Beyond: Introduction by Judith Di Maio

Sculpture exhibition by Louise Manzon
Gallery 61-New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), New York City.

Curator: Jennifer Mitchell-Nevin
From April 12th to June 3rd 2016

An event by Advantage Première Art Fund

INTRODUCTION

by Judith DiMaio

 

NYIT and the School of Architecture and Design, in conjunction with Advantage Première Art Fund, in New York and Milan, are pleased to host the artist Louise Manzon and introduce her unique, artistic body of work to the community.

Message in the Bubble, Rust, Personal Structures-Crossing Borders, Dialogus, and now, Beyond identify Manzon’s exhibitions and allude to all of the essential attributes which characterize her art. In 2014 she created a site installation at the historic Villa Necchi Campiglio, in Milan, Italy. The exhibition Message in the Bubble, highlighted her incredible virtuosity with form and theme through her highly original and magically created environment for ceramic sea creatures ‘swimming’ above the pool in the Villa’s formal gardens. Her personal exhibitions in 2015 included Rust, at the Fondazione Cini in Venice, Italy and Personal Structures-Crossing Borders, hosted by the European Cultural Centre at the Palazzo Mora in conjunction with the 2015 Venice Biennale. In 2015 she was invited to exhibit her work, Dialogus as a part of the special program Death in Venice at the Sixth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. Beyond, the exhibition NYIT is hosting, is her first major show in North America.

I first met Manzon at a special event in Monaco. Those of us gathered all had a common goal: to celebrate mutual acquaintances. As the festivities were coming to an end, she came forward with a translucent-like box. With out-stretched arms, she handed the box over to the guests of honor. The box was opened and the female figure that emerged was so exquisite and beautiful that I had to catch my breath. It was the beauty of it, not only its fineness and figural quality, but also its abstractedness that caught me off guard and alerted me to take close notice. The female figure was created from clay sediment, and then transformed into glazed ceramic with a most confident, textured color palette; it was the work of an artist in command of her media.

The renowned architect John Hejduk, former dean of The Cooper Union’s School of Architecture, told me that one always knows when they are in the presence of true works of art and creation, “because without control or thought, you gasp.” I gasped when I saw Manzon’s work, and I knew I needed to know more about Manzon and her art.

Manzon was born in Brazil, and spent her formative years in the United States and Europe. She received her master’s degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute. Her father was the renowned photographer and film maker, Jean Manzon (1915-1990). Manzon’s exposure to her father’s art, most certainly, played a part in the refinement of eye, hand and mind that her artistic creations disclose. Her sensibility goes beyond what one sees before them. It demonstrates an inner passion and commitment to the natural environment from whence her subjects derive, and remind us to preserve and sustain our precious environment.

What I came to realize about her themes, the archetypes of Greek mythology; the female figure; aquatic creatures; and her materials of choice is that they all belong to or are an assemblage of the four elements: earth, water, air and, of course, fire–the kiln of intense heat that dazzles.

As an architect and educator with a highly developed visual sensibility, and an in-depth knowledge of architecture and art history, I am often called upon as an “expert witness” to evaluate formal compositions. This explains, in part, my intensity when considering Manzon’s art. Whether one is aware of her themes or not, her compositional sense and her ability to transform the earth into exquisite three-dimensional ceramic figurations is phenomenal. The aquatic creatures are full, fluid and slippery. They pulse with life. They glisten as if wet. Her female figures, which dominate the exhibition space, have robes that seem to flow and billow in the wind. Her subjects, especially the sea creatures, are formally sensual in composition; the fish, undulate and move, and the females swirl and twist upwards with diagonal movement, as if freeing themselves from their flowing garments. Her mixture of materials; mesh, stucco and cement mixed with pigments, along with glazes highlighted with paint, result in a tactile, sumptuousness of color that dazzle and surprise. Indeed, she possesses an eye for both beauty and form of the highest order.

It is my honor to host Manzon, her art, her artistic message, and her message of concern.

Special thanks goes to Jennifer Mitchell-Nevin, NYIT School of Architecture and Design’s events co-ordinator and curator for Gallery 61, and Nancy Donner, Vice President of Communications and Marketing.

On the other side of the Atlantic, I must thank Francesco Confuorti, founder of Advantage Première Art Fund and President of Advantage Financial, for his generosity to both NYIT’s School of Architecture and Design and Beyond, which is an exhibition of work that exemplifies his commitment to environmental sustainability. We would like to thank Rosy Iannone for her patience and help with this project.

Finally, I would like to thank the NYIT Board of Trustees and NYIT President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., for creating NYIT’s extraordinary and interdisciplinary milieu that makes all this possible.

 

Thank you,

 

Judith DiMaio, FAIA

Dean, School of Architecture and Design, NYIT

 

April 2016