* The following text is an excerpt from an interview made in 2016. The original version is published in PANORAMA (DIORAMA editions).
Gianandrea Poletta (Venice, 1984) studied at IUAV (Venice). His work was featured at Almanac Projects (London); Ventura XV and Il Crepaccio (Milan); Barriera, Cripta 747, Artissima (Turin); Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa (Venice).
The objects and shapes that you depict have a presence between the virtual and the extremely concrete. Is this liminal flavour what you look for?
Exactly. As you noticed all these objects have a connection of instant structure with their referent; I mean, you look at them and know what they are, although at the same time, you realize they are artificial. For example, Sunset is a work from a few years ago; at that time, a time when I eliminated any rhetoric from my works, without formal references, philosophical, and even artistic. There was a feeling of breaking free of ‘system’ perceived as dysfunctional, and I (like others) we searched for the core of our research in ourselves, in our daily lives. Starting from this I began to create these liminal objects. I’m not interested in making copies that deceive the eye, but to create prototypes – in other words original forms behind the perceivable experience of this or that specific object. I am interested in everyday objects (and the connected experience) but I want to free it from the materialism of things as we celebrate uncritically the existing.
I understand that the idea of ‘icon’, as well as that of ‘vector’, are present in your work. How do they manifest?
I want to clarify that when I talk about icons I refer to both the religious icons as well as to the icons that inhabits the screens of our communication devices. Although far apart, the two types of icons can be assimilated between them for the same reason that it makes sense to connect both to the idea of vector. There are many analogies: for example, it is easy to notice that the icon characters of saints are constant over the centuries and in different geographical areas. Perhaps not everyone knows that this canonization comes from the fact that it is supposed that somewhere an original prototype existed, for which the traits of the Saint were drawn from live observation. For this reason, following the information provided by other icons (data on the proportions and shapes) is necessary for the reproduction of the image; In addition, the traits of which the icon consists have been simplified to allow its reproducibility. Vector drawing works similarly, data that will shape the image are written in a file and expect to be displayed by a program. They are a list of instructions waiting for a performer that would put them into place (potentially an infinite number of times).
You’re showing interest in some of the systems of thought which you also approached in projects like Momentum. Would you tell me about it?
Yes, Momentum is a project started some years ago from a discussion with Bianca Stoppani, designed to develop and articulate thoughts around the artwork and its function in this particular historical moment. We were resolute in achieving a project that would create growing content, that would create a community, which would impact on the reality. The first issue of Momentum is the result of a collective effort which was attended by Alessandro Agudio, Mara Cassiani, Andrea De Stefani, Michele D’Aurizio, Massimo Grimaldi, Sam Korman, Andrea Magnani and Andrew Norman Wilson, connected by their precise attention to reality and at the same time a speculative tension that seeks something beyond perceivable appearances. In this sense there is a strong difference from the recent continental philosophy of object-oriented ontology. I like to call this inner speculative tension ‘spiritual’ because it covers intangible and elusive space even though at the same time pragmatic aspects such as personal fulfillment or, as they say in English, the self-actualization.
How can the city (Milan), the time (today, January 2016), and the discursive space you’ve chosen (art) facilitate or obstruct this collaborative dimension? And in what way?
Let me start by saying that I’ve lived here for a short time, so I might not have grasped some nuances that to others are much more obvious. In Milan there is an interesting collective dimension, though this does not manifest itself openly. It is as if the myth of individualism of the modern city was cemented on top of a liquid and very human layer made of deep relationships, almost family-like – but for their personal nature – are kept in the background. Since I got here, I inevitably ended up building my network of contacts on the basis of my values and my ideas, and I have searched for ways to ensure my relationships were profitable in common thoughts that contribute to the discourse of art.