* The following text is an excerpt from an interview made in 2016. The original version is published in PANORAMA (DIORAMA editions).
Benni Bosetto (Milano, 1987) studied at Accademia di Brera (Milan) and Sandberg Institut (Amsterdam). Her work has been exhibited Fonderia Battaglia (Milan); Fondazione Baruchello (Rome); ADA (Rome); MAMbo (Bologna) Art Verona collateral project (Verona); FutureDome (Milan); Tile Project Space (Milan); Placentia Arte (Piacenza); DAMA (Turin); De Appel Art Center (Amsterdam); Cripta747 (Turin); Marsélleria (Milan); Fanta Spazio (Milan); Il Crepaccio (Milan); Bocs art residency (Cosenza); VIR Via Farini (Milan).
In 2016 you have been in Paris for an artist residence and you traveled in India. Wow. How have these experiences been useful for your work?
Yes! Wow! It took a while to mentally metabolizing the trip. It’s just like the title of my drawing: “Great things never came from comfort zone”. It’s not that I did not feel comfortable there or that the journey was traumatic, indeed it was all really intense and exciting, but I have a feeling that when you decide to stay outside of your comfort zone everything can become possible. It’s all a bit magical. Among other things, each of us (Mara Fortunatovich and Timothe Dufrense, my fellow travellers at Pavillon des Indes) worked with a group of children following a very general topic related to the perception of time and space. I have tried to analyse the idea with an introspective approach. A space created by the visualisation of bodily perceptions through a synesthetic methodology. The aim of the workshop Extra synesthetic landscape is to transform all the emotional and bodily sensations experienced by children during various meditation sessions, in forms, landscapes, real or imaginary pictures that during the course will be analysed through dialogue, drawing, sculpture and finally they lead to the creation of a series of clothes or puppets and sculptures that created a combinable and modifiable environmental installation, inside which visitors actively participated, moving and modifying the space and the light.
Was that a new cycle? Was that the first time that you work in such a methodological way with groups of people?
It was a new project, and yes, it was the first time I approached art in this way. Already before leaving I experienced the workshop with a group of children and I must say that the result was beyond my expectations.
In your work an animistic understanding of the material world often recurs: is it the result of research work on these philosophies or a natural inclination?
Sure, research and analysis must always be in the work of an artist. For sure the research for me is not the dominant factor, you can speak of animism in my work only in a primitive, pure, almost childish, way. Sometimes for example I massage my sculptures to make them feel good, sometimes I embellish them or I make them move, for me they have a soul indeed. Mine is not a conceptual work, rather it is a work that invites you to relax. I don’t ask anything of the observer, I wouldn’t even talk about my work in a theoretical sense. We already have too much information to deal with, daily, information that I personally think often unnecessary and we are all so anxious and stressed out that I would never add or prove more theories… It’s not in my nature.
Imagine yourself in ‘retirement’, after decades of artistic practice: you aimed at creating a prospect that expresses your imaginary world, or do you see every work as self conclusive, independent, as comprehensive of an idea?
First of all I hope to never go in retirement! To answer your question anyway, each of my cycles, as you well named them, is a prospect! And each cycle is part of a personal or collective unconscious.
Do you keep a simultaneous activity apart from work, which might or might not fit in it, but that you think would add to it a level of meaning?
To me any daily practice could be useful to the development of my artistic work, my social or antisocial life, everything I do, hear and see, my political views of things. I think everything can potentially add a level of meaning to the work of every artist and not just to me, and I mean everything without any distinction, from what is infinitely passed to what is infinitely future. Drawing for me is crucial and has a great influence on my sculptural works and on creating new ideas and projects; It would be awesome being able to transform all my drawings into sculptures or into large paintings, although drawing is much more than a simultaneous practice, it’s an essential part of my artistic process and lately I believe it’s also a purpose because after working for a whole year on large works in an extremely tight location, now I need to use the easiest, humble and essential medium in a huge place.
How, in your opinion, the surrounding area, specifically Milan, does affect your work, the work of an artist?
As I said before, the last studio I had in Milan, was so small that it really looked like it jumped out of the gnome world! But this didn’t prevent me from producing large artworks despite the fact it was very tiring and a little claustrophobic. Having a studio in Milan is a luxury for the few, I think, and being able to make a living from art is almost impossible for young artists like us. Obviously it can sometimes be a bond and thus, handling positively the situation, it can be also a challenge to find the perfect balance with its surrounding area. I reiterate the concept: “Great things never came from comfort zone”.