“I’d like to produce something as strong as the original idea. But art is limited, it’s a designated failure”
AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?
LM: I was born in Forlimpopoli, a little town in the countryside near Cesena. I did the art school there then I moved to Milan for the Fine Arts School of Brera. As almost everyone, I think, I don’t really remind the exact moment when I started making art. I guess I simply have followed my inclination, and then I learnt that all of this was something called art.
AT: When did it become serious?
LM: Well, after the MFA, in the moment when you’re supposed to start working but nothing happens, I won some open call in France. That allowed me to breathe a little, since the residency gave me a fee, a flat and a proper studio. At the end of the last residency I was called by Lia Rumma for a studio visit. We have worked together since 2013.
AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?
LM: How can I make a choice? Every single person that I met in my life it has been important somehow. Answering this question with a single name will automatically exclude someone else with the same importance in my life path.
AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?
LM: I never draw and I try not to write down anything. If I lose it, it means the idea wasn’t worth working on. I think that our world values way too much ideas in general, and I prefer to gamble with that: it’s risky but rewarding. Write down an idea is a way to kill it, otherwise it’s fragile but alive.
Installation view of “Weightless”, Galleria Lia Rumma, Naples, 2020 | courtesy of Lia Rumma gallery Milano/Napoli | ph. by Danilo Donzelli.
AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?
LM: I’d like to produce something as strong as the original idea. But art is limited, it’s a designated failure. And you have to live with this limitation, this might be the reason why an artwork it’s so human, because it’s something always incomplete, something left alone against the universe.
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
LM: Right now, a PC, soe clay and a plasma cutter.
AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?
LM: Working with installation requires different approaches, in different times. It’s like move along a segment between two dots: the sculptural moment it’s like creating a word, the installation moment it is the way you use those words.
AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?
LM: Well, I guess it’s common to say almost never. It’s finished when you show it.
“Oh Seagulls, Oh Seagulls, Who’s Gonna Take Care of Our Skulls?”, Reinforced concrete, 40×30×9 cm, 2019 | courtesy of Lia Rumma gallery Milano/Napoli.
“Oh I See You’re Trying, All This Smiling, to Do What? Save Yourself by Lying?”, Reinforced concrete, 70x50x8 cm, 2020 | courtesy of Lia Rumma gallery Milano/Napoli.
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from? Do you find inspiration outside or it’s all inside you?
LM: Every imaginary must come from something. Part of my research it’s to define the elemental particles of a collective consciousness, find the basic bricks from where any imaginary can spring. So, the answer is always a midway.
AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?
LM: Of course, but like I said for the important person of my path, how can I choose one? Every single research on an artist has been important in that precise moment and now may resemble meaningless. In all fairness I can’t honestly answer.
AT: How important is the role of social media for you?
LM: I quitted FB more than two years ago, and I have zero regrets. I still use Instagram, but mainly as a sketchbook for mental notes, nothing more. I’m not a luddite, I’m just more fascinated by the mechanisms behind the thing itself.
On the left: “Oh Waves, Oh Waves, Whisper Me Again the Sad People Weeps”, Reinforced concrete, 90x60x7 cm, 2020 / On the right: “Oh Black Trail, Oh Black Trail, We Aren’t Used to All Those Thrills”, Reinforced concrete, 40x30x7 cm, 2020 | ph. by Danilo Donzelli.
AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?
LM: That will take a really long answer. Let it put like this: it could be better, but in a strange and unpredictable way, it works.
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?
LM: Beat the thirst of success for itself. Success must be a consequence of a good research, nothing more. The most rewarding thing it’s the everyday research.
AT: What do you do besides art?
LM: Let say that I do not have a lot of time outside my work. I really love music, jazz mainly. I believe it’s a good break from work.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
LM: Keep going on my work in the same way would be a good future. I’m happy right now about the state of my research, a lot of good things still have to come.
Studio view | ph. by Francesco Fantini.
Luca Monterastelli (b. 1983) is an Italian sculptor currently living and working in Milan, Italy. Monterastelli develops works on the propaganda function of sculpture and architecture. Through the study of all the forms that make up the urban geography, his work re-proposes parallel realities in which events follow each other and where the final installation is the memory. In these traces and stories, we see the direct influences of all those celebratory systems studied and reinvented by the artist so that these worlds become a mirror of our vision.