Six questions for
Mariangela Ciccarello

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

Artist Mariangela Ciccarello
Lives in New York, NY

How do you describe your own art practice? 

I am a visual artist who loves cinema and makes films. In my work I am often the director, screenwriter, camera operator, sound recordist, and editor; a solo production model more akin to a visual art approach that to a set-oriented type of film production. In this approach, stages and hierarchies of conventional filmmaking are replaced by more horizontal and fluid dynamics of work. My works exist between narrative, non-fiction and experimental film and moving image art. Visually, the merging of these genres or categories is complemented by the use of different media, including the blending of video and film.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

I am invested in exploring topics related to gender and female sexuality, with a specific attention to the Sothern Italian context, the place where I was born and raised. The formative traumas of my youth in a religious, moralistic, chauvinistic society, have indelibly affected my ways of seeing and creating artwork. It is important for me to develop critiques of society, and the historical and political conditions that underlie them, while continuing to imagine alternatives. The Mediterranean area, as geo-political space of conflict and interaction, is another important theme in my work.

What was your first experience with art?

As a kid I wanted to be a painter, even though I have never been very good at drawing. My father used to paint sometimes, and I always wanted to be around him when he was doing so. I loved the smell of the oil, the texture of the colors. I remember he made a reproduction of a still life by futurist artist Ardengo Soffici. I was captivated by it, the red of the watermelon was so vivid I remember I wanted to bite it. The painting is still in my parents’ living room: I still like to look it when I visit them even though when, as a teenager, I discovered that Soffici supported fascism I decided to not look at it anymore. Once in high school, I made some paintings myself, mainly inspired by Yves Klein’s work, his monochromes and research on emptiness. However, I had neither the manual and technical skills nor the dedication and calm that are typical of a painter, it was a very liberating moment. In the next life I would like to be a painter, and a singer.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

Life, mythology and the sound of the sea.

What do you need in order to create your work?

I need to be bored and ideally on some type of means of transportation in order to have ideas, I need a bit of discipline to complete the writing phase and a bunch of deadlines in order to achieve the pre-production stage. The production moment, however, really depends on the project, although I always need the support of my usual collaborator, Philip Cartelli. For my next film, which I am writing right now, I will also need a dedicated producer. 

What work or artist has most recently surprised you? 

I recently watched What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? by Alexandre Koberidze and liked it so much that, when the film ended, I wanted to go home, try to download it from the web and watch it again. It is a love story lit up by some delicious surrealist elements, also a film about the power of art and soccer. I love soccer and love stories; I am a romantic in a very unfashionable way and think that it’s very rare to find contemporary films which are both well-made and love stories. 

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