“My goal is for my paintings to paint themselves”
AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?
DG: I grew up in Albino, a small town of Val Seriana in the district of Bergamo. I first started with art when I was young because I wanted to make my childhood more agreeable whilst in the suburbs.
AT: When did it become serious?
DG: When I realised that pleasure is a serious matter.
AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?
DG: A lot of dead people. Amongst the living, I only can recall my piano teacher. He made me fall in love of the great compositors’ inventions and his nose looked like a knife.
AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?
DG: I try to impose myself as much freedom as possible
4 Miliardi, 2020, Oil on canvas, 40x40x2 cm | Courtesy of the artist and ADA, Rome | ph. Roberto Apa.
AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?
DG: My goal is for my paintings to paint themselves.
AT: What are your favorite tools and materials for working?
DM: Oil colours on canvas. Brushes can be anything; clothes, stuffed animals, classic brushes, sometimes people.
AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?
DG: I listen to music and paint in the background. I try to do other things in the meantime. The work must generate itself independently. I often wonder about the final result, but then I always try to betray that idea.
AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?
DG: It’s quite hard to understand, when I work, I am subject to two haunting thoughts: Not only am I the person who painted the picture, but I’m also its first spectator ever. So there isn’t a lot of clarity of judgment. I try to understand it through signs, through things that happen around the work, trying to see if it can activate something.
Metis, 2020, Oil on canvas, 235x200x3.5 cm | Courtesy of the artist and ADA, Rome | ph. Roberto Apa.
Gaele, 2020, Oil on canvas, 225x200x3.5 cm | Courtesy of the artist and ADA, Rome | ph. Roberto Apa.
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?
DG: Intoxication I guess.
AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?
DG: More or less every artist I know. Alive or dead. It’s inevitable.
AT: How important is the role of social media for you?
DG: Indisputably important for work. It’s entertaining.
AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?
DG: I don’t have just one point of view. I mean, the system is so vast, hybrid and multiform that I can’t seem to have just one. Anyway, what bothers me is the sacralization, a bad capitalist habit which derives directly from Christianity.
Frangialba, 2020, Oil on canvas, 100x80x2,5 cm | Courtesy of the artist and ADA, Rome | ph. Roberto Apa.
Addio Europa (Arawak), 202, Oil on canvas, 30x25x2 cm | Courtesy of the artist and ADA, Rome | ph. Roberto Apa.
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?
DG: I hate having to deal with people who don’t respect you as a professional. Many take advantage of you for their own interests. Most of the time, it consists of them wanting to purify their public image since they’re basically failures.What is really gratifying is being able to live from your own work and managing to make your own work come to life.
AT: Could you tell us more about the works presented for your latest solo show ANTARES at ADA and for La Quadriennale in Rome?
DG: The works from my solo show at ADA are fragments of a single canvas that reconstructs the morphology of a star, Antares. Antares was also the name of a disco in Albino that closed when I was more or less 11 which I lived only through the words of my older brother. Both the star and the disco are unreachable places. It’s a story about desire born from landscapes originated from a ripped painting. I also wrote three mixed tales instead of a press release. The viewer would have then been able to fish out at random.
For the Quadriennale I worked on a big canvas which I then cut in three pieces and became a tryptic. For practical reasons, the starting canvas was used as a mattress during an embrace. Starting from the folds formed during the act, hair and the spots that fell, I traced the paintings design which then became its compositive structure.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
DG: I want to go back to celebrate life wildly, especially dancing and fucking in the museums.
Gracula, 2020, Oil on canvas, 200×240 cm | Courtesy of the artist and ADA, Rome | ph. Roberto Apa.
Diego Gualandris (b. 1993) is an Italian painter currently living and working in Rome, Italy. He graduated in Painting in 2018 at the Accademia Carrara di Bergamo. Recent exhibitions include: 2020 – Quadriennale d’arte 2020, FUORI, curated by Sara Cosulich and Stefano Collicelli, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome (upcoming); ANTARES, ADA, Rome. 2019 - The Italian open, Galerie Rolando Anselmi, Berlin. 2018 - Caradrio, with Riccardo Sala, Tile Project Space, Milan; Il vello d’oro, Giorgio Galotti, Turin; Figure di spago / Pratiche di narrazione, curated by Caterina Molteni, Fondazione Baruchello, Rome; L’isola portatile, curated by Caterina Molteni, ADA, Rome. 2017 - Gattacornia, Altalena, Maccagno. Residencies projects include: 2019 - Castro, Rome; Painting Workshop, Nuoro, Quadriennale di Roma. 2018 - Residenza la Fornace / Autunno, Spino d’Adda. 2016 - VIR, Viafarini in residence, Milano. He has been awarded the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2020.