Interview: Saverio Tesolato

Interview: Saverio TesolatoImage courtesy of Saverio Tesolato

Interview: Saverio Tesolato

Luca Curci talks with Saverio Tesolato during VISIONS, third appointment of ANIMA MUNDI FESTIVAL 2017, in Venice.

Saverio Tesolato is born in 1967. After the academic studies, he started focusing his interests on poetry since the beginning of the 90s, when his first writings were issued in some independent culture magazines. In the same period of time, he realized some shorts, among which a music video clip. In 1994 he created the multi-media project AUTUNNA ET SA ROSE, initially focusing his interest on the interrelationship between poetry and music composition, but soon later expanding its view also towards photography and graphics. Around 2006 he started working intensely on video production projects, creating some videos in order to use them in a synchronized form during the following Autunna et sa Rose shows: the aim of videos is to communicate feelings in a deeper and more reflective way, conveying different ideas apart from those expressed by music and words.
Moreover, in the meantime his activity and improvements with graphics have continued, as witnessed by the making of the graphical layout of the works L’Art et la Mort (2006) and Phalène d’onyx (2012), for which he created all the images in the booklets. In 2017 he created the images contained in the multi-sided work Intrecci del sogno/Entrelacs du rêve, composed by a book and a CD.

 

Interview: Saverio TesolatoImage courtesy of Saverio Tesolato

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Luca Curci: We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?

Saverio Tesolato: ‘Chessmishmash’ (2017 – digital printing on paper from mixed-media) is part of a set of nine graphic artworks included in the multi-sided work ‘Dreamlinks’ (‘Intrecci del sogno’/’Entrelacs du rêve’), a combination of different components: along to the book ‘Intrecci del sogno’, which contains the narrations of two dreams and some mixed-technique graphic artworks referring to the dreams, the CD ‘Entrelacs du rêve’ was issued afterwards with the aim to create some musical counterparts to each oneiric representation; finally, a video of experimental kind entitled ‘Au-delà… de la borne X’ was produced. Therefore, the project is the result of a unitary work, the parts of which reflect in one another in relation to its primary subject: it connects several cultural sources and media, according to a many-sided combination of literature, graphics, music and video art. As a matter of fact, it was my oneiric activity during summer 2014 that led me to the realisation of this project: in particular, two were the dreams my memory could perfectly preserve soon after the awakening, so that I initially sketched out, as roughly as possible, the most relevant oneiric images, such as my mind was instantly able to reconstruct them. Surprisingly, the final result was a real narration of these dreams in form of two tales, due to a sort of a detailed ‘backward analysis’. Since then I found it absolutely natural to create four musical pieces for each dream, in order to link text, images and music together.
‘Chessmishmash’ relates to the first part of the second dream, where, coming out from a misty atmosphere, suddenly I find in front of me an odd construction that is a high conglomeration of ever changing chess pieces mixed with grey stones. It definitely shocks me and blocks my possible reactions for a while. As regards the video, more recently produced and entitled ‘Au-delà… de la borne X’ (Beyond… the X-Border), it describes the part of the second dream I had, in which, after plenty of odd adventures, I reached a great, indefinite bar, at least one meter high before a rail. I could realize, during the phase of the writing of the tale, that the oneiric vision of the indefinite bar to be crossed had some firm connections with a past idiosyncrasy – dated back from the childhood – towards borders. The origin of that feeling is to be found in my numerous trips to Yugoslavia, since from the age of 10, where my parents had relatives. Almost all the video material was shot in the town of Gorizia and its close proximity: as a matter of fact, Gorizia is a ‘border city’, a symbol of too many other towns in the world that have been divided by wars, or by political or even religious reasons.

 

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LC: Please tell me what are you working at right now

ST: To tell the truth, this is a period of creative pause, but somehow forced, because I am lately very busy with the promotion of my new project. After all, this situation somewhat depends on the fact that my press offices are not quite effective at now, that is, I have to operate how and where these ones cannot actually do: consequently, an artist who works under these conditions is obliged to waste time that could otherwise be used for some creative activities. Nevertheless, it is true that one has to make promotion even independently. Therefore, I just can tell you what I have planned to do after this crucial phase: video production will surely be enhanced, and I still have some ideas on which they can be focused. But, above all, I think I will devote myself to writing a new book, which will possibly be a novel, an unconventional novel (very probably illustrated with new graphic artworks of mine), of course. Moreover, in summer 2013 I started a project for which I firstly wrote the whole ‘libretto’, i.e. a long poem in French language for a theatrical opus of fantastic genre, dealing with deep, mystical and somehow transcendent concepts: soon after this phase, the project had to be continued with the composition of its musical part. But it was interrupted after a few months. I think I will surely resume this project from where I stopped it: the project linked to this piece is aimed at writing its score and not to record the music. Besides, I would like to deepen the research on electroacoustic improvisation using string piano techniques and electronic treatments. Many future choices will surely depend on the circumstances and on what life will potentially offer me.

 

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LC: What is art for you?

ST: I believe that, with the passing of the years, I have been having a more and more increasing doubt about what could be an acceptable and satisfactory definition of Art. But one thing is definitely sure: art is a reason to live. Maybe the one. Probably this is also the reason why I created my multi-media project Autunna et sa Rose as a wide “container” of several forms of art, each one emerging from a unique inspiration, even able to allow me to put into the project all my multi-faceted variations on the theme, originated from all the diverse feelings and tendencies I could have experienced during my existence. Thus, the result is usually a sort of sophisticated and even complex architecture, in which, however, spontaneity is not absent at all: even recently I think I gave the proof of how improvisation can be fundamental in my work. As a matter of fact, improvisation requires a more profound and almost philosophical preparation, perhaps even a peculiar state of mind: in order to obtain a satisfactory and impressing result, you do not have to start your improvisational experience thinking you are going to ‘randomly’ create things. Therefore, anything you have decided to take as a starting point, the artistic idea of ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ – that is, the “total work of Art” as it was conceived by the artists of the Wiener Secession – has to be considered as the final objective: no specific form of art has an independent or a leading role, the whole of my work has to be deeply self-entwined. The project Autunna et sa Rose was born in reaction to quite a few experiences I had in my life, some events having made me conscious of the so-called unfillable “distance from being and appearing”. Art could be the “key” for trespassing rules you can hardly accept, it could become the realm of emotions where it is possible to express each feeling coming from the tunnels of your heart. I also think that the artistic experience should necessarily be demanding for who wants to really understand and enjoy a work of art. Symbolisms and hard interpretations of the works have to be considered normal: art speaks a different ‘language’ by means of which to interpret the message somehow hidden beyond its façade. And the languages, the symbols used in several works of art could be continuously different one from another. This sort of “training” is the only way to appreciate art: so, the only way to walk across this ‘forêt de symboles’ is not to fear your first reactions, but it corresponds to the right way to get experienced letting your artistic sensibility grow up.

 

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LC: What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?

ST: I have a degree in mathematics. Since the university years I have developed my interests towards music: after having earned a PhD in Pure Mathematics, I was hit by a personal crisis, so that I had to decide whether to devote myself to music or to math. The choice was made in favour of the first one and led me to begin attending some composition courses. Actually, it is worth to remember that, since from the age of 21, I had already started to write poetries and I could develop my curiosity about literature (even in French language) and figurative arts. My whole activity, since the beginning, has been strongly influenced by the works from Antonin Artaud, because of his revolutionary concept of theatre and his extremely “dangerous” sensitivity. Simultaneously, the knowledge of Surrealism and of surrealist artists as Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Klee, Salvador Dalì and others began having a huge influence on me and on my way of thinking about life. All this led me to consider dreams as a fundamental part of life and as a basic creative source as well. Hence, almost without realizing, I started experiencing trance states, during which I could write unique words surprising me as I could read them, as soon as those extraordinary breaks had passed. This is maybe the reason why I decided to devote a work to dreams and to their essence: of course, the influence of Surrealism in my latest project is clear and crucial.

 

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LC: What role does the artist have in society? And the art?

ST: The contemporary artist must be a sort of ‘demiurge’. This inevitably implies that he/she must (or maybe, should) meditate about his/her relationships with politics and should be careful not to get involved in commercial mechanisms which could corrupt the quality and even the deeper sense of his/her work. Unfortunately, a massive wave of contradiction, principally coming from USA, is forcing the artists to see their activity as a business, without which any creative effort has to be considered meaningless. One could retort that an artist must live and money is fundamental for his/her survival, so it is essential to take into account the market needs and contingences. I think that, on each occasion, a fair remuneration for their work should be ensured to artists. But this is often an illusion, especially if an artist cannot actually control the real amount he/she has earned all through one year (for example, music royalties, copyright fees, and others). The main and crucial problem, in my opinion, is that ‘real’ artists (i.e., not those ones who have achieved a considerable commercial success and notoriety among the masses) should receive national financings for their projects and also for living in a respectable manner. Notoriety ought not to be the primary aim for an artist: in this society of appearance, art has become subordinate to popularity and public preferences. Yes, Art (the ‘real’, the sheer one) lies elsewhere. Art has the duty to convey Beauty to people, helping them to discern what is worthy of interest from what is awful and trivial, or can simply be thrown into the trashcan. In some sense, Art should also have a ‘didactic’ aim, because people often need to be educated (this is essential for young people, but not only) to Art, to appreciate and discern its various forms. Moreover, Art must be ‘unconventional’: it has to teach how to break the rules, by breaking the rules itself; otherwise, it is not Art, it is mannerism. In this era, full of (cultural) hollowness, Art should be considered in a unitary sense: therefore, I think that it is essential to conceive artistic projects incorporating several forms of art, as many as possible. This is fundamental, in order to properly lay bare the complexities and contradictions of this contemporary world: that is the reason why I am trying to reinstate the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ as a natural creative practice.

 

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LC: What is your creative process like?

ST: The inspiration normally comes from a specific source, from which other motivations follow, as they were somehow linked as in a chain: for that reason, there is often a primitive form that, as a “mother”, generates the birth of other forms, and poetry and literature have had in most cases this role. If I consider the instance of the latter work, dreams were actually the First Cause, the origin of all what could spring just afterwards. In any case, I think that it is hard to pinpoint the exact origin of an artistic form, whatever it is. Maybe the effective creation arrives in an apparently spontaneous way, but after a while – it may take hours, days or more time to be quite sure about that – you realize it is the result of something that was lying elsewhere, maybe buried inside the deepest twists and turns of your mind. Thus, creation is often like a dream. Anyway, independently from the form I decide to start working with, my fundamental aim is to put into action a theatrical idea of art, by trying to realize a project which assembles several forms of expression and every possible form of art: graphics, poetry, music. “All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music” (Walter Pater).

 

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LC: What do you think about It’s LIQUID Platform?

ST: I think it is a remarkable tool to give the artists a chance for gaining visibility. Moreover, the opportunity to have an interview in which to introduce their artistic concepts and explain the main characteristics of their activity is surely a great thing. In a world where nations cheekily show their absolute lack of interest towards new artists and experimental arts, there is an increasing need of support coming from private organizations: in particular, as for the Italian situation, politics has killed any opportunity for culture development.

 

LC: What do you think about our organization of the event?

ST: Unfortunately I could not be present during the days of the festival in Venice. In any case, since some years I have known how the It’s Liquid organization works, so I can indubitably say that all has been great and professionally remarkable. This is also proved by the recent partnership established with The Room Contemporary Art Space.  It is a pity, however, that Ca’ Zanardi has to remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays. This is a problem, in consideration of the fact that many people prefer visiting the exhibitions during the weekends.

 

Interview: Saverio TesolatoImage courtesy of Saverio Tesolato

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