Galciani Neves [curator and art critic] interview the artist Andrey Zignnatto
Paço das Artes - Season 2015
- Is your personal story a trigger for your work with the brick? How do you see this autobiographical relationship while questioning of what you practiced poetically?
Since my teens I produce paintings on canvas, with academic knowledge and a modernist trend. The results I reached through these traditional procedures no longer responded to my expectations and desires, I could not find myself there. I also could not find a way through the painting for my research. I thought that the solution for my impasses would be to find another place [support, platform, raw material, production space] out of the context in which I was accustomed. So I decided to go back to a brick factory, the same where, between the ages of 10 and 14, along with my mason grandfather, I would buy construction materials. I went to this place with a feeling of openness to that context. I wanted to
learn. I had no idea or a preconceived project, but I wanted to spend time there and live the dynamics of the plant. I didn’t know if that experience would give me a research. With the authorization of the production manager, it became a place for production and, I believe, another way.
- Your work can point to, at first sight, a simple brick appropriation process. But we soon realize that this unit is more than a raw material, it is also the gesture of feasibility, of measure of spaces, an element to think the clash between contexts. How do you deal with all these issues that invade your process?
I put myself in the potteries and ceramics in a state I call "present and available" to receive and understand the "provocations" of this place. I believe so react to this experience and the art making process acts as a poetic response to these provocations. The brick used me as a tool to express an intention, not only a material to produce sculptures. The same occurs in the "New Proposals for studies of Physical Space Interpretations" series, which I consider an extension of the research “Forged Territories”. I began this series when I rented a studio in São Paulo to concentrate on the production of small scale works. On the first day of work at the site I felt a strong claustrophobic feel, believing it was caused by the huge difference between the dimensions of the brick factories that I was used to working in. This space initially thought to develop ideas for smaller works, finally, just as the subject for this new search. I think I started to enjoy a logic guided by a somewhat absurd perception, changing instruments and mechanism systems used to measure objects and physical spaces.
- How does the dialogue between your projects and the spaces you occupy happen?
Many of my works are not completed in the studio. Part of this process is carried out initially in the studies that I produce about the specific characteristics of each space to be occupied architecture, be it internal or external. Some works are thought from these studies of site-specific manner. It is as if the project crossed these distances ignoring the studio-exhibition space frontier. I think of this space as an extension of my work, and not as simple support. A place to question and also be questioned. The work contaminates the exhibition space at the same time as the exhibition space contaminates my work.
- From the preparatory drawings that are part of the project of occupation for Paço until executing the work, what do you feel changes? What contaminations occurs in this expanding method of work on the exhibition space?
An important detail in the project for the Palace was my constant transition between studio / brick factory and Paço das Artes in the beginning of the project. Already in the pre-project, even before the application process, I went to the site to study every possibility that I could find in the architecture of the building, from the outside staircase to its internal spaces. The same action to stay for a while in the pottery factory was repeated in the exhibition space, to absorb and understand this place. Among the several times that I went to the exhibition space and returned to the pottery factory, new issues were found and several desires would mature, providing many changes in the original proposal.
I think I was something like a mediator between both spaces, negotiating possibilities and desires, in order to explore the maximum potential that both offer me to develop each work.
In the case of the installation "Erosion", for example, it was initially thought as a hub positioned in a room inside the building. After further time of study, I decided to move the mounting work for the external staircase entry, from its upper "dripping" as an avalanche to the bottom, providing a direct and specific dynamic with the architecture of this place.
- Integrating, living and reacting to pottery context are actions that mobilize your doing. Is here a kind of residual memory of this place? Are you interested in setting up a kind of tension between the original context of brick production and the context that it formulates in the exhibition space?
My integration in the context of pottery is important to understand the right time and the proper way in which I act artistically interfer with identified systems within the plant, from the brick production process, the habits of employees, the provided environment by the characteristics of the site. Hence, my action provides a common path deviation thereof by changing inserts their common flow. This memory interests me a lot, and can be observed in most studies, for example, in "Erosion": the manner in which the blocks are grouped reflects the same system used by the factory to store the bricks. This large grouping of bricks, when viewed at the factory warehouse is identified as common, but when placed in the exhibition space it takes on another dimension and visual material. I believe that other works reflect this memory more intensely, as the case of "state of rest". In these actions, I put myself at rest: in the same condition of the materials that occupy these various factory
spaces. They are places where the materials are put to a time of rest between steps of the manufacturing production process, also used by employees during breaks to rest.
In "Stacking" I follow similarly to what happens with the bricks that come out of faulty machines, discarded by employees in a throwing gesture over each other on the floor or a wall corner. It takes 6 units of whole bricks known as "building blocks", still damp, and I repeat this gesture. The brick, with its standard rigid structure as a result of industrial action, now assumes an organic form in result of human action. After this, the bricks are taken to the oven for firing, to preserve the forms acquired in action. In both cases,
which are presented in the exhibition, both the pictures and the sculpture act as a record of these actions carried out within the factory.
- Understanding these territories you call forged, that is, it can be a narrative or a figment of space, what perceptions do you try to insert?
The works, generally, propose a provocation on the mechanisms and systems that we learned and / or developed to identify and codify the world we live in. I think this research as a poetic response to a perception of the results of the actions of human beings on this world and its consequences. We live in a world where the "artificial" seems to command schemes on the "natural". I dare say that the human race can be considered a variable in this equation, the only product of nature that is not satisfied with what it is offered, building an increasingly artificial world to quench their anxieties. This world that has passed, and still passes through several cycles of deconstruction and construction. I'm not saying this is good or bad, but it's a fact.
Through the act of my appropriation and interference of objects and systems used for the construction of this artificial world, subverting their original condition, this body of work points to question paths of some things, like the formal and Cartesian traditions of interpretation of the physical world, while discussing the relationship between man and this world that it is tangible