DELFINA BERGAMASCHI, MUCCIACCIA GALLERY

Director, Mucciaccia Gallery - Modern & Contemporary Art

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David Hockney once said, “It’s good advice to only believe what an artist does rather than what he says about his work.” Would you agree?

David Hockney is a terrific artist, one I greatly admire. I actually do not agree that it is better to only believe what an artist does rather than what he says about his work. I think words complement an artwork, and whether they come from the artist or curator or another professional alike, they are an important source of information we can then agree or disagree to. Sometimes a work of art on its own is like an orphan, in great need of guidance from the artist (or art professional) to explain his/her research. Especially when it comes to contemporary art, where some pieces are more radical, supporting information is essential for a deeper understanding of what the artist is wanting to achieve. To not give voice to the artist limits the understanding of his/her creativity. Taking the affirmation even further, in a way, it implies art literature is not necessary only the art itself...I think they go hand in hand...We can then decide if to accept or reject the work of art but cultural, social, historical contexts remain an important element in understanding a work of art, intrinsic to its meaning...this is how art history is written and carried over the centuries.

What qualities motivate you to look at certain types of art/artists or visit a specific museum?

Looking at a work of art is a very personal journey. It is important to be moved by the art, in one way or another,...if art leaves us indifferent, well it is more likely to be forgotten. What triggers my attention is the concept itself of the piece... I do not get excited if the concept has already been achieved before. There has to be an element of novelty...and this is why being an artist is actually very difficult. Art needs to be personal in order to be unique. I am also interested in the meaning, the reason, why the artist created the piece...what is the artist wanting to say by creating the work of art, and does the piece fit the meaning. I then look at the composition to see how the artist brings all that together. In other words, to be outstanding, it is not necessary to depict violence, sex, or use strong language...look at David Hockney, a remarkable artist, considered one of the most influential artist of his time, he painted swimming pools, but his bravura is that he captured the West Coast life style with his paintbrush.

Who was the last artist to really catch your eye?

I was at Frieze NY last May, and as we all do, I wondered around the fair looking at the various stands. I realised that the artists who really caught my attention were either African or Latin American. I think their spontaneous approach to art is alluring. Many include elements of traditions, native country, daily life... It is in their own intimate reflections, mainly on identity and/or social environment, that one can feel the rhythm of their homeland. Artists such as Lice Brice, Otobong Nkanga Ernesto Neto, Cildo Meireles, Njideka Aknyili Crosby come to mind, just to name a few...

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