“The most daunting thing? Wasting time figuring out what discourages you, while the color you just made dries up”
AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?
VS: I’m from Palermo, Sicily. I can’t really put a finger on the exact moment I approached art. It has always been part of me for as long as I can remember; I just create!
AT: When did it become serious?
VS: Processing images has allowed me to get more in touch with myself and my existence . I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but I realized very soon that this was the only possible job for me.
AT: Are there any people who have been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?
VS: I think the list might be too long…In general all the people who have criticized me, artists, and friends with whom I have shared paths. Maybe I should talk about an ultras group, guys from my neighbourhood, MCN. I was 14 years old and they paid me all summer for my first works: banners for Palermo.
AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?
VS: I start with an idea in my mind; an extension and origination of the image. My method is based on a combinations of factors, especially the relationship between the world of ideas and the “picture” frame.
Figures (?), 2018, installation view at In Berlin Project, Untitled Association, Berlin | photo © : Riccardo Malberti
AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?
VS: If I reached it, it would mean I got tired.
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
VS: Tenacity. I think it is a virtue of great importance, and I think it is interesting to grasp the nuances of its name. The definition of tenacity would be what has great adhesive strength (what ‘holds together’) .
AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?
VS: That depends what I’m working on. Perhaps that question should be asked to the artworks.
AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?
VS: I believe there is a moment when the work reaches its autonomy by showing its allusive character as a sign or symbol.
DOVE ERO GIÀ, 2020, lime, plaster, quartz paste, marble powder, pigments, inks, spray paint and marbled finishing on board, cm 200×160 | photo © : Sebastiano Luciano
BRADO, 2019, lime, plaster, quartz paste, marble powder, pigments, inks, spray paint and marbled finishing on board, cm 200×160 | photo © : Sebastiano Luciano
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?
VS: Many of the things that interest me often become a tool for creation, elements are not always stable. Lately I have started a new series of oil paintings. The paintings are “copies” of excerpts of sky extracted from landscapes of German Romanticism, remodelled to scale. I found something fascinating in analytically observing the details of certain paintings in which powerful coloured currents are distributed within blurred greys and polychrome turbulences. I tried to compress and isolate them within a matter as dense as malleable. I was interested in updating some of the themes proper to Romanticism within a certain visual feeling.
AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?
VS: Constantly…I have to say it is a question that would take too long to answer, so I will say something as a fan: Francis Bacon. I think he is one of the painters who gave modernity to modernity.
AT: How important is the role of social media for you?
VS: All the information is now conveyed through social media and it’s okay that it is, the important thing is to remember that we are talking about a showcase. I personally believe that in art you have to experience the body as in relationships of whatever nature they are.
DI UOMINI E PITTORI #1, 2020, lime, plaster, quartz paste, marble powder, pigments, inks, spray paint and marbled finishing on board, cm 40×30 | photo © : Sebastiano Luciano
AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?
VS: I will answer with a quote by Massimo Troisi: “In Naples there are people who instead of drinking from the aqueduct eat with it.”
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?
VS: Every time I finish the artworks for an exhibition, by installing them in a neutral space, I rebuild the sense of the work I’ve done. I think these “objects” have finally taken their place in the world. That’s definitely one of the most rewarding, after smoking your first cigarette of the day in the studio. The most daunting thing? Wasting time figuring out what discourages you, while the color you just made dries up.
AT: What do you do besides art?
VS: I fish.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
VS: Alas, I don’t care about the future, but the future will take care of me…
Studio Colle Melone, Galerie Rolando Anselmi.
Vincenzo Schillaci (b. 1984) is an Italian visual artist currently living and working between Palermo, Rome and Berlin. Through heterogeneous languages, with a prevalent use of the pictorial medium, Schillaci investigates the possible tangencies and links of the relationship between the granular surface of the images’ world and the ideas. His work can be defined as a reflection on the linguistic components of painting, as raw material, even when the works do not directly entail the medium of painting. In 2011 he founded and directed in Palermo the contemporary art centre L’A project space.