Matteo De Nando


“I’m conceiving my work as a cure and as a poison on respect to the consumer society we live in”

AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging in art?

MDN: I’m from Milano. More than started it has been continuing since I was a child and I drew a sort of fan-art during school lessons. I mean, it was a need for me to inscribe the world into a square, so I followed my way trough an art high school and Accademia di Brera. Then frequenting exhibitions I met people involved in art with which to collaborate.


AT: When did it become serious?

MDN: It became serious since the beginning; for a toddler to play is all. Now targets are changed, but the feeling remains still the same.


AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?

MDN: Many people were important in my progression as an artist, I remember with particular affection my grandfather Umberto and his amateur approach with painting; fixed in my mind are his wartime drawings, a copy of Maja Desnuda and pink poodles (he was partial colour blind). I used to draw a lot when I was with him.


AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?

MDN: My first approach to the work is usually an object, something physical that suggests me an impression and shapes a feeling I already had, like something that itches the memory. I begin both collecting the photos that I take daily and with simply sketches on a small notebook: they’re instructions to construct the artwork, usually accompanied with technical and mood descriptions. 
Now I’m conceiving my work as a cure and as a poison on respect to the consumer society we live in.

Matteo De Nando – Luca Loreti, curated by Federico Montagna (installation view), 2019 | ph. Cesare Lopopolo.

AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?

MDN: I would like my work to convey a feeling as well as a concept.


AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?

MDN: I try not to preclude me any media, by the way, at this moment I’m practicing oil paint because I need something manual, something that involves the body as the mind, deeply related with the execution time.


AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?

MDN: When I’m working I would always like to be relaxed but it depends on the work. I use to plan a lot before to start, but sometimes during the realization process a new idea comes, a variation in the pattern happens, and this could bring me to a serene contemplation or a feverish state.


AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?

MDN: A work is finished when I find it impossible to be simplified any more.

Pluriball (Dark), 2020, Oil on canvas, 56×42.5×3.5 cm
Autoritratto, 2018, Oil on canvas, 56x42x3.5 cm

AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?

MDN: Mostly inspiration comes suddenly during daily activities, I like to be hit by things I find on my way. I use to collect images that inspired me, I published some zines about.


AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?

MDN: Lot of artists influenced and influence me constantly; I specially want to mention Stefano Arienti because I really like his attitude, he’s a very polite artist, he experiments every times new ways but remain still himself, strict but not stiff.


AT: How important is the role of social media for you?

MDN: Social media allows the creation of an international art community based on individuals and I live it as an occasion to organize and show my work in a different way, more personal and connected with everyday life. 
Furthermore I’m not disappointed with the art’s “instagrammatization” but rather with the mere production of “instagrammable” art.

Adidas, 2019, Black marker on canvas, 56x42x3.5 cm
Tribal, 2020, Oil and treated gold leaf on shaped canvas, 27x18x 5,5 cm

AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?

MDN: The art world at this time seems more than ever a supermarket where few ‘flagship stores’ set trends and sell art as luxury goods, therefore for small and mid galleries it’s very difficult to take part on fairs-routine and thus to be even noticed by big-spenders. I hope these latter find their place and identity based on a different market and visibility scale, without fear to be more local, in order to evolve the system itself. Moreover as an artist I believe in fluid collaborations between all kind of entities more than in exclusive rights.


AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?

MDN: I consider the artist as a mirror of the society; the most challenging part of the work is to have your voice in the contemporary art debate, to stir interest from others, affecting them directly or in other ways. The daunting part of it occurs when you don’t collect support from your peers.


AT: What do you do besides art?

MDN: I’ve several interests, I like to practice sport; but mostly I’m working in order to sustain my activities as an artist.


AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?

MDN: Expectations for the future are to travel more and to develop a great network.

Flesh (2019), 56 pages, 20 numbered copies, 33×21 cm
Matteo De Nando (b. 1995) is an Italian visual artist currently living and working in Milan, Italy.

In his work he likes to shape formal associations with very recognizable objects from everyday life, sometimes sublimating pop culture’s elements and sometimes “vulgarizing” the lyrical concept of art, giving back a more popular image.