Fascinated by the psychological mechanisms underlying marketing strategies, London-based Italian artist Ludovica Gioscia reworks materials and seemingly unrelated objects to create 3D collages. The environmental scale of these works seems to reference Freudian mechanisms of projection, transforming our own most intimate compulsions in totemic sculptures, rather than paranoia into objects.
Where’s Art interviews the artist on the occasion of her participation in the group show “Edra. Connecting landscapes” at the American Academy in Rome. Her research contributes to outline the morphology of our contemporary cultural landscape characterized by stratification and social relations more and more defined by terms such as ‘cross’, ‘trans’ and ‘mix’.
Pån-Stack 2 is the site specific work you have presented in the exhibition “Èdra. Connecting landscapes” at the American Academy in Rome. It is a fully colored six-meter high cardboard column as well as a visual overdose of cultural and anthropological references. How relevant is the idea of ‘association’ in your work?
The act of collapsing a vast variety of different images and references in a work is a strategy that I have been using since my first Giant Decollage in 2006. These works are created by layering numerous custom screenprinted and commercial wallpapers, which are ripped back down to reveal the strata underneath. The juxtaposition of wallpapers forces your eyes to jump from one bold eye-watering pattern to the other, creating a number of different possible narratives. It is a mirror of the way we navigate information on the internet, jumping from one stimuli to the other, and of the visual overload we are bombarded by on a daily basis.
I see them as belonging to a Baroque tradition of the immersive experience, an analogue manifestation of the Electronic Baroque (as theorized by critic and historian Norman M. Klein) we live in. They are neurotic works, both in the way that they allow no rest to the eye and in the way that they are manufactured: they require endless hours of printing the same pattern, painstakingly layering them to then rip them apart. The obsessive and compulsive construct of the works emulates the obsessive and compulsive instinct that is so predominant in our evolving relationship with technology. Our neural pathways are being rewired by applications like Facebook, as we develop an addiction for the dopamine that our brains produce every time we receive a ‘like’, which in turn leads to the constant reflex to check our homepage. Pån-Stack 2 is a free-standing version of the Giant Decollages: the work is formed by screenprinted patterned cardboard boxes stacked one on the other, with the central one scrunched forcefully into place with the same aggressiveness applied in ripping back the wallpapers.
What is it in the world that mostly influences your work (music, horror movies, religion, books, economics, mass media, etc)?
Commerce and psychology, department stores and retail anthropology… I spend endless hours looking at packaging and brand displays.
Considering your work approaching more and more the monumental scale, if you were to categorize your recent projects, which one would you choose between sculpture and installation?
For the last few years I have been moving into sculpture. My most current works are becoming less site-specific and more self-sufficient, perhaps even entropic. At present I am finishing a new body of work for a show here in London where I am making sculptures out of Apple branded packaging, filled with resin and various types of waste including dirt. I am interfering with the brand’s identity by offering a more holistic portrait of its production line. For example ash collected from burnt packaging is one of the types of detritus inserted into the various Apple containers.
‘Planning’ or ‘instinct’, what do you think is more relevant to your work?
Both, in equal measure. The collection process requires precision and analysis, whilst the assemblage of elements together is rooted in a more playful and loose action.
What would you like the audience to take from your work?
I hope the work conveys the space to initiate conversations about our relationship with consumption.
What does your studio look like?
I am a bit of a hoarder, so it’s full of stuff. Since I have discovered transparent storage boxes it looks a little less chaotic. It’s packed with small experiments, rolls of wallpaper, tons of fragments of prints pinned to the walls…