In addition to the Rome Prize Fellows (FAARs), Residents (RAARs) and Visiting Artists and Scholars, the American Academy is host to recipients of other fellowships and awards offered by almost thirty educational and cultural organizations from around the world. These Affiliated Fellows reside at the Academy for periods from four weeks to eleven months and add to the diversity of the Academy artistic and scholarly community. The various international Affiliated Fellowships in particular are one of the attributes that make the AAR quite distinctive among the many foreign academies in Rome.
From September 2010 through January 2011, visual artist Maura Biava resided at the AAR as this year’s Royal Dutch Institute Affiliated Fellow. Born in Reggio Emilia, and educated at the Accademia di Brera in Milan, Biava receibed a master’s degree at Amsterdam’s Rijksakademie. She lives and works in Amsterdam, and (since 2005) has taught at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (Royal Academy of Art) in The Hague. Her first solo show in Italy, “Trinity” at Milan’s Galleria Alessandro De March, opened 19 January and runs through Tuesday 15 March 2011. The exhibition recently received extensive coverage in Abitare.
Maura Biava in the AAR Cortile. Photo: Star Black
“My work is aimed at developing and viewing creations of the mind and attitudes”, explains Maura Biava. “With my projects I am trying to create an alternative vision to the merely materialistic one, hoping to contribute to the development of a more sustainable mentality. I intend to inspire and propose explorations and adventures inside mental, psychological and scientific worlds. In this way I am trying to draw attention and interest towards the invisible world that surrounds us and create possible intangible enrichments that are for me among the most fulfilling.”
For Biava’s “Trinity” project she created an “index” of the best-known mathematical formulas developed in the 17th through 19th centuries, and with the help of the mathematician Anna Maria Ricotti made each yield a three-dimensional geometrical representation. “I decided to interpret these 3-d formulas/images and materialize them into sculptures by using natural elements such as ceramics, wood, stone and paper”, says Biava. Plus “during my stay at Accademia Americana in Rome, I used the same ‘Index’ of maths formulas in order to ‘deconstruct’ and give a new meaning to architectural structural elements that are scattered all around Rome, like stones and columns.” She made her reinterpreted shapes with natural and recycled materials such as papier-mâché and wood.
Maura Biava’s “materialized” sculptures were made thanks to “Werk budjet” grant by Fonds BKVB (the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture).
For 15 years Maura Biava has been showing her work in group and solo contexts: in Holland (Amsterdam at the Stedelijk and elsewhere, including three solo shows; Den Bosch, Den Haag, Groenekan, Herlen, Rotterdam, Sittard [solo], Utrecht, and Vijfhuizen [solo]) and Belgium (Zoersel), but also Denmark (Copenhagen [solo]); Germany (Esslingen [solo], Kassel, Luneburg); Great Britain (Colchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester); Italy (Milan [group and now solo]); and Switzerland (Basel). Shows further afield include exhibitions in India (Calcutta and New Delhi); Australia (Melbourne); and the United States (Pontiac, MI).
On 13 January, the American Academy community received a special preview of Maura Biava’s Galleria Alessandro De March “Trinity” show in the artist’s soaring AAR pavilion studio designed by McKim, Mead & White. Some images of this memorable open studio—and this artist’s memorable work—follow below.
Maura Biava. Photo: Star Black