Six questions for
Francesca Ferreri

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

Artist Francesca Ferreri
Lives in Turin, Italy

How do you describe your own art practice?

Through sculpture, painting, drawing, and video animation, I undertake a transformative practice of “restoration”, reconstructing imaginary objects, emancipating them from their original context. I begin with ordinary items—plastic bottles, glass containers, and daily essentials. These found pieces include fragments of text or encoded symbols, often from the realm of mathematics, which I rearrange by adding tangible matter or incorporating additional symbols, guided by a principle of imitation. Contrary to a purely scholarly approach, my fascination lies in the limitless imaginative possibilities of restoration. This method allows me to explore fictitious recollections and interpretations, mirroring the intricate mechanisms of memory. Asemic writing, a cherished practice since my youth, plays a significant role in my notebooks. I create sculpture-signs and installations that invite observers to project their personal memories onto them. Each work becomes a space where the past coexists with the present and future, blending animation characters with fresco techniques and intertwining mathematics with matter…

Which question or theme is central in your work?

My primary focus centers on exploring the dynamic interplay between commonplace, everyday objects, and the enveloping space, all while embracing the uncertainty of their temporal transformation. This intentional selection of objects stems from a desire to mirror our contemporary way of living, offering a tangible testament to the reality that surrounds us—recomposing them into new material objects reminiscent of ancient frescoes or futuristic fossils.

What was your first experience with art?

Growing up in a place adorned with captivating chapels and churches from different periods, I often found myself gazing upwards as a child, immersed in the stories unfolding on the ceilings. It felt like stepping into a different world — an animated, magical universe. While my early experiences were rooted in the traditional charm of these religious spaces, my introduction to contemporary art came later – around the age of 11, I stumbled upon an article about Louise Bourgeois and felt deeply impressed by her life and story. In later years, I became captivated not only by her narrative but also by the aesthetic appeal of her work.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

Besides frescoes, restoration and their materials, I find myself drawn to scientific literature, particularly essays on neuroscience, physics, and astronomy. One of my all-time favorites is Florian Cajori’s ‘A History of Mathematical Notation’, a fascinating exploration of how mathematical symbols have evolved over time. Another essay that I found inspiring is Paolo Zellini’s ‘La matematica degli dei e gli algoritmi degli uomini’, which delves into the intricate relationship between mathematics and the mysteries of the universe. But also, I loved the physicist Carlo Rovelli’s studies on white holes, and Guido Tonelli’s trilogy about the origins of the material universe – above all, the latest I am still reading, ‘Materia’.

What do you need in order to create your work?

Carrying paper notebooks and watercolors in my handbag has become a necessity for me. As an artist and mother, time has become the ultimate treasure, finding creative ways to carve out precious moments for my work. However, I recognize that for more substantial projects, continuity and dedicated, uninterrupted stretches of time are essential. To maintain the flow of focus and delve deeper into research, I make it a priority to set aside specific periods where I can fully immerse myself in the creative process.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

A show that I found inspiring this summer is the retrospective of Antoni Tàpies at Bozar in Brussels, with a focus on paintings, text, and matter based works. And lately, I’ve been revisiting the work of Teresa Burga, a Peruvian artist whose work first captured my attention during an exhibition at SMAK in Ghent a few years ago. What struck me then, and continues to amaze me, is the astounding diversity of her artistic expressions. I particularly admire her intricate maps and structures, her pen-written works where she reorders and deconstructs texts and images, but also the drawings from the Insomnia series characterized by looping shapes following predetermined rules, and her 1975 work “Borges”, which consists of 51 drawings in diagram form combining sound.

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