Maurizio Donzelli: THRESHOLDS

Curated by Ilaria Bignotti e Alberto Zanchetta


LISSONE | MAC - Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Lissone, Viale Elisa Ancona 6


Maurizio Donzelli, Arazzo, 2020, 164 x 137 cm. Courtesy the Artist.



The Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Lissone and the Cortesi Gallery are pleased to announce Maurizio Donzelli’s solo exhibition, which is to open on April 18, 2020, during MiArt week.


The artist has specially designed the exhibition for the museum’s spaces, creating an immersive environment in which the works enter into dialogue through a serried, poetic interweave of image and material. For the first time, Donzelli adopts a conceptual path in which the same image is presented through different media: acrylics on paper, mirror, tapestry, and resin-coated acrylic.

Two different images, one tending towards blue and green tones, the other in grayscale, appear on different media, reacting dependent upon the materials. The works prompt the viewer to engage in slow contemplation and deep-down analysis, the image’s complexity revealed through its relationship with matter, space, and time.

A large acrylic of some 8 meters in size stands out on the long wall to the left of the room, reflected in the textile configuration of a tapestry palindrome, refracted in the Mirror through mysterious condensation.

Another image on the far side of the room sees white thicken into black, creating a dialogue between paper, texture and resin, between absorbency and reflectivity as it throws a visual pattern out towards the viewer, only reluctantly revealing itself to the gaze, invoking in viewers a relationship through eye, body, work and artist.


The title of the exhibition, THRESHOLDS, refers specifically to the ability of this artist, an alchemical inventor of images, to work on the latency between appearance and transformation, on origin and deviation from a closed and defined form, interwoven with time and visual geography. THRESHOLDS also incorporates the idea of the viewer’s gaze crossing the threshold of the work, invoking a close relationship with the work that the artist would see as free and spontaneous, one of mutual and continuous discovery.

Curated by Ilaria Bignotti and Alberto Zanchetta, this exhibition is part of a wider artistic project dedicated to Maurizio Donzelli and his work. Over the next two years, Donzelli will have more solo exhibitions, hold study days and take part in meetings at public institutions and in private spaces.

The project will evolve over the two-year period 2020-2021. It is supported and promoted by the Cortesi Gallery (Milan/London/Lugano), a gallery that represents the artist’s work.


Coordinated by Ilaria Bignotti, the project will conclude with the publication of a bilingual monograph in Italian and English, featuring all the works displayed at exhibitions over the two-year period, an anthology of critical texts by a selection of curators, and publication of the minutes of a conference on the artist’s work attended by intellectuals, curators and scholars of international standing.


Not only does this project offer an extraordinary opportunity to follow the dialogue Donzelli’s work prompts step by step in these exhibition spaces, it is a multi-part invitation to enter the complex visual laboratory of an artist who has never identified his practice in terms of established currents, but has instead interwoven philosophical and iconographic studies with historical investigations and anthropological sensibilities to explore the potential inherent in the image for analogy, transformation and transfiguration.

Donzelli’s practice translates and articulates into cycles of works conceived as visual devices, machines à penser and, perhaps, à imaginer: from the huge Arazzi tapestries he creates, working to ancient patterns and reshaping them in a palindromic way, which he has made in Flanders, to his Drawings that question the generative principle, and the immateriality/latency of the image; from his Mirrors, “magic boxes” in which the mirror element is a filter that acts on observation, alteration and redefinition of image in a reciprocal shift to the relative, to his most recent works, in which a final resin coating partially blends the magmatic immanence of the image with its aspiration to persistence.


Maurizio Donzelli


Born in Brescia in 1958, he lives and works in Brescia.

An intellectual artist with a background that ranges from philosophy to anthropology, Maurizio Donzelli has pursued an extensive line of research that focuses on the issue of the image as a potential locus of concentration, migration and alteration of our visual memory. His works develop in distinct cycles. He experiments with different materials and techniques, seeking to go ever deeper, to give the public – a fundamental co-author of Donzelli’s works – the infinite potential of evocation and iconic references, rooted in the dynamics of time and history, spinning into far-off geographies.

One thing that runs right through the artist’s practice – something that is open to various levels of reading – is its existence as a conceptual act transmogrified into sign and colour, unstable and changeable in form through an ongoing relationship with the gaze that would welcome and rework it in its own sensibility.

In this composite atlas of images, his Drawings, Tapestries, Mirrors and recent monochromes, and his works on canvas and resin reiterate the key thought behind the creative process in his work, bringing us back to a reflection on the principle of doing, on the creative act that does not

end with the work coming into this world, but continues reciprocally between work and spectator, the image being made and remade not in a labyrinthine game but as a conscious act of seeing and feeling.

These elements have prompted scholars, intellectuals and critics to become interested in Donzelli’s work over the years via international exhibitions and museums. His solo shows include: Diorama, Open Source First Shenzhen Biennial, Luohu Art Museum, Shenzhen, China, 2018 Ad Altemps, Nazionale Romano di Palazzo Altemps, Rome, 2015 Metamorphosis, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 2012, and collective shows: Intuition, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 2017 and Proportio, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 2015.

The artist has for seven years taught Theory of Perception and Psychology of Colour at the Naba Academy in Brescia.

Over the years, his theoretical work has spawned a number of publications: Spettacolo di Niente, 2003, Mazzotta, printed to mark an exhibition at the Calcografia Nazionale in Rome; Lo Sguardo Del Disegnatore, edizioni l’Obliquo 2002; Metamorfosi, Mousse publishing 2012; Diramante, Bandecchi e Vitali, Florence 2015; La Linea Del Tutto curated by Luca Cerizza, Mousse publishing 2016, to mark his two-person show at Cortesi Gallery in London and Lugano.

Maurizio Donzelli’s works belong to many public and private collections in Italy and around the world.







MAC - Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Lissone

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