* The following text is an excerpt from an interview made in 2016. The original version is published in PANORAMA (DIORAMA editions).
Alessandro Agudio (Milan, 1982) studied at Scuola del Fumetto and Accademia di Brera (Milan). His work was featured at Art Berlin Contemporary (Berlin); 1m3 (Lausanne); Fluxia, GAM, Gasconade, Marsèlleria, Plusdesign Gallery and La Triennale di Milano (Milan); American Medium and Grand Century, (New York); Galerie Chez Valentin (Paris); Galleria Vistamare – Benedetta Spalletti (Pescara).
Your educational path alternates between graffiti, the School of Comics and the Accademia di Brera. How did you experience these two different backgrounds?
I was fourteen (I attended the first year in accountancy) when I started making graffiti thanks to Marco, a friend a little older than me who began to paint his father’s garage, inside the building where I lived. Thanks to him, the following year I enrolled at the Art Institute! I think it was a great experience, especially as to the ‘atmosphere’, so much passion and adrenaline related to the city in which you live … and then a great part of this practice took place in the evening until late at night, often with the group of friends of the crew and there were many emotions. Time passed and the time came when I felt I had exhausted that feeling which for about ten years had moved so much joy: I worked as a lifeguard in the fitness club, but I continued to draw a lot, I also invented a painting with spray on (embarrassing) polystyrene boards; so I decided to enrol at the cartoon night school in Milan and this was the experience that made me decide for the academy. I was twenty-five years old and I knew I wanted to be an artist.
How did these stages influence your current work?
I realized that I had absorbed a lot of the fitness club aesthetics, but I am not referring to big companies like Virgin: I think about the interiors of the clubs, such as family run businesses, where the owners often show off some idea of good taste and a type of standardized elegance… Of which I have a great passion.
Your sculptures are assemblages of different elements, artificial and organic, concave and convex ones, which, however, always develop by following dimensional logics, how comes?
When I think about a sculpture, at first I visualize it as an image, right after that I understand that I have to solve it tridimensionally. Perhaps some of my works are the three dimensional solution of images, I feel images are ‘sharper’: it is about surfaces, it fascinates me when a surface deceives e.g. the perception of the weight of an object. I work with the ‘facade’ of a thing, and this allows me to maintain a certain emotional state while I think about the work I am doing.
Often these totems, made with stricter forms and soft colours, are complemented by everyday life objects, such as fabrics, plants, amplifiers, liquid food. What are these choices due to?
This is a game, I do not want to do it too seriously… I’m not interested in sophistication, behind the work there is always a person aiming to do their best, not a professional, but an amateur who suffers from performance anxiety. That’s it; my works suffer a certain performance anxiety and I believe that the various added elements, such as amplifiers, can be the added value which I would call comfort or optional, which charge them with value.
Judging by the narrative titles of your works, the practice of writing interests you closely, and blends in with your productions…
There was a time I wrote a lot and produced very little, several titles of the works are taken from short stories I wrote such as Il giornale impermeabile (The waterproof newspaper), Una delle più famose astronavi di legno lungo una spiaggia brasiliana (One of the most famous wooden ships on a Brazilian beach). I intend to continue to write; for me, to make an object to put on display, means to create a ‘shallow’ form apt for ‘staging’ and I must admit that I lost a bit of enthusiasm in producing these ‘shacks’.
On several occasions you included a sound element in your works, collaborating, among others, with Beatrice Marchi and the Primitive Art; how do you think this changes the way the spectator approaches your installations?
As I said before, I consider the amplifiers incorporated in an object and then the music as an added value (like a car with full optional interiors) that can attract the viewer and ‘warm up’ the environment by creating the atmosphere that I am trying to convey with the piece that is composed together with the musicians.
Did you happen to confront yourself with other Milanese artists or realities?
Yes! And it was beautiful, I hope to live more experiences like that, the more you go on, the more there is the risk of being alone and not having anybody to talk to with the necessary passion and sincerity. I experienced an intense period with Motel Lucie, with Derek Di Fabio, then I lived in Via Davanzati with Davide Stucchi, Anna Mostosi and Beatrice Marchi (whom I am also in love with!) and in that wonderful period Gasconade opened. I met Michele D’Aurizio who is still a very important person to discuss with every time I am working on a new production.