A disarming smile and a vivacity that makes the thinnest strings of the heart vibrate. In this her unique way Lara welcomes me during an exhibition. I talk with her and she immediately wins me over for her simplicity and warm welcome. Among botanical illustrations, feminine images, primitive butterflies, timeless prints, she told me how her art has evolved and is evolving.
How was your approach to art?
I attended the Artistic High School of Pescara and the DAMS Cinema at the University of Bologna but I had professors out of the schemes since the middle school where Italian and Mathematics lessons were often replaced with reviews of author cinema. The films focused on themes that are dear to adolescence, such as the relationship with parents and sexuality. So I fell in love with the cinema maturing my identity as a little woman. In high school I had professors of strong revolutionary footprint like Dino Colalongo, who fed us with Bruno Munari, and Vladimiro De Sanctis, a communist professor who loved architecture and gave us the importance of design and drawing from life, taking us around the city to design buildings and make architectural reliefs. Then there was the theater. There I took the chance to play different roles and imagine myself different: in the theater you can be a very ugly or a very beautiful person, who suffers a lot, old, young, man, woman and much more.
How did you discover your identity as an artist?
My research is full of rivulets, I start from a necessity. I’m realizing now this aspect of myself. Creating images is an important component of my existence. Now it is also becoming a working aspect but it continues to be something more linked to a necessity, like eat, than to a professionalization. Jan Svankmajer, one of the last surrealists and one of my favorite movie directors, in his famous Decalogue for making a film says that “professional specialization is the antithesis of poetry”. All what is most true of you as an artist is what you keep as a childhood wreck and that’s where you have to go to draw when you make a work of art. I live this kind of world. Where I do things that I recover from what I was.
If should you start from an artistic research?
I’d start from the collage, a language that breaks down the images that come from reality to create something new and that concerns the archetypes, the unconscious and the imaginary worlds. I started during my university years thanks to the encouragement of an artist friend, Giuseppe de Mattia, with whom I lived in Via Castiglione. Then I found inspiration from Gianluigi Toccafondo’s animation cinema. Thanks also to them I started to understand that I could not only draw but also use paper and manipulate images. And I did it in my way working on an artistic research that could be about me. The figures of that time were disproportionate and linked to the female ones. I started from the clippings I found: faces, eyes and hands that then became the sign of my first collages. The love for the print instead came thanks to the meeting with Valentina Monari with whom I share work spaces and projects. The press is a young love that I live with a strong need for experimentation and joy.
So what does predominates in your creations?
Paper is always mistress, as are scissors, a tool that I find fascinating. Cutting out is making a definitive gesture, you can never go back and at the same time it is a gesture with which you can create unexpected shapes. I also use the thread, the glue and now the cloth has also arrived. They are instruments that move in a different way than pure drawing.
Does your art allow you to make money?
In my case I’m very lucky because I’ve a partner who supports me in our daily life, gives me so much trust and allows me to proceed towards the realization of a profession that is truly adherent to my being. Today I lead print and collage workshops and I create artistic projects designed for an audience in search of originality, but they’re always evolving, I don’t know where I’m going exactly, but this is also the beauty.
Small parenthesis. What is love for you?
I don’t have an answer. It’ll take me a while to understand it. Because love is many things. Surely the relationship with my husband Giorgio is not just love but something more. There is love between us and it is the basis of our relationship but there are so many other things. Love is something about all human beings. It’s not just a two-way relationship, it’s a way of thinking. As individuals we think we are unique, alone, individualistic, social reality leads us to force all this. But love is about the idea that you exist but you are not alone. Human being is not in a bell but in contact with other people. The love you can build with a person, which you can have towards a person, you can have it for many others. It is love what I feel for Giorgio, for Valentina, for my sister and my brother and also for you. When we recognize ourselves as human beings and we experience emotions it’s a form of love.
Do you have someone in the art that inspires you? A mentor?
The artists that fascinate me most are Maya Deren and Niki de Saint Phalle. The Deren was one of the strongest movies directors of the New American Cinema. She has been a guide for many experimental filmmakers of that era. Instead I discovered The Saint Phalle by visiting the Tarot Garden in Capalbio in Tuscany where I met her titanic project of life, a garden populated by very large architectures that reproduce the arcana of the tarot. To create the garden, Niki needed a vast network of collaborators whose names are engraved within the architecture, as if to say that nothing great can be done in complete solitude.
Tell me about paper butterflies.
It’s a project born from the discovery of having a vision disorder, the glaucoma. Cropping helped me find a solution. I wanted to make sculptures with paper and this gesture was therapeutic. Art leads you to transform what can be a negative factor into something very joyful. Until you hit your face on something that traumatizes you, you don’t realize the value of time and what you can do. Paper butterflies express my naïf side and they are about the listening I dedicate to the most ancestral instinct within me, that of creating simulacra, of giving form to something symbolic where to project what is bad to transform it. For me, butterflies are a fixation. I’m interested in the entire entomological universe. It is my great passion. They are something unique. Primitive and imaginative. While cutting and sewing I think about the story behind it. I think about who he is. Back to the theater a little. Who are you? What are you doing? Each has its own character. Within this work there is the power of creation. A universe that leads me to celebrate life.
To make butterflies you also use the thread. Are you dedicating yourself to embroidery?
The act of sewing is about something old and in connection to my family. My mom’s wires box was one of my first games. Embroidery is a kind of suspension of time. You feel an infinite being. Death doesn’t scare you. Embroidery is part of the array of manual jobs that the brain needs to stay healthy, to not let it distract you from negative thoughts. You can’t go faster. It’s a bit like hoeing, sowing, caring for plants. For example, I grow orchids and have been dealing with plants since I was a child. My mother loved this. Plants need a long time, they don’t do what you say.
What was your inspiration for the image of the woman with flowers around?
It is a prototype for an artist’s book made with the home printer. I had this photograph found in a flea market, a smiling woman whose identity I didn’t know, but I wanted to give her a new life, tell a story or suggest her belonging to a botanical universe, to make her face disappear into a blanket of flowers . However, I made a mistake: I was wrong to insert the sheet into my home printer. And so I couldn’t get the overlap I wanted but I discovered that I could have the overlap in backlight. I photographed the sheets against the light and I discovered a delicacy of transparencies that I would never have imagined if I wasn’t wrong. Poetic was born from a mistake. We are not perfect and we are not able to do things right away. The error and failure are often the key of creativity.