‘Like a Dream You Can’t Remember’: Giovanna Masseroni Creates a Portal to the Mirror World
As a child, Italian artist Giovanna Masseroni had a mirrored desk that caught the moon’s reflection and flooded her bedroom with pale light. When daytime came, she followed the sun’s light “room by room,” beguiled by the flickering shadows and shifting color temperatures that fell across the tables and doorways of her childhood home. Much to the annoyance of her parents, Giovanna frequently “shut off any overhead light,” forcing the family to stumble through the (almost) dark during meals, chores, and recreation.
Growing up, Giovanna split her time between Milan and the US before settling in NYC as an adult, where she would launch her fine art career. “Though I’m from Milan—the epicenter of design—it never quite interested me,” says Giovanna, who launched Brooklyn-based removable tile design company Moonish in 2012 after leaving Warner Music in Milan. In 2019, from the ashes of Moonish, Giovanna registered a new company, Aluminated, intending to design aluminum light fixtures. “The plan was for each lamp to be as close as possible to a DIY fabrication process,” she says. “The DIY idea developed […] as a way to forgo the cost of fabrication. The connection with the post-punk aesthetic (and spirit) followed naturally, as it ties in with my musical taste and life outlook […] Ultimately, Aluminated became a conduit to justify making art.”
As she planned, Giovanna fabricates lamps and lightboxes under the Aluminated brand, but the light-obsessed artist also prints ghostly images on aluminum panels using photosensitive processes. “Unlike steel—its heavy, ungraceful partner in lighting fabrication—aluminum has ascetic levity,” she says, explaining her preference for the lightweight metal. “To quote Andy Warhol, for lack of better words, ‘Silver is so nothing, it makes everything disappear.’”
And disappear her images do, into the ether, nearly obliterated by overexposure. “I can’t say there are any intentional statements in my work,” Giovanna says, explaining her exploratory creative process. “It’s mostly self, inner portraits expressed through symbolic forms. They appear as foreshadowing, like a dream you can’t quite remember, and I follow them from a distance until they suddenly take shape. This happens very suddenly, like pegs in a Lite-Brite all falling into place at once.”
“To quote Andy Warhol, for lack of better words, ‘Silver is so nothing, it makes everything disappear.’” — Giovanna Masseroni
All photos published with permission of the artist(s).
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