Guest Interview n°59: Umberto Chiodi

How and when did you decide to become an artist? What did you aim for when you start this career and which were the most significant moments (or people) that shaped your path?
After the compulsory education I chose an art high school and afterwards I attended the Fine Art Academy in Bologna. I just followed a passion, which unfortunately entailed leaving other interests aside, such as my passion for music. I had a couple of stimulating teachers, despite a general penury of Masters. I remember with great affection the artist Gabriele Partisani, professor of “Anatomia del segno” (a course on the analysis of trace marks) at the academy, who passed away recently. In Milan, the city where I’ve been living since 2007, I met some fundamental people, among which the gallerist Enzo Cannaviello.

Your work developed year after year, allowing you to experiment with different techniques and media, but the illustration has always had a key role in your artistic production, would you like to tell me something more about this intimate relationship?
Maybe we should first define what the word “illustration” means. In ancient times it was a religious practice, then it became a suggestive adornment for the publishing industry, till it found application in the field of commercial advertising. Moreover much painting, above all the one from the past, could be regarded as illustrative, comparable to a window to the world that has its own internal laws of representation, narration of a text or a fact. The illustration, which my imagination refers to, is the one that was used in Europe for scientific, didactic and satirical purposes, from the end of the 18th century to the early 19th century. These images retrace, in a unique way, the spirit of the period when they were created. Looking at them today is as if they become bearers of short circuits, documents of the human beings’ modern neurosis. They can be scientific as well as grotesque, educative as well as misleading, influential as well as naïve. They are examples of illusions that only history and time can unmask. These images can be defined as popular and in these cases the fence of a page could become a very desirable place.

Which are the links between your work from the beginning of your career and the most recent ones?
The connections are, for example, the references to the collective imaginary and the unconscious, along with the attempt to fix the chaos. Other links are the manual labour, the crossbreeding of different traditional languages, materials and heterogeneous marks, the recycling of what is out of practice, things that had lost their original function.
There are continuous references to the childhood as a lost world or a possibility of change. In my latest series “Crossage”, as well as in the assemblages and in the collages, created in 2009, I gave the illusion of perspective up with the idea that the work could be read as a whole, as a play with different, conflicting levels and elements, which live in our physical environment in the form of objects.

Which are your main inspiration sources – in art, literature, theatre, cinema etc. both from the past as in the present? And what is your mood when you realize that you have had a good ‘eureka moment’?
Everything that surrounds me could be an incitement: the discovery of an object, a poetic dimension, but also daily news or a critic essay. The artistic intuitions are often the effect of a syntony, the proof of the idea of “Correspondences” proposed by Baudelaire.

For some time, there has been an on-going debate (with opposing points of view) about the modernity of painting as an artistic media; do you think that painting is really a dead language?
The main problem in art today, in my opinion, is the relationship of slavery and bulimia that we have with the Unconscious and the Messages. That said, there are still good illustrations and good “exercises in painting”, which depict the awkwardness of the contemporaneity or draw the attention to the time of Nature.

What turns an artist into a truly contemporary author (besides the civil registry) and what turns his/her work into something significant for a wider audience?
A contemporary artist must have the ability to create tension with his/her time, to call it into question and again to give signs that survive the trends. We should say that the more an artist is able to follow his/her goals, the more his/her work become significant for the audience, but it is hard to fulfil. Then dramatically it is the economic aspect that gives the final word in establishing the value of things.

What do you think about the blend among different professions that ever more often deconstruct established roles (artists/curators, auction houses that become galleries etc.)?
In the “flow” we are living in, everything is blended. Close to the issue of specialisation of knowledge, the problem seems to be in the annulment of variety and the flattening of everything into a big net. But the unstoppable catastrophe we are going for is due to the confusion between culture and marketing, between the idea of progress and the quantitative development. Could we trust in the fact that the artist will work for a curatorial project with the same responsibility with which he creates an artwork? I hope so.

Nietzsche defines nihilism as “the most disturbing of all guests”, do you agree or did it happen to you to have more unsettling “guests”?
I would judge other “guests” equally thorny, especially because of my nihilistic view or because of my idealism.

Are there any ideas or unfulfilled projects that you want to take on in the future?
Well, to say thank you to Prof. Schneitzhoeffer (junior).

The latest works of Umberto Chiodi are currently exhibited in a solo show entitled “Crossage” on view at Studio D’Arte Cannaviello in Milan until 10th January 2015.

Interview by Monica Lombardi 
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Guest Interview n°56: Stefano Cumia

The Blogazine met Stefano Cumia (b. 1980, Palermo), one of the most engaging and sophisticated Italian artists of the latest generations, who spoke with us about his artistic path and the reasons behind the new, challenging phase of his career, marked by “SCP 14”, the solo show curated by Helga Marsala currently on view at Rizzuto Gallery in Palermo.

First of all, could you tell us something about your background? When did you understand that being an artist would have been more than a status for you?
The personal story of an artist, the background, is everything people can know about him. People think they know who you are and what you do because they assume they know your roots and, whatever happens, there’s no way of changing their mind about you. Personally I prefer the freedom of leaving things open, nothing has to be taken for granted and nothing is an absolute certainty.

Your artistic path has mainly been characterized by figuration up to this exhibition, which represents and important turning point in your work, what are the reasons that made you change direction?
At the basis of SCP 14 lies the necessity to never give up on changing the internal, commonly accepted, order about the painting matter. It’s a way of reorganizing its syntax through a series of micro-tactical procedures focused on elements that form the object-canvas, making the painting implode, concentrating or pushing it to the edge. Consequently, narrations, evocative titles, iconographic references etc. are dimmed and trapped between the layers to give place to a summary work, an analysis aiming at the painting in itself.

In the collective imagination, painting is associated with the canvas hung on the wall, but during the years we’ve seen the development of an installative painting, which avails itself of devices that alter its perception and fruition (paintings laid on the floor, use of clamps etc.) What do you think about this approach that considers painting as installation?
Despite the collective imagination of painting being attached to the idea of a depicted surface, rectangular in shape and middle-small in size hung on the wall, we have to acknowledge that installative painting has somehow always existed. Just think about the polyptych created by Grunewald for the altar of Isenheim, it’s made of mobile and fixed shutters that change the appearance of the painting each time. Or again, without going too far in the past, look at “Plurimi” by Vedova, the “Cave of antimatter” of Pinot Gallizio, or the work by Kippenberger who took a monochrome by Richter and turned it into a coffee table using a wood-and-metal structure that changes its perception and fruition. I think it’s stupid to consider the segmentation of painting beyond its rectangular boundaries as a pleonasm.

What process lead the creation of the shapes characterizing your latest series of works?
After getting a track from the structure support and delimiting a field of action, I went on to overlap and interchange layers in succession, which ended up connecting and interacting one with another, amounting to these shapes.

Even if apparently the lines of your work seem to be perfect reiterations, they hide faint imperfections and deep differences in the brush strokes and colour intensity. What do these ‘bugs’ represent for you?
Lines are vectors that mark perimeters and cross the layers, which try to capture and hold everything close by them. The speed of lines’ flow determines phenomenon of viscosity or, vice versa, of precipitation and breakage that determine these ‘bugs’, which represent ‘quid’ to me.

Why did you choose to insert pieces of glass and other materials into your works? Is this a homage to informal art?
Actually no, it is not a homage to informal art, I just follow a scheme. The insertion of well-broken glass and other materials is functional and related to a matter of capture and stratification. Adding smashed glass to colour, for instance, helps me to thicken the mixture, making it more viscous, damming pigments and allowing the medium contained in them to split from the rest and overstep the perimeter’s shapes. This capture process enabled the pictorial substances to invade the knits of the bare canvas, stressing the parergon of the framework.

If you should select an artwork and/or an artist, who influenced or struck you in a particular way…
I’m afraid I cannot do it, I always try to screen everything.

…and a place, which inspires you and/or where you would love to live?
Places make no difference, I don’t care, the most important thing is feeling good wherever you are.

Interview by Monica Lombardi 
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Guest Interview n°55: Michael Ackerman

We went to mc2gallery to see the new exhibition of Michael Ackerman (b. 1967, Tel Aviv, Israel. Lives and works in Berlin and New York.) and ask him something about his life and work.

Could you tell us something about your personal story? When did you decide to become a photographer? How and why did this happen?
At university, at age 18 I joined a student photography organization and learned the basics from older students. I was immediately obsessed and unable to focus on my studies. In class I didn’t pay attention, I just waited for it to be over so I could go out to take pictures. I regret that now, but I was too young and immature to learn at that age. Photography ignited my curiosity about the world.

How do you describe your work? What type of camera do you use and how much does the media and printing process influence the final result?
I don’t like to describe my work but I guess it could be summed up as personal documentary. It comes from real life but it’s absolutely subjective. I use small, easy cameras. The printing is crucial and I work very hard on it. I still love to be in the dark room even if it’s lonely and so much of the time I don’t obtain the result I want.

Did/do you have any source of inspiration? Which one?
The same as everyone else. Being alive and being aware of death.

How do you get to a book project? Could you tell us something regarding your previous publications (“End Time City” and “Half Life”), how do these projects come about?
“End Time City” was made after several trips to India between 1993 to 1997. I had a box of prints, I don’t know how many. Through many lucky circumstances I was introduced to Christian Caujolle who pushed to have my work shown and still does. And I met Robert Delpire who agreed to publish the book. And the other ones when I thought they were ready. But it started when a good friend moved from New York to Milan and was showing people my work. He got me my first exhibition in Europe and then one thing led to another.

What do you usually do when you are not working?
Cooking, laundry, cleaning, playing with my kid.

It seems that you are a hard traveller. What are your favorite places in the world and why?
I’m not a traveller. But I feel rootless and homeless. I don’t have a favorite place in the world but I have favorite places in different cities I go to. A small bar in Paris, the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, the streets of Naples. Things like that.

What do you see in your future? Is there any project that you look forward to undertake?
I’m trying to do some things I haven’t done before. Little film portraits of friends. And finishing some old work. But I am very slow and not good at imagining the future.

Monica Lombardi – Images courtesy of Michael Ackerman/Agence VU’ Paris  
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Upcoming Artists: Sunflower Bean

You are very young and the Sunflower Bean were born only a year ago, however, it seems that you know each other for much longer. Maybe you attended the same clubs. Am I wrong?
Yes! The Sunflower Bean is almost a year old, which is on the younger side for a band. We’ve known each other for a little more than a year. We all met through the music scene in Brooklyn, playing shows and hanging out.

Have you found harmony between your musical tastes immediately or do you have completely different preferences?
There’s a harmony between all of our tastes I think, we all love Black Sabbath, NEU!, The Velvet Underground, etc. We share a lot of the same influences.

Now, on your Bandcamp there are only 2 songs, but your sound is already well defined. Do you work hard on this, or just let yourself be inspired by the moment?
Our sound can be a little difficult to describe exactly, but we have dubbed it “neo-psychedelia for the digital age” which actually sums up what we do pretty well. When we write a song, we try to tap into the greatness of our influences without rehashing the past or being “retro.” We are looking into the future by marking the present, like in our single 2013, where we pay homage to the culture that surrounds us, for better and for worse. We record most of our songs at our friend Christian’s home studio, Fox 5 studios. We’ll go over on a Saturday or something and record our new stuff.

Are there any new bands that you really like or someone similar to you style that you appreciate?
One of our favourite bands around is Tonstartssbandht. They are the most inspiring, most talented, and have THE most fun live show around.

You all live in New York – how’s playing in a big city like? Is it easy for a new-born bands as Sunflower Bean to find a place where to perform? How do you prepare for shows?
Being from NYC and living here is the best. There are always bands to play with, and there are always shows to play at. There’s a really good community here. The problem is that most of the all ages venues are closing, which makes it a lot harder for people under 21 to hear new bands, and sometimes it’s really difficult for venues to let you play, just because you’re under 21. We practice a couple times a week in order to stay well rehearsed for the shows we play.

I suppose that playing in a band is not the only job that you do. What do you do in your “real” life? School? Work?
We are all students. I (Julia) am still in high school and I also work at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Nick and Jacob just finished their first years of college. But music is really what we do everyday, and it is the only thing we really want to do. It’s the dream.

Are you recording new material? Do you have nice surprises set aside for this 2014 ? Releasing an EP maybe?
We have a lot of surprises planned for 2014, new songs, new videos, and hopefully, more shows all over the world!

Enrico Chinellato 
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Upcoming Artists | The Lovecats

Cecilia and Adele form The Lovecats: how did you two meet and how did you start working together as a duo?
We’ve met by chance in November 2010, and we’ve immediately clicked music-wise. In fact, that same night, we went to a rehearsal room and started playing together and a few days later we’d already decided we should start playing together. The idea behind The Lovecats was born in a 40km radius separating Legnago and Verona, and now lives in 40 square meters in Milan.

Listening to your music and looking at your appearance and visual flair as a female duo, other similar artists soon come to mind – My Bubba, Pascal Pinon, First Aid Kit (it may even seem to obvious) – do you feel a connection with them or do your influences come from a different sphere?
Yes, we are often compared to those artists, and we feel it’s quite normal to sort of compare female duos. Nevertheless, we don’t only listen to Bob Dylan, Joan Baez or Nick Drake, or other folk-ish artists; rather, we are influenced by punk, hardcore, new wave, emo, shoegaze and many more.

How do you write your songs? Is there a process, a recipe, you follow or is it spontaneous?
Our songs are all written quite spontaneously, since they are tied to specific life experiences and emerge directly from those experiences.

The issue of playing in English rather than Italian, is a long and debated one: why have you decided to play in English?
It was a spontaneous choice, mostly due to the fact that we’ve both listened international rather than Italian music. The Italian language is beautiful but its musical transposition is quite difficult. When you manage to do it, the results are amazing, but you have to be extremely talented to do so. On the other hand, English transposition is quite simple to do, whereas writing interesting texts in English is quite difficult. For us, choosing English was a sort of a challenge, while at the same time it was a conscious choice in trying to reach a broader public.

You are both originally from Verona, but currently live in Milan. What are the differences between those two cities, musically speaking?
Naturally, being much bigger, Milan is much more varied and rich, musically speaking. In Verona, there are only a few places where you can play live and it is one of the main reasons why bands born in Verona try to leave the city – to make their music known to a wider audience.

How did you meet your label, diNotte?
The guys from diNotte have contacted us in the summer of 2012, asking when they could hear us play live. They came to our concert in Brescia, and we’ve immediately clicked, it was a really nice surprise.

Have you ever thought about opening your band to other musicians – maybe becoming a trio or a band?
Well, we’re already doing it in part: we have played on numerous occasions with our drummer friend, Niccolò Cruciani, who usually plays with C+C=Maxigross and with whom we work really well. Anyhow, yes, we’d like to grow and change a our formation a bit, but this is something we’ll discuss further in the future.

How did Mi Ami go? It was the first time you’ve played in front of such a large audience.
Yes, for the first time we could play in front of such a large audience and we were really scared. We’ve had some technical problems with the audio, but since we’ve received a lot of positive feedback, all in all it went quite well.

How did you collaboration with Lazzari store come about?
Alice Lunardi, Lazzari’s stylist, has heard some of our music thanks to a friend we have in common and liked us a lot. Therefore, she asked the permission to use one of our songs for Lazzari’s spot and we were, quite frankly, super happy about it. We love Lazzari and working with them was really nice.

We’re already in April, so this question comes a bit late, but what do you expect from this year, 2014?
We’re hoping for a lot of things. We’ll be playing a lot this Summer in some really nice places. We have some other projects we’ve been working on, but we can’t say anything about it yet.

Enrico Chinellato 
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Guest Interview n° 54: Mismo

Mismo is the the silent player from the North, initially founded to oppose the flat selection of men’s luxury luggage. Starting from a small aspiration for something more, Adam Bach and Rikke Overgaard, brought their goods together and in 2006 launched their first collection of bags. Going from 2006 to 2014, even though still a ‘silent characther’, Mismo hasn’t passed by unnoticed. Carefully curated and thoughtfully designed, the brand brings an understated elegance to the menswear scene. Despite fabrics and materials coming from Italy as well as from Turkey, it is in Denmark that it all comes together. The Blogazine went to Copenhagen to meet with the couple who stands behind one of the most blooming brands of the season.

Hi Adam & Rikke! What are you up to in the studio today?
Framing the ideas that in a few months time will materialize into the SS15 collection. This time of year is the absolute best and most vibrant of the Mismo cycle. The SS14 deliveries have all been made, AW14 order book is closed and production orders have been passed on to suppliers and manufacturers. Now we can fully concentrate on the more creative part of our business – the part we both enjoy the most – product development. In the studio today we are having a general discussion on fabrics and colors all across the collection. That’s always the starting point before we dig in and become more product specific. Piecing together the collection in terms of styles, materials, and image is truly a strategic choice that requires much our energies to get it right.

The name Mismo doesn’t seem to have sidestepped anyone on the contemporary menswear scene. Is it frightening or fantastic to be, after years of hard work, where you are now?
A bit of both to be honest, but mostly fantastic! We’ve worked hard to be where we are today, having built an internationally recognized brand, a solid worldwide distribution and a trusted supply chain. That is fantastic and we’re very proud of this. But we constantly work on strengthening the brand and we still have gaps that must be closed and ambitions that we haven’t yet fulfilled. We’ve experienced growth over the last five years, but we are well aware that things can change in an instance. So, we take it all in stride and enjoy it as much as possible, while always being grateful to experience another season with good sales and more engaged and supportive customers.

Where does the name Mismo come from?
Mismo is a Spanish word that means “the same” or something that refers to yourself. We liked the simplicity of the word and the personal reference in the word.  Since we’ve always been working with these natural materials, being vegetable tanned full-grain leather or cotton canvas, that develops over time and becomes more personalized the more you use them, we felt the name was a good fit.

Even though Copenhagen is your point of departure, you work continentally from material to production. From where do you draw inspiration in the design process? What would you say your point of reference is?
Tactility is always a great source of inspiration for us, which is why the choice of materials is the biggest point of reference and strategic choice for each collection. We draw inspiration from the environment that surrounds us, which offers a vast selection of colors, tones, materials, and natural elements. Tactility in furniture design is also a big inspiration; smoked oak, stained wood, crafted brass seen in the great designs of lamps and furniture design. The expanding scene of great crafted furniture that arises from the Danish design scene with Poul Kjærholm, Arne Jacobsen and Finn Juhl, but with a new Nordic generated design focus is a great key for inspiration for us, because of the high focus on tactility and craftsmanship.

Your products are defined by a subtle elegance, a ‘cleanliness’ that is underlined by strong design. Do you find it hard to edit your own work, to ‘strip it down’ to its very essentials?
When it comes to the question of what is functionally really necessary and what is not – the choice is simple.  It all comes down to making very accurate choices in terms of which textiles to use and to respect the nature of each individual fabric and/or leather you are working with. We sometimes obviously have an idea about a specific bag and its functionality and we search a fabric that meets the demands for that specific style, but many times it’s the discovery of a new fabric and its capabilities that brings to life new designs for which the newfound fabric would be perfect. When you have the privilege of working with the finest possible materials from fabrics to leather and you have a production that you trust is capable of meeting your standards in terms of quality and finish, then your job is almost half done as a designer.

What is your idea of ideal Scandinavian design?
Scandinavian design is where luxury arises from the choices made (in production and in design) more than a visible statement. Understated design with a high focus on functionality. Honest and respectful handling of the materials used, a production emphasizing as much craftsmanship as possible – craftsmanship in its truest form, as in real hands doing a real craft! not some fancy word that everyone wants to use – timeless in design and ultimate quality in product and materials.

You recently launched your online store but you’re still keeping it low on social platforms. Is it a conscious choice to stay out of the social media frenzy?
Not really, it’s more a matter of getting the grip and feel of it before throwing ourselves in that game. We need to keep focus on the products we develop rather than on what surrounds it. I guess we’re a bit old fashioned and cautious when it comes to social media. It’s probably also a reflection of the persons we are in private, where social media plays a very little part of our life.

What’s the big difference between your SS14 collection and the one you are presenting for AW14-15?
Spring/Summer 14 is very natural, relaxed and playful which is reflected in the fabrics used such as linen, multiple nylon articles, PVC print and colors that reflects the many shades of the sea. We’ve mainly used green and blue tones for SS14.
The AW14 collection is darker and more masculine compared to many of the previous seasons. Autumn always is a little harder and darker than Spring, but this season we’ll be introducing a new leather collection “The Wrinkle Collection” in a vegetable tanned shrunk cow leather that revolves around organic shapes accentuating the raw look and the natural draping of the very soft and richly textured full-grain wrinkle leather that we have developed.
We also introduce a couple of new seasonal styles inspired by the rough “Skagerak” sea and the sheer masculinity of surviving when surrendered by the pure forces of nature. In this collection, the fabric immediately set the mood for the designs; It is extremely light weight, water resistant, surprisingly sturdy and it has a masculine, raw, industrial appeal.

What do the future hold for Mismo? Any scoops to share with us?
We’ve always been rather frenetic about our distribution, but this season we’ve opened up a bit on strategic markets such as Japan where we have teamed up with a distributor, which will see the brand gain more awareness in Japan starting from next season (AW14). We look forward to that! AW14 will also be the season that sees the launch of our collaboration with a well-known American brand; can’t say more, sorry. We’re really excited about that and we’ve also got new and exciting print projects coming up with Danish type foundry Playtype.

Even though constantly growing as a “fashion city”, Copenhagen is still a bit “off shore” for buyers and press. How important are international fairs and events for you?
Copenhagen is home, and we’ll always be showing in our showroom here. But showing the collection abroad is vital for us and both Pitti in Florence and Capsule in Paris are key destinations on our seasonal tour. Pitti kicks off the season and is always great for meeting press and leaving first impressions with the buyers. We’ve had a great run with the Capsule fair, been doing it almost since its inception and we work closely with the team behind on our US distribution. But next season we’ll move a little out of the comfort zone, quit the fair and instead do our own private showroom in Paris. It’s been something we’ve wanted to do for a couple of seasons now, to get our own space where we’ll be able to present the collection in its right setting. Warm summer days, cold drinks and hopefully lots of customers in our own Parisian gallery is something we look much forward to in the near future!

Lisa Olsson Hjerpe – Images courtesy of Louise Damgaard 
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Upcoming Artists | The Garden

Hi guys! How’s it going?
It’s going.

What is the meaning behind your name?
The Garden keeps on growing and we will evolve just as a pokemon would. That’s why we chose it.

For how long have you been playing together?
More than 12 years for now. It’s been so long we don’t quite remember it even.

How did your recent European tour go?
The European tour was a pretty damn good experience. We’ll be looking forward to the next one.

Where does your sound come from? What are the artists that have influenced you more?
We start from our influence and then try evolving this sound and making it our own. Growing up, it was Fatboy Slim and Prodigy. Nowadays it is Del the Funkee Homosapien or even Shattered Faith.

In addition to Punk Rock, you can also note Rap in your work, how come?
We like all kinds of rap/trap/hip hop. The beats and bass make us feel good. So why box ourselves in to a genre? As a band we give ourselves freedom to explore anything we want. We could go straight Beethoven any second.

In the last year, in addition to your musical work, you have also paired with Hedi Slimane in working as models for YSL, how did this come about?
We were spotted by a recruiter while playing a Garden show, got a random email and were then on our way to Paris. Let the good times roll!

Do you pay a lot of attention to your style or is it something you approach casually?
I like to pay attention to my style. I know that Fletcher does as well. It’s fun to build on it and evolve.

I know that you have other parallel projects besides the Garden, could you talk a bit about that?
“Enjoy” is my project, and “Puzzle” is Fletcher’s project. They are good releases for positive and negative energy. I’ll usually do “Enjoy” in my spare time.

Enrico Chinellato 
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Guest Interview n°53: Tiziano Martini – The Catalyst

We met Tiziano Martini (b. 1983, Soltau, Germany) one of the most talented young Italian artists, who spoke with us about his roots and his latest work, while also discussing his passions and interests, not least his love of the mountains that surround his home.

You were born in a small town of the lower Saxony, in Germany, then you moved to Zoldo Alto, an even smaller area in the province of Belluno, but you also used to live in Milan and Leipzig. Which is your ideal dimension between city and Mountain? Where do you feel at home?
I spent my childhood in Soltau (lower Saxony), traveling occasionally to Italy for short periods. But I currently spend most of my time in Zoldo Alto, a place with which I have a strong bond. It is the only place where I feel at home and where I always want to go back. Due to my personal need to stay in touch with the unspoilt nature, it is the perfect place to work and spend my leisure time. Everything starts from here. I cannot stand life in a metropolis for a long time. This is way Milan and Leipzig were two very important, but temporary stages of my life.

Do you feel more German or Italian?
Actually I am 100% Italian and my family too. But I grew up and shaped myself in Germany, too, and I still spend time there. Let’s say that I feel like a sort of crossbred between these two cultures.

We’ve known each other for so long and I’ve seen a deep evolution in your work during the years. Do you agree with me? What have the main landmarks of your personal path been up to now?
Yes, that’s true, and you, among a few other people, have followed my career since the beginning. All the most important stages and events are the ones, which call the work into question and shake it in a strong way. This happened in different contexts such as during the artist residency programs or the set-up of a show; talking to other artists and art players, but also discussing with people, who had nothing to do with art. Yes, I identify some changes year by year. Sometimes they were very significant; after all it would be frustrating and alarming not to see any changes looking back and reflecting on your own work.

Your painting is an action, gestural and instinctive process, where the final painting seems to be above all the synthesis of a creative urgency. What are the most recurring feelings when you are working? What’s the reason behind a new piece?
At a visual level, my painting is gestural and instinctive, but not exactly of action. It could be the result of an action, but it is made of outcomes and performative needs raised in the studio. There isn’t any ritual, or better situations, right tools or devices, better colours, or moods. It isn’t arbitrary, actually it is totally conscious, but sometimes it comes along autonomously. The artist is a conductor; he isn’t the protagonist, rather the co-star of what happens in the studio. He is the one who takes care of logistical and practical decisions, stops, revolutions or destructions. I think that my work follows its own internal logics, sometimes independent from my feelings and moods.

What do you usually do when you don’t paint? Which are the things you like more?
Granted that painting is a recreational activity for me, there are a lot of things that I like to do, especially physical practices, which help me to counter certain stillness. I love going through the Dolomites, climbing the mountain peaks that surrounded my home.

Your works are currently exhibited at Otto Zoo Gallery in a show with an emblematic title “Catalizzatore” (Catalyst). Where does this tile originate from? Do you feel a catalyzer?
The title takes inspiration just from the chemical catalysis. I chose it exactly when I was using two-phase resins to reproduce foot traces in studio. I use it to describe my interventions, such as the act of pouring milk on cocoa powder, which are minimal, but essential in determining the final result. I am a component of this process, not the chief player. And this is also my attitude regarding art, a modest position far from self-glorifications or technical ostentation.

What will you do next?
I think the latest solo show has opened way for new issues, which deserve to be examined in depth. Above all, I’d like to go on with the gypsum works, making them bigger. Moreover, I’m taking part in some collective and collaborative projects in Italy and abroad. Let’s wait and see.

Tiziano Martini’s exhibition “Catalyst” at Otto Zoo runs until 30th March 2014.

Monica Lombardi – Images courtesy of Tiziano Martini & Andrea Rossetti 
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Style Suggestions: Trench Coats for Men

If the rainy weather is getting you down this weekend, at least you know you can still look great. A trench coat is a wardrobe staple that will never go out of style so it is definitely one to invest in.

Trench coats by President’s, Mackintosh, Kenzo.

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 
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Ontological Still Lifes

Dimore Studio – aka Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran – embodies one of the most original voices of the new interior design scene. They recently developed Ontological Still Lifes (O.S.L.), a photographic enquiry (pictures by Silvia Rivoltella) about the search of new metaphysics through objects.

How did you conceive Ontological Still Lifes?
Our concept was to gather all these everyday objects to recreate a series of cabinets de curiosité with a neutral background. We contribute with Anew Magazine, providing them with a personal reinterpretation of everyday interior design.

The O.S.L. set has no artifice: the observer is immediately attracted by the folding lines of the sheet at the bottom.
We really wanted to give the pictures a grid, through the lines of the folds. We wanted to recreate something very linear, geometrical, to be broken with colourful vases or surrealistic objects.

Where did you find these objects? Were they carefully selected or do they respond to a sort of objet trouvé politic?
When you see an object, it calls you and then you know you will use it for a certain environment. What we have selected shares a certain Dimore Studio’s style, but at the same time we’ve tried to make it unique.

Like many other projects in your interiors portfolio, O.S.L. recalls an oxymoron, in this case the idea of “polished simplicity”. Is there any connection with the metaphysical spirit of this work?
It’s a difficult question, in our opinion the metaphysical concept is a kind of suspension in an image, a certain declination of the idea of still life: we recreated these images with a sort of Man Ray’s approach, we shoot and in that moment it becomes a fish out of time… That’s how we enjoyed working on this theme.

Do you ever feel the risk to become mannerist? How do you defend yourself?
We have very different clients: they want our style, they ask us to interpret a space or to find the right fabric, the right colour that may look predominant but that, when used on every wall, becomes the ideal neutral background for any object, piece of art or texture. That’s what our clients want, so that’s why we succeed not to repeat ourselves. Every project is different, and we change our inspiration also because we have a look at the latest fashion trends. And finally, our natural development: we are exposed to so many inputs and that’s very healthy.

Maison&Objet has just nominated you “Designer of the Year of Interior Scenes”: what made you different from the other candidates?
The jury has been very generous. About this topic, somebody recently told me that our style was appreciated for its decorative identity more than for its architectural presence. Thus, from our point of view, we contributed to create an atmosphere, a mood that makes us different from the others. We’ve been lucky to have a commissioner that gave us carte blanche: we really dared in the interiors selection, but we believe that the overall result recreates a reassuring atmosphere.

Giulia Zappa 
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