Cultured Magazine

Fall 2013

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On the Horizon Kowal+Odermatt opens as a new destination for emerging art in Miami. Tali Jaffe checks in with its first artist-in-residence, Fernando Mastrangelo. Artist Fernando Mastrangelo with one of his Medallions "The paprika isn't holding—it's too soft," says Fernando Mastrangelo, as he hurries around his Bushwick studio, considering an alternate solution for a monumental disc he's preparing as part of his "Medallions" exhibition. "Medallions," a series of eight six-foot-wide discs, will be the inaugural show at Kowal+Odermatt, a new residency program in Miami. "I'm constantly looking for new materials—and if they're castable," he explains. "Cross paprika off the list." Not to worry, though, Mastrangelo has found many other nontraditional media to work with: black beans, tapioca pearls, confectionary sprinkles and rock salt are among the many materials used to compose his decorative discs, which evoke comparisons to mandalas, Aztec relics and ceiling medallions. "It's about elevating these mundane materials that we associate with cooking—or even melting ice on the sidewalk—into opulent, beautiful creations," says Mastrangelo. "It's about that moment where people are swept up by the sort of magic that happens in that transformation." Alchemy play has been a common thread in the 34-year-old artist's work 68 CULTURED for nine years. Cocaine, gunpowder, diamond dust and even human ash have each been used to create sculptural works, many that echo a message of the tension between societal strata, culture and economy. And with each new project that explores this relationship further and further, Mastrangelo seems to be capturing a larger audience, including television. "I didn't hesitate to sign on to allow a film crew to follow me because I have a lot of control over it, almost like a producer," he says. "And I think, conceptually, it's very similar to what I'm doing in my work—art should be consumable by the masses." Details of the show, which is being filmed for a national network, are still being finalized, but segments may include an installation of a large wall sculpture for one of Mastrangelo's collectors, Sean Parker, or a meeting with one of Mastrangelo's collaborators—another Napster alum— Shawn Fanning, on their Al One project. Isabelle Kowal—who founded the residency with her partner Francois Odermatt—first met Mastrangelo last spring, when she was in New York for The Armory Show. "I saw these discs and I absolutely loved them," she

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