Interview with Sofia Masciotta

Research, experimentation, smart-material, sustainability: these are just some of the meeting points between the work of Sofia Masciotta, a young stylist, and the Amy-d Arte gallery, which has been engaged for years in innovative projects that combine contemporary art with other disciplines in a fluidity typical of modernity, of our time.

We interviewed her on the occasion of the Ephyra exhibition which marked the beginning of their collaboration.

Copyright Amy-d Arte gallery

Ephyra is a project created for fashion and has become a contemporary art exhibition. Can you tell me how it was born and developed?

The Ephyra project was born from an apparition; the immersion at the Lisbon Oceanarium in 2019 among the jellyfish and their elegant and fluctuating movements thanks to the evanescence of transparency. It was a sort of electrocution.The Ephyra collection, the embryonic form of jellyfish, has a strong identity and is liquid, just like our current society. A sort of middle stage in which Everything becomes and transforms as in the second law of thermodynamics; the one on entropy.

My research focused on the Mediterranean species Turritopsis dohrnii within which the secret of immortality seems to be hidden. This jellyfish has found a way around death by reversing its life cycle by self-regenerating its cells. This concept of self-regeneration has pushed the research of the collection towards the experimentation of an anti-conventional product – bio_material – with the power to always transform itself.  So I synthesized my formula in a bio compound that is blown onto tulle placements creating a reticular texture that is the emblem of the whole collection. For the shapes of the clothes, the inspiration comes from the photos of Zena Holloway, with her underwater shots, portraying clothes immersed in water in combination with the organic shapes of jellyfish.

The meeting with the Milanese research gallery AMY D Arte Spazio is incredible.

I did not know their reality or even their ability to investigate new generation smart-materials, a mission they have been following since 2013. Even from the telephone meeting with the gallery owner Anna d’Ambrosio I had not understood the reason for their interest in my creations. We agreed to view the collection scraps and that too was strange to me. It was our meeting in the gallery and the other way of showing my creations that convinced me of the existence of possible and powerful unions between stylistic realization and aesthetic creation in art. Seeing my pill collection become Other on the gallery walls was fantastic and rigorous at the same time. There had been no mystification of meaning because my clothes and membrane waste fluctuated and transformed the space symbiotically, just as I had created them. However, they had become sculpture-dresses.

Copyright Amy-d Arte gallery

How important is experimentation with materials in your research? 

I’ve always thought that new materials and the right research for them could make the difference in a garment. In this collection I wanted to experiment and create a new and experimental material.

“Ephyra” represents a rebirth, aimed at transmitting a new way of producing and dealing with sustainability. I therefore ventured towards the world of biomaterials, with a long experimentation with various elements I arrived at the compound  (water, gelatin, glycerin and beeswax) which with the addition of a pinch of soap and the help of a straw is blown onto tulle placements leaving a reticular texture that is the emblem of the entire collection. The result, a light but crunchy bio-material print at the same time, shiny, luminous and voluminous like the waves of the sea. Totally water soluble with zero impact for a fashion concept in the name of environmental sustainability in a circular economy.

Copyright Amy-d Arte gallery

Nature, fashion and art: how are these three elements expressed in your project?

In this project nature meets fashion and they merge creating Art and giving life to the collection.

I wanted to think of clothes that didn’t just dress a body but became part of it, almost merging and becoming an integral part of the body, eliminating the beginning and end of each other. Precisely for this reason the dresses were made with nude bodies. The biomatter also makes the fabric compact, so every cut, every hem, has been left raw, with a motif like a lace.

The dress must complete, enrich and join the body by merging these three poles of fashion, nature and art. In fact, as Alexander McQueen said, “There is no better designer than nature”.

Copyright Amy-d Arte gallery

What are your prospects and projects in the immediate future?

At the moment I’m focusing on my professional journey that I graduated on, and that is still my dream, my passion. I would like to accumulate experience in order to one day be able to open my own experimental brand that stands out from the rest of the market for innovative and sustainable research.

Together with the Amy d Arte Spazio gallery I have an exhibition project that will take place in October with the participation, in the 2023 edition, of the Science Festival in Genoa where the keyword will be IMPRONTE. A choral exhibition with artistic and scientific partners such as Tor Vergata and technical sponsorships.

Barbara Pavan

English version Sono nata a Monza nel 1969 ma cresciuta in provincia di Biella, terra di filati e tessuti. Mi sono occupata lungamente di arte contemporanea, dopo aver trasformato una passione in una professione. Ho curato mostre, progetti espositivi, manifestazioni culturali, cataloghi e blog tematici, collaborando con associazioni, gallerie, istituzioni pubbliche e private. Da qualche anno la mia attenzione è rivolta prevalentemente verso l’arte tessile e la fiber art, linguaggi contemporanei che assecondano un antico e mai sopito interesse per i tappeti ed i tessuti antichi. Su ARTEMORBIDA voglio raccontare la fiber art italiana, con interviste alle artiste ed agli artisti e recensioni degli eventi e delle mostre legate all’arte tessile sul territorio nazionale.