Interview: Carolina Zaccaro
Luca Curci talks with CAROLINA ZACCARO during CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space and at Palazzo Bembo – Venice Grand Canal.
Born in La Spezia, Italy, in 1990. Lives and works in Paris and Saint Denis. Carolina Zaccaro studied at the Haute École d’Art et Design in Geneva and at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles. Her work has been exhibited in Switzerland (LiveInYourHead, 2018), Malta (Fondazzjoni Kreattivita, 2016), China (Yuyan Art Space, 2017), as well as in various French institutions and galleries (Collection Yvon Lambert, CAC Abbaye Saint André – Meymac, Agnès B.).
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Carolina Zaccaro – I studied photography and sculpture in France and Switzerland. The experiences that led me to artistic practice are quite universal: they concern my mother tongue, the communication process and also body’s perceptions. I would say that my research follows two parallel axes. On the one hand, I am interested in language, its use in different contexts and communities, and its artificialization. On the other, I am interested in nature, in particular water, as a space devoid of any language filter, where only our physical perceptions orient our cognition.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
CZ – I am currently working on a series of works inspired by the ballad The Diver, by Schiller. This narration is linked to the concept of oceanic feeling – this feeling of being one with the external world as a whole. I am interested in the idea of absorption and I try to explore it by working with different materials: underwater sound recordings since sound in water has another frequency, prints of aquatic images on wool felt, images of breathing courses for freedivers.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
CZ – Art is a tool among many for engaging a dialogue with the surrounding environment. I would not like to romanticize the position of the artist, neither in the past nor in the present. Being an artist means to ask questions, to try to answer them through an artistic practice, and to share the resultant work with several interpretive communities. As we are living in precarious and violent times, I think that today the notion of community is full of meaning for artists. Being part of a community, exchanging experiences, giving and receiving support is crucial for the growth of one’s practice. It is also a good way to counteract competitiveness, which is present in the art field as in many others nowadays.
LC – Do visitors’s suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
CZ – Of course. Beyond exchanges with other artists and art-workers, I am very interested in conversations with visitors who experienced the situations represented in my works without any aesthetic filter. For example, I presented at Canvas Art Fair a movie shot with a group of apprentice psychoanalyst and in the last years I have been brought to talk with several psychoanalysts about their training. Even if my work doesn’t have any documentary vocation, it is always enriching to collect further informations and to delve into theoretical and technical details. Also, their point of view questions the choices I have made in the construction of my work.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
CZ – I started working in the last decade, I would say that my practice is quite young. In these years, I have been mainly working with images – moving or not, sound and text. I am currently testing new mediums and support, like printing on wool felt. In the future, I would like to gain precision: to define the gesture that can completely suits my intentions.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
CZ – The word canvas designates a delimited space for a representation, beyond its pictorial connotation, a canvas is like a container that lends itself to hosting heterogeneous contents. When I read that this was the title of the festival, I thought about how the word canvas is also used in HTML code, to limit a space which can host contents. A space for displaying words, images, informations and advertising. As users, we can not limit ourselves to passively observe, we should actively think about what our eyes see. Like an oil painting, which requires an active observation by the viewer to fully exist. The evolution of this word’s use is inspiring.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
CZ – I presented a movie, Nœud, which was shot in China on 2018 and re-edited in 2021. A group of apprentice psychoanalysts meets every week in Chengdu in order to translate Lacan’s seminars from French to Chinese. Their supervisor, professor Huo Datong, is the first Chinese psychoanalyst trained in Paris. He is in the process of formulating a new analytical theory according to which the unconscious would be structured like a Chinese ideogram – as sound as visual. The translation sessions consist of two distinct stages : first, an apprentice reads the text in French and proposes its translation into Chinese, then all the apprentices discuss the issues of this translation. In Noeud, the objet of the translation is the theory of Borromean knot. If a canvas is a space for active observation and thinking, I though that this could would have been a questioning content.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
CZ – Yes, I did. I think that Itsliquid Group provides great opportunities for artists to show their work and meet each other. I wished I was able to come to Venice for the opening !
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
CZ – The services that you offer are complete. Perhaps, it would be useful to put the artists in contact with some sponsors who would be likely to support them in some logistical aspects such as the transportation of the artworks.