Interview: Emilia Agosti
Luca Curci talks with Emilia Agosti during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2021 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Emilia Agosti was born in Bergamo in 1987. In childhood, her training begins with the internationally renowned painter Angela Marini, thanks to whom she approached her first steps in the field of art spontaneously, freely and creatively. She learned different painting techniques during the attendance of the state artistic high school in Bergamo. Here there was the spark that leads her towards the history of art, aesthetics and philosophy, immersing herself completely in these disciplines and cultivating the interest in the word in its rational use. After graduating first in Philosophy and then in Philosophical Sciences, the need to express her instinctive side through theatre has come forward more and more, recovering a more carnal and visceral relationship with word and artistic creation. The experience with the theatre has helped the artist to listen more to her impulses and empty her mind from judgments to leave the space open to creative spontaneity, applying this method more consciously also in painting. Thus begins a new production phase that overcomes naturalism and realism and goes towards abstraction, informal art and body printing. She participates in various national and international competitions such as the ‘National Competition Heart of Gold 2.0’, the ‘Luxembourg Art Prize’, the ‘Dantebus Bazart National Competition’, and the ‘Biancoscuro Art Contest’. She exhibits in various solo exhibitions in Milan, Sarnico (BG), Piacenza, Rho (MI) and Laveno Mombello (VA) and in various collectives and art fairs in Italy in Milan, Bergamo, Bologna, Padua, Genoa, Camogli and Florence and abroad in London.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Emilia Agosti – Ever since I was a child, I’ve always had the need to represent what I saw, what was happening around me, but above all what was happening inside me. My first training in the artistic field was during childhood by Angela Marini, an internationally renowned painter who transmitted to me a free and creative spontaneous approach with the artwork. My first artistic experiences are figurative, although I soon went from realism to expressionism because for me it was not so important to paint what I saw, but what I felt, and to express and bring out my emotions and moods. I think the thing that has always excited me the most is the fall of the color on the material support and my artistic research of the last phase starts from this meeting. I was strongly attracted in a minimalist way by the spontaneity of the gesture that leaves a trace on the canvas, the visible sign of something that is invisible; from there I continued all my research going from informal gesture to informal material, to arrive at abstractionism and body printing, my last experimentation. My every creation, apparently abstract and unrelated to reality, is instead the impression and the memory of a concrete gesture: for me, the important thing is not what is represented in the canvas, but to leave my mark, my imprint, to act the artistic gesture.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
EA – When I paint, I try to empty my mind as much as possible from thoughts, given my physical approach with art: in fact, I use the whole body both when I do body printing and leave my imprint on the canvas and when I realize my abstracts on canvas or my calligraphies on paper because I do not paint statically on the easel but with the support lying on the ground so that I can turn around it, and move as if I were dancing. Because for me art is this: it is the direct expression of what the body communicates to me. The experience with theatre that I had in the years following my graduation helped me to listen more to my impulses and empty my mind from judgments, to leave the space open to creative spontaneity, applying this method more consciously also in painting. So I owe it to the theater because it gave me a fundamental method and approach to artistic creation, which consists of being in a state of spontaneity and listening to inner emotions. To do this you need physical training that prepares you for the action: this is the ritual that I practice every time before painting to predisposes me to “stay in the body” instead of “being in the mind”.
LC – What is your creative process like?
EA – I usually ferment and mature a few days the stimuli that come to me. The things that inspire me can be very different from each other and come from different sources: it can be something I read, a film I see, a person I met, something I dream of. It often happens to me that at night in dreams or in thoughts in the morning just awake, images appear that inspire me, a kind of instant lighting, whose image already brings with it the concepts that will be eviscerated as the research evolves. It cannot be said whether the concept or form prevails or what comes first. I could say that in the form that appears to me there are already concepts in a kind of unconscious background and this latent background is what somehow influences the insights that come to me from time to time.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
EA – The poetic of the symbolic crosses and connects all my artworks of the last period: the works inspired by Japanese calligraphy and other types of writing such as Arabic one are made not with the intention of reproducing already existing and codified symbols but with the intention of processing my own calligraphy, a sort of automatic writing, a body dance that sees in the brush the prolongation of the body; even the automatic drawings are inspired by this principle in which I translate on the support all my inner motions, the motions of the soul communicated through the body as if it were a kind of electrocardiogram that brings back to the outside the rhythm and internal movement. In fact, although in these drawings, unlike all my production, there may be references to the figurative and something recognizable and realistic may appear, I do not start with the intention of drawing something that I see, but on the contrary, I act in this automatism, in this transposition of my impulses and from there an image is imposed on me, so the process is not “first I see and then draw”, but “first drawing, and then I see”. In body printing work, there is a kind of large-scale transposition of what happens in the small when I make my automatic drawings or my calligraphy. In these works, however, the body is not only an instrument that acts as a medium but is also an artwork, an object on which to carry out artistic operations and a subject that gives shape to the artistic message. The common thread of all these types of works is also expressed at the stylistic level with a kind of lightness in the trait and gestures, which wants to be a symbol of the lightness of being, “that unsustainable lightness of being” of which Kundera speaks in his novel and which contains in this all the oppositions. Even the body printing works, through these imprints given by the body that makes brush but at the same time falls as if it were a stain of color, express this oxymoron and the fluidity of the dynamic movement of life, which is a continuous evolution in which we come into the world incarnating to leave a slight trace that is dissolving towards the infinity from which it has come and to which we return. The body is therefore configured as a visible symbol that refers to the invisible, as something that is limited, fall and at the same time condition of possibility of manifestation of infinity, as a real medium between the material, carnal and sensual dimension and the spiritual dimension of infinity.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
EA – When I see my work completed I feel a sense of satisfaction, even if of short duration because I think of the infinite possibilities and developments of the countless directions in which to bring my work. I am therefore in a state of perennial research that always goes beyond itself.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? How did it inspire you?
EA – I think that the concept of this festival is very interesting and fits perfectly with the subject of my body printing artworks which is the body as a symbol of the fall and return and inspired my reflection on the human condition. The fall and the return symbolize the human condition and the ambivalence that the human being continues to feel. I think it is an intrinsic characteristic of the Being to feel the weight of the fall, the weight to stay in the world, the bond to something that keeps him attached to the earth, and at the same time the thrust that leads it towards spirituality, towards lightness and a dissolution, towards the infinity from which we come from and towards which we return.
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?
EA – The artwork I have shown in this exhibition is a part of series entitled “Eikon. The fall and the return”, which I realized with many prints of my body starting from a more saturated and charged one, dissolving towards an increasingly imperceptible print, expressing the concept of the body as an icon, a royal door towards the invisible. I used the pigment in powder looking for the balance of the moment where the pigment gets loose to show the material we are made of, to show we are stardust. Indeed, the material of this body is the same powder of the background to express the message that there is no dualism between visible and invisible, body and spirituality, energy and matter, but they are one the symbol of the other one. I think this work can be well connected with the theme of the entire festival because it clearly shows my conception of the body as a symbol that links everything and everyone, that connects us with others’ bodies and with space, with the infinite that we are. It is indeed through the body that we feel, communicate, and it is the most immediate and direct form of communication (unlike, for example, spoken language which implies the mediation of culture). I practice body printing to recover the ritual dimension of making art, being one of the most ancestral forms of art that puts you in deep contact with the primordial part of Being.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
EA – Certainly. It was an honor to exhibit in Venice.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
EA – I think that the event is well organized and the staff very cordial and well prepared.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
EA – I would recommend it to others. The services offer what they promise.