Interview: The Zalentina
Luca Curci talks with The Zalentina during Venice International Art Fair 2021 in Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
I’m The Zalentina, I was born in 1997 and I’m an Italian Designer and Artist. I love ART and all its shades, especially FASHION and DESIGN. The schools I’ve attended and the experiences I’ve lived have taught me to believe strongly in the CONTAMINATION OF ARTS. In every project I make, I focus on the possibility to find the right stimuli in many different worlds, sometimes even the opposite. I think that the most important thing is to work with an open mind in order to be always ready to find solutions and ideas in unexpected new places. What I am interested in is the whole DESIGN PROCESS: the moment in which the idea emerges; the research and development phases and the choice of the details; and the final presentation of the product or the collection. I am a very curious person. For this reason, I particularly love the RESEARCH PHASE, during which I have the possibility to discover elements, stories, people, lives and entire worlds that are always new for me. In this way, I can give life to innovative projects by connecting and combining these new elements through creative ways. My projects thus not only have good aesthetic content, but also a STRONG NARRATIVE IDENTITY behind them. During my childhood I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the family business environment (production of cardboard displays and furnishing accessories); I could observe closely the production dynamics, be in strict contact with stimuli of the design reality and also with the technical problems that may arise from it. Thanks to this experience I have learned over the years TO SEE THESE PROBLEMS WITH A POSITIVE ATTITUDE instead of a negative one. They are extremely important during the development of a project because they force me to find new solutions that can solve them. They can become the starting point for new stimulating research which is able to inspire new ideas that otherwise I would never have had.
LUCA CURCI – What is art for you?
THE ZALENTINA – That is a very difficult question. I would like to answer using a sentence that I read recently. It’s very close to the way I see art, like something indefinable and indispensable for life at the same time. The sentence is from a book by Bruno Munari, an Italian artist and designer that I really admire. “(Art) may have the function of enlarging, as far as possible, the horizons. And then it’s almost impossible to say something about art that you can’t say the opposite of. The work of art is form and content, confession and deception, play and message, functional and useless, personal and impersonal. (…) When a man stops to create, he stops to live”.
LC – What are you currently working on?
TZ – I’m currently trying to define the identity of my brand, “the zalentina”, that I had the opportunity to present for the first time to the public at Viaf 2021 with my project “Punto 0”. The zalentina aims to be a connection between the arts and design; I want it to be an eclectic identity that from project to project has the freedom to decide which area of expression to tend more, without ever having to define itself in one rather than another. I’m working on my website, trying to conceive it as a digital exhibition space, connected to my Instagram account that I define as “my personal arts and design gallery”. I also would like to open my brand to stimulating collaborations, on an artistic level, but also both on product and fashion design levels and I’ll work hard to make this happen.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
TZ – I feel very lucky, because the environment in which I grew up, the experiences and the schools I attended, provided me with a very eclectic and stimulating background. I experimented with disciplines like sculpture, painting and illustration, but also product and fashion design and creation of historical clothes for the theatre. I had the opportunity to experience them on a practical level trying different methods, techniques and schools of thought. I can’t say that one of these experiences has influenced my work more than the others today because I consider the combination of all these different stimuli as the most important part of the creative luggage that I have built up in these years and that I want to continue filing in the future. My varied background is the reason why I love to create projects in which the contamination and the encounter of different worlds, arts and disciplines is the most important part and in fact, it is also the one I am more proud of.
LC – What is your creative process like?
TZ – I don’t have a single creative process because I’ve never been able to follow a linear path. But, if I think about the projects I’ve created so far, I can say that I mainly recognize two types of creative processes. The first is based on the research and the second is more experimental. Sometimes I use them individually, but in most cases, I combine them. In the first case, I could say that the works and the project, in general, consist almost entirely of research. I totally immerse myself in research and carry it forward by putting together everything I discover until a totally new world is delineated in front of me. In this process, the works are born almost automatically, because in some way they are already part of the world that I have defined with research. My “Point 0” project was born this way. I define the second type of process instead of as similar to the one of ready-made. This process is the opposite of research. The works at first are born without precise reasoning, meaning or function. It starts as an experiment, putting together materials, objects, techniques. For this reason, I call these works “ready-made”, because first the object or the work is born and only later do I give it meaning by observing and analyzing it. I’m working on a project called “foto-copiatrice” which is based on this process. The interesting thing about ready-mades is that after giving them meaning, the finished work often becomes the input itself to start new research, so the end of a project becomes instead the opportunity to start a new one.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
TZ – The end, for sure. There is, almost always, a moment towards the end of the project, especially if it’s born from research, in which I get stuck. In some cases, I understand that I’m not able to continue just because the project has to end exactly there because I feel I have nothing to add. Other times, I would say in most cases, the reason is the opposite. Research gives me so many ideas for further study and research that I start to feel overwhelmed and I begin not to understand in which direction I have to carry the project and where its point of arrival is. In these cases I know that I must stop and, if necessary and if I can, I abandon and forget the project for a while, from a few days to sometimes even years. In this way I can calm my mind and detach it from the project, to be able to better understand its contours and then finish the project in the best way when I’ll feel to be ready in the future. About that, I have several outlined projects that I hope to be able to finish and bring to light as soon as possible.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
TZ – On the one hand, I’m very satisfied. Not only when I see the work completed but especially when I have the opportunity to introduce it and talk about it with someone. On the other hand, satisfaction always runs out very quickly. The problem is that my mind can hardly stop, at any time of day or night. When I’m working on a project, I often, almost always, think of new ideas or ways to expand it. This means that when the project is finished, for me it is already time to start another one. I can’t sit on my hands, I don’t feel comfortable if I have nothing to do and in fact, I still haven’t really figured out whether I should consider this as a quality or a flaw.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
TZ – I agree and I really appreciate your aim of connecting and communicating the works of artists and designers from all over the world. You provide a really great opportunity for emerging artists and designers. Viaf 2021 was an amazing and interesting opportunity for me. It was really exciting for me to show my works in an exhibition that brought together artists from so many countries and also have the opportunity to meet and talk to them in person during the opening day.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform? Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
TZ – I’m very enthusiastic about my collaboration with Itsliquid Group.
I’m positively impressed by the professionalism and the willingness that all the members of the staff reserved for me and to the organization of this exhibition. I received so much precious advice on my works and on my brand that I look forward to putting into practice from now on.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
TZ – The only advice I would like to give to you, is to think about the possibility to open the exhibitions also on Saturdays and Sundays. A lot of people, working during the week, dedicates only their weekends to visiting museums and exhibitions. For this reason, I think that opening on Saturdays and Sundays would represent a great opportunity for the artists to reach a higher audience.