Eight Art Project
Eight Art Project

June - September 2020
"Art and Lockdown. Comparing generations of artists"

Real, inner and virtual space.
Elena Tettamanti, President of Amici della Triennale, talks about the series of meetings 'Art and Lockdown. Comparing generations of artists'.
Lectures promoted by the Amici della Triennale regarding artists of different generations who dialogue on the theme of Art and Lockdown.  

The activities of the Amici della Triennale restarted after a forced three-month pause with an initiative conceived for Triennale Estate, which found an ideal setting in the garden, that is open to the city, reconciling us with open air after months of confinement. The "format" of the event was structured in meetings of pairs of contemporary artists belonging to different generations called to discuss art and lockdown and how the experience of the pandemic has affected the creative aspect and the enjoyment of the artistic experience.

These are themes that have touched everyone closely. It seemed interesting to investigate "live", with the help of the artists themselves, how the forced isolation linked to the pandemic influenced the artist's creative process and how the choices made may have suggested new solutions that could also have an effect on the way the public enjoys them. The starting point of the conversation was to understand how the artists experienced space during the quarantine, the real and virtual space, and above all the interior space.Starting with the physical space, it was interesting to understand how the artists of the elder generations also made their home the place of their work and creation. Despite the forced isolation, little change in their artistic practice. 

For younger artists, accustomed instead to a separation between family life and artistic practice in the studio, in an 'other place', the lockdown led to a more radical change. Andrea Sala, explained to us how the forced isolation led him to take on a new point of view, forcing him to take more time to think before producing his artworks, abandoning his precise working methodologies organised around specific schemes. Bringing artistic practice back to a domestic dimension also led Patrick Tuttofuoco to a change. For him, the key to this change was precisely proximity to things, closeness to matter and the shortening of distances. 

One of the biggest variations in the creative process was due to the difficulty in finding raw material for the artworks. However, this encouraged the artists to devote more time to drawing, which was a recurring expression during the lockdown. Seen through inner experience, the enforced confinement for some people was a moment of self-consolidation, for others a moment of deep crisis. And this is related to the sense of loneliness and vulnerability that we have all experienced, to which artists can give meaning and depth with their sensitivity.

For example, Emilio Isgrò emphasised how loneliness is a condition of the very nature of the artist. In his view, indeed, he must not be immersed in reality, but maintain a detached point of view in order to be able to approach reality with a critical feeling and then be able to describe it. Paradoxically, forced separation heightened this sensitivity and made him feel no lack during his forced confinement. According to Remo Salvadori, vulnerability is a permanent condition of the human being and is indispensable to research and creation. 
Being aware of this does not generate weakness, but strength. This experience led the artists to a greater awareness of his inner states and for some, like Liliana Moro, it became an opportunity to think about future projects. She told us that she let time pass during these months, thus the silence allowed her to focus on small sounds and movements of the city, and precisely these two elements are the protagonists of one of her recently inaugurated sound installations. 

The slowed-down time wasn’t experienced as a limitation also by Diego Perrone, who told us how it was a stimulating period for him. In particular, as a visual artist, he was struck by the images of deserted Italian cities, which were turned into paintings by De Chirico, and that he would like to start from these images for his next creations.

Concerning virtual space, all artists received numerous requests from cultural institutions to participate in digital projects. However, these initiatives were mainly joined by the younger generation. Furthermore, the content posted on social networks was limited to being "manifestations of existence" as there was often no real research behind it. 

Speaking of exchanges between generations of artists, Patrick Tuttofuoco was a pupil of Remo Salvadori and told us how he was able to build a meeting point in the environment of the classroom that was not only academic but also non-hierarchical. Alberto Garutti and Diego Perrone also talked about their initial relationship as teacher and pupil. Garutti explained how he had immediately understood that Perrone was a "very good artist" and that he latter confided in how his teaching was a true act of generosity towards him. In fact, the lessons he held were a personal and emotional exchange. 

It was precisely the lack of the opportunity to share experiences and actively participate in debates that was perceived by many of the artists as a real loss. However, it was clear how this pandemic allowed each of us to feel an active part of a community. 

The real challenge will be to create new forms of enjoyment of art, including on digital platforms, even if the direct relationship with the artwork remains essential because, as  all the artists agree, emotion comes from the encounter. It is precisely emotional complicity that underlies Alberto Garutti's artworks. In his opinion, the work of art only lives when you make it public, when the viewer looks at it and dialogues with it. The pandemic has been seen and experienced as a further demonstration of the fragility of our planet and, as a result of the forced confinement, there has been an increase in sensitivity and a common awareness of how important everyone's role is. 

In concrete terms, Beatrice Marchi tries to reduce the environmental impact of her works, starting with her choice of materials and limiting her movements. Interestingly, she used to devote herself mainly to performances whereas now, given the situation, she has to think about new forms of expression. Hopefully, the previously anthropocentric view of the world will have even less reason to exist and there will be an increasing need to return to recognising the fundamental role of nature.