I r e n R u s s o
Dear Andrea, thank you for taking time for an interview with us!
Your work is very diverse, expressing itself through the use of various media. Tell us about the creative process behind it.
It’s true, it is really diverse, it combines a lot of practices in one single person. For Tribute to the Noise, the latest series I am developing since two years and a half, I focused on representing the randomity of the behaviour and the constant that in a lot of studies is described as “random variable”: something that you must calculate in all scientific studies, and the one that if you wish to avoid, it will always be there.
In my work, I am translating this random variable into a video with the use of the noise, the video noise. Each video relies on its own rules but, from the audience point of view, it can be perceived differently: you can feel it, understanding its substance immediately. The results can be described as “chaotic”. As an outcome of these explorations, I have developed an original code in GLSL that uses a random value generating the noise itself.
With this process in mind, applied to my personal aesthetic and colours research, I wanted to push my practice forward and use this palette in the most various way possible, therefore experimenting with lots of different media. I wanted to constantly practice by generating and developing different artworks with the same “random” variable, permeated by the same aesthetic: from a big LED wall to a more conventional FULL-HD screening, from different dimensions and aspect ratio of screens to a LED Fan Display, from Prints to 3D Sculptures.
My palette of colours and video movements is definitely evolving with time, but the core remains the same and it is applied in everything that can be produced in the arts – following the daily growth of possibilities found in old, new and future media.
I am very critical towards the rush to the new technologies, the risk to create the first installation that comes to mind, or use them in a simple way without questioning them enough, using them only for the reason of their novelty. To me, time is of vital essence to allow new technologies to sediment and find a truthful, artistic meaning, not only using them for the pure rush of being the “first”.
Right now I’m focused on developing a VR installation and continuing my research on printing techniques, testing different papers, aluminum and 3D sculptures.
At the same time, I’m producing a new show with Fronte Vacuo (frontevacuo.com): an artists group which I co-founded with Marco Donnarumma (marcodonnarumma.com) and Margherita Pevere (www.margheritapevere.com).
The group was born with the aim to address the current convergence of ecological disruption, socio-political polarization and technological advance. We are working really closely in order to achieve a shared, collective critical thinking flux, each of us with their own expertise but in a continuous exchange of ideas. I’m really glad and proud to have found this sinergy.
What is the main idea you want your audience to take with them?
It’s not really an idea, but feelings. I’ve always appreciated standing in front of an artwork and understanding my own version of it without even reading the description, sometimes not even the title. And I have always remembered the feelings that I had, stronger than the idea that the artist wanted to share. Sometimes these two might overlap, but not always.
When you find yourself in front of an artwork with no coordinates to follow or over explanatory labels, you will try to reflect on something starting from it, and that will probably carry your mind somewhere else. That’s the journey I am interested in. By allowing yourself into my artworks, I am sure half of the meaning resides already there in yourself: then a part of the audience will maybe reach my idea, or not. And it doesn’t really matter in the end.
How would you define your personal aesthetics?
In a few words I would say a raw, hardcore grudge.
Naturally it’s not just that, but I would love this to be the only and final definition. I am focused on the grotesque that you can extrapolate from the use of the colors and shapes.
Tell us about the spaces within which you work.
It’s been two years since I started working in my current studio in Mitte. It’s a shared space with four artists – visual artists, sound artists and film directors. It’s basically divided into two different spaces: one which is more like an office with desks, computers, electronics and so on, and then a basement/atelier/tryouts space. Usually, most of the time, the only thing I need is my computer. But it is not the typical space where everyone has their own desk and we are by ourselves. We all have a good alliance and are really close, we are friends. We are trying to maintain an environment where mutual help and exchange are fundamental values at the core of our shared practice and space.
Have you ever had a moment when you questioned your career entirely?
Yes of course, during the last nine years it happened more than once. I guess every artist, every year, questions themselves.There is a moment, when you perceive the shadow of futility, looking at years and years of practice and feeling completely out of time or without a clear message for your audience…
From my perspective, it comes down to the fact that, in the end, we are human beings. With all the feelings and implications that derive from it. The most important part, though, is to get through these bad times. No matter what or how. I am usually getting over these moments by working harder.
Do you find that Berlin’s art scene inspires or influences your art?
Definitely. At least, when I moved here for sure. I moved to Berlin because of the incredibly nuanced and growing media art scene. A lot of artists from the past that inspired me were living here or their works were “born” and exhibited here. I wanted to see them live and not just on the web. After seven years of research and investigations, I found my own aesthetic and the aim in my work; what defines my “brush”. Even today, Berlin is still a place where I am intrigued by the art that is constantly in the making and the community surrounding this production. There is still a good exchange and knowledge sharing in the artistic community. It’s something that I have and I will always appreciate.
What advice would you give to a young artist following your steps?
The best advice that I continue to believe in and follow everyday is to “never give up” and “work everyday”. It sounds obvious and cheesy, but it is the fundamental part of every practice. As I said before, there will be dark times where you will question your entire career, but staying focused and continuing to believe in it, after years of trying and changing, and changing again, you will achieve what you have in mind. From my experience and encounters of my career, I didn’t find only one path to follow, no one can direct you where to go.
A good piece of art or, actually, any kind of job requires hard work before achieving the ideal results. It’s not something that appears overnight, but after years, and it may never do. And we need to keep on creating, being at peace with it. Everything needs time, and everyone has their own times.
Instagram Andrea Familari: @famifax