Mamo and the Art of Downplaying
by Agnese Priorelli
«Before starting to paint, I write MaMo all over the canvas. It is my habit, a form of superstition. I’ve always done it.»
Massimiliano Donnati, aka MaMo, is a polyhedral and certainly ironic artist from Perugia. He realizes his paintings using different materials and manages to put on canvas the characters as they appear in his imagination, without taboos and censorship. In his first solo show Incoscienza dell’essere – Ironia in 3D, visible at the Artemisia gallery in Perugia until January 13th, you will find Onella Vanoni, Queen Elizabeth, Gianni Agnelli, ET and King Carlo of Bourbons represented as MaMo sees them, as he perceives them.
How did the idea of creating these works come about?
I cannot give a rational explanation, I have always observed the world and people with a critical eye, attentive to every detail, and with great irony. Only recently I felt the need to pull off these emotions, it is from March 2017 that I started this experience, and I managed to represent real people or fantasy characters as I have always seen or imagined. Unconsciously I managed to pull out that that was inside of me.
Why do you use a mix of materials? Why didn’t you choose one in particular?
I am self-taught and I am free from schools and academies, so I use everything I have. I apply all the techniques, without any link.
Can you explain to me the choice of your subjects?
It happens randomly, based on what goes through my mind. ET is a character to which I am very fond of, Gianluca Vacchi because it is on everyone’s mouths. I represented the Queen to provoke.
Which Umbrian characters would you like to represent? And how?
Currently no real person, but I have made two generals fruit out of my imagination, which embody the General of Music and the General of Chocolate. The first represents Perugia and Umbria Jazz, an event that I love, and this one embodies the madness, the genius and the love of music. On the other side, the general of Chocolate represents the history of Perugia and its link with chocolate: for this reason it is represented in an extremely ironic facet in the middle of a background of pralines, while eating a chocolate. He’s enriched by friezes medals and insignias, and obviously there is the Bacio, the most famous chocolate bun in the world.
How would you represent Umbria?
I really don’t know. I’m thinking about representing ancient people of our land. But, always in an extremely ironic way, so as to get them out of their institutional roles.
Who did you think?
San Francesco and Braccio Fortebraccio, but I could change my mind.
What’s your connection with Umbria?
I am very fond of my land, and I am in love with my city, because I was born there and there I lived and live: Perugia.
As an entrepreneur and an artist, how could Umbria make a leap forward? On what should it bet?
Unfortunately, things to do would be many. It is a beautiful land from all points of view, full of resources. First of all I would like it to be loved by their inhabitants, so that everyone can do something to enhance it to the maximum. Then, I would like to make it known to everyone, allowing people to visit it easily. It should start from tourism, and visitors would also push the other sectors of the economy.
When you speak of “easy way”, do you refer to the difficulty of reaching it?
Exactly. Since I work a lot outside Umbria, I had always had problems with roads, trains and planes. Umbria is an island despite being at the center of Italy.
Three words to describe Umbria…
Isolated, unique and magical.
The first thing that comes to mind thinking about this region…
A heart: it is the geographical heart of Italy and it is in my heart.
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