Artist Spotlight: Benjamin Mario Massa

Benjamin Mario Massa, courtesy of the artist.

Hello Benjamin, it is pleasure chatting with you. Where are you currently based — and how would you describe your practice in one sentence?

I am from Switzerland and live in Olten, while working in Zurich. I am a multimedia artist with the focus on painting and sound installations.

When did you first realise you wanted to pursue this career?

Maybe when I was 17 or 18 years old, I realised that the artistic (or at least a creative) practise will be important to my life. But it was not until I was in my Bachelors in Fine Arts between 2016 and 2019, when I knew that it was my proficiency. So since my mid-twenties I call myself an artist.

Did you just fart, oil on cotton, 90 x 70 cm, 2020, courtesy of the Artist.

What is your creative process like? Anything that inspires you particularly?

Mostly I get my inspiration from situations, encounters or fractions of moments which I experienced and that somehow don’t want to leave my memory. It then concerns me for some days or even weeks and months. That is when I start to ask myself, why it bothers me so much, why this particular glimpse of a memory was so beautiful, absurd or unsettling that it kept me thinking for so long. Then I begin to formulate my thoughts and questions through my artistic practise. A large part of the time, I work in my head.

Quattro,cinque,sei, oil on cotton, 120 x 90 cm, 2020, courtesy of the artist.

How would you describe your identity as an artist?

As an artist I try to be balanced. I think that fits the best. I am open minded and enthusiastic, but also critically thinking and rational. I am calm, but with a deep, ambitious energy. I like to be clear, as well as to have secrets.

Benjamin Mario Massa, courtesy of the artist.

Which artists have inspired your research the most?

If I had to name persons which inspire me, then it would be Olafur Eliasson, Susan Cain (and especially her book “Quiet”) and Kenzaburō Ōe.

What is a project of yours that you makes you really proud?

I think the most moving and genuine response I received to an project of mine was non-verbal. It was to an early acoustic sound installation, which I first was afraid would overheat. It was indeed a quiet artwork. But nonetheless the audience heard it. And they stood still like statues in the room to hear the sound clearly. Each of them seemed disconnected to the world around them. Nobody moved nor talked.

Breathing deeply under tension, oil on cotton, 90 x 70, 2021, courtesy of the artist.

A question we ask everyone: how did you spend 2020? Was the quarantine productive for you in terms of artistic creation?

Apart from the healthcare reasons, it has been an interesting time.

Any exciting future projects you want to share with the readers?

At the moment I focus on painting or painting combined with drawing.

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