“Inspiration always comes from situations of tension”
AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?
SR: I come from a country town called Crema. I don’t know why I started engaging with art, I think when during my teenage years I chose the Art high school, for me it’s been a real fun time. During those years I started to identify myself with a group of people – who were my friends – and based our relationship on the same fascinations. At a certain point I began to feel a deep and weird sense of belonging.
AT: When did it become serious?
SR: I had a series of epiphanies that, over time, led me to think about art as something very serious in my mind. There were moments, standing in front of some artworks, in which I understood what making art meant to me (this though is still evolving and changing). During those moments it seemed very serious to others, and I wanted to make it very serious for myself too.
AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?
SR: People with whom I have a strong relationship of exchange and dialogue, who believe in my work, are crucial.
AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?
SR: I think by images. Lately I also seem to think by memories and their connections to the present. I collect references, texts, materials and objects that fascinate me, I figure out in a second moment how to connect the thoughts. My practice is made up of moments of research and writing, as well as strictly pragmatic moments where, usually through tests, I decide what to work with and what I desire to do.
Treat #5 BOO! | Installation view, Espace3353, 2021 | Photo: Anastasia Mityukova
AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?
SR: Something intense, intelligent, sentimental and sincere.
AT: What are your favorite tools and materials for working?
SR: Thus far, I really enjoy the welding machine, the iron, I like its smell that reminds me of my grandfather. The sewing machine gives me a certain satisfaction, as it does choosing fabrics, touching them and under standing what happens if I use them in a certain way, such as making them dirty, folding and breaking them.
AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?
SR: Mainly frustration. I create expectations. I always think about an outcome but mostly I think about the perception of it. In the end the outcome is always different from what I thought at the beginning, during the process I realize how some manual and transitional steps are fundamental to understand what I’m doing and what I’m working on.
AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?
SR: I just feel it. The end feels like the most natural part of the process, while I don’t conceive the different works as something finished and autonomous. I prefer to think more fluidly about the works as different elements of a larger discourse.
Tamed Love (detail), 2020 | HEAD – Geneva, Geneva | Photo: Raphaëlle Mueller
Tamed Love (detail) | Schiavo Zoppelli Gallery, 2021 | Photo: Andrea Rossetti
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?
SR: From relationships, from dialogue. From personal situations or even from something I find on the street or I hear on public transports. Mainly from images, all kinds of images, found on the internet, in manuals, in old books. Inspiration always comes from situations of tension. For example those “ridiculous” news or those situations that seem funny but actually hide big dramas.
AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?
SR: The artists who have influenced my work are people in whom I recognize a certain complexity and mental effort.
AT: How important is the role of social media for you?
SR: Social media for me have different functions. For the communication of my work – as for any millennial – unfortunately they are pretty important. Regarding my daily practice they often become subject of curiosity. I watch a lot of videos about domestic animals, scrolling them almost obsessively. Sometimes these videos trigger my research, unveiling specific dynamics of affection and fiction.
AT: What is your opinion about NFTs and their impact on the art world?
AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?
SR: I would like it to be more unpredictable.
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?
SR: Challenging is to feel a strong sense of financial instability mixed with the feeling of working all day, every day. Rewarding is the possibility to somehow escape from ordinary social conditions, to keep anything I want as a potential interest and work with it. Rewarding is also to create connections and work with people I really like, this reduces the sense of solitude.
AT: What do you do besides art?
SR: I love to discover and test patisseries.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
SR: Looking at the historical period we live in it is difficult to answer this question. In general, I would like more kindness and compassion.
Feeder, Installation view, Schiavo Zoppelli Gallery, 2021 | Photo: Andrea Rossetti
Sara Ravelli (Crema, 1993) is an Italian visual artist currently living and working between Milan and Geneva. Ravelli works across sculpture, installation and writing, questioning the sentimental charge of objects and the idea of compromised functionality in the capitalistic society. Setting up tensions between social contexts and intimacy, she investigates the relationships where human, non-human and artifacts are in continuous oscillation and affection and control coexhist interchanging. In her practice, objects are seen as symbol of power relations, often obscured by subjective traits. Domestic and technical materials are employed in a crafty way, assembled conceptually and emotionally. Materials features are treated as a possibility to upturned ordinary meanings and uses, becoming both a burden and an element of evocation.