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July 1st - July 31st 2015

SATYR by Mat Chivers. 

Location: Veniceinabottle, Castello 1794, 30122 Venice.

Opening hours: 10:00 - 18:00, closed on Mondays.

The work of British visual artist Mat Chivers looks at how the fundamental phenomena that exists below the surface of things inform the way we experience the world around us. SATYR will include two works by Mat: Human Nature, a sculpture based piece, and Satyr, a video installation.


The process of making draws on combinations of analogue and digital technologies in works that embody a hybridisation of old-world subjects and techniques with contemporary envisioning processes. The work of Mat Chivers focuses on the location between data capture and its consequent interpretation in order to explore the ambiguous nature of perception. 

Human Nature, 2014.

Forty white bronze elements of various dimensions.

I have collected a number of small naturally eroded stones that have been revealed by eons of weathering, untouched by human hand, lying on the surface of the ground near the historically significant marble quarries of the Alpi Apuane. Of each of these stones I have selected a minimum of three of the most naturally flat faces and have followed their lead by rubbing them flat by hand with successive grades of carborundum paper until their planes intersect. Casting a selection of forty of the resulting stones into white bronze has reduced the tonal range across the materials allowing the work to read as an array of forms. As intentionally ambiguous objects, the bronzes allude to the idea of the human desire to make a mark on the world - an un-heoric gesture in a material with a heroic history of human use. "" For some time I have been researching the extraordinary history of working in marble that has occurred in the area of Italy where I have been living and working. Surrounded by the most virtuosic works in stone I have decided to take a stance that echoes and distills the conceptual thread that runs through my approach to making. In this instance, what is the minimum intervention I can have with this extraordinary 'noble' material yet still generate meaning. 


Satyr, 2014.

HD digital film, 7 minutes duration.

In this collaborative work the Italian noise band VIP Cancro were invited to improvise a live sound piece and performance artists Alessandra Podesti and Anonymous were invited to improvise movement material in response to the sculptural installation Satyri and the Human Nature bronzes. A film was made on the summer solstice of the ensuing improvisations in rural and industrial locations in the vicinity of Colonnata, in the heartland of marble quarrying near Carrara. The film is framed within a Venn diagram-like perimeter mask known as the Vesica Piscis which is derived from two circles overlapping so that the circumference of each touches the centre point of the other. The two nodes at the centre of each circle are retained as opaque black points. The work is based around a symmetrical structure composed of seven interrelated sections and expands on the notions of the conjunction of opposites as explored in Satyri and Human Nature and the understanding that there is no such thing as duality. "" Getting my first real taste of living and working for an extensive period of time in Italy I have attempted to immerse myself as much as possible in this fascinating new context. Through my research and experience of the place, an awareness of the extraordinary conjunction of human culture and the natural environment that typifies the landscape has captured my imagination. I have become particularly fascinated by the tradition of elaborate formal gardens, with the inherent sense of rationality and order (imbued with sensuality and grandeur) achieved through the use of geometry and the application of proportion. I am interested in how this historical layering exists in counterpoint to the increasing presence of the digital world - particularly in terms of how digital processes and robotic manufacturing methods are threatening the livelihoods of the artisans that have worked in the marble quarries of the Alpi Apuane for centuries. 


Recent solo exhibitions include 'Altered States' at Hallmark House, Johannesburg, South Africa; 'Between Day and Night and Night and the Day' at Kappatos Gallery, Athens; 'Syzygy' at Millennium, St Ives; and 'Fascination' at Maddox Arts, London. Group exhibitions include 'Glasstress: White Light / White Heat' at Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti for the 55th Venice Art Biennale and The Wallace Collection, London; 'The Knowledge' at The Gervasuti Foundation for the 54th Venice Art Biennale; 'Material Matters: The Power of the Medium' at The Courtauld Institute of Arts, London; and 'Eleventh Plateau' at the Athens Biennale and The Historical Archives Museum, Hydra, Greece. Mat Chivers has works in private and public collections both nationally and internationally, including a recent commission for Oxford University Mathematical Institute.

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