Six questions for
Claudia Amatruda

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

Artist Claudia Amatruda
Lives in Bologna, Italy

How do you describe your own art practice?

In my work everything starts with ideas. Dealing with personal and almost entirely autobiographical themes, the idea comes from something I have experienced, chewed, transformed and that I re-stage through photography, video or performance. I either stage something that would be impossible to experience in reality, but which with art becomes possible in the temporal space of an instant. It is a slow process, supported by research and scientific and anthropological texts, music and films. The moment of execution comes when I am tired of thinking, and I must make the idea concrete, otherwise it will not get out of my head. There is a physical preparation in my case made up of medication and rest, at the same time mentally I carry a lot of tension which helps me to stay focused and which then finally melts away while I am creating, and this is when the fun begins.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

My work was born out of the need to talk about a rare degenerative disease that I discovered I had at the age of 19. After a few years of working with photography and the publication of a photo book, I realised that the disease was only a vehicle to talk about the transformations of our body, about deterioration but also about blossoming, about what is born from darkness. My projects were created from this experience and then grew and changed while keeping the same narrative thread and still preserving the staging and self-portraiture, but trying to reach broader themes such as disability and its stereotypes, non-conforming bodies, femininity, autonomy and dependence, limits and possibilities of a body’s movements. I’m now focusing on a new project that analyses the body in relation to technology, prosthetics, automation and the tools that are being invented to make us ‘forever young’.

What was your first experience with art?

Ever since I was little, I used to wake up and have breakfast with the smell of turpentine and oil colours because my parents had always painted, but I was too young to be aware that it was art. I remember one event in particular very well, it was probably there that I realised what art was and the emotions it can arouse: I was 12 years old and on a family trip to Paris we went to the Pompidou Museum; one long room was dedicated to the work Plight, 1985 by Joseph Beuys, a piano in the middle and the walls entirely covered with huge rolls of felt. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of silence, protection and warmth but also terror for that piano that Beuys had turned mute and suffocated. For the first time I felt mixed emotions evoked by an exhibition; the involvement of sight, touch, smell and hearing in that room made me fall in love with art and from that moment on think that I would want to know more and experience this kind of strong emotion again and again.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

My source of inspiration is the reality of the situations I live and see around me, and at the same time the fiction of films. While watching a film I often write some ideas, just before I go to sleep. On the other hand, music and books (especially those dealing with true stories or books of poetry), support me during research and the development of the idea. However, I have to mention a few artists who constantly inspire me in my work: Cindy Sherman, Francis Alÿs, Johanna Piotrowska, Mari Katayama and Thomas Demand.

What do you need in order to create your work?

The artist’s work is very much based on isolation. One is almost always alone while working in the studio and researching. Therefore, I need to confront myself with people during the various stages of the work, because by talking about it and showing it, it changes shape by enriching or refining itself. I also need to go back and look at the same photograph several times after a while to see if I still like it, or re-evaluate photographs that I did not like in the past and in the present make sense instead. In the actual realisation phase, I would say that I need three things: physical strength, the stress just before starting (which always gives me a bit of a healthy adrenalin rush), and at least one or two people who help me practically.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

I was recently very impressed by Studio Azzurro’s work Il Nuotatore (va troppo spesso a Heidelberg) which I saw live at Artissima fair in Turin, and I am so fascinated about the performances and installations by artist Agnes Questionmark.

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