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01 May 2020 | Nieuws

The Piket Art Prizes in times of corona (4): Mattia Papp

Until 1 June theatremakers, actors, artists and dancers are forced to sit at home. As part of the official measures aimed at keeping the spread of the coronavirus under control, exhibitions are off and performances have been cancelled. What do these measures mean for Piket Art Prizes’ young artists? Part 4: Mattia Papp

Impact of the measures

In his studio at The Hague Studio Complex De Besturing, Mattia Papp is doggedly working away on his paintings, installations and sculptures. “I had a group exhibition planned in a studio on the Witte de Withstraat in Rotterdam, but it has been cancelled, and so has an exhibition in Florence,” Mattia says with a sigh. “It’s really disappointing.” Whether and when planned exhibitions will take place, is still unknown. “I had hoped to sell some of my work at this large exhibition in Italy, but I wonder what the market is like at the moment. Would people who are fighting over toilet paper be prepared to invest in high-quality art?” Mattia is asking himself if a new artistic renaissance may be in the air and, if so, what it will look like. “I suspect that the present times may inspire artists to create more politically engaged work.” Mattia is Italian and his family lives in Florence. “Fortunately, no-one is ill, but they’re all stuck inside their homes. From an Italian point of view, the Dutch measures are not nearly strict enough. It’s truly an emotional catastrophe.”

So what now?

A pigment he bought in Egypt has coloured his hands yellow. “It’s really persistent stuff. The only thing that helps is a strong bleaching agent.” He smiles at the memory of himself and his bags full of powders at the customs. “I must have looked like a drug smuggler.” Mattia is very productive and keen to interest private buyers in his new work, which can be found on Instagram. “Everyone who is interested or would like to know more can contact me.” In addition, he submits work for art prizes, and applies for funds. “It’s fantastic that there is subvention, but of course I very much prefer to sell my work.” Mattia is also engaged in a collaborative project with dancer Sara de Greef, 2019 winner of the Piket Art Prize in the Dance category. “But this has been delayed now, because of corona.”

Plans for the future

For the past two months Mattia has been working on his Atlantis Project, which definitely converges with current developments. “An old civilization collapses because of a virus. Only things like artefacts remain. Because of corona this project is becoming much bigger.” He estimates the project will keep him busy for another four months. “Think of pieces of stone symbolizing ruins. I’m going to present this story as if it really happened and has been recently discovered by scientists. It will be a multi-media project.” In addition he is working on a ceramics project linking art and food. “It is my aim to see my work in a museum.” For the near future he also hopes to collaborate with the artist Joran van Soest, another 2019 Piket Art Prizes nominee. “I am a fan of his work,” Mattia states.

Photo: Hessel Waalewijn