Interview with the artist: Ilaria Novelli

Between virtual reality and Japanise manga; between surreal tales and crime beat; between TV icons and hidden perversion. Mixing her traditional background to humanise digital techniques, the Italian artist Ilaria Novelli gives birth to eccentric female characters playing with the contradictory tendencies of our society.

Rather than suggesting an ethical behaviour, the artist combines the sources of her daily inspiration to reverse the usual stereotypes of our current society. From daily news to science fiction to the Great Masters of the past, the artist’s inspiration is in constant evolution as well as her works.

Secretive and not very talkative, Ilaria speaks through her images suggesting creative ways to go beyond the obvious appearance in the every-day life. Pushing the contradiction between what we are used to seeing and how the world is changing, the artist leaves open the question on how we perceive culture and society towards a critical analysis of our times.

Combining traditional and iconic images with contemporary techniques, Ilaria offers an example of how to think of, and play with, new tendencies and technologies without losing the human elements and symbols of our traditional background.

Waiting for her new year’s inspiration, here is an interview with Ilaria about her future projects and artistic journey.

1 – Between surrealist images and digital collage, how did you start to explore and prefer these techniques?

I have always been fascinated by technology, robotics and science fiction, disciplines and concepts consolidated and romanticized by every form of artistic expression. We tend to distrust the digital representation, it’s considered less virtuous and humanized, so I try to use it in a more artisanal way, leaving room to imperfection and to the human component. Starting with the collage, I turned it into a more immediate and intuitive technique both in the realization and in the elaboration, a combination between the handmade and a virtual immanent.

2 – For your pieces, you usually take inspiration from anime and fairy tails as well as crime beat and current events. How are these elements giving form to the diverse personalities of your characters?

Anime is my cosmogony, when I was a child I copied Japanese cartoons’ characters, a starting point to explore my personal mythology made of all the visual and cultural stimuli that surround me. In the past years, I have detached myself from the fanciful components even if I have kept the illustrative form to represent my themes. I have a very personal universe based on my experiences and imagination, I create in a sort of straightforward and private journaling style. Even the personality of the anthropomorphic figures always reflects my mood and my interests, I use current or historical events only if they are aimed at expressing them.

3 – In between childhood and adulthood, your naughty girls are combining conflicting emotion leaving the interpretation open for the viewer. How is this ‘ambiguity’ representing the identity of women in our society?

The feminine and individual soul has suffered the violent impact with the ranting, huge and unpredictable wave of the massifying contemporary culture. Beauty and eternal youth are essential dogmas as well as a collective shared knowledge. Our counsciousness is conformed and aligned as our evolutionary path.

4 – In your works, the naive pictorial style clashes with the brutality of contents, pushing the viewer toward a critique of the social and cultural dogma of our society. How do you see the potential of art in revealing the contradiction of our society for the new generation?

I believe that art is always maieutical and never didactic. The viewer must create or understand the truth or one of its versions.

5 – What are your future projects?

I’ll have two exhibitions both in the USA for the upcoming year. The first at the MF Gallery in New York, I’ll be the only Italian with two American artists: Lou Rusconi and David Scott Montgomery.

The second one is mostly an all female collective show “The Slap Show” curated by the artist Kawaii Suga, a charity event that will collect funds for homeless women.

Interview to the artist: Sine Senze

Sine Senze is Martina D’Anastasio, a young artist based in Rome. Since her childhood, she is living in between reality and an underworld populated by fairy and magic creatures. Drawing her imaginary friends to bring them to life, Martina transforms painting and drawing into the language to narrate the underworld in her mind.

Starting her studies with realistic and photorealistic painting technique at the Rome art academy, the themes of Pop Surrealism capture the artist’s imagination during a trip in the US at Dru Blair’s School of Art. Mixing these two techniques, Martina plays with elements of reality and fantasy to explore human emotions and giving form to new worlds playing with the visual elements of our contemporary society and traditional fairytales.

Combining traditional and classic icons with grotesque and surreal elements, Martina offers a personal and intimate perspective on our world with a unique lens that challenges the borders of what we consider real and logic.

Exhibiting around Italy, Europe and US, here an interview with the artist about her work and future projects.

1 – Could you tell us where your art name comes from and why did you choose it?

The name Sine Senze is a mash-up between English and Latin: it means senseless, without sense.

2 – In your works you combine photorealistic paint with Pop Surrealism themes.  How did you arrive to prefer this combination of media?

I’ve been always fascinated by the photorealistic technique. You can reproduce something that looks real on a “flat” surface and if you think about it it’s more abstract than abstract art. It’s an illusion, it isn’t real. It took me many years to learn this technique. I had to work really hard, especially on colour value. But you know, as many artists I’m never satisfied, and just “repaint” reality bored me at some point. I needed more. Since I was a kid I’ve always been playing pretending to be someone else like a fairy, a witch, a magic animal. I’ve always had an alter world in my mind, full of weird creatures and imaginary friends and the way to bring them to life was to draw them. I draw since I remember, since I was a little kid. It is my way to communicate: I paint, I draw to tell you a story. I learned to paint and then I combined this skill with my inner imaginary world and that’s how my “Pop Surreal” journey began. In my painting I’m telling you a story.

3 – How travelling and meeting international artists have had an influence on your artistic journey?

I’ve met so many important artists. Some of them inspired me so much but some of them disappointed me as “real people”. I’m sure I might look delusional to some of them as well. I always think that it’s better not to know your hero: when someone is your  “Art Hero” stays in your heart as a flawless soul and that’s how it should be. I know, It might sound depressive! 

4 – Especially after your trip in the US at Dru Blair’s School of Art and the immersion in Pop Surrealism themes, your works often play with uncanny and beauty. How does this tension represent the combination of reality and fantasy in your work?

Travelling around the United States was a dream. I learned so much, I saw so much. It is a place where the beauty and the ugliness of this world live together, like the yin and the yang. Reality has both the faces and I wanted to express this in my art. Fantasy is the other face of reality, sorrow is the other face of joy. I wanted this tension to be expressed in my art, I want my inner world to meet the reality and built a connection between the real world and the dreams world. That’s why photorealism wasn’t enough for me.

5 – Can you tell us about your current projects?

Now I’m moving forward on my “Broken Mirrors” projects and I’m also working on “blurred” portraits series. I can’t wait to show you more! In those paint the central question is the Io (self), our identity, our bound between this world and the other one, how we are fragile and so incredibly strong at the same time. 

 

Tribute to David Lynch

The duo-exhibition by the Sicilian illustrator Amalia Caratozzolo and the Roman writer Stefano Shone opened on Friday the second exhibition season at Inferno Store.  After the first round in Tuscany, ‘Tribute to David Lynch’ exhibition will stay in Rome until the 11th of January.

 

Between vynil discs, independent publication and music posters, Inferno Store opens with a homage to David Lynch combining the works of the Sicilian illustrator Amalia Caratozzolo and the Roman calligrapher and writer Stefano Shone. If Amalia Caratozzolo engraves the immortal expression of Lynch’s characters, Shone crystallises the essence of his movies in one significative quote. Curated by Rossana Calbi, the show plays with different backgrounds and artists to capture the iconic and mysterious world of Lynch’s characters and atmospheres.

Before Rome, the show was presented for the first time in Ambra, near Arezzo. Opening the Cinema season, the visual exhibition played with dynamic live performances and video-projections by Luca Zampi to explore the symbolic atmosphere created by the American director. Among screen projections, the burlesque performance by Elle Bottom Rouge, celebrating Mulholland Drive (2001), brought to life the artworks creating an invisible connection between the artworks and the screen.

This time, the artworks are combined with texts to open new interpretations of Lynch’s influence on our society. A fanzine completely dedicated to the director collects the artworks of the exhibition and a comic strip by Adriana Farina and Massimiliano Filandoro. The visual exploration of Lynch’s iconic world is framed by the essays of two film critics, Matteo Marino and Daniele Silipo, reflecting on the influence of the filmmaker on our generation and cinema production.

The combination of perspectives and artists offers the bottom line to interpret this variety of suggestions. As in Lynch’s work the plot and message are always hidden and transformed by the iconic elements, Strange Opera proposes a show in evolution that homage an artist to create new art. Without forcing a unique reading of Lynch, this tribute creates a ground to suggest an interpretation of our time through the surreal and iconic world of the director that most influence our generation.

 

 

HeArts – Exhibition by 31 Women

Last Saturday, Sala Blu Gallery launched HeArts – Exhibition by 31 Women, curated by Rossana Calbi in collaboration with Linda de Zen. This show collects 31 portraits captured by Laura Penna, and it will run in Rome until the 30thof September.

 

It was 1943, when Peggy Guggenheim’s female exhibition,The exhibition by 31 women, took place in New York between several critics. In these unforgettable times, the role of women was changing because of the war and the constant need of help was slowly transforming the structure of society. The general mentality, however, was still deeply entangled with traditional ideas and the exhibition was so criticised that even “The Time” refused to talk about.

 

Behind all the controversial polemic, the show is still inspiring contemporary initiative with new meanings and interpretations. In collaboration with Rossana Calbi and Linda de Zen, the artist Laura Penna photographed 31 women from the art, theatre, music and sport Italian scene, to homage to Peggy Guggenheim’s exhibition.

 

With her photos, the artist wanted to immortalise the tenacious attitude and the unique personality of the artists and athletes protagonists of her project. The intent of the photographer is to highlight the authentic expression of these women, that are keeping transforming themselves and their passion for the society, constantly looking for an alternative way of being women today. The exhibition shows us new possibilities for our role in the society, without forcing any label but leaving it to our individual research.

The open and ongoing nature of the project created connections between the photographer and the artists, who decided to contribute to this research not only with their portraits but also with their creations. These new connections offered the opportunity for lateral events. During the opening weekend, Laura Penna captured with her camera other artists to add to her collection; or the live painting of Gerlanda di Francia to present “Aurora nel Buio” of Barbara Baraldi, on the 22ndof September.

 

The debate on the role of woman today is still vivid and far from its end. This exhibition illustrates us alternative examples of being women, giving us the opportunity to open a conversation and reflect on our self from a different angle.

 

I had the chance to ask the artist Laura Penna about her project:

 

–          The most criticized Peggy Guggenheim’s exhibition inspired you and Rossana Calbi for the content of this show. Today the genre debate is still vivid and complex, there is any particular reason why you decided to dedicate this exhibition to the women universe? 

I had already photographed several women and I have always found it good to share ideas, projects and unconventional shooting with them.

When I was reading the biography of Peggy Guggenheim, I find this fascinating story of the EXHIBITION BY 31 WOMEN project. At that time, that exhibition was almost a scandal, the art world considered male artists only.

This kind of consideration has certainly changed since then, but unfortunately, some discrimination occurs still today.  heArts was born merging these considerations. It’s a project that aims to enhance female’s arts.

 

–          You photographed 31 different women from the art, theatre, music and sports world. What captured your interest in their stories?

The project started from the music world, the closest one to my background.

Then I tried to push my research on the artistic field where I had never worked. It was really exciting to know personally writers and painters whom I knew only through their work.

Also, there was the meeting with Alice Caligiuri, Kickboxing champion. A wonderful soul, full of contrasts. Shy, at first, and then explosive.

On the set in his gym, we had a lot of fun.

With each artist was born a special feeling and with some of them, a real friendship.

 

–          You have been always working with backstage, music and portraits. How this project connects with your previews work?  

I have joined two great passions: music and image. For 10 years I collaborated with music webzine and magazine

For this reason, in my first project “ALT – Artists like Them”,  the portraits were made exclusively with musicians.

For ALT I was inspired by the photos of famous artists and painters of 900. I did a great search in the art and photography world. A research that has continued over time until the heArts idea.

These projects are definitely related to each other.