image that may be a new painting, a manipulated
photograph of a previous work, or a three-dimensional collage, Donzelli applies a
prismatic lens that covers the entire original image, and places it inside a wooden
box, also delimited by a frame. Since the artist is forced to assemble the work from
behind, the final outcome of this superimposition, this merger of image and
lenticular glass, is revealed only when the artist turns around the completed work.
In the “Mirrors”, the reflecting mirror is actually an image while the viewer is
moving, almost as if the works were having an independent life of its own. Like
a frustrated Narcissus betrayed by his own expectations, the viewers of the
“Mirror” look into it and see their own image in relation to their surroundings, but
then find they are being “looked at” by the work that was supposed to reflect
Through the drawings and the “Mirrors”, Donzelli’s practice creates a strong sense of
“overflow,” of pouring past the boundaries of space and the surface assigned to
them, as if they had difficulty remaining within the area marked off by the paper,
the frame, the fabric. As usual, it is in the singularity of the exhibition but above all,
in its context that this continuous flow finds a temporary rest and balance.
41 & 43 Maddox Street, London W1S 2PD
Gallery hours: Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm