Encountering the sculptures of Matilde Mancini allows us to admire a lofty lyricism, the novelty in her inspiration, and everything that is powerful and of great spirituality in her work. This artist is part of a group that, since the Italian avant-garde, has confirmed itself in the art scene, with the aspiration to remain true to tradition while still seeking new forms of expression. In her work, especially during the years between 1995 and 2000, we notice a way of creating art that is adventurous and also a productive attempt to entice the imagination by combining the discipline of ancient sculptors and the authenticity of new artistic tendencies. Like Arturo Martini, Ms. Mancini defends the Mediterranean spirit and asserts the priority of a man filled with free will and enhances his dynamism. In substance, she appears to rebel against abstract art without being properly realist. Her humanism is not only a stylistic manifestation, but an initiative. In fact, her creations demonstrate that the Western culture has not exhausted what it has to offer. An ancient world is present in her, even if she certainly does not betray the present, because her work is an act of faith. In her bronze creations, the feminine figure is the inspiring muse. Most of the artist’s research has a Licinian imprint, and already in the 1997’s piece “Woman and shadow” (Donna e ombra) the doubled speculating emphasizes the dialogue between the ego and the super ego of the woman in conflict with the life-generating forces: Eros and Thanatos. Noticeable in this piece, is the desire to recognize her identity and the fear to face her anxieties.
The faces on the two sculptures fused together express the gentleness and sensuality so much to make the piece look more intriguing. The merge of mythology and symbolism is represented by the sculpture “Drift” (Deriva) made in ’99, a sculpture which most of all is resembling Daphne from Greek mythology. A modern Daphne, trapped in the trunk of a tree but who nonetheless fights for her freedom. A freedom that still today is hard to reach because attached to the trunk of prejudice. In the same year, in “Hypothesis of a torso I” (Ipotesi di busto I) we notice the generating force exploding into shapes, observing all the energy within a woman that wants to open up to life and rebel against violence. These emotions are felt in the movement and use of space, in the carvings or rifts on the face that let us imagine the wounds women experience in their private and social lives.
“Dagger Shape” (Figura pugnale) of 2000, represents the theme of women who stand for their rights and overcome the torments of the violence and discrimination they endure. In the metamorphosis of the woman dagger, it is possible to feel all the anguish that a battling body experiences. The piece “Mask” (Maschera) of 2001, fully interprets the two-sidedness of the ego, often bent into submission and false hope. What is of interest in this piece is the dynamism and movement. The space is outlined by sharp angles that are filled with emotions, while volume plays on all its assets to create a strong synthetic composition. The moves that emerge from this fierce contrast of open and closed spaces, the curves and the angles, create her world of shapes that are both modern and classic, yet maintaining a present sense of infinity. Yes, because infinite is the hope that the state of women’s suffering, tormented by endless humiliation and violence, will change.
di Carmelita Brunetti