Franco Matticchio was born in Varese in 1957, the city where he still lives and works. He made his debut in 1979 drawing for the culture page of “Corriere della Sera”. Over the years he has produced illustrations for numerous magazines and newspapers, including “Diario”, “Linea d’Ombra”, “Vivimilano” and “Il Sole 24 Ore”, a cover for “The New Yorker” and the 2019 calendar for “Internazionale”. In addition to collaborating with major publishing houses, he also devotes himself to illustration for children. In the field of animation, in 1984 he created the opening credits for Roberto Benigni’s film Il mostro and in 1993 a commercial for Legambiente, which won an award at the Annecy Animation Film Festival. Matticchio is also beloved as a cartoonist: in the 1980s he created Mr. Jones. In 2017, Il signor Ahi e altri guai (Mr. Ouch and Other Trouble), a collection of strips created since the late 1970s, was published by Rizzoli Lizard. His strips, with their unmistakable style and surreal atmospheres, have been collected in several volumes, such as Sogni e disegni (Nuages, 1997) and Esercizi di stilo (Einaudi, 2006) and presented in exhibitions in public and private spaces; over the years he has exhibited continuously at the Nuages gallery in Milan and the Galleria dell’Incisione in Brescia, and in 2017 Galerie Martel in Paris dedicated a solo exhibition to him.
Franco Matticchio’s women’s faces are serious and enigmatic, he draws them out of the blue on every piece of paper he comes across, from a letter envelope to the page of a book or the “The New Yorker”.
They are the faces he encounters on the street, at the station, that he observes in his daily life and that accumulate and overlap in his personal visual imagination. Matticchio’s attention is captured by women of inconspicuous beauty, whose impassive expressions are united by a certain intensity and pride in their gaze. Over the years, the illustrator has continued to return to this inexhaustible subject, using every medium: pastels, watercolours, acrylics or even simply an Indian ink pen or pencil, always placing these figures against neutral backgrounds or in bare environments without temporal references, succeeding in subtraction to heighten the intimacy of the scenes and create suspended and rarefied atmospheres.
Over time, Matticchio has amassed a veritable collection of female faces, almost never made on commission and mostly unpublished: a conspicuous body of drawings in which one can find the unmistakable style of the illustrator but at the same time find it hard to recognise that surreal and ironic vein that is one of his main distinguishing features. In fact, when Matticchio finds himself drawing a woman’s face, he only acts as a fascinated and discreet observer of the profound and mysterious complexity of the female soul.
The book, edited by Melania Gazzotti, is accompanied by an unpublished text by Ugo Cornia.
Edited by Melania Gazzotti Texts by Ugo Cornia, Melania Gazzotti and Rosanna Padrini Dolcini Book design by Bunker
13.5 × 19 cm 80 pages Hardback Italian/English Isbn 978-88-98030-21-7 First published July 2019