Interview: Lia Bottanelli
Luca Curci talks with Lia Bottanelli during Venice International Art Fair 2020 at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello in Venice, and during THE SKIN PROJECT at THE LINE Gallery in London.
My very different technical choices have each time led to the construction of a single work, or a limited number, to be understood as part of a larger machine: an alphabet, where each element has a different appearance and sound. What unites my works is the extension of my relationship of sensitivity towards the objects of which I tell a story every time without chaining it to a style, to a single thought. The continuity of the stylistic code is in fact hardly compatible with the construction of linguistic utopias. The absence of a consolidated exhibition path allows a certain distance from the orthodoxy of the Art System. My job was not, and is not, to package answers. It has certainly never been a pure cosmetic job.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Lia Bottanelli – Art is a way of thinking, it is philosophy through images. It is a key to understanding reality that some people can express only through images. It should not be a description of thought but a gesture that carries layered content, sometimes unknown to ourselves and revealed only in the creative act. It must be the bearer of new openings of the concept of beauty.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
LB – I have always worked in a multidisciplinary way, playing with different media (painting, video, photography), a bit like a musician playing different instruments. An attitude that until a few years ago was far from being appreciated. Times are finally different now. For ”Borders”? I have extended a project that, among others, I have been developing for a few years: ”Island Hats”.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
LB – I don’t believe in inspiration, at least not in the romantic sense. On the other hand, I think that we need a special attention on the reality we are immersed in , towards which a subtle sensitivity, refined by culture, must never be lacking in order to perceive the signs of change at their first manifestation and the contradictions that arise in its evolution.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
LB – It depends: sometimes it can be the realization of the work itself, the physical effort of doing; whereas sometimes it may be the publicity (exhibiting and promotion) of the finished work, a phase that I find a little tedious, albeit necessary.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
LB – Compared to the ’70s / ’80s, the years of my artistic training, there has been an enormous change. In addition to the multiplication of the number of people who dedicate themselves to art, or others who professionally use creativity, there are many factors that have taken over. First of all, the digital revolution has expanded, and often misunderstood, the idea of creation. There is a lot of standardisation, flattening of already historicised canons. However, there are also interesting new realities from other cultures and these are bearers of a new vision. The positive outcome of the expansion of the horizon is the fall of the rigid margins linked to the concept of ‘style’ that tied the artist’s hands: he had to produce what the collector expected.
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?
LB – It is the commitment to send a message, or at least, to propagate it at a time of great criticality and urgency of Climate Change. The ”Island Hats” project had its first appearance in Paratissima-Lisboa in 2016, and since then I have continued to produce the “Island/Hats”. I imagined I would have easily found an organisation that would take up my invitation and help me produce it in large numbers, in order to spread the idea and promote awareness of the rise in sea level and the risk of submerging many islands and island cities (including Venice which is in danger). This has not been the case until now. I liked the BORDERS theme and I asked myself: ” What and where are the borders in a globalized, interconnected planet that aligns its dynamics with the ‘butterfly effect’ ? “, referring to the lecture given by Edward N.Lorenz, at the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, 1979: ” Predictability: can the fluttering of a butterfly in Brazil cause a tornado in Texas? “.
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?
LB – As I said, the project started a few years ago. For the festival, however, I produced four new hats choosing from the maps those that lent themselves most to an installation approach. The presence of the sound of the waves emerging from inside the hats is a new addition.
LC – What do you think about the organisation of our event?
LB – I appreciated the commitment, the courage to open an exhibition in a difficult moment like this. With the strict observance of the measures taken resulting from Covid-19 it was possible to make the public access the works safely. Certainly this required an increase in work undertaken by your organization, but the success of the initiative I think more than compensates for the effort made.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
LB – I have seen professionalism, hospitality, empathy on the part of your team, especially during the set-up phase of the installation which required particular attention, and for this I am very grateful.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
LB – ITSLIQUID GROUP represents an opportunity for international artists to meet and gives a chance for lesser-known artists, such as myself, to attain a certain visibility.