On Wednesday, 8 May 2024, Ex Elettrofonica is pleased to inaugurate Elena Mazzi’s second solo show at the gallery, titled Swim / Die / Swim.

In this exhibit, the artist presents a site-specific itinerary exploring the relationship between humans and the environment, featuring aquatic scenery, both in its natural and artificial forms. The displayed works are unified by a central theme: the skeleton, which acts as a load-bearing element and support structure, permeating both Mazzi’s artistic research and her personal experience. From salvaging cetacean vertebrae to studying sea sponges, to an architectural exploration of the floor plans of swimming pools as places of rehabilitation and reflection on the perception of the human body.

This inspiration brings drawings, photographs, sculptures, and installations to life, combining abstract and anthropomorphic forms in a new exhibition configuration that reflects Mazzi’s artistic journey in recent years. Animal bodies abandoned in the landscape alternate with invisible figures, creating an evocative dialogue with the skeletal structures of cetaceans and sponges, and communicating stories of water-related healing practices.

Critical text by Angela Vettese


Elena Mazzi. Born in Reggio Emilia in 1984, she studied at the University of Siena and the IUAV in Venice, and then trained at the Royal Institute of Art (Konsthögskolan) in Stockholm.

Beginning from an examination of specific areas, her works reinterpret the cultural and natural heritage of places, interweaving stories, facts, and fantasies passed down by local communities, to suggest possible solutions to the human-nature-culture conflict. Her working method, in some ways anthropological, takes a holistic approach to repair the fractures that occur in society. She begins her work with observation and proceeds by bringing together several areas of knowledge.

Her works have been featured in solo and collective shows, including: Biennale di Lulea, PAV – Parco Arte Vivente in Turin, der TANK in Basel, BIENALSUR, MADRE in Naples, ar/ge kunst in Bolzano, Sodertalje Konsthall in Stockholm, Whitechapel Gallery in London, BOZAR in Brussels, Museo del Novecento in Florence, MAGA in Gallarate, GAMeC in Bergamo, MAMbo in Bologna, AlbumArte in Rome, Sonje Art Center in Seoul, Palazzo Fortuny in Venice, Fondazione Golinelli in Bologna, 16th Quadriennale of Rome, GAM in Turin, 14th Istanbul Biennale, 17th Biennale of the Mediterranean BJCEM, COP17 in Durban, Italian Cultural Institute of New York, Brussels, Stockholm, Johannesburg and Cape Town, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice.

She has participated in several residence programmes and workshops, such as ZK/U (DE), Skaftfell Center for the Arts (IS), HIAP (FIN), GuilmiArtProject (I), Via Farini (I), Fondazione Botin (E), Bevilacqua La Masa (I), Future Farmers A.I.R. (USA), Fondazione Spinola Banna (I), Botkyrka Konsthall AIR (S). She is the winner of Cantica21, sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, the 7th Italian Council sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, the 17th  Ermanno Casoli Prize, the STEP Beyond Prize, the OnBoard Prize, the VISIO Young Talent Acquisition Prize, the Eneganart Prize, the Illy scholarship for Unidee, the Fondazione Pistoletto Prize, nctm and arte, the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Prize, the Fondazione Lerici Prize and Movin’up, among others. Elena Mazzi is currently pursuing a practice-based doctorate at the Villa Arson in Nice.