Interview #66

Jonathan Vivacqua

* The following text is an excerpt from an interview made in 2016. The original version is published in PANORAMA (DIORAMA editions).

Jonathan Vivacqua (Erba, 1986) studied at Accademia di Brera (Milan). His work have been exhibited Museo MACC (Calasetta); Museo Carlo Zauli (Faenza); Carrozzeria Margot, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Lissone and Torre Medioevale Corbetta (Milan); Dolomiti Contemporanee Dcnext e Museo di Casso (Casso); Forte di Exilles (Torino); Forte Marghera (Venice).

During the studio visit you explained to us that you use mostly building materials, such as corner pieces, tubes, panels, raceways. Can you tell us where this interest and therefore the idea of using these materials for your work comes from?

Everything originates from the family business, I always had to deal with these materials when following construction sites and architectural projects. I know the materials I encounter daily very well and also know their actual application. What I do is just to let their physicalness stimulate me, then to extract them from a functional system and touch them as to give them their own scenic presence, it’s all very instinctive and intuitive.

Your works are always associated with a title that includes the names of the used materials. To what extent is this kind of caption important in your production, to ennoble the materials?

That’s right, the titles are nothing but the real name of the product that is commercially available, I consider it very important as each material has been involved in an evolutionary process which has been perfected in the history of development and I wish that it stays that way. I merely act by look and by touch.

The movement of the line and the dynamism of your sculptures created with aluminium corner pieces rather than with pipes, has a particularly strong visual impact. Do you want to impress those who visit the exhibition with a ‘wonder’ effect, or are your rather searching your personal form of expression? Are you interested in a dialogue with the viewer or are you more inclined to follow your ideas and develop them?

I believe in beauty as such and in the transmission of energies that may be triggered in front of a work, therefore I act on the creation of a stage that should perfectly fit in with the environment and create an exchange of presence with the observer capable of activating a credibility mechanism with regard to the work. It’s the eye of the beholder that gives value to these materials.

Your work with the plexiglas columns filled with various insulating materials of different colors makes also reflect on architectural aspects and on the evolution in materials. Have you been inspired by some in particular modern work for this production?

The inspiration comes trivially from thinking about architecture. The column is the one that has always supported and stayed ‘upright. So yes, my columns have a historical reference, but they are made with the latest, the most advanced building materials with regard to insulation that are available and are used today in the building industry. Even in this case, that is, a loss of practical functionality.

Speaking of spatiality, what is immediately evident in your works is the expansion of the materials, and their shape that by tilting takes up all the space. What is it like to work on large formats and what is the ideal installation that could give space to your entire creative force?

The more space there is, the better. I’m used to see only drawings and projects on a small scale, then I always start to develop everything in huge spaces where both the view and the air can move freely as they wish…

As regards Milan, can you name a few spaces that are of your interest or that you frequent, particularly in the city?

In Milan there is a small company that assiduously attends galleries and openings and that’s the one who keeps the spirit of continuity alive. It is not to attend or to prefer a space over another, but to follow the energy it contains, so there are many interesting places, whether stable, institutional and periodic. There is much excitement in town.

Your studio is located a little outside Milan, in Erba, but for various reasons you frequently come here. Which is the area that interests you most or where you feel most comfortable and why?

As a matter of fact, I recently moved to Milan, but I continue to have the studio in Erba because of the size of the space and also to withdraw and get my work done. I decided to relocate to town to experience it in a more peaceful and productive way, clearly the Isola neighborhood is my favorite because of its turmoil and contemporarily its peace, and this is where I live.

Are there any artists who live in Milan with whom you had collaborations that were particularly interesting for your practice?

Yes, of course, especially in the first years of work, after the academy, then, growing up, many things change, life creates routes that can split and join the roads, but a strong relationship based on esteem, friendship and respect outlasts, and I think this is the most important relationship that people can establish.