Gabriele Di Matteo

After studying painting at the Fine Arts Academy of Naples, in 1985 Gabriele Di Matteo (Torre del Greco, 1957) showed his work at the exhibition Evacuare Napoli held at the Istituto Grenoble of Naples. The paintings he showed there echoed the language of the Neo-Expressionists, but in an ironically theatrical key. As early as the following year, with one of the works in the collection, 1+1=0, the artist’s output revealed a radical linguistic void (declaredly a nod to Kazimir Malevich), with the creation of works that triggered mechanisms of reflection that were of a Conceptual nature. On that occasion, for the first time ever, the artist’s fictitious alter ego also intervened, named Armando Della Vittoria, a combination of his father’s and his mother’s names. In 1989 Di Matteo and Armando Della Vittoria participated with two different works in the Premio Saatchi, which was awarded, in spite of the latter artist’s victory, to the work Cassa Contante by Di Matteo.

With the founding of the magazine E il topo in 1991, Armando Della Vittoria took on the role of director, and addressed his research especially toward the theme of identity: issue no. 4 of the magazine, produced during the installation of Aperto at the 1993 Venice Biennale, is a work on the exchange of identities. Armando Della Vittoria later published Biografie immaginarie, an anthology of the lives of artists and critics, written by authors who based their work on what was suggested to them by the photographic portrait of the character whose story they had been asked to reconstruct.

While from 2012 Armando Della Vittoria dedicated himself exclusively to the running of the magazine, Di Matteo continued to reflect on the theme of the copy and the function of pre-existing images. In 1993 he painted reproductions of the illustrations made in 1976 by André Raffray for Marcel Duchamp’s La Vie illustrée and thereafter reproposed the same theme, using the images of a later publication in English. Duchamp again inspired the artist’s works in 1993, these also being part of the collection, consisting of facsimiles with commercial value of the facsimiles of famous works by Duchamp (Nu descendant un escalier, La Broyeuse de chocolat, Mariée), previously authorized as they were deprived of any value and are preserved at the College Marcel Duchamp in Châteauroux.

The collection also includes Prestigiatore (“Illusionist”), a work that was presented on the occasion of the artist’s first retrospective, in 2002, at the FRAC in Limoges. In this work the artist examines Fifties advertising and creates four juxtapositions of a figure who is about to take a picture, the umpteenth variation on the theme of multiple identities and a study of the production of contemporary images and the imagination.

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