Interview: Gabriele Gaspardis
Luca Curci talks with Gabriele Gaspardis during BARCELONA CONTEMPORARY – 3RD EDITION at Valid World Hall Gallery.
Gabriele Gaspardis was born on November 10, 1968, in Rome. From an early age, he moved to Umbria, where he studied, worked, and still lives. He considers himself primarily a conceptual photographer and, so that, in this expressive form his inner feeling emerges at its best. He works by transforming reality into elements in a vision, combining them and interpreting them in what must be the transposition of his figurative self into the image. His photography is expressed through images very similar to paintings, where the female figure is almost always pre-eminent and seems to show itself in its most truthful essence, without simulations, in the eyes of the viewers, stimulating their curiosity. Always passionate about cinema and photography, he has participated in several group exhibitions, including “Dorotea, glances on the invisible city” (2009), “Silent stones” (2010) and “Limen” (2011). In 2009 he exhibited thematic photos as part of the “Frates de vena” exhibition, in Assisi (Perugia), dedicated to the works of monks in medieval hydraulic knowledge. In 2010 he participated in the exhibition “Dragons, sovereigns and basilisks” in Todi (Perugia), dedicated to the history and iconography of fantastic creatures in the Todi area. In 2010 he collaborated with and for “Twistival”, an event sponsored by Queen Rania of Jordan, born with the aim of raising funds for third world schools, with a photograph selected by National Geographic magazine. In the same year, the editorial staff of the magazine selected two of his photos of Castelluccio di Norcia for publication. In 2014 he exhibited his first solo show “Confini” in Terni, at the Palazzo Primavera exhibition site. Thanks to his work, he has visited several foreign countries in Europe and around the world. He was emotionally involved in Malaysia and India, the country from which, in 2015, he collected the images for the “Passage to India” exhibition. In 2016 he presented the anthological solo exhibition “Narraistanti” in Arcidosso (Grosseto) as part of the “Narrastorie” festival, organized by the singer and theatrical artist Simone Cristicchi. In 2017 he curated the photographic exhibition “Si Billino!” at the CAOS (Centro Arti Opificio Siri) exhibition site in Terni, a national collective exhibition dedicated to fundraising for the post-earthquake reconstruction of Castelluccio di Norcia and its plateau, as part of the Rifiorita event. In 2019 he held a conference on art photography during the “Imagination Festival” event in Gubbio (Perugia). In 2020 he received two international honorable mentions, the first in the Chromatic Photography Awards competition in the Portraits section, and the next one in the Monochrome Awards competition in the Conceptual section. In 2021 two photographs were exhibited at the prestigious “Spoleto Arte” International Exhibition, curated by Salvo Nugnes, curator of exhibitions and events, and Vittorio Sgarbi, famous art critic. Also in the same year, one of his works is selected and, for this, he receives the Certificate of Artistic Excellence as part of the “Modigliani Prize”, an international painting, poetry, photography and sculpture competition dedicated to one of the most loved Italian artists of all times.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Gabriele Gaspardis – It is a very difficult question to answer because art is many different things. First, it is an alternative way of communicating. It is not easy to express emotions using words. I think only great poets can do it very well. I try to use photography to express my feelings and share them with others. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes not. Second, art gives me comfort. I love making art on my own, but at the same time, I love looking at art made by others. I ‘absorb’ a lot from the works of the authors that I like and make my own, reworking them, even the expressive forms they use. It is not uncommon to find in my images references, even obvious ones, to pictorial styles or compositional forms that belong to great artists of the past or contemporary authors who particularly attract me. So, in a nutshell, art for me is emotion.
LC – When you take photos, are you usually inspired by the situation or do you find inspiration in yourself?
GG – Both. A premise: I am a conceptual photographer who sometimes borders on other genres. I love photography in all its forms. In my natural condition, that is conceptuality, I begin to construct a situation that is a function of my inspiration. So, I ‘use’ things from the real world, turning them into a different concept to get what I need to communicate.
LC – How much is the editing process important? How’s yours?
GG – I am a photographer who works mainly with analog cameras, but I also like digital photography. I love film and darkroom because they allow you to create images as if you were making them with your own hands. When I use film, I like to work in black and white tones to emphasize shapes because I think they are the best form of representation. I use color only where I think it is necessary. In digital, however, I use photo editing software to make sure that the result I had in mind when shooting, matches the final one. Basically, I preview all the images I make in the composition, in the colors, in the tones, even in the forced use of elements that some consider disturbing, such as under and overexposure. For me, it is essential that the photo I have in my head is the one I get. Therefore, I believe the goal is important, not how it is achieved.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
GG – From the simple observation of the world and the reflection it has on my state of mind and mood. I’m looking for emotions. So, I draw inspiration from any element that excites me, no matter whether it is positive or negative.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
GG – Pure instinct. I am initially impressed by the situation, the person, or the context, but I don’t photograph it immediately. Generally, soon after, I start to elaborate and create in a rational way. However, I need to constantly keep in my mind that specific mood to reproduce the image I want to obtain.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
GG – Being part of an exhibition like this is a great inspiration. The comparison and observation of the works created by other artists enrich you. Through the exploration of other worlds, it leads you to develop new, additional, and different points of view.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
GG – They are part of two existing series. The first, “Onirica” (Dreamlike), belongs to the “Borders series” that was born in 2014 and tells a world in which one you are there without being there, a world in which one’s presence always lives on the border between being an active part or just a spectator of events. This is an example I told you before: real things translated into other meanings. The second one, “Essere fragile” (Being fragile), from 2015, belongs to the series of the same name and tells, in a delicate and respectful way, the complex relationship that exists between woman and pain. In today’s world, very little interested in people, I wanted to make a dedication to the female gender that I admire, showing how they can be, at the same time, extraordinarily strong on the outside as well as fragile on the inside. I considered both pictures suitable to participate in the context of ‘Mixed Identities’ which, fundamentally, belong to me.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
GG – It is a window on art that offers services and visibility, both digital and non-digital. ITSLIQUID has created an excellent path right for the Internet era, but which also lives on personal relationships that allow you to exchange ideas and compare opinions and this mix of characteristics becomes a point of strength.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
GG – Connecting artists to each other, providing a way to bring them together in an easy way could be a plus.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
GG – I believe that it is essential for an artist to show their creations to a large and interested audience. ITSLIQUID GROUP allows you to do this by providing space, organization, and advertising. Isn’t this the opportunity?