Interview with Mauro Maugliani, “Étoiles Filantes” the Exhibition in Rome

January 30, 2018 opens in Rome at Il Mattatoio (Ex Macro Testaccio) pavilion 9b -the splendid exhibition Étoiles filantes by Mauro Maugliani, organized by the Jewish Community of Rome – Department of Culture and ASCER in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Growth of Rome Capital and the Palaexpo Special Company, under the patronage of the French Embassy in Italy, the Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur, the Union des Communautes Juètes Côte d’Azur – Corse and Yad Vashem Nice Côte d’Azur.

The project is part of MEMORIA generates FUTURO, a program of events coordinated by Roma Capitale on the occasion of the Day of Remembrance 2018.

The exhibition Étoiles filantes Nice-Rome presents itself as if in a dream, from the idea of lightness on a theme that is a boulder. The works of Mauro Maugliani, some specially made for this exhibit, were made in 2017 for the exhibition of portraits of children deported from France at the Musée Masséna in Nice and completed for this new stage in Rome with the addition of 20 new works.

The works portray faces and figures of children deported from Rome and Italy to the Nazi extermination camps, thanks to the images provided by the Historical Archives of the Jewish Community of Rome, the Shoah Foundation Museum and the CDEC.

Interview with Mauro Maugliani

1) How is the art born within you? the essential stages of your life?

What I do is the craft of the artist, and it is a privilege, I was a child when I expressed myself with pencils and colors, I lost memory, but I remember the smell of my first box of oil paints, given to me by elementary teachers. Then passion becomes study, experience, research, life. The works of the great masters, my museums were the churches of Rome! And the cathedrals of contemporary museums, the surprising encounter with the work of Jean Fabre at Pecci di Prato. I do not know how it became a profession, but my first at Palazzo Valentini introduced me to the dear Alberto Agazzani, an art critic I owe a lot to, with whom I did the first things, then came some prizes, and the Galleria L’Opera of Rome by Andrea Iezzi with my vandalized painting. In 2013 the meeting with the art critic Gianluca Marziani, who selected me with Ego te Absolvo for the Atollo and Close Up project at Palazzo Collicola Arti Visive. The Maam was the Museum of the other and elsewhere in Rome and the meeting with the Artistic Director Giorgio De Finis, a non-place of pure energy, where I created several site-specific works. In 2014 I was invited to the Michetti Prize and in 2015 I made Versus, a solo exhibition at the Suppan Contemporary Gallery in Vienna, and in the same year the Contemporary Art Gallery G.Da Gaeta hosted my personal Noli me tangere edited by A.Carlino. My meeting with the art critic Giorgia Calo ‘marked a very important moment, later becoming Councilor for Culture of the Jewish Community of Rome, he had already edited some of my exhibitions as Ordinary People at Le Galerie Municipale Les Bains Douches di Antibes and especially the Etoiles Filantes project presented in 2017 at the Musee Massena in Nice, then arriving in Rome as a traveling project at the Macro Testaccio.

2) Commitment, research, dedication, love for art?

My work is total dedication, discipline and rigor. There are days when I need to look, to design, simply to nourish myself with life, to study looks and smells. Feeling the full weight of a moving humanity and feeling that energy that is in the air of change and being able to catch it! In short, passion for art certainly knowing that it is a great critical tool.

3) Do you want to talk about your work method? A typical day?

the methodology depends on the project I have before me, if working to subtract or to put, this for me is decisive, justifies the synthesis of the work itself, the sense of telling a story and the experience of living it through my sensitivity. I can work with a pen as a great cosmic design where the oxidizing fluid takes on new life, with oil painting in the obsessive search for detail that closes the lost look of a face, rather than the consensus of wood. The day’s work starts early in the morning, is marked by the ritual times of the drying up of painting, technical exploration, development of materials, supports rather than the search for models, the layout of images. I paint in the atelier in natural light, close to direct until evening.

4) Your charred wood technique is very interesting, how is it born?

The technique of carbonized wood is born from the need to tell Etoiles Filantes, immediately excluded painting, I wanted something that metaphorically acted on the concept of memory as well as looking in the darkness of memories, so I thought to carbonize or blacken the wood, and subtract far discovering the images of the children, by simple pressure of the hand using sandpaper, I find that the nature of the wood found traces evocative forms, raw.

5) Does each action influence the social fabric? How do you think?

Of course, especially the action of an artist, because he works on the dynamics of a changing world, and if he is able to anticipate the discomforts, the contradictions the limits, maybe accentuates them in provocations.

6) What artistic relationship do you have with other contemporary artists?

I must say from my own experience that social changes have also changed interpersonal relationships, and the artistic world is not exempt from it. I think the artistic cenacles, the currents or the factories have ended, we are all very “connected” but through a healthy individualism, subjected to the artifice of social networks. So I must say that my relationship with other contemporary artists, those I know, are determined by respect and esteem of the work they do, sometimes real friendships are born, and when it happens I treasure, exchanging opinions, but above all mutual support.

7) In the past existed reciprocal influences between various artists, and today?

Today as yesterday, the artists look at each other and contaminate each other, now the discourse is on the level, that is sometimes I see trivial imitations, I would say fashions, and then it expires in sterile citations, improbable installations. Other times, however, it translates into a choral speech that works.

8) Which 900 artist is meaningful to you and why?

I have no pre-packaged and stable idea about this, I like to change my mind, I let myself be surprised by the work of so-called minor artists that I find enormous, and I often overlap in these classifications. However, I believe that everyone contributed for poetry or for genius and talent, I could say Duchamp, but also Andy Warhol or AiWeiwei. The motivations are in the conceptual turn of the work of art, of its function and fruition, in short, they have opened new worlds.

9) Let’s talk about your exhibition that opens … how did the title come, so sweet and dreamy?

The title of my Etoiles Filantes Exhibition was born a bit by chance, I wanted something that was in line with what I was going to tell, the lives of children victims of human infamy, from the future denied as falling stars that I noticed one evening in the sky for the lapse of a second.

10) How is this project on memory born? How did you find out about deportees?

This project comes from far away, when I was told at the school about the tragedy of the Shoah, I was deeply impressed, this thing has never been resolved within me, I have always looked for answers in vain. Working on the dynamics and social phenomena then, things are amplified. I needed to do something that spoke of the shoah, gently, taking care not to corrode the memory, without expiring in aesthetic trivializations. With Etoiles Filantes I wanted to imagine that for a moment these children come back to play together, and this was the most fitting thing I could do in their memory. To realize the works I needed the support of the Jewish Communities of Nice and Rome in the production of documentation and research, which I deeply thank. A long work alongside the curator of the exhibition Giorgia Calo ‘who supported the project from the beginning, thanks to which we managed to make Etoiles Filantes a traveling exhibition.

11) Would you like to give the smile back to the children?

As I said my intent with this exhibition is to get them back to play, all together! giving them back their stolen childhood through memory.

12) Differences between Italy and France, since you live there for a while ‘by choice?

I find it very stimulating to live in another country, it puts you in question, and then I love to explore, it fascinates me everything that does not belong to my culture of origin. The French find them on average very sensitive to art, easily integrate anyone in their social fabric, and there is a meritocratic sense. Mine was a choice, I felt the need for some time to have to leave my country, especially because being an artist is also this, make a wealth of experience and knowledge

13) What should Italy do here to improve the art world?

But the art world is all the same nowadays. For the rest we know how it works, the market is the new Glem, but this is so in every field. Unfortunately, in Italy little is invested in art, and is a huge resource for our country, our creativity, our made remains a model, even from outside. You should invest more on Art.

14) Future dreams and hopes and projects?

I dream that there are no more wars, that all children can have the time to play, to live their childhood, I hope that art, beauty can help save the world. I am working on new projects both in Paris and in Rome, but there is time to anticipate news.

The exhibition, at the headquarters of the Mattatoio, is presented as a large installation in a semi-dark setting, in which the portraits of the children emerge from the dark space. The exhibition unfolds between small and large portraits, made on scraped and polished carbonized wooden board: scratching the surface, a work to subtract, because they are removed from life, and the wood that resurfaces redraws the lost looks that question us . In sound a sound that leads to interrupted games. Initiative by the Councilorship of Culture of the Jewish Community of Rome, ASCER and Palaexpo Special Company. The exhibition is like a prayer for all the children victims of the Holocaust, their memories, their stolen smiles, the lost caresses, without wanting to create a banal pathos that generates a saturation of memory.

Mauro Maugliani : Tivoli in 1967, lives and works in Nice. Since 2000, the artist has been active on the contemporary scene, among the personal exhibition projects in 2011 the exhibition entitled “Face Off” at the Romberg gallery in Latina and in 2009 the exhibition “Reale per Eccellenza” at the Spazio Officina gallery. Among the collective projects: “Atollo”, Palazzo Collicola Visual Arts Spoleto; “Trialogo” gallery The Opera of Rome; “Look At Me”, Municipal Art Gallery of Gaeta. In 2014 the Michetti Foundation, on the occasion of the LXV prize, acquired the artist’s work entitled “Eclissi” in the homonymous museum. In 2015 he recorded his presence in the collective project “Close Up” at Palazzo Collicola and the personal “Versus” at Galerie Suppan Contemporary in Vienna. In the same year the exhibition the Les Bains Duches Galerie Municipale of Antibes, hosts “Ordinary People”. In 2017 the personal Etoiles Filantes at the Muséé Masséna in Nice and at the Mediterranean University Center the exhibition “Polvere di Stelle” promoted by the Italian Consulate in Nice.

Mostra Étoiles filantes di Mauro Maugliani Roma
2018, 31 january-18 march
MATTATOIO (ex Macro testaccio) Padiglione 9b
Piazza Orazio Giustiniani, 4
00153 Roma
Tel +39 06 39967500


Opening martedì 30 gennaio 2018 ore 17,30

The Art Critic of Giorgia Calò
Mauro Maugliani is part of this trend of art, sees the absolute need to rediscover and preserve the memory of the shoah tearing the faces to oblivion, integrating them in our memory. The artist picks up the images of the children giving us clear figures capable of soliciting questions about their fate. Based on a properly iconographic work that starts from the photographic archives, Maugliani celebrates the newfound life, without losing the memory of the genocide. He recreates the reality slavishly and at the same time is able to maintain a respectful distance of an unbearable truth. The portraits, so precise as to look like photographs, are reduced to black and white. No distractions are allowed, so as to solicit in the viewer direct questions, pointed as the tool used to engrave the table, bringing out the face and evoking its history. So these portraits emerge metaphorically from the material, giving back face and voice to the children. They emerge from the darkness of black, scratched and worn by the artist’s hands, their looks, eyes that illuminate the world, the expressive folds of their mouths, smiles held back, full of dignity. No reference, no clue that allows us to understand their origin, their nationality. They are Jewish children from Paris, Nice, Rome, Warsaw, and Terezin. They are only innocent children and we have a duty to remember them as such. Of these children the artist gives us their name but does not suggest who of them has returned from the extermination camps. Everyone must survive thanks to our memory and our memory. “Falling stars”, the artist calls them, both precious and enlightening, able to show us the way of resilience, or the ability to cope in a positive way to the traumatic events, to rediscover the sense of lost humanity. This is why Mauro Maugliani does not remember the dead, but the Vissuti. Turns on the lights of memory so as not to forget the pain and to build a future worth living for children.

Opening Hours

Museum: Tuesday to Sunday from 2.00 to 8.00 pm
Monday closed


– € 6.00
– € 5.00 reduction

For citizens residing in the territory of Roma Capitale

– Whole € 5.00
– € 4.00 reduction

The ticket is valid for all the exhibitions in progress in Hall A and Hall B

Info Tel +39 06 399 67 500

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.