Tique | art paper asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Vittoria Gerardi.
Lives in London and Italy
Website http://www. vittoriagerardi.com
How do you describe your own art practice?
I focus on extracting fragments of reality, where the subject is connected to a deeper experience than just looking. For the project Confine, I have been studying in the past years links to this concept. While the reality photographed is the desert, the landscape evoked through the print aims at being an inner experience of it, perceived as physical and mental limit to the human nature. The elements of light and time that originated this experience are visualized as a selection of photographic fragments of the desert, condensed in the space of a line or other symbolic shapes. The tonalities surrounding those forms are achieved through the alteration of the chemical process in the darkroom, working on the “fragility” of the light-sensitive paper. This is something I perceive being possible only through photography, the reason why I see in the darkroom my main artistic practice. Only with the implication of photography, I can extend the process to other materials.
What was your first experience with art?
I think that every child experience art in some way in its early years, and probably in one of the deepest way possible as his or her knowledge is uninformed. However, being born in Italy is a visual passport to all the great art and architecture that still inspires artists nowadays. I recall I was taught of a man who drew a freehand perfect circle. This experience shaped what I am pursuing today in my practice: a synthesis of concept, action, and aesthetic.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
Nature. It doesn’t actually relate with the Romantic notion of the sublime. It’s more about the existential character of being human and perceivers of an outside world, constantly trying to make sense of it and control it. It is in this context that nature inspires me. It is not by chance that, while traveling across the United States, the landscape I was more interested in was the desert. It is known that the desert became a point of reflection for visual artists after the mid 19th century, assuming a deep eschatological feature. In the desert time has reached its end and it is no end. It becomes a line-time as consistent as the Horizon. This is precisely the concept from which the project Confine developed.
What do you need in order to create your work?
Above all, a darkroom. It works both in a practical and spiritual sense for me. It’s chemistry is an eternal mystery.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a project about the ancient ruins of Pompeii, where everything in it relates to time on many levels: historical, cultural, practical and ontological. Yet, what let it emerge in the most existential way are the plaster casts of the victims that died during the eruption. To evoke time, the project focuses on the specific materiality of the casts: first by recording a photographic memory of the city and then by dipping the same image into a mould of plaster until only the edge of the paper remains visible. Time reveals as fragmented, the information is reduced to the space of a line to try to unfold the full potential of imagination.
What work or artist has most recently surprised you?
Many different things that eventually brought me to develop this particular interest: to deepen the concept of fluidity in the plastic arts through photography.