Lou DematteisMarshall Weber

For Giorgiana Masi

Lou Dematteis, Marshall Weber

For Giorgiana Masi



Edition Size



Acrylic, Ink, Photography, Pumice gel


museum board




20 × 33 × 2 in




Brooklyn, NY

$ 23,000.00

1 in stock

“This photo-collage, book-boat features black and white vintage resin coated and silver gelatin photographs, test strips, and work prints shot in the 1970s by acclaimed San Francisco filmmaker and photographer Lou Dematteis. They were taken in numerous locations throughout Italy and focused on working class people and communities during the “Anni di piombo/Years of Lead” a very volatile and violent time for Italian politics. Lou is second generation Italian American and has strong connections with Italy including extended many family members (in Piemonte) that he is still close to. I felt very honored when Lou invited me to collaborate with him on this artwork which premiered in December of 2023 at the City Museum of Rome in Trastevere, where some of the pictures had been taken. It was also quite emotional when Dematteis family members who had been children when Lou had taken their pictures came to the exhibit’s opening with their children! These relational aesthetics were also reflected in the curator Claudio Domini’s installation, where 103 of Lou’s photographs were hung on the walls with our photo-collage boat floating in the middle of the exhibit surrounded by and containing many of those photographs.
When first reviewing all the pictures that Lou had taken of Italy I was very moved by the pictures of impromptu memorials for the young medical student and revolutionary feminist Giorgiana Masi. Masi was killed, or perhaps more precisely, assassinated by Italian government and/or police forces during a protest near the Ponte Garibaldi. A memorial plaque for Masi is embedded in the bridge on the Trastevere side. For more about this Italian Radical Party activist.
In part, this artwork is a meditation on the many possible lives that Giorgiana might have led, as the piece is filled with images of girls and women from all stages and walks of Italian life. The poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti provides another layer of volatility in its elegant interrogation of political enthusiasm. Lou knew Lawrence in San Francisco and the poem is used with the permission of his literary estate executor.
The 6 page/panel piece can be viewed as a codex accordion structure for an intimate experience of the photographs, texts and the fractal elements formed from the cut-out backgrounds and silhouettes that reiterate on the back of each page/panel. The piece can be exhibited in many different arrangements, though the boat form is best for a visual lining up of the cut-out portraits and their backgrounds. The absence of a thing suggests its presence, and out brain will always try to complete the picture so the piece provides a lot of pleasant cognitive dissonance as your eyes and brain try to fill all the ‘empty’ spaces.
Contrary to popular conceptualization by almost all art criticism, collage is not about the collision of contrary fragments, it is about the brain’s reconstruction of the simultaneous overlaying of the totalities of the images that the perceived ‘fragment’ windows catalyze. Collage is, in of itself, not a reconstruction or a deconstruction, though it utilizes those tactics, collage is, more accurately, a strategic reveal of the infinitely layered possibilities of the simultaneously existing universes in the multiverse as peripherally sensed by the synapses between the eye and the brain and consciousness.” — Marshall Weber