Interview: Diana del Franco
Luca Curci talks with Diana del Franco during Venice International Art Fair 2020 at The Room Contemporary Art Space
I’m Diana del Franco, I was born in 1996 in Napoli and I am a visual artist based in Milano. As soon as at the age of 15 I became passionate about cinema and I realized that, as Aristotle said, our thinking works is images, I decided to be a photographer. In 2018 I obtain my BA from the Istituto Europeo di Design of Milano with a grade of 110/110 cum laude and after I won a scholarship to attend my master in Photography at Raffles Milano with teachers as Erik Kessels, Claudio Composti, Alessandra Mauro, Franco Pagetti, Enrico Bossan, Silvia Camporesi and many others. Beside commercial works and collaborations with artists and musicians, I had the opportunity to expose my works in 2018 for “The New Chapter” at PhotoVogue Festival, in 2019 for the collective exposition “Milano Intorno” in Via Dante Milano and “Immagini in Comune” at Photolux Festival in Lucca and in 2020 as solo artist at “Paratissima Bologna” where I won the Talent Prize. During this years I developed many photographic techniques and prints which I like to mix to create my personal visual language that I like to consider as a fluid research that with different media touches different areas of photography. In my personal research and projects. I’m particularly interested in social issues about digital world impact on our communication and human relationships. We live in virtual realities: through social media we can mature immaterial connections and transport ourselves to distant worlds, detaching ourselves from what surrounds us. The generation of millennials, in particular, is developing a constant split between concreteness and fiction, fuelling an image of the virtual self in continuous disconnection with the primary needs related to society, relationships and the environment. The “Fake Plastic Trees” project wants to invite you to reflect on real needs, by investigating in parallel the impacts produced by this digital revolution on our psyche. A work divided into six chapters, each of which addresses the as many psychoses caused by the use-abuse of social media and listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Mise-en-scène of five subjects who, like laboratory mice, are analyzed while interacting in an aseptic environment, stripped of technological devices. A sterile stage, capable of enhancing, through a game of contrasts (the solar yellow of the lollipops or the green fronds outside the glass), the surreal dimension derived from these psychic alterations.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Diana del Franco – I found myself drawing on Benedetto Croce’s school of thought especially when considering art as the most intuitive and pure form of knowledge. I believe the way we perceive the surrounding reality through our senses is extremely powerful and that it stimulates our curiosity and will to communicate. All that is rhythm, life and even what goes beyond our understanding, while remaining familiar, is art and therefore a first trace of a civilization.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
DDF – My passion for photography began at the age of 15 together with one for the cinema. After graduating from High School, I moved to Milan to study Visual Arts at the European Institute of Design (IED) where, in 2018, I graduated with honours. Later, thanks to a scholarship, I attended a Master course in Photography at Raffles, where I had the chance to know some important names of the artistic field, such as Erik Kessels, Laurie Hurwitz, Ferdinando Scianna, Giovanni Gastel, Franco Pagetti and many others. My personal experience strongly influenced my work together with a need to communicate thoughts through images. As Aristotle observed, thought works through images and I believe photography can be an extremely objective way to be subjective. From a purely stylistic and photographic point of view, I was certainly influenced by the work of the Bechers and their pupils from Düsseldorf, but also by artists such as Jeff Wall and Wolfgang Tillmans.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
DDF – I think that the artist has to be able to synthesize, within their vision, an extremely complex thought which provides, as Croce wrote, a direct access to the world of pure intuition. Contemporary art should appreciate this type of artistic process more, even more so when it’s linked to cultural themes, such as during the period of Arte Povera, and during such a historical moment of great change and uncertainty.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
DDF – Everything around me could potentially generate emotions, I also find inspiration in music, books or even in my dreams. The Fake Plastic Trees project was the result a mix of ideas as during that period I was listening to the Radiohead song on repeat, from there I took the title of the project. I had this dream where there was a white room and a girl watering fake plants, so I decided to recreate it and then I took that picture.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
DDF – My work mainly focuses on how our everyday moments of communication and stasis are changing as a consequence of technological developments, aiming to open a discussion across different issues and interpretations.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition?
DDF – Fake Plastic Trees is a project that investigates new pathologies and psychoses resulting from the use of social media. We are part of a hyper-connected world and too often we no longer realize how we feel and where certain moods derive from. Technology detox centres have been created but we still don’t hear much about them. I think social media is an extremely powerful channel but it must be used with the right awareness.
LC – In which way is the artwork presented in our exhibition connected with the festival’s theme?
DDF – I believe it’s the realization that borders are constantly expanding, not only geographically but also those linked to interpersonal connections through the internet.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
DDF – I think that the choice of the title is already extremely topical, it’s a platform that puts together many artists with different backgrounds, offering a 360° panorama on emerging contemporary art.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
DDF – Absolutely, as mentioned above.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
DDF – Sure, it’s been a lovely experience.