I’m so happy to share a wonderful interview and a brief snippet of recent work by Italian artist Maurizio Vicerè who has a series of projects opening very soon in Paris in collaboration with a small group of artists. Between participating in an artist-led space called UltraStudio with three other artists in Pescara, Italy, he has teamed up with the artists running PPROMOTION, a space in Paris, for some events happening this week and into January! Here Maurizio talks to me about his series The Hard Law of Monday (which the above piece, “Good Times Ahead,” is a part) and a bit more about the series of exhibitions happening soon!
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First, can you tell me about yourself? Where are you from originally, and where do you live now? What first interested you in making art?
I’m Italian. I live and work in Pescara, a seaside city in the centre of Italy. I always thought of art as a mission. I think an artist is something of a doctor. Except that, we take care of the soul (LOL)
Your work utilizes a lot of slogans or sayings which we associate with public spaces or commercial advertising. Where do the ideas for these statements come from?
At my last year at university, I took an exam in “psychology of communication” in which was presented the concept of the Pollyanna Principle. According to this principle, an excess of optimism in life leads us to underestimate the events that occur during life. During the same period I was reading some coaching manuals. At one point it became clear to me that the work on its own can not always be the solution. I believe that these works started at that very moment.
Can you tell me more about your series The Hard Law of Monday?
I believe that in the end these works just want to emphasize how we feel comforted by material things. And it does so through something intangible, like a fragrance.
It’s a moment to focus on the optimism. I mean a moment that is educational, therapeutic, comfortable… you know? There are all kinds of optimism.
I wanted to build the pieces with a shape very similar to the ones you find in the supermarket, like the kind in transparent plastic packets. They are very similar in shape. Also on the back I used a very similar plexiglass cut.
One element of this series that I find interesting is the addition of the sense of smell as a way to experience the work, which gets stronger over time as the fragrances are released into the space. Can you explain a bit more about that?
The image, phrase, and fragrance all go in the same direction. There are no misunderstandings. This work is like a gentle breeze that grows over time and comes against you, you know? You have to react.
These perfumes are “transfers.” They work in an unconscious way; they give you a feeling of well-being. You know, the story of aromatherapy. They say it works, I do not know. I do not like fragrances. But I like this double function of these dispensers. On the one hand they cover the actual odors, and on another one they move you to other exotic places.
What is your process like? How do you get started on a new work or series?
It depends. Sometimes I start from a single work, and looking at it I see the possibility to realize a series. Other times I start thinking about a series of pieces working in the same direction. The problem is, when you start a new piece, always turning it into a series, and trying not to waste energy. It is not always convenient to work in the series.
What is your studio space like? How much time do you typically spend there?
My studio is in an artist-run space (UltraStudio). At the moment we are four (Gioia Di Girolamo, Ivan Divanto, Matteo Liberi, and I). My own space is about 20 square meters. We have also common areas where we can work. We are on the outskirts of Pescara in a former industrial building that we have restored. For the last year we have started to host artists.
You are included in a group exhibition at PPROMOTION in Paris, opening 10 December. What is that about?
It’s a project on distance, space, time, and all the relationships that can be established between two different realities. It’s a relationship between us at ULTRASTUDIO, and Manon Anne and Julien Jacob who manage and develop PPROMOTION. It’s a three-part project. On December 6th we will be at the Cité des Arts with a particular curatorial cut project; on December 10th we’ll be at PPROMOTION with a real collective exhibition, and in January we’ll host Julien and Manon here in Italy at our space. We do not know at this time what they will achieve; they are very surprising in this sense.
Do you have any advice for younger artists who are thinking about approaching galleries for the first time?
Oh I don’t think young people are in need of advice. I’m young, too. Every era has its own rules, its strategies, its sensitivity.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
From the TV: “Woke up early in the morning” F. Fellini.
Is there anything that you find particularly challenging about pursuing a career as an artist?
Oh, many things. Practically everything. But I feel privileged. Ok, I am not rich, but fine. Because I think rich people usually buy beauty (watches, cars, boats …). I create the beauty. Every artist creates beauty.
Anything else you would like to add?
Yes, “Good times ahead”.
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