Alexandra Mazzanti was born in Rome on November 12, 1978 in a family of 700’ and 800 paintings’ collectors. Her mother, a pianist who guides her through classic and opera music and the creativity of her father and grandfather, both chemists and researchers, influenced her formation and education. Niece of the princess Alexandra Hercolani of Bologna, she inherits, from her grandmother, the first artworks that will make her future collection, constantly enriched even by her mother and her spirit for collecting that has involved her daughter, since her childhood, in the 19th century paintings’ auctions. She graduates from Liceo Classico in Rome and at the age of 18, she goes on with her studies in Venice where she starts attending the Accademia di Belle Arti that will then leave subsequently to start working with Venetian sculptors and painters. In this way, she goes in depth with the art world in all its aspects, from a practical side, by arranging canvases, and from an economical and psychological side, by being in daily contact with the artists and their artworks.
She works and creates many scrips for the theater and dance show as “Alice Around Pink Floyd”, staged by the popular dancer Denys Ganio, who went on stage at the Olympic Theater in Rome, and “Tango per Jeorge Donn” represented on the prestigious stage of Bolshoi in Moscow.
She writes several scripts for cinema and for the experimental theater, and her passion for art and painting makes her travel a lot to always discovering new artistic tendencies. She gets acquainted with the dynamism of Contemporary Art overseas and with Pop surrealism that particularly fascinates her as it deals with music, cinema and new technologies.
Her passion for Pop Surrealism starts in 2004 when she discovers the art of Mark Ryden and she decides to live in New York City and California for a year. In this occasion, Alexandra has the opportunity to approach some of the most popular gallerists and artists of the movement, adding artworks by Mark Ryden, Marion Peck, Miss Van, Travis Louie, Ron English, Alex Gross, Joe Sorren, Ray Caesar, and many others to her classic personal collection.
In 2007, after her experience in USA she decides together with her mother, Maddalena di Giacomo, to open Dorothy Circus Gallery, the first center of Italian contemporary focusing on Pop and Neo-surrealism, and on the new expressions of figurative art. With its unique style made of nuances and oneiric details completely innovative and seductive, the Gallery starts from Pop Surrealism to become and eclectic environment, full of recalls to the classic tradition, to iper-realism, Magic realism and the excesses of Baroque. The Gallery has been reviewed by all roman guides and the most important magazines such as Vogue, Rolling Stones, Wired, Ad, and many other international newspapers ending with the American underground cult magazine, Art Juxtapoz and the section of the New York Times “36 Hours in Rome” the section about the “Must Visit” in the eternal city. Since its opening, Alexandra has always worked as director and curator of this exhibition space, curating personally all the exhibitions scheduled and collaborating with the major icons of the movement. From 2007 until today, she devoted herself to the realization of 68 exhibitions, among which 7 institutional projects. Today , she is focusing on her second gallery that opened in the fall of 2017 in heart of London Notting Hill while continuing to curate and direct all details of Dorothy Circus Gallery.
“Alexandra” by Maria Egizia Fiaschetti
Let’s begin from the name. Dorothy, like the main character of the Wizard of Oz: an imaginary creature indeed, but not like the absent-minded Alice. Another detail: the red shoes that not only have superpowers, they wink on stage.
Let’s get down to the circus: an idea of choral show, between the clownish and the tight-rope walker. The common element is the marvel that joins art, music, theatre and entertainment.
And now astonishment becomes a sort of research; a hunger to reach beyond, to find the image that catapults you in the realm of dreams.
Extraordinary or multisensory trips, enclosed in a hyper-stratified artwork, or dispersed in the environment.
It is with audacity that in 2007, Alexandra Mazzanti’s gallery lands in the Pigneto district of Rome, an old peasant area on the outskirts of the city, dear to Pasolini and gentrified by the new occupiers (artists, intellectuals, VIP fauna). The area of the gallery is on the ground floor of a small villa; two large rooms with fiery red walls and an external courtyard. Since its first inauguration, it became instantly clear that Dorothy is not just any art gallery, the public is welcomed by a contortionist in a shop window. But the idea is not to shock, to enhance the container to sweeten the enclosed. The show is intrinsic to the idea of art as an immersive experience. And the vernissage is a small masterpiece in itself, playing the surprise card. It reminds me of the historical Parisian exhibition “Le Vide” by Yves Klein at the Iris Clert gallery in 1958, with its monochrome white walls and blue cocktails being served to visitors.
Seven years later at the Dorothy gallery, you can sense the same feeling of being at the forefront, in a Pop Surrealism key. The new climate – a melting pot of techniques, contemporary iconography, computer graphics, underground style and erudite citations – is one of the new “isms” of the Noughties. And Alexandra Mazzanti, adventurous like her fairy tale alter-ego, is already searching for the Witch of the West; not to defeat her, but rather to adopt her. Dorothy is to Pop Surrealism what The Factory was for Pop Art: a family.
Without matriarchal diktats or the whims of a career woman, it is not unusual that after an exhibition you find yourself in the lounge of Alexandra Mazzanti’s museum-house, between toys and records, sculptures by Kathie Olivas and Amanda’s dog attempting to steal a mouthful from the table.
Dinners by chez Mazzanti, like the vernissage, are always different: from sushi to last-minute recipes made out of fridge leftovers, from macaroons to the capital’s most famous tiramisu.
All done without formality, the only ingredient that is never missing is a happy company. This is the reason why Art and Life are continuously blurring into one, from the pressroom to the living room, from foreign trips to uncover new talents to the tireless web searches.
The alchemy comes out of a blend of fantasy and substance, of creative flair and entrepreneurial nose. And the secret is the passion, an adventure after the other. It’s from this desire to change that the decision to relocate to the centre was born. To the new base in Via dei Pettinari, between Campo de’ Fiori and Ponte Sisto. Which is, of course, a strategic location, but the logic is not just business oriented. In the meantime, Dorothy has grown. You can see it from her creations, her children Gelsomina and Romeo (Alexandra is always surrounded by an aura of rarified and pre-Raphaelite beauty, so that it’s difficult to guess how old she is): at the beginning they were two tiny little things, now they have become a sensitive preadolescent girl and a quick-witted boy.
They are two pieces of artwork in flesh and bone that do not disdain being depicted near their mother like the main characters of a familiar novel, in which homework and football matches are laced with installments and inaugurations. If it’s true that the art dealer lives in symbiosis with the rest of the world, it is also true that she manages to cut herself out sometimes on her own. That’s when you see her in front of her computer, captured by the latest “genius” uncovered online. Or absorbed into planning her next event, strong-willed and dreamy… Then she wakes up and you can hear her shout: “Gelso, Romeo, food is ready!”.
Dorothy Circus Gallery
“Dorothy is to Pop Surrealism what The Factory was for Pop Art” – Maria Egizia Fiaschetti
Opened in Rome in 2007, the Gallery was born “on the boundaries between New York and Wonderland”. For the first time, the Italian Contemporary Art scene put a spotlight on international artists such as Joe Sorren, Ron English, Sas & Colin Christian, Camille Rose Garcia, Alex Gross, Tara McPherson, James Jean, Miss Van, Kazuki Takamatsu and many others. By anticipating market trends and interests in the global market, the Gallery plays a key role in presenting some of the most promising Japanese artists, such as Hikari Shimoda, Naoto Hattori, Atsuko Goto and Ozabu. Japanese artists have transformed the contemporary art scene, bringing together their fascinating historical and cultural tradition, refined artistic techniques and undercurrent social issues. Through a dedicated and rigorous research, the Gallery’s Art Director and owner, Alexandra Mazzanti, also contributes to the accessibility and exposure of Pop Surrealism in the contemporary Asian art scene, while continuing to discover and promote exceptionally talented artists worldwide.
In 2011 the Gallery opened its new venue in the historical center of the city, in Via dei Pettinari, ringing up the curtain once again to unveil its prestigious program dedicated to Pop Surrealism in all its features. It is also thanks to its wonderful location in the heart of Rome that D.C.G. confirms itself as the ideal venue to host the restless mood emerging from its seductive artistic tendencies. While keeping the charming style of its “First Circus,” the Gallery also discloses a touch of luxury while decorating its bookshop with the artists’ monographs in white velvet. It offers an exclusive display of limited edition prints and rare art toys, creating an exhibition hall which reminds the viewer of the settings in Tim Burton’s Alice. One of the Gallery’s core concepts is to propose high-quality events based on specific themes involving literature, music and costume.
Dorothy Circus Gallery, selected by Juxtapoz magazine as one of the top 100 world’s galleries, is now a leading European centre for Pop Surrealism. The gallery also publishes many catalogues of its shows. Some of them edited by Drago Publishing and distributed all over the world.
Dorothy Circus Gallery and its director Alexandra Mazzanti took care of the significant Pop Surrealist exhibitions: “What a Wonderful world”, held in 2010 at the Museum of Palazzo Collicola in Spoleto, and numerous other exhibitions at various Italian museums such as L’Acquario Romano – Casa dell’ Architettura, and Palazzo Valentini in Rome, the “Social Related Art Project” titled “Spray for your Rights”, which involved artists, audience and the town council of Roma Capitale on important social and cultura, issues, such as Cohabitation, Minority Rights and the Protection of the Environment. Finally the solo exhibition “The Trouble with Angels,” at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana in Turin, dedicated in 2014 to the leading digital art Canadian artist Ray Caesar, and “Mysterium Coniunctionis,” in 2016. The special event, “Mysterium Coniuctionis,” has been a unique exhibition with a book signing by the two main icons in the history of Pop Surrealism, Mark Ryden and Marion Peck. During the Opening Ceremony on December 2016, for the first time in Italy, the artists met their public while signing their latest books, Lamb Land by Marion Peck and Pinxit, a new edition by Mark Ryden. The exhibit reached its peak by presenting originals from private collections and more than 20 rare artworks in limited edition and Artist’s proofs including lithographs and prints by the American coupe, which offered DCG’s visitors a memorable experience.
Dorothy Circus Gallery produces a wide selection of art related products distributed all over the world, such as art books, artists monographs and art catalogues of the exhibitions displayed at the Gallery, alongside with limited edition prints, postcard box sets, and special limited editions of collectables as the very exclusive Palpitation Eau de perfume inspired by the Ray Caesar’s artwork in collaboration with the master perfumer Lorenzo Dante Ferro.
Dorothy Circus Gallery’s goal is to raise vibrant emotions and to offer an introspective journey while displaying both prime movers and the forerunners of this new figurative avant-guard language made of strong energy and kinetic passion. With the coming of the New Year, the Gallery finally concretized its desire of building a Temporary Gallery in London, at Notting Hill.
What is more, Dorothy Circus Gallery has finally reached its tenth birthday that fell in October 2017. This represents a unique goal for the gallery which celebrated in a very special way.
For this occasions, Dorothy Circus Gallery presented two stunning group exhibitions, one in Rome, the other in London, where new international entries and already known artists will set up an astonishing Pop-Surreal party, paving the way for a brilliant course of future projects. The result will be a unique session of breathtaking events in the name of Pop Surrealism to celebrate and inaugurate a prosperous continuation to DCG’s career.