Six questions for
Chiara Ernandes

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Chiara Ernandes.

Artist Chiara Ernandes
Lives in Viterbo, Italy

How do you describe your own art practice?

My artistic practice is the result of multidisciplinary work that begins with theoretical research before visual research. The theoretical insights are always related to an initial suggestion, a motive that has a deep meaning and sense for me. Therefore, my visual work is the result of my personal experience I had with the subject matter addressed. The media I work with are multiple: this gives me the opportunity to use the photographic medium as one of many tools with which to interact by structuring different levels of reading. So I find it important to work with archive images-private and public- interconnecting them in a continuous composition of new meanings.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

The most recurrent theme in my work is mainly to investigate the origin of consciousness, memory, intimate life, my dysfunctional family history to recovery a personal founding myth, while drawing on a certain universality. I enjoy deepening and juxtaposing my art practice with the study of subjects such as psychology, anthropology, ancient history, and art history. I delve into themes such as belonging, memory, roots, studying it with different theoretical approaches, conditioned by my personal history, which enriches and pollutes my research, in a continuous relationship between symbol and and reality. In a practical sense, my attention is often drawn to things that remain as rocks and minerals, then geology, teeth, and then medical insights.

What was your first experience with art?

My first approach to art was photography. I never felt perfectly comfortable with it. A series of experiences and events led me to use photography as one of the possibilities of expression in the visual arts.
I want to recall an experience in particular. An episode that I experienced several years ago in a place that was charged with symbolism for me. I was in the Genovese’s Cave, a prehistoric place in the Levanzo island, site in Sicily. I can absolutely say that I had an ancestral experience: shortly after entering the cave, the guide illuminates the rock walls full of graffiti and drawings from various eras, and I immediately began to cry from strong emotion, a Stendhal syndrome. In there I realized how interested I was in investigating paleoanthropology and wall art as another tool for decoding reality.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

I definitely find great inspiration from photo books, contemporary art, and nonfiction book. Another great source of inspiration comes from nature: I grew up in an area of central Italy rich in woods, lakes, forests and lakes called Tuscia an evocative area rich in history and magic. I think it is very useful to hook oneself into topics or themes that can tell a little bit about myself, and when this process happens. In general, my work is characterized by magical thinking, a dimension that helps me greatly to unhinge rationality from reality. Certainly trauma and pain is a great point to think about and work on. Also human behaviors are a big theme present among my suggestions, also these elements of reality to decode, dissolve and understand.

What do you need in order to create your work?

Now I’m going to say a big platitude, but that’s okay. I get a lot of help from periods of over feeling that usually alternate with great expanses of nothingness in the soul. I need layering and to travel underground roads. I definitely need to know and be in my craters because as the Italian poetess Patrizia Cavalli used to say, “I must understand.”

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

One of the artists I have been following lately is a contemporary Italian named Emi Maggi; a sculptor designer and performer. Then there is visual artist Niina Vatanen and another great contemporary artist Giuseppe Penone. I am also a great admirer of the artist Ana Mendieta and most of the artists of the women’s movements of the 1970s.

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