“Above the daily humdrum…”
Paul Zimmerman in conversation with Mauro Martin
Paul Zimmerman: How did you develop interest in photography?
Mauro Martin: Artistically speaking, I was born as a painter, developing and experimenting various techniques. I started photography almost by chance: I was working on an aesthetic project dealing with “magic realism” so I took still life photographs to be later developed into paintings and sent them to my reference gallery. The art gallery director let some well known critics examine my photographs: they informed me that my project was already completed. They believed I had unawarely discovered an interpretation key through those photos, so the subsequent turning them into paintings would have been useless “mannerism”.
PZ: How do you select your subjects?
MM: I constantly lend an ear to what my sensitivity, my heart and mind hint at me, then I choose what to represent and how.
PZ: What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
MM: Succeeding in being worthy of rephrasing the majesty of the Florentine Renaissance from a contemporary perspective.
PZ: Do you have any particular goal in mind when your start a new piece?
MM: Yes, that is the first and foremost thing I have in mind, even before starting any work. As a matter of fact, I use photography to reveal the depth of the human soul and the metaphysical essence of objects and feelings, while strictly following the minimalist motto “less is more”.
MM: How would you define yourself as an artist?
MM: I would define myself as a “pencil”, a sort of tool “handled to make art”.
PZ: Has your practice changed over time?
MM: Sure, it is constantly developing on a technical level as well as on a philosophical one. I am also involved in painting, sculpture and video-art….I choose the most suitable technique according to the situation I aim to represent.
PZ: Which artists are you most influenced by?
MM: I am under the influence of the Renaissance and Neoclassical artists, above all Sandro Botticelli and Antonio Canova….I have also been somewhat influenced by a couple of modern artists such as Amedeo Modigliani and Giorgio De Chirico.
PZ: How do you see the role of art in our society?
MM: Art should help us to make our life better, it could be a reference point, albeit modest, to lift us above the daily humdrum.
PZ: What are you working on now?
MM: I am working on a photography project that aims to further consolidate the use of natural light in order to obtain a tridimensional effect representing both the physical and inner beauty of the subjects portrayed.
PZ: How does the pandemic influence your work and sensibility?
MM: Such a disconcerting and painful experience has unfortunately disclosed the dark side and meanness of various individuals: this makes me even more determined to seek for absolute technical and formal perfection and at the same time it urges me to look for eternal beauty from a Neoplatonic perspective…so as to keep a safe distance from a situation that is often out of control.