Contemporary photography at Matèria Gallery


Paper, ink, paint and concrete – photography in the flesh

This year we’ve introduced the ‘Series Award’ for photographers who would like to submit a body of work and win a solo gallery show of their work. Running across the length of the award and without a specific theme, it will close for submissions at the same time as our twelfth and final monthly theme, and will be judged by the highly revered fine art photographer Mona Kuhn.

For that solo gallery show, we’re absolutely delighted to partner with Matèria Gallery in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood of Rome. Matèria is the passion project of photographer, writer, curator and now gallerist Niccolò Fano, and is dedicated to exhibiting emerging and established contemporary photographers, both Italian and international.

Matèria only opened its doors to the public in April 2015, but has already made a name for itself as a beautiful space that champions unexpected and exciting artists. And as hinted in the gallery name, there’s a focus on multi-media practitioners, broadening their photography into the physical space, with objects and site-specific installations. The defining message of Matèria, at least in our eyes, it that there’s still so much to be said for exhibiting photography in the flesh – for giving it life beyond a computer screen.

Here we share three of our favourite artists and exhibitions that have passed through the doors of Matèria so far…

Wendy Plovmand – The Image that Paints this Canvas

The work in The Image that Paints this Canvas questions the boundaries of painting and photography through the investigation of digital process, utilising the gallery itself as a source to create new artworks.

Three rugs on the gallery floor appear in the exact same size and place where a photograph of the gallery floor has been taken. The photograph is utilized as the basis for the material used to digitally paint a matching mark on the white rug. In the same way a series of printed photographic works (Lamella Caves) are mediated from the pieces that are missing in the original photographs; the works are connected by material and process in a symbiotic relationship that when mutating, give life to new hybrid species born out of the dialogue between photography and painting.

Despite this carefully constructed concept and the digital processes through which it has been realised, there’s a free-flowing, creative and human power to her work – displaying a power on an aesthetic, primal level, as well as an intellectual one.






Maïmouna Gerresi – Talwin

Meaning ‘change’ in Arabic, Talwin represents the final stages of a being’s spiritual enlightenment and path towards knowledge. In Gerresi’s images she places large-scale subjects in direct dialogue with wartime relics such as tanks and shells.

The result is images and multi-media work dripping with political meaning, and questioning time and transformation.






Andreas Weinand, Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon – Youth Codes

Youth Codes was an exhibition of vintage and recently produced work, focusing on the representation of youth and counter culture. It featured two seminal bodies of work: PUNKS, a documentation of the London Punk scene between 1976 – 1977 by Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon and COLOSSAL YOUTH, an intimate study of rebellion and adolescence in Essen (Germany), shot between 1988 – 1990 by Andreas Weinand.

There’s a revolutionary energy to the work, vibrant and powerful like a photographic punch to the face, and still as relevant as ever. And there’s a wonderful juxtaposition with the clean, controlled gallery space – the work almost tamed by it, but each image threatening to burst out of its frame.