Not Random Art - Page 149

Hello Silvia, and welcome to NotRandomArt. The current issue is revolving around the problem of communication and identity. Is there any particular way you would describe your identity as an artist but also as a human being in dynamically changing, unstable times? In particular, does your cultural substratum/identity form your aesthetics?

The issue of identity is a central one in my life, so I'm thrilled to be participating on this subject. My social identity growing up was very much tied to that of my father, who was a successful dentist in the provincial northern Italian town I grew up in. We were all made to feel proud of his financial and medical achievements and I was always reminded that I was "his daughter". So being "his daughter" has been pretty much my job while growing up: I had to excel in my studies, I was to inherit his practice, I was to set an example for my three younger siblings. My artistic identity, i.e. my awareness of bing an artist, was not supported from the outside world while growing up and had to live underground like a second personality of sorts. While inside I was a hippy bursting with love for birds and nature and a mad desire to call everybody on their mean hypocrisies and injustices, in the outer life I had to look like "his daughter", talk and behave like "his daughter". Turns out "his daughter" was a repressed quiet and devoted girl who only lived to please her father and should never have any boyfriends. It was doomed to be a war., of epic proportions - with him, and with myself when I finally had the courage to break away from it. Probably because I am so used to protecting my insides and maintaining a sacred garden that outside tyranny cannot reach, these unstable times we live in don't have the power to impact me deeply too much. I trust that I can always visit that garden of creativity no matter what's going on around me. Growing up surrounded by yelling people helped a lot with that too. So no matter what is happening politically my job is to share what I love, with whatever medium I have at my disposal. And luckily I have lots of hope in that garden.

Would you like to tell us something about your artistic as well as life background? What inspired you to be in this artistic point in your life when you are now?

So I pretty much had to give up art in high school, and then by a miracle (or by exhaustion) managed to convince my parents that I was not going to become a dentist, and went on to study literature in Milan. That's where I developed a serious intention of becoming a filmmaker, figuring it was something I could still learn while my art-ship had sailed.

With a one year stop in Rome I arrived in Los Angeles in 2005, where I still am today. I wanted to learn film here. And almost immediately I stumbled upon my art mentor Joe Blaustein at UCLA. He told me I was an artist and stood by me all these 12 years, helping me find my identity as an artist. Drawing and painting in his classes along with studying stories and listening to big filmmakers talk about their process is what makes up who I am artistically today. Painting has become the spine of my personal and artistic identity: today, I say to people that I am a painter. A really wild thing if you could see me on any given Sunday as I was growing up.

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about your identity as a participant of the visual culture?

I close my eyes and I see: the drawings of Egon Schiele. His line, his patterns, his aliveness and darkness have blown my mind and given me permission to explore the “ugly”. It's amazing: I had so many wrong ideas about making art. For example, I thought everything had to be beautiful. Schiele's drawings blew off that limitation in a second, showing me what real beauty is: a celebration of humanity, in all its quiet weirdness.

And then I see: Federico Fellini's films. The magic and the circus of life, with all its poetry and vulgarity and sacredness.

And this is what the artist does: he puts a mirror in your face, a screen , where you see a piece of you that had been missing or forgotten. In this way I believe in the healing powers of art and in the kind of shamanic soul-doctor nature of being an artist.

What is the role of technique in your practice? In particular are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating?

I believe in expressionism and that there shouldn't be too many rules while you create. Still, some are helpful when you are trying to push some limit. For example, right now I am struggling with empty/full yin/yang in my paintings. In my charcoal drawings I can recognize when to stop and how much empty space is needed. that's much harder in my paintings: I love colors so much, I get so excited, that I want to fill every last square centimeter with colors. That way I often loose a painting: too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

But in terms of technique I use mostly acrylics and I love paper, and I do a mix of painting and drawing with Sennelier dry pastels and charcoal. I find the charcoal and pastel essential for the eyes, for example. But I mix them with paint too. I guess my paintings are half paintings and half drawings.

m different cultures. It became the starting point of my own work. Joan Jonas practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual, and the authority of objects and gestures. Jonas continues to find new layers of meanings in themes and questions of gender and identity that have fueled her art for over thirty years. She is a great inspiration still today.

It is impossible to avoid the topic of body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity that we see in your practice. What is the function of the identity appearing in your artworks – is it a canvas used to present your ideas or rather the subject of the art? What inspired you to use this as a theme in your practice?

I have been developing my visual imagery since I began studying art and film - from conceptual thinking, composition, using light and colour in different ways, through all the different techniques I've utilised over the years in my work and in my collaborations with stage artists such as dancers, musicians and actors. My approach is always developing through exploring these things. Visual imagery in essence is your way of experiencing what you see and transforming it. This is my world that I want to share and express through my art. The body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity is part of this visual imagery, the emotional essence in my practice. Always present and always developing in different themes and projects.

Marina Abramovic stated: You see, what is my purpose of performance artist is to stage certain difficulties and stage the fear the primordial fear of pain, of dying, all of

which we have in our lives, and then stage them in front of audience and go through them and tell the audience, 'I'm your mirror; if I can do this in my life, you can do it in yours.'Can you relate anyhow to these words?

de-identify myself, by losing my roots, my culture, I would be very happy. Unfortunately the human being does'nt choose the place where he is born. He grows up in a society that automatically identifies, through education, culture, family... More than ever I think it's more important to go on a way of self-knowledge with the aim to meet “the other”.. This other without which we can not exist. It's the same for the artist. It is more important for me to be focused on my practice than to try to define it according to esthetic criteria of identification. It's probably the reason i like to remember the painter Matisse who said or wrote that an artist must never be prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Could you talk a little about experiences that has influence the way you currently relate yourself to your artworks?

All my way is influenced by encounterings.

It began by the meeting with my professor of literature at school. More than giving French or Literature classes, she brought us to discover texts, movies, plays, visual artworks and to think about on what we saw or read.. Thanks to her that I met Pierre Vincke, a theatredirector who was worjink in the tradition of Grotowski ... Both of them have led me to go to theater school. In this school I had meetings. Meetings with artists but also and especially human beings that made me discover. I always need o discover rather than to master a practice. It's probably the reason my encounter with Monica Klingler and Boris Nieslony was decisive for me and led me on the path of Performance Art which is a form still difficult to define. Each performance artist has a different definition of what it is...

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about race and ethnic identity in visual culture?

No I don't have a specific artwork that has influenced my artistic practise but many.

I'm influenced by some philsophers as well as poets or musicians or dancers or visual artists but also by some places or landscapes or atmospheres ... For some years, I was used for example to go to India where I was used to follow some traditionnal muscians or to learn bharatanatyam and practice vipassana meditation... Of course this experience has impacted my art work.... This brought me to think and work differently... My experience in India brought me to discover traditionnal strong art and paradoxally to the way of Performance Art. But there I see one common point: to make no separation between art and life and to be here and now, without projection on the future.

It's difficult for me to speak about race and ethnic identity. But I can say that today we miss more and more this notion of “to be here and now” which is more present in some cultures ... By practising Performance Art, it's my way to be connected to this way of thinking. And even in this field actually it's more and more difficult. The society and the art world brings us more and more to plan in advance, to define our work, more than to do. Just to do. To do what we deeply need.

And of course, my encountering with Black Market International and later the notion of Open Source or Open session via PAErsche have also a big impact on my work. When we go on that, each of us perform by sharing time and space but without trying to convince each other on some common way. This is for me a wonderfull way how we can meet each other, regardless of our origin, our race or our “identity”...

Many of your works carry an autobiographical message. Since you transform your experiences into your artwork, we are curious, what is the role of memory in your artistic productions? We are particularly interested if you try to achieve a faithful translation of your previous experiences or if you rather use memory as starting point to create.

My memory is clearly a starting point to create. I don't have any autobiographical message. I use my personnal experience ( what I feel , what I see, what I learn, what I ear...) to work. It's a motor or a material. I'm not able to paint, so I can't do something with red or white or yellow or black colors. All I have is life, a body alive. And I need to do something with that...

My sensation about life sometimes is too intense then I need to transform this intensity in some action. Some artistic action... If people can take something from this action this is great... but I don't want to give them “a specific message” or to control the translation of my experience.