Emma Hart: Mamma Mia!

Emma Hart, Mamma Mia!, exhibition view at Whitechapel Gallery, London, detail. (Photo by Thierry Bal)
October 15, 2017 – February 18, 2018
Collezione Maramotti
Via Fratelli Cervi 66
42124 Reggio Emilia
The winner of the 6th Max Mara Art Prize for Women presents her new large-scale installation at Collezione Maramotti in Italy as the shortlisted finalists of the next edition are announced.
Mamma Mia! will enter Collezione Maramotti‘s permanent collection in Italy, after being shown at Whitechapel Gallery, London (through September 3, 2017). The artist’s installation at the Collection shows some interesting variations compared with the London exhibition, based on the specific features of the site.
The installation consists of a family of large ceramic heads, suggesting a dialogue with one other. Each sculpture is jug-like in shape: the spout mimics a nose and the opening a mouth. Produced by the artist in Faenza alongside ceramic artisans, each sculpture is glazed incorporating motifs, such as the speech bubble. The interior space of the heads is filled with vivid patterns, designed and hand-painted by Emma Hart after researching the designs and practice of the Italian tradition of maiolica.
The artwork also represents the culmination of an investigation into pattern: visual patterns, and patterns of psychological behavior, how to design then rupture these and the ruminations in between. The space between viewer and object is key, as ever in Emma Hart‘s work, and is charged with the artist’s particularly personal take on her experiences in Italy: the heat, light and colour, language and family dynamics in an unfamiliar setting.
The exhibition is the result of a 6-month bespoke residency, which started in June 2016 and was divided between three Italian cities: Milan, Todi and Faenza, with a Roman stop-over. Throughout the residency, which was tailored to her practice and interests, Hart had access to lessons about the Milan Systems Approach, a systemic and constructivist method of family therapy at the Scuola Mara Selvini Palazzoli, which involves physical re-enactments and the study of repeated actions. In Rome, Hart gained an understanding of family relationships and structures in ancient Rome  thanks to Princeton’s researcher Katherine Huemoeller. In Todi, Umbria, Hart discovered maiolica, traditional Italian tin-glazed pottery, and finally in Faenza she began consolidating her research and experimenting with new ceramic techniques.
On October 15, the finalists of the 7th edition of the Prize (2017-2019) will be announced. The jury is composed of:
  • Iowa Blazwick, Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and president of the jury
  • Gallerist Vanessa Carlos, owner Carlos / Ishikawa, London
  • Artist Laure Prouvost, winner of the 4th edition of the prize
  • Collector Marcelle Joseph
  • Art critic Rachel Spence



Andrea Hammer
About Andrea Hammer 282 Articles
Andrea Karen Hammer is the founder, director and owner of Artsphoria Publishing, Media Group & Shop ( Artsphoria International Magazine (; Artsphoria Movie Reviews & Film Forum (; Artsphoria: Arts, Business & Technology Center (; Artsphoria Event Advertising & Reporting (; Artsphoria: Food for the Soul (; Artsphoria Animation & Imagination World ( and Artsphoria Shop ( She is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer who has published articles in international publications.

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