Matteo Silverii

Hyḗsou hyiós - vol.1

The Hyḗsou hyiós series of ink paintings is a vast project that has accompanied me for the past three years. Initially, the choice to represent Vesuvius was born as a simple formal exercise, conveived while staying in Napoli during the pandemic months. The idea was to deliberately avoid a predetermined theme or subject in the artistic process and rely on a seemingly static, yet strongly rooted image that could be produced without overthinking the object of representation.

Vesuvius has been a popular subject for artists of all ages, owing to its picturesque and romantic imagery associated with death, destruction, rebirth, and fertility. Despite its banality, this mega- object is, simple, deeply symbolic, and slowly but constantly transforming. As I explored this formal intuition, my approach took on substance, informed by the works of Paul Cezanne, Ferdinand Hodler and Anselm Kiefer, who obsessed over capturing all facets of the mountains they portrayed. 

This obsession led to a fruitful search for form and color in their pure form, in which the identification of Vesuvius sublimates itself.

These paintings consist of a simple ink stain on paper, that once dry is drawn and detailed, in an attempt to bring out and emphasize the multitude of shades, colors, and shapes that this single living entity can take on from a multitude of gazes.

The Hyḗsou hyiós series is still ongoing and currently represents my main research, where I try to highlight the ever-changing and transformative nature of landscape, inviting to engage with it as a living being. Below are a few examples of the works created so far.

Hyḗsou hyiós - vol.2

While the first Hyḗsou hyiós series grew to be linked to a specific technique and medium, the subject of Vesuvius and its meanings were developed in a parallel group of paintings.

This series features larger acrylic-on-canvas paintings that explore in more detail the relationship between destruction and fertility. The focus is on two subjects: the black columns of smoke heralding an imminent eruption, and the Broom, a flower that, despite the adverse conditions, grows to become a prominent feature of the Vesuvian territory, with its intense yellow color dominating the surrounding landscape in spring. As the series progressed, contamination between these two figures emerged, resulting in hybrid forms that merge the cloud and the scrub vegetation.

The technique used to create these works involved short, vertical brush strokes, which aimed to transpose the drawing method previously used into pictorial form. Eventually, this took on an autonomy of its own. These paintings attempt in fact to take the process of abstraction to another level, progressively abandoning the recognisability of the subject.

The series as a whole aims to offer an insight into the volcanic environment, the interaction between nature and destruction, and their possible coexistence.


Narratives is a collection of paintings in which the architectural notion of narrative of space is contaminated by the universe of comics and graphic novels.

These artworks depict ‘slices of life’ existing on the borderline between reality and imagination, animated by texts, captions, and voice-overs, that create a broader context around them. Each episode wants to be a search for beauty in seemingly trivial details, combined with a dose of irony and existentialism.

Whether fictitious or autobiographical, each scene draws the viewer into fragmented narratives that constitute frames of a possibly larger story. The artist’s perspective and that of the viewer align with the protagonist’s one.

Through its visual language, Narratives aims to bring attention to the often-overlooked subjects of everyday life and invites to observe and appreciate their uniqueness, ultimately giving new dignity to the mundane.


I have always been drawn to animals and the expressiveness inherent in their gestures. When it comes to art, animals provide a unique sense of freedom, as they can be portrayed with a certain degree of imprecision while still maintaining their ability to generate empathy in the viewer.

The Galli series is a collection of paintings born from this pure and honest interest. The subjects were chosen unconsciously and the medium was simple, using the first materials at hand.

After completing the first painting, a fragment of text was taken from the reference image used, an article about “the rooster’s territorial attitude”. This combination of elements generated Attitude, an accidental formula, which gradually evolved into a leitmotif.

When the first paintings were shared on social media, they received positive feedback and some people expressed interest in purchasing them. It is intriguing to consider what these individuals saw in the paintings and how they could have related, empathised, with their subjects. Although the answer may be trivial, I still enjoy contemplating it.

Today the Galli series serves me as a parable on how a work without context and a seemingly apolitical subject can inadvertently generate a commentary of its own.

© Matteo Silverii 2023