Martina Mazzotta

Independent curator and academic

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of true art and science. […] “Wondering” seems to occur when an experience comes into conflict with a world of concepts which is already sufficiently fixed in us. […] The development of this thought is in a certain sense a continuous flight from “wonder”.


About Martina Mazzotta

Martina Mazzotta is an independent academic and curator specialized in philosophy and its relationship with the visual arts, music and science. From September 2019 she will be based at the Warburg Institute in London as a visiting fellow.

Martina was born in Milan, where she worked until 2013 with her father, the art collector and publisher Gabriele Mazzotta, in the publishing house founded by him in 1966 and the Antonio Mazzotta Art Foundation (f. in 1988). For the Foundation, since 2001, she has conceived and organized exhibitions, conferences and concerts in its own venue in Milan and in museums all over the world. Mazzotta has published over 2.500 books that have contributed to the history of culture (e.g. Dada by Hans Richter in 1966, the first book on Arte Povera by G. Celant in 1969, Il Kitsch by G. Dorfles in 1968, The Living book of the living theatre in 1971). The publisher has produced multiples in collaboration with Mirò, Warhol, Oppenheim, Lichtenstein, Beuys and many others. The pioneering exhibition production throughout Europe and America promoted the avant-guards and their protagonists often for the first time and through a cross disciplinary approach. This heritage is today continued through the Fondazione Mazzotta Living Archive.

In 1999 Martina graduated with full honors in Theoretical Philosophy at the Università degli Studi di Milano, followed by a PHD in Art History at the Universität Cattolica, where she held lectures and seminars for several years. She studied philosophy at the Freie Universitaet in Berlin and at the Ludwig Maximilian Universität in Munich, supported by the scolarship DAAD programme. In 2000 Martina was in London where she worked as a junior assistant curator at the exhibition department of the Royal Academy of Arts. She returned to Berlin in 2003, as the Italian representative of the Goethe Institut's international delegation for culture.

Martina published essays and articles about the theory of the Einfühlung, philosophy and its relationship to art in Germany around the turn of the Century, about music, science and art (among others the curatorship of the exhibition Women and their skin. Identity and beauty in Art and Science, La Triennale di Milano Museum, Milan 2012), about art and psychiatry. She curated in 2005 a new edition of Naturalia et Mirabilia of Adalgisa Lugli together with Claudio Parmiggiani; the topic of encyclopaedic collections has been a constant phd research area and has been expanded for the exhibition she curated at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum and at Gallerie d'Italia in Milan entiteld Wunderkammer. Arte, Natura, Meraviglia ieri e oggi (2013-‘14). The catalogue has since become a reference book on the subject. Focusing on transdisciplinary art approaches and maintaining philosophical planning, she has written several essays about modern and contemporary artists. She curated the intervention of Studio Azzurro at the International Biennial of Site Santa Fe (USA 2008), the Pietro Pirelli's installations during the International Festival En-Counters in Mumbai (India, 2013), she partnered the project My East is your West in which an Indian and a Pakistani artist joined the 56th Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia (2015) and worked in China for the preparation of The timeless dance. Beyond the mountains, the exhibition on Mao Janhua she curated in Rome, Complesso del Vittoriano (2017). For the Fondazione Palazzo Magnani she conceived and curated Kandinsky->Cage. Musica e spirituale nell’arte (extended until 18 March 2018 in Reggio Emilia), that was nominated among the 10 best 2017 exhibitions in Europe by Robinson-La Repubblica. Again for Fondazione Palazzo Magnani, she curated the retrospective on Jean Dubuffet entitled Jean Dubuffet. L’arte in gioco. Materia e Spirito 1943-1985, (November 2018-March 2019, in collaboration with Fondation Dubuffet). The first preview of the show, Asphyxiating culture, was organised in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in London and The Warburg Institute and was followed by several conferences, concerts and collateral events in Italy and abroad. Among her recent lectures, Tiziano e il Novecento at the Università degli Studi di Milano, in the FAI series Le vite di Tiziano. Alchimie cromatiche.

At Saatchi Gallery, in London, she has curated The spirit of the valley. Works by Mao Janhua (June/July 2019), an exhibition project where art, philosophy and Tao are inherently connected.



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