“Painting more real than the real is my greatest aspiration, even if sometimes it leads me to work close to abstractionism”
AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging to art?
AF: I was born in Trento, in northern Italy. At the beginning I studied at the Art School of my city then I moved to the Academy of Venice. I have always worked with a pencil in my hand so it was easy and natural to turn it into a brush.
AT: When did it become serious?
AF: Everything became more serious with the collaboration with Boccanera gallery in Trento-Milan and with the selection at the JCE Jeune Creation Europeanne among the ten Italian participants of the traveling European Biennial. I am still young, but painting has always been something serious, thanks also to the enlightened professors with whom I have had contact (Mauro Cappelletti, Carlo di Raco).
AT: Are there any person that have been significant in your progression as an artist?
AF: The people who have been significant for my journey have been and still are so many; first of all my parents, who did not have any culture linked to art allowed me to create a genuine and sincere interest that came only from my need and not from a predisposed environment. Then my teachers, first of all that of high school, Rolando de Filippis who made us draw from the truth really many hours and with an extraordinary intensity. Mauro Cappelletti who, as a child, took me to help him in his studio. Carlo di Raco, the professor of the Academy of Venice, a great inspiration and all his atelier. F. Giorgia Lucchi, the first person who believed in me on a professional level.
AT: What’s your first approach to the work? Where does your process start?
AF: My creative process starts trivially from reality and from the daily practice of painting. Through the reality that surrounds me and what painting “advises” me I define my work. Obviously it’s a process and it’s difficult to define a format that I usually follow, it’s a process which is always contorted but joyous. My scam is that I always have a clear picture of what I want to do and what saves me is the fact of not knowing how to do it. I think this phrase best explains the way in which I stand before the white canvas, before portraying something.
One morning in a room I saw the paintings, 2017, olio su tela, 180 x 160 cm
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
AF: I prefer oil color. I tried and experimented with other techniques, but many times I think about how my painting practice is not tied to material but more to images. I’m returning more and more to the Oil on canvases prepared very simple, which allows me to paint quickly, clearly and that my head is busy solving pictorial-visual and not technical problems.
AT: Do you leave your work open to interpretation? Or do you think the viewer should engage with your work in a specific way?
AF: One of the few things I have learned about painting is that your will almost never coincides with what will come out. Although I believe that a good painter through his painting allows the viewer to experience his own interpretation. I think that painting well beyond portraying something better or worse, is also a way of putting the image (always talking about figurative painting) a way in which the painter decides to paint, what to paint, how to paint. All this defines the painting and if this painting is “successful” the painting will be able to convey to the viewer a certain degree of mystery, of “openness” not only to interpretations but also to ways of seeing reality.
AT: How do you feel while you are working? You think of the final result?
AF: This is a good question, the feelings are so many and it’s difficult not to listen to them while painting. The skill and maturity of an artist is also assessed by this. Alex Katz is a master in this. Seeing it paint makes you understand how to overcome the degrees of frustration towards your work in progress that still does not satisfy you often leads to a good result. Having the mental firmness of stopping at the right time sometimes saves paintings. In the act of painting I have to be distracted, I sing so many stupid songs, it allows the head and the hand to be in some way independent. The critical moments are when you move away and evaluate because it takes me more time. It’s a reflexive painting, even if it does not seem.
AT: How do you understand when a work is finished?
AF: In this phase of my work I tend to go on more than I should. I tend to be more “generous” in the sense that if before I took off now I always see something that could be better. I think that a work still in the studio is always under scrutiny. In my opinion a work is finished when it comes out of your studio and arrives in a show.
Another portrait of Margherita, 210x140cm, Olio su lino, 2017
Mamma! Look at me!, oil on canvas, 50x70cm, 2018
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from? Do you find inspiration outside or it’s all inside you?
AF: I don’t believe much in inspiration, I believe in work, in the careful practice of painting, then each one uses his interests, his poetics to define his artistic practice. Mine is reality. Painting more real than the real is my greatest aspiration, even if sometimes it leads me to work close to abstractionism.
AT: Do you think art can be learned or it is something innate?
AF: I think it’s something innate. This is the great madness and bet of those who start following this path. Find out if you have it or not.
AT: There are any artists that influenced your works? Why?
AF: There are many artists who have influenced and who are influencing my work constantly. I’m a sponge because I see and unconsciously insert into my work solutions that others have used translating them with my own sign or in my pictorial process. The most important artists for me are Velasquez, Manet, Cezanne, Bacon, Freud, Hockney, Fischel, Baselitz, Richter, Mann, Guston. All those who, as Gille Deleuze says, give me that neuronal pleasure at first sight.
AT: How important is for you the role of social media?
AF: It’s important but it can be a distraction. Many times for painting we need isolation.
L’Esausta, Oil on linen, 220x170cm, 2019
Sedia da esterni, olio su tela, 2018
AT: What’s your opinion about the contemporary art system nowadays from your point of view as an artist?
AF: I don’t care too much. I believe in the meritocratic system of art. The market sometimes helps artists in the sense that it raises the quality of an artist’s work. When is like this is good.
AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most rewarding part of working as an artist?
AF: The hardest thing for me is trying not to be influenced too much, find a way to filter through your beliefs the advice, opinions, without ending up in bigotry to think you have the truth in your pocket just because yours. Other difficult things are part of the game and must be taken with philosophy.
AT: What do you do outside of painting?
AF: I paint, I do the sauna in a super cheap place in the village where I currently paint between the mountains. The rest of the time I go to exhibitions. I’m with my partner (musician) and I read a lot (Backett actually).
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
AF: Paint, paint and paint better. The only real time aspiration is to finish an incomplete picture in the studio.
Grazlander (2018), Boccanera gallery, Trento.
Andrea Fontanari was born in Trento in 1996, is enrolled in the third year of the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice with Professor Carlo di Raco. He forms himself in parallel with the Art High School, thanks to the work at the studio of the painter Mauro Cappelletti (objective abstractionism). He holds his first solo exhibition in 2016 at the Theater Valle in Rome within the 'Public Domain' festival. In addition to various collective exhibitions (Tracce di passaggio, Ruffre, Trentino, Bat gallery, Rome, Liquid Rooms, Venice, Pergine Arte Giovane, Trentino ...) He has active collaborations of art contamination with other artists including Circolo Bergman and Rosabella Theater. In the course of 2016/2017 he made the performance / installation 'Art is not a familiar place' with accordionist Margherita Berlanda. In the summer of 2016, the Pergine Spettacolo Aperto festival features the pictorial installation 'Ex Vote'. He took part in the selection of the five young Italian artists at the JCE 2017 European Jeune Création Européenne Journey to Contemporary European Contemporary Art Biennale. In the same month he took part in his first art fair: Art Verona 2017 with the Boccanera gallery.In June 2018 he took part in the "Chain Reaction" exhibition curated by Gino Pisapia at the Unosunove Gallery in Rome together with young artists and artists of the caliber of Riccardo Guarneri, Claudio Olivieri, Mauro Cappelletti ...In September of the same year he took part in the group exhibition "Grenzlander" curated by Giovanna Nicoletti at Boccanera Gallery. In the course of 2018 his study shared with the professional musician Margherita Berlanda becomes "Anomalìa", where other artists are hosted, concerts of contemporary music and exhibitions, a temporary place of artistic sharing in the desert of Baslega di Pinè (TN). He continues his pictorial research between Trento and Venice.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2017 Art is not a familiar place, solo exhibition within the performance/installation with accordionist Margherita Berlanda, Curators: Giusi Campisi, Alessandra Benacchio, Trento- IT 2016 Just an echo of flowers, solo exhibition and installation for the musical performance, Luca Coser Studio, Trento- IT 2016 Ex Voto, painting installation in the ‘Festival Pergine Spettacolo Aperto’, curator: Carla Esperanza Tommasini, Trento, IT 2016 Time pattern, curator: Elena Lunghi, Festival Dominio Pubblico, Roma, IT SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2017-2019 Reazione a catena. Differenti vie della Pittura #1, curator: Gino Pisapia, Unosunove arte contemporanea, Roma, IT JCE- Jenue Création Européenne, curator: Andrea Ponsini, France, Espagne, Romania, Portugal, Latvia, Italy, Denmark. 2017 Monsters, curators: Fabio Milani, Rocco Marino, Bat Gallery, Roma, IT 2017 Liquid Rooms- The labyrinth, curators: Luca Curci, Andrea Chinellato, Cà Zanardi, Venezia, IT 2016 Pergine Arte Giovane, curators: Roberto Perini, Paolo Vivian, Sala Maier, Pergine Valsugana, IT 2015 Tracce di passaggio, curator: Martina Brollo, Sala imperiale, Ruffé- Mendola, Trento, IT