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Art out of dirty old mattresses


You’d be forgiven for thinking of sleep or rest when hearing the word ‘mattress’ in a word association game, but that’s a far cry from the new purpose that Italian artist Silvia Manazza has given to old mattresses. The artist, who recently won a six-month residency at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai through the prestigious Arte Laguna Prize contest for her visionary work, has created unexpected items out of mattresses. She takes references from classic furniture pieces, moulding them from discarded mattresses she found in an abandoned boarding school. ‘I loved the volume of her pieces as well as the perception of handmade imperfection that I think is today an extremely relevant value in the expression of creativity,’ Carlo Giordanetti, Creative Director of Swatch and a member of the Arte Laguna jury, says of Manazza’s piece. Entitled Italia, inizio XXI Secolo, raro trumeau in stile post-consumismo con vasellame, 2015 (Italy, early 21st century, rare trumeau in post-consumerism style crockery, in 2015), the piece offers up a reimagining of everyday objects. She explains in her motivation for the artwork that from the moment she set eyes on the abandoned mattresses she was ‘overwhelmed by the desire to grant them a different destiny'. Silvia's interest in encouraging new ways of seeing mundane items is something that Giordanetti believes will be well received during her residency at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, which was specifically set up to nurture contemporary art in a fast-paced urban environment. The hotel includes 18 studios where artists live and work. ‘Projecting her work in the Shanghai scene within the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, I could imagine her development going in a very interesting direction, facing a different culture and discovering both different cultural references and new materials,’ says Giordanetti.