detail, photo by PINO BERTELLI
Matias Guerra

(Santiago – Chile 1973) is a painter, multimedia artist and musician focusing mainly on video and sound experimentation, he has also worked in Information Technology for over 20 years and his work often reflects this diverse expertise highlighting the relationship between humanity, machine and chance. He collaborates with artists, musicians and composers (some active collaborations are with Pino Bertelli, Robert Cahen, Marco Colonna, Toni D’Angela, Agostino Di Scipio, Alessandro De Francesco, Elena Kakaliagou, PGR, Giovanni Andrea Semerano, Massimiliano Viel) and with associations as an organizer or cultural promoter, prioritizing collective and self-sustained projects. Has held workshops and lectures, amongst others, at IED – Istituto Europe di Design, NABA - Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Standards, in Milan, at University of Pisa, Venice Biennale and has published artworks and texts (latest on Cinéma & Cie issue #33). His work has been shown in galleries and contemporary art museums (most recently MACRO and Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Rome ) and selected in cinema & video festivals (such as Alchemy Film Festival, Loops.expanded, Invideo, Ondavideo and others).
He is also founding partner and Creative Director for VIS – Virtual Immersions in Science, the first ever spin-off from Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa dedicated to Scientific Outreach.

contact: matias [at]



    Coming from a family of artists and life hackers, I think this apple didn’t move too far from it’s tree. »

    I have always drawn and painted but I had never considered being an artist (as an adult) and, to date, I think the word has a few meanings but way too many interpretations to want to be defined as such, meanings related mainly within the semantics of entertainment and spectacle, I think we can move ahead from the romantic views and the pop-culture derivatives: in my view an artist is a medium, someone who can open means of perception by hitting the right keys, some do it without even realising it, the best ones do it willingly and some function only as a whole collective of people, like a great music ensemble. During my formative years I met the poet Giuliano Mesa whom from being my latin, greek, music and piano teacher became a close friend and finally even a colleague allowing me to contribute visually to some of his works, I was fortunate to absorb in our talks a knowledge, a culture, a world that otherwise would have taken me years to access, and to appreciate the philosophical conundrum which is language.
    I have Maria Grimaldi Gallinari to thank if I have pursued a so called artist carrier, she appreciated my work and my being – her remarkable eye and imprint in the art-world is legendary – even if one of the top highlights in my so called carrier was being kicked out of the Torino Art Fair, after I yelled to an arrogant galerist that had thrown my portfolio book on the floor. I understood the art system politics immediately and wanted nothing to do with it, due to my ideas and, for sure, my age at the time. For a couple of years I nevertheless made an effort to attend trade shows and request meetings with galleries, they all usually went very well but painting wasn’t the thing of the moment (even if it has never died market wise); mainly my head wasn’t in that game.
    During the early ’90s I was learning to code, my step-father had an Olivetti M20 where I learnt the ins and outs of a pc, at the time he worked for SBP Rome, well known for being one of the first studios doing computer graphics for video in Italy. For the following years I was involved in hacktivist movements and started a few solitary art projects in relation with the forthcoming digital revolution (html hypertexts and particular programs with no use at all). Some of these projects took us to The Next Five Minutes conference, led us to meet Hakim Bey and other gurus of the cyberpunk movement, in the same years through Giuliano I met Agostino Di Scipio with whom I have collaborated: his philosophical and political views on music, and his practice, were a turning point for me to rethink my vision on art and not only, and led me to create a series of interactive installations (with Arduino boards and some of its predecessors), that I have shown in collective spaces a couple of times but of which the majority have been lost. I’d like to say that like Baldessari I cremated them all, but the reality is that when you have little money, you invest in poor performance backup disks! Furthermore when you don’t have a house or studio things get lost. I was still painting and my works were intentionally meant to vanish, making them basically unsellable, the material used would change according to temperature, humidity and so forth letting the pigments vanish from the wooden surfaces of the pieces. All my work is somehow devoted to the relation between time and space and, at the time, entropy, meaning I have very little to show for after many years of work (I did fix some of the paintings and have some code left but most of the objects are lost). In those years, I realised I was marginal to the mainstream art world, marginal in the hacker/hacktivist and artivist movements (as they are re-defined now) and marginal in the music scene, for the type of music I was interested in and because I’m not a classical trained musician. Having no space means that you find no time to do what you need to do, but a turning point came by meeting Giovanni Andrea Semerano (Gians) and his La Camera Verde. I would need to write a whole book only on this friend and his work – somebody should do it but he’d probably make it disappear – for now it’s suffice to say that I found the right balance between a liberating joy of the everyday revolution and the constant work to recover and create memory, a keyword to understand Semerano’s work as and editor, galerist and filmmaker, a keyword inherent to my understanding of experimentation and investigation on the time-space relation, a key that we share and that has allowed us to create the strongest bond.
    Since then I have done quite a lot, again mostly extemporary and gone, but a few installations are now in Luigi Francini’s Piane di Bronzo, (another soul that has helped me grow) and my short films seem to be projected and chosen for festivals in cinemas and online, paintings are in private collections and sometimes visibile in exhibitions, mainly thanks to Gians’ insistance and to exceptional human beings like Sandra Lischi with whom I share visions, views and words. After a residency at Hotel Pupik, thanks to Sara Serighelli’s remarkable insight and empathy (from the milanese O’) and now a dear friend, I managed to find my space in music again, leading to many collaborations accross Europe and in Italy… and music is the best.
    Summing up, I think we are the relations we have, and I have been lucky to have the people mentioned here and a great variety of friends and colleagues to actually make the art possible.

    Technically I have mainly used or coded with html, css, javascript, Java, Processing, PureData, Max/Msp, Isadora my interactive installations and electronic music, and have painted mainly with natural pigments, salt, coffee, pumice stone dust and glue on wood and canvas

    [ 2022 – Replying to a question for an article that never got published ]


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