It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day

with Luisa Catucci Gallery
New Gallery Opening, Berlin 2024

It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me, ooh, and I’m feeling good

Exciting News from Luisa Catucci Gallery!
After fifteen flourishing years in Schillerkiez-Neukölln, Luisa Catucci Gallery is embarking on a new chapter by relocating to the historic Lacke&Farben premises in Brunnenstrasse 170, Mitte, an elegant space spanning two floors with eight rooms, surrounded by several key players in the German capital’s vibrant art scene.
This strategic move not only enhances the gallery’s visibility but also marks a significant transformation for the Schillerkiez location: the former gallery space will be reborn as the Luisa Catucci ART LAB, serving as a vibrant hub for artist residencies, exhibitions, and art discourses, with a focus on nurturing emerging talents.

Mark your calendars for the grand opening of the new Luisa Catucci Gallery in Mitte on February 23, 2024

For the Inaugural Exhibition at the new location of Luisa Catucci Gallery in Berlin Mitte, to embrace and celebrate the gallery’s nature, I am very pleased to showcase a dialogue between Italian artist Matteo Montani and German artist Julia Benz, symbolizing the very identity of the Luisa Catucci Gallery, emphasizing the harmonious collaboration between the two distinct cultural contexts that reside at its very core.
Through their evocative works, both Matteo Montani and Julia Benz explore the philosophical relationship between humanity, light, and sky. In the visual language of symbolism, light, and sky hold a profound meaning as messengers of new beginnings.
The sky, emblematic of unlimited potential and infinite possibilities, serves as a canvas where the interplay of colors, especially at dawn and sunset, becomes a universal symbol of transformation and renewal. The light, in its ethereal brilliance, metaphorically illuminates the path forward, dissolving darkness. Together, sky and light create a symbolic tableau that carries the hope for a positive new beginning for the transformative new chapter of the Luisa Catucci Gallery.
I am thrilled to continue contributing to Berlin’s vibrant art scene and look forward to welcoming you to the grand opening on February 23 in my new gallery!

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day. Ooh, and I am feeling good.

Luisa Catucci

Matteo Montani’s evocative paintings convey the idea of landscapes as emotional experiences, taking the haunting qualities of skies and seas from the Romantic era to a contemporary stage by depriving them of any reference to a real, earthly place. In an almost abstract expressionist way, the artist dares to look beyond the traditional confines of reality and harnesses the skies as a means of expressing the intangible, the inexplicable, and the transcendent. The only reason to call Montani’s paintings landscapes is cultural. Viewers automatically register his format as a landscape, but at the same time, they are called to contemplate the vast enigmatic expanse of his non-places, where literal figuration is lost to the masterful use of colors and lines. Each painting is an invitation for the viewer to engage with their emotions, to feel the depth and subtlety of color and texture’s resonance.
The artist’s use of color is not haphazard but a meticulous orchestration: his transitions from dark to light, from warm to cool, evoke a profound sense of depth and motion. One can feel the energy and contemplation in their juxtaposition.

Strongly inspired by the lights of dawn and dusk – times of transformative transition both physical and emotional – and by the perpetual becoming of things, Matteo approaches his painting practice almost as an alchemist due to his peculiar technique, requiring scientific and chemical knowledge of the elements used, such as sandpaper, metal powders, oils, turpentine, and the pivotal role of the artist’s movements.
Montani approaches his work in the studio comprehensively, utilizing every available surface, moving freely within it, and fully expressing his gestural tendencies, imprinting even the slightest variations on the support. In more recent times, he started working directly on canvas, exploring the possibilities of this surface, and looking for new ways to intervene on this material coherently to his way of working, like creating movement using air.

The composition is in any case discovered through action, where the movements are supported by scientific knowledge of the elements and their reactions, allowing room for a “natura naturans” kind of surprise, where “nature does what nature does.”
The artist becomes an actual “force of nature” working on the piece in union with the other forces – including chaos – binding the painting to natural laws.
The use of turpentine and oils makes the sandpaper conquered and dominated by evanescent clouds, creating cosmogenic and enchanting effects of ethereal vapors. The metal powders, balance the composition by creating heavy counterpoints, fundamental to grounding the work and bringing it back to an earthly dimension.
Impressed in Matteo Montani’s works, there is a harmonious combination of various upward movements, akin to vapor or mist, downward movements like rains or precipitations, and lateral movements typical of winds, each movement emphasized by the masterful color palette. This offers the viewers an immersive emotional experience, enhanced by the artist’s choice to work mainly on a large-scale format. In this way, Matteo Montani’s works truly serve as portals through dimensions situated “between the eye and the soul, an unknown place that we could define as the rift between the physical world and the spiritual, in its dissolving” taking the observers on an emotional journey of self-discovery and universal interconnectivity.

The artistic approach of Julia Benz embodies the essence of contemporary paintings of new generation. The young German artist firmly rejects the distant coldness and often associated rationality of theoretical paintings and rigorous artistic formalism. Her quest for a new and expressive freedom in painting is dramatically direct, pushing beyond the traditional aesthetic boundaries of both composition and support. The deliberate use of unconventional color palettes – sometimes almost cacophonous – is crucial in defending the artistic intent behind Benz’s works. Additionally, Julia needs to infuse dynamism into the fascinating and intricate worlds of her artistic creations, achieved through strong, gestural brushstrokes intervening explosively, passionately, and sometimes angrily on the polished backgrounds.

The unabashed use of colors and the dissolution of concrete forms into abstract images play a central role in her work. “Colors are emotions to me. They both shock and fascinate me simultaneously, constantly urging me to navigate between the dominance of colors and the sensuality of painting,” says Benz. It is precisely this ambivalence that forms the core of her artistic exploration, overlapping, transforming, or dissolving chromatic surfaces with their own supports, often made of unconventional materials such as plexiglass or mirrors. The intention is to capture fleeting moments in the pictorial image, in a contemporary key.

In her artistic journey, Julia Benz has consistently pushed beyond the constraining format of the canvas, venturing into site-specific installations and murals that allow her to create immersive works. Presented in the “Ipogeo” of the gallery is a reinterpretation of the site-specific installation “Floating Spheres,” previously exhibited at Hošek Contemporary, the iconic art-boat in Berlin-Mitte. This installation, made of transparent colored and dichroic panels of various geometric shapes suspended and mobile, elevates color to an undisputed protagonist. The interaction between light and material independently transforms the appearance of the installation, responding to the interaction with visitors. The space is radically transformed, becoming a kind of perceptual portal that connects the observer with a dimension of metaphysical dreamlike flavor, similar to the observation of the Northern Lights.

©2023 Julia Benz