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I don’t want to delve into the past for archeological pleasure - though it could have been that - but because the past has a reality which conditions us deep down. Then if you bring it slowly to the surface, it’s full of possibilities. 

Jannis Kounellis 

A version of that admiration similarly inspired Michele Mathison whose whole practice centres around themes of site and situation, of location and memory, evoking experiences of encounter with the past and confrontation with the future. 

During his residency at Castello San Basilio, Mathison worked with a multitude of materials and found objects associated with every day life from the surrounding region to produce a new body of work highlighting their historical narratives and acquired symbolism. 


Connecting architecture, space and time, Mathison explores the complex relationship between human beings and their own built world. Making his own impression on local resources through discreet cuts and engravings, he explores philosophies related to life events, mark-makings and the universal human urge to make an impression on our surroundings. Trafficking in currencies of value, exchange and movement, of resource extraction and material transfiguration, he is driven as much by the fundamental life of his raw materials as by the contemporary conceptual freight of his forgings and social experience. 

Michele Mathison (b. 1977, Johannesburg, South Africa) lives and works between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Recent exhibitions include The Phoenix Runway, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, South Africa (2022); That Hidden Thread, NIROX Sculpture Park, Johannesburg, South Africa (2021); Over and over, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, South Africa (2021); Frieze sculpture, London, UK (2018); State of Emergence, Whatiftheworld Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa (2017); Harvest, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) (2015) and Scheryn Pavilion, Cape Town, South Africa (2015). In 2013 Mathison represented Zimbabwe at the 55th Venice Biennale. He has produced public commissions for the V&A waterfront, Angular Mass (2018).

Castello San Basilio (2019)

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