Richard Bright: Can we begin by you saying something about your background?
Micaela Lattanzio: Being an artist has never been a decision as much as a conscious direction. Since I was a child, I loved to express myself through various artistic forms, for me the creative language has always been the most concrete way to express my thoughts and my ideas. It was not difficult to start a proper training, first at the Art Institute and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. I chose the “Decoration” section on both occasions, in order to shape a multifaced language. I was passionate about different techniques that I could apply in site-specific projects and installations. I soon started working as a mosaicist, collaborating with some architects and later as a photographer and video maker. During the Academy my style was divided between pictorial and photographic research, but I felt the necessity to find a language that was more personal and that represented me in a profound way. I was based for a year in Valencia with the Erasmus project and immediately afterwards I chose Cuba for my thesis, focused on the anthropology of travel, supported by the lessons that were held at the University of Habana. Thanks to my thirst for knowledge I was pushed to travel to various places in the world under the pretext of immortalizing new mental and photographic images, it was in that period that my current photographic archive was born.
RB: Have there been any particular influences to your art practice?
ML: My path was marked by searching a kind of experimentation through new techniques and through my studies ranging from philosophy, to sociology and science.
I was born in Rome and I immediately assimilated the art history. Probably I was influenced by the archaeological sites, also mosaics, sculptures and fragmented frescoes have always captured my attention. I have always been fascinated by the fragments because for me they represented an instrument aimed at stimulating the imagination. Through the indefinite, we access those invisible realities that became the incipit to create a story.
Indeed, the Fragmenta series takes its name from the Fragmenta Picta, which is the particular technique that reassembles fragments of frescoes, decorations or classic sculptures without entirely reconstructing the work in an artificial way, in a game of full and empty spaces.
The other language that has influenced my research and that has always been part of my life is photography. Since my childhood I immortalized thoughts and people in a sort of visual diary.
At some point in my journey I felt the need to find a language that represented me, something that was the result of my personal journey, so I tried to merge all my experiences into a single technique, including, at the same time, painting, photography and mosaic, this is how what I now call the molecular aggregation, or the technical matrix that recurs in all my work, from paintings to installations.
RB: What is the underlying focus of your work?
ML: I believe that the work of an artist is the reflection of several experiences and the vision he has gained towards the world, and the ability to project an inner journey outwards. In a certain sense this is what gives uniqueness to a work, its personal digital fingerprint. This passage necessarily translates into an analysis of the world and the era we are living in.
In my work there is an in-depth research that investigates nature, and the deep relationship that man has with it.
My aim is to make visible the multifaceted reality that surrounds our existence, trying to simplify this complexity through my works in order to trigger and stimulate in the viewer his personal inner interpretations.
Fragmentation represents cells and molecules, to underline that all animated or inanimate matter is made up of tiny molecular aggregates in order to underline that there is a glue that binds us to everything.
It is like looking in a microscope to observe molecular structures, we need to observe the world and life in its complexity.
RB: Can you say something about your working process when fragmenting a photo and creating something completely new?
ML: My work is almost always born from a well-defined vision in my mind, which takes shape at the moment of the realization of the work, in a very instinctive way, a bit like when you paint.
What I do both in the paintings and in the installations is to overcome and integrate spatial boundaries, especially taking into account the light. Indeed, my work has a strong sculptural value which undergoes a transformation according to the light to which it is subjected. In fact, with direct light, the work undergoes a multiplication thanks to the projected shadows, instead with a diffused light the molecules decrease and there is a completely different perception.
When I create a work, the first phase is the research of the subject to be photographed, a second phase is the preparation of the material which becomes a pictorial element as well as a piece, once my “palette” has been prepared, what I do is practically paint in an instinctive way more than anything else.
Fragmenting a photograph represents for me a chemical-material transmutation, the possibility of transporting our reality into the suspended space of the imagination.
RB: Can you say something about your series Fragmenta which centres on the fragmentation of female identity?
All images copyright and courtesy of Micaela Lattanzio
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