“The artwork always ends up being a meditation on its own nature as an artwork”
AT: Where are you from and how/ why did you engaging with art?
TG: I was born and raised in Milan. I began to engage myself with art, like many others. As a child I used to draw and write. I loved the attention people gave me for being creative and I still crave for that kind of gratification. Having never been particularly handsome, rich or charismatic, my inventiveness has always been for me a tool for gaining the respect and admiration of others.
AT: When did it become serious?
TG: It never became serious because it has always been. Many believe that seriousness means professionalism, consistency, or emotional involvement. For me, being serious is being honest with yourself. I was serious when as a kid, I used to draw without really knowing why. I’ll still be serious, the day I’ll get bored and stop.
AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?
TG: In Italy, appointing your own teachers is counterproductive. Nothing grows in the shade of big trees in a country where, if you declare your debt to someone, you become the “pupil of”.
AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would describe your practice?
TG: I do random things. In this way I create the conditions in which the unexpected can occur. Once something surprising has been revealed, I face it without expectations. I consider what the work suggests and eliminate distractions in order to focus on what interests me most. The artwork always ends up being a meditation on its own nature as an artwork.
Libertymaybeendangeredbytheabuseofliberty #2 (2019) | Installation view at Digressione, Spazio Fico, Milano | curated by O’Dirk
AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?
TG: That magical moment in which every detail is harmonized into a whole.
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
TG: I have no favorite materials. Indeed, I always try to change materials, tools, colors, shapes, sizes and styles of my works. I want the audience to perceive a more subtle coherence in my work than the banally formal one. I don’t like those who artificially build their careers only around a recognizable style. To paraphrase Beuys, I look for Intuition, not a cookbook.
AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?
TG: I constantly think about the final outcome, because it’s the goal to reach. But thinking about it is a curious and patient wait. I don’t force the work towards a result that, perhaps, it will never reach.
AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?
TG: A work of art is a complex structure in which each element contributes to keeping everything in a state of equilibrium, physical, compositional or semantic. A work is finished when it evokes the feeling that nothing can be removed or that nothing needs to be added. However, I consider the superfluous as an essential element, like the icing on the cake that could and could not be done without.
κρᾶσις (2019) / Installation view at Beneath the beach seamless paving stone / curated by Rhizomeparkinggarage for Wrong Biennal Pavillion
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?
TG: From the work itself, and from what it is capable of producing in my mind, when it is still unfinished.
AT: Are there any artists who influenced your work? Why?
TG: Lately I’ve been looking at the work of Gerard Gasiorowsky, a french artist who used narrative devices and created imaginary alter-egos, to propose a meditation on the artwork, as a fictional construction. His work has greatly influenced what I have been working on for the last two years. A book I’ve been writing, in which a narrator commemorate an imaginary art critic. An expedient to make many critical considerations on art, without having to take responsibility for it. Each chapter of the book will be presented in the form of exhibition. The first of these exhibitions will be held in MASSIMO, from the 15th of January.
AT: How is important the role of social media for you?
TG: It’s important because social media are tools with which artists promote their work and their own persona. I consider the communication of the work, inseparable from the work itself. For centuries artists have left traces of themselves through correspondence and ephemera. Today the Instagram stories are our ephemera.
Athanor (2017) / Installation view at Almanacco Migratorio, Pozzo Podestà, L’Argentiera
三绝 Composition #1 (2016) / Installation view at Synchronicity, Yuliang Art Centre, Shexhian / curated by Fuzao Studio
AT: As an artist what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?
TG: It is an ambiguous question because it assumes that there is only one system whose values are so well defined that artists may feel able to express an opinion about it. The fact is that the system is actually the intersection of different systems. Personally, the only systems I try to worry about are those that promote art as culture.
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?
TG: I find daunting the difficulties young artists have in finding stability so that they can carry on their research without having to worry or to compromise. The most satisfying part of being an artist is when you finish a work and “it works”.
AT: What do you do besides art?
TG: I mainly look for answers to my existential dilemmas travelling, reading or writing. In order to survive I work with children.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
TG: I am carrying out some projects with the specific intent to bring together my interest for art and writing. The first one is Nights, a collective project that I carry out with Filippo Cecconi, Edoardo Ciaralli, Paolo Gabriotti and Filippo Tappi. Nights consists of an automaton that performs unpublished texts, specially produced by young emerging writers. Then I’m preparing my first Solo, (Genesi, from the 15th of January, at MASSIMO. Only by appointment.) in which I’ll present the first chapter of my book. I’ve been working on it for long time, so, I hope it will be a success.
Nights (Capitolo 1 – Nato da poco) / Installation view at Baitball, Palazzo San Giuseppe, Polignano a Mare
Tommaso Gatti (b. 1992) is an Italian visual artist currently living and working in Milan, Italy. Graduated in Sculpture and Curatorial Practices at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, since 2012 he has pursued an artistic practice alongside a parallel path in the world of writing, criticism and curatorship. In an apparently disordered way, he pursues his own path of investigation around the work of art as the fulcrum of a complex hermeneutic dynamic. Since 2013 he has taken part in numerous group exhibitions, artist residencies and workshops, receiving some awards such as the 2014 Combat Prize sculpture prize and the Ricoh Prize. Since 2018 he has written for Flash Art Italia and in 2019 he edited the publication of “Visual Studies, the advent of new paradigms”, published by Mimesis. He currently works as an archivist at an important private Milanese collection, and is part of the artistic directorate of La Rada.