Elena Monzo

Elena Monzo is able to combine the aesthetic of the subcultures pop and punk-rock with the sinuous elegance of the Art Nouveau style to create her army of most unexpected power ladies. Her tools are pencils, acrylic colors, graphite, make-up, stickers, textures strips, glitter and never forget a touch of gold. Sometimes fabric or raku ceramic. Her aggressive and still fine lines remind of the nervous and passionate ones by Egon Schiele, an artist who not only lusted after but genuinely adored women and that we can also see as a feminist who puts sexually liberated women at the centre of his art. In the body of work of Elena Monzo we find a similar feminism, where woman liberated by binary dicotomies express elegant erotic intelligence that conveys to some a sense of tortured subjectivity, but is truly emancipation – sexual and genderal- rich of ironic critique towards mass culture standards of a society fixated upon evanescent but pitiless easthetic rules. As Tracey Emin for the Brits, Elena Monzo is known as the “bad girl of Italian art” for her vision of women, which is quite opposite to societal norms in Italy, and previous notions of femininity. In a land where aesthetic models are mainly imposed by the fashion industry and by a misogynist politics that still pushes women to modify themselves and their bodies to please men in order to obtain security, money and protection, and where morality based on conventional catholic binary-oppositions is still dominant, the Monzo’s ladies, non-binary, wild, savage, independent, sexually empowered, non responding to conventional sense of fashion or etiquettes, can be surely unsettling. 

Why are you there, moon, in the sky? Tell me Why are you there, silent moon?
Giacomo Leopardi

Let’s start from here. We just start from an idea which is very dear to the art world: introspection.
The majority of people approach the artistic look as if it were a biunique exchange; they think to feel, and in some cases to identify with the inner personal journey that led the artist to create.

Creation has always been one of the most fascinating concepts because of its uniqueness and unrepeatability, but here, in Elena Monzo’s works, the concept overturns: the predictable becomes creation. In her works the personal journey becomes cyclical, as it were an eternal return; it is cognizable, but, for a mere paradox, absolutely unique. This artistic path may not be easily reproduced by the spectator.

That being said, one could be led to think, by now, that Elena Monzo’s works are too difficult to understand, too arduous to interpret, or even that they are years far away from one’s taste in art. Please be patient and you’ll see, from the right point of view and the disclosure of her style, that these works will be a nice surprise for you. If you have followed the logical thread so far, the alleged veil that covers part of Elena Monzo’s works began to be lifted. Because her greatness is all here: the foreseeable becomes unique. What a wonderful creation. In her works the flow of time stops on the verge of the moment, but that moment is so delicate that it appears to be endless, a moment the leads us to watch at Elena’s works with a totally different look. This stopping time makes the detail able to come to light, and leads the spectator to look for a contact point, thus making him no longer passive, on the contrary, desperately active. Inspired, and in some cases allowing herself to be led, by moon phases

and astrological houses, Elena Monzo’s concept of time is cyclical and closed, yet extremely lively. Keep an eye out for this: so far it would be easy to say that Elena Monzo’s works are cryptic, but it’s not true. Her cyclic nature makes
her works much easier and immediate than we might think. So immediate that, if you watch carefully, you will find out that her works don’t speak to the eye, but directly to the unconscious. An ancestral unconscious, made of feelings and layered personalities that lead to alter the artist’s women, even from the physical point of view. Because they are not what you see, they are not -and will never be- what you believe they are. They are merely the range of unconscious emotions that formed and created them.

In Elena the concept of artistic creation is positively less instinctive, on the contrary more elaborate, almost dreamlike. Now that we have come this far, I ask you to go a little further. If Elena’s works speak directly to our unconscious, the next step to take in order to lift the Isis veil of her works is one and one alone: to deconstruct her work and, as Marx would best say about Hegel, to turn Elena Monzo upside down. How? Easy to say.
Look at the background in her works. Can you see how they interact with the figures? Do you notice that the figures seem to be the result of what is in the
background itself? Right? Well, you are witnessing the release of the unconscious, you are witnessing the shamanic creation
of the being as a means, as an antenna between a dreamlike world and
a material, transfigured world; in short, you are watching the real
essence of Elena’s works. Now, like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, I tell you I can feel your thoughts, I feel what you are thinking about: if that’s the case, it mean that Elena’s artistic development, her creative juices, her own creative process, everything, in short, are confined and closed like a circle, leading her works to be an end in themselves. Please, avoid falling into this trap; Elena’s works change, even dramatically, above all inside a path temporally marked by a lunar
cyclicity. The works change because the background, the collective unconscious or, if you like, in shamanic words, a kind of big shadow, alter and change the figure, according to what the individual unconscious (i.e. we all who are watching) is able to cherish, by casting a new figure which is the result of an internal growth.

A growth that expresses a personal maturity, a kind of evolutionary path, regardless of whether it may be costly or pleasant. In a few quiet words: every time you will be watching one of her works, they will never transmit you the same unconscious image, symbolic key, and interpretation. Furthermore, the same layering order of the work will change.
Does it sound impossible? No, this is the time span of Elena’s works, a time that, even if constant, changes form, substance and relationship, like in the shamanic dances and invocations.
So her works become, as Emily Dickinson would best say, finite infinity.
Here’s Elena, and her creative spark. Now you are watching her work as it should be seen: through the eye and the unconscious.
And now let’s try to watch her works once again. Are you surprised?
No, you have simply become unconsciously visionaries.

 AWARDS

2019
Arteam Cup Italian art prize (I)
2015
Swatch Award, Swatch Foundation Shanghai (CN)
2013
Call For Bushwick NYC (USA)
Premio Mantegna Cercasi, Mantova (I)
2012
Premio Michetti, Palazzo S.Domenico, Francavilla al mare, (CH)
2010
Premio Cairo, Palazzo della Permanente, Milano (I)
2009
Premio Fabbri per l’Arte, Villa delle Rose, Bologna (I)
2008
Premio Fondazione Dolci, Brescia (I)
2004
Premio Italian Factory per la giovane pittura italiana, Superstudiopiù, Milano (I)

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2019
HRDINKA, CT Gallery of Bratislava (SK)

2018
Silk, La via della Seta, Ex Filanda Meroni, Soncino (I)

2017
Moon Zoo, Gilda Contemporary Art, Milano (I)

2016
SVELATA, Cell63 art gallery, Berlin (D)

2015
Carosello, ColossiArte, Brescia (I)
Blu Desire, Koca Art Space, Shanghai (CN)

2014
Dark Vernice, TZR Galerie, Dusseldorf (D) Solo show, Casa del Mantegna, Mantova (I)

2012
Happy Packaging, Colossi Arte, Brescia (I) Onda Fredda, Spazio Estro, Bergamo (I) Venice Queens, Galleria Traghetto, Venezia (I)

2011
FreakShake/Très Chic, Contemporaneamente Art Gallery, Parma (I) Forever Blowing Bubbles, Cannaviello Studio D’Arte, Milano (I)

2010
La Dolce Vita, TZR Gallery, Dusseldorf, Germany (D)
Specchio Specchio Delle Mie Brame, Superstudiopiù, Milano (I)

2008
NidiDiNodiDiBu, Bonelli Arte Contemporanea, Mantova (I)

2007
Inside, Bonelli Contemporary, Los Angeles (USA) Dipendenze, Galleria Traghetto, Roma-Venezia (I)

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2018
Super S.H.E. Galleria Giovanni Bonelli, Milano (I)

2017
Arte contro la corruzione, Casa Testori, Novate Milanese (I)

2016
Civica Raccolta del Disegno, MUSA, Salò (I)

2015
Some velvet drawings, Verona Art Fair, Verona (I) Bocconi amari, MAM Museum, Gazoldo degli Ippoliti (I) 6 Visioni, Leonardvs, Sestri Levante, (I)

2014
030_2.0 Arte da Brescia, Piccolo Miglio, Castello di Brescia (I) Hybris, Officina dell’immagine, Milano (I)

2013
Biennale di Venezia: Crossover, A dialog between the Chinese School of Hubei and the New Italian Art Scene, Arsenale Nord, Venezia (I)
The Beginning of a New Era, Call for Bushwick, Alessandro Berni Gallery, Brooklyn, NYC (USA)
Forme, colori e frammenti contemporanei, Deutsche Bank, Milano (I)
Stanze pensanti, Palazzo municipale Salò, Brescia (I)
B Creative, B Factory, Fuorisalone, Milano (I)

2012
Homo Faber, il Ritorno del Fare nell’Arte Contemporanea, Castello Sforzesco Milano (I)
Ethos – Il Luogo dell’Abitare, Dream Factory, Milano (I)
Go With the flow, Villa Bottini, Lucca (I)
Wunderkammer 0.2 -,Visionnaire Design Gallery,- Fuori Salone- Milano (I) Gli Artisti Bresciani e il Disegno, spazio AAB, Brescia (I)

2011
Group Show, Best Wishes, Arte Boccanera Contemporanea, Trento (I) Storyboard, BonelliLAB, Canneto s/o, MN (I)
Wall_Projection- Italian artists and Not, Great_Jones_St. NYC (USA)
4. Venice Biennial, Padiglione Italia Lombardia, Palazzo della Regione, Milano (I) Affinita’ Elettive, Arte Boccanera Contemporanea, Trento (I)
New Grotesque, Oratorio della passione – Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, Milano (I) Faulty Fables, 00130 Gallery, Helsinki (FIN)
Fred Loves Fashion, Elena Monzo+Factoria Rent Me, Fred Gallery, London (UK)
2010
Dell’Immortale dell’Arte – Nuove Generazioni, , Palazzo Municipale, Civica Raccolta del Disegno di Salo’ (I)
VII Biennale di Postumia, MAM Museo di Arte Moderna, Gazoldo degli Ippoliti (I) The White Cellar, Ex palazzo Fiat, Torino (I)
Giorni Felici a casa Testori, Villa Testori, Novate Milanese (I)
Tratti Tangenti, GiaMart Studio, Vitulano (I)
S.O.S Save Our Skiers, Lab610XL De Faveri, Feltre (I)

2009
For Example, Bonelli Arte Contemporanea, Canneto s/o (I)
Nigredo, Ex-lavanderia, Roma (I)
Imagine/La nuova visione della generazione anni ’80, GiaMart Studio, Vitulano (I) Fall Forward, Sara Tecchia, NYC (USA)
Degli Uomini Selvaggi e d’Altre Forasticherie, LAB610XL, Sovramonte (I)
Group Show, Elga Wimmer PCC, New York, (USA)
Scoppiano Angeli Come Pop Corn, Galleria Traghetto, Roma (I)
Italian Calling / Futur Star, BonelliLab, Canneto Sull’Oglio (I)
Drawings, Pablo’s Birthday Gallery, New York (USA)

2008
Junge Italienische Kunst, Galerie Binz&Kramer, Koln (D)
Karta Bianca, K Gallery, Legnano (I)
Actions, art/culture/generation, Arte Boccanera Contemporanea, Trento (I) Caos&Caso, Myowngallery, Milano (I)
Allarmi, Caserma de Cristoforis, Como (I)
Ipotesi di Senso, GiaMart Studio, Vitulano (I)
Gold Zero Karati, MyOwnGallery, Milano (I)
Overview, Arsprima, Valmadrera (I)

2007
Summer Group Show, Bonelli Contemporary, Los Angeles (USA) Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? Sara Tecchia Roma- NYC (I-USA) Yourlineismakingmesowetrightnow.Iloveit, Sara Tecchia, NYC (USA) Ouverture IX, Arte Boccanera, Trento (I)

2006
Obra sobre papel, Galeria Mito, Barcelona (E)
Senza Spazio, NOMagazine0005 a cura di No Production, Milano (I) That’s all Folks! Contemporaneamente, Milano (I)

2005
SenzaVeli,NOMagazine0002 a cura di No Production, SpazioContemporaneamente, Milano (I)
2002
Salon I, Museo della Permanente, Milano (I)
Gli Occhi di Maria, Basilica Pontificia Minore Madonna dei Martiri, Molfetta (I)

ART FAIRS

Paper Positions Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Art Madrid, International Contemporary Art Fair-Madrid, Spain ScopeBasel, International Contemporary Art Fair-Basel, Switzerland Scope Miami, International Contemporary Art Fair-Miami, USA Scope NYC, International Contemporary Art Fair-NYC, USA
Pulse NYC, International Contemporary Art Fair-NYC, USA
Maco, Mexico, International Contemporary Art Fair-Mexico
Beirut ArtFair, International Contemporary Art Fair-Beirut, LB ArtVerona, Modern and Contemporary Art Fair-Verona, Italy ArteFiera, International Contemporary Art Fair-Bologna, Italy Swab, International Contemporary Art Fair-Barcelona, Spain