* The following text is an excerpt from an interview made in 2016. The original version is published in PANORAMA (DIORAMA editions).
* Lorenza Longhi is currently based between Lausanne and Milan.
Lorenza Longhi (Lecco, 1991) studied at Accademia di Brera (Milan). Her work has been exhibited at Palazzo Pepoli (Bologna); Armada, Fanta Spazio, Il Mercatino di via Zuretti and Viafarini (Milan). She is co founder of Armada.
Vuoi raccontarci degli abiti che produci? La maglia da basket, le gonne, i top, a quali personaggi si associano e in che luoghi le scatteresti?
I’ve been working on the Empathy Is Performing project and clothes are part of it. I’m developing actual characters, some have a specific job, other find themselves in a given circumstance; what I’m doing is creating dedicated ‘work uniforms’ for each one of them. They are fictional characters, a little romanticised; there’s a gallery girl, a swimming teacher and the members of a prison’s basketball team. Each one of them has things he or she loves, writes poems and has a reference aesthetic. To conclude the work I took a series of pictures to allows each character to stand out in their completeness, actual portraits. Each character need their own context to be fully complete.
Let’s talk about drawing, starting with the sketches connected with your productions to your watercolour works and candle sculpture
The drawings and clay sculptures, that at the time of the visit studio were nothing more than the outcome of shapes that I had in mind and objects that I wanted to explore, have evolved a lot. The drawings that you saw are the substrate of what today is a sculpture. I wonder how much patience I should have and keep some things secret, often I am impatient when it comes to what I do, I’d like them to be immediately right; I showed you those drawing that I almost deemed unimportant, and now I realise how instrumental they were for the development of a project that I’m very attached to.
Often you work on curtains: in your studio we saw one with a tile pattern. Also trekking-related details are often recurrent: ropes, nets, rings, why?
They’re elements that I feel the need to explore. I try to have many ductile materials in my studio, I need to get used to them to be able to use them with awareness. Climbing ropes, rings and nets are perfect for being used in several tests and attempts. I can stretch and use a fabric in several ways thanks to these tools. I like the idea of tool, functional elements that enable something else to be used. Recently I stopped buying rings and snap hooks on eBay or Amazon and I have started manufacturing them, they are made of tin.
Can you tell us about your research on “simil wedge” sculptures and the symbolism of the objects from the past?
The wedges were a very strong symbol. In a certain way who wore them was stating many things, was claiming to be part of something, they had the same power that today is typical of brands like Nike or Prada, HBA or Vetements. Regardless of some brand’s moment of importance, what I’m looking for is the power that certain object/symbols give. The are the ground I grew up on, literally. I wanted to try to apply this idea to my sculptures creating platforms, plinths, that hade the same plastic-like outlook of 90’s wedge heels. Like the sculpture was a body and the platform its shoe with magic powers. I was pondering on how a sculpture could change on that kind of platform instead on a more neutral one.
You worked on the graphics of some T.A.M. books, how are you interested in publishing design?
I am very interested in publishing design, I believe it is a very important part of the artistic practice. Even only to make your own portfolio you need to take decisions on the graphics that affect the way the work that is perceived. Moreover, my projects also include a graphic element which is not secondary to the production of clothes and photographs. The graphical aspect is equally important for the work’s purpose.
Can you tell us something about your experience in Armada also in relation with the other members of the group?
We are a group of friends, together we compare ourselves, we are open to different ideas and we discuss them. We have a proactive attitude and at Armada we try to propose artists that we would like to see in Milan, at the same time keeping into consideration what the city has to offer.
Your reference locations in Milan. Bars, galleries, spaces?
The Johann Sebastian Bar for karaoke, Circolo dei Combattenti for table tennis, T.A.M. for books and magazines, Marios for clothes, Quadronno Bar for a good sandwich.
We are around Central Station, actually beyond Central Station, why did choose this area and how do you think Milan is developing, geographically?
Yes, we are basically at the beginning of Martesana. It is a very quiet area, which is fundamental. There are also very fun realities: we have Rock and Roll, a venue full of metalheads where basically every internal surface have been decorated with clippings from rock magazines, on the tables you can find the faces of Kiss and Iron Maiden, the toilet is full of gig posters. NoLo is the new neighbourhood for ‘artists and designers’, it is basically in via Padova, maybe the next will be Centraly.