Paolo Mentasti was born and raised on a plane flying between Sao Paulo, Bogota and Mexico City. He received his BFA from The Cooper Union in 2020 and his MFA in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University in 2023. He is currently the Technical Assistant in Sculpture at Tyler School of Art and Architecture.
Mentasti’s artwork sets out to examine the untimeliness of contemporary life, borrowing archaeology as a method to enter the present and the future by forging a proleptic archaeological record composed of artifacts, traces, and tools produced for interpretation. Using ceramics, the past and present is cited, the future is invoked, and fictions are dressed in the cloak of history. This forged record is an attempt to perceive the temporal ambiguity of the present by materializing the future examination of the contemporary: archaic vessels that will have contained the pigmentary remains of a current invasive species; archaeological measuring sticks forgotten at various sites that will have been interpreted as sacrificial offerings; casts of plastic water jugs used to gather trucked-in water in drought, seen as grave goods for their cut-out bottoms. These art objects mix references from different cultures, times, and locations, in conversation with the blurring of distinctions between the sacred and the profane achieved by standard museum displays. The ceramic pieces are artifacts-to-be whose interpretation one can only fail to imagine. Instead of attempting to settle the out-of-place and the out-of-time, this project extends them, offering the future to itself.