“I’m interested in grey areas, the moment before making an ethical or unethical choice”
AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?
EL: I grew up in a small village in the countryside between Bologna and Florence as an only child. My mom used to draw chiaroscuro portraits of her friends, I wanted to become as good as her. I failed but enjoyed the process.
AT: When did it become serious?
EL: I had an epiphany about what art meant to me in early 2016. I threw away all previous works and built everything from scratch again.
AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?
EL: Certainly artists and curators I had the chance to work with over the past years. But at the very beginning, it was this group of people I met while studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. Particularly, my dear friend Sathyan Rizzo, a very talented illustrator, with whom I have also collaborated.
Just 1 poem, installation view, Manifattura Tabacchi, Firenze IT, 2021, photo Federica Di Giovanni, courtesy the artist and Schermo dell’Arte
AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?
EL: I usually get fixated on something that could have the potential to be built on some sort of bigger system. Then there is an intuition followed by a plan, I like to plan things and have a clear idea of what I am going to do. I consider my practice language-driven and based on narrative thinking. I see my works as multi-layered visual stories.
AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?
EL: I would like my work to be funny, intense, emotional and approachable. Playful and polished as well.
AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?
EL: I don’t have a favourite material, it depends on the idea. But a writing practice has always been behind any process, more or less explicitly. I mostly worked with performance and video so far, maybe because these media allowed me to set text-based foundations.
Just 1 poem, video preview #1 and #2, 2021, courtesy the artist
AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?
EL: I feel somehow anxious and engaged and I always think about the outcome. It’s pretty clear in my mind since the early stages. I also change plans, but generally, I like to behave as the creative director of my work by always keeping an eye on the bigger picture.
AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?
EL: When I completed all the steps the best way I could, solved most of the problems and each element is finally where it belongs.
AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?
EL: Among other things, it comes from an emotionally charged place of analysis of how power imbalances shape relationships among people, I guess. I’m interested in grey areas, the moment before making an ethical or unethical choice. In my works I try to metaphorically re-stage the ambiguous feelings suggested by all the possible outcomes, keeping a queer sensibility as a general background.
Léonard Santé, 16 poems, performance, Istituto Svizzero, Milano IT, 2021, photo Giulio Boem, courtesy the artist and Istituto Svizzero
AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?
EL: There were plenty and changes over the years, not just artists. Right now it’s mostly feminist and queer literature that inform the deepest motivations behind my practice, particularly 60s-70s revolutionary lesbian poetry. I also like nuns, Edith Stein, Corita Kent and Mary Kenneth Keller are so cool.
AT: How important is the role of social media for you?
EL: It’s fun and could be a way to collect references, both visual and textual. The Tik Tok algorithm is scarily accurate though.
AT: What do you do besides art?
EL: Sometimes I play the Celtic harp.
AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?
EL: Flexibility and generosity.
4 hooves don’t leave footprints, installation view, MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologna IT, 2021, photo Carlo Favero, courtesy the artist
Eleonora Luccarini (Bologna, 1993) lives and works in Amsterdam and Bologna. Luccarini’s research is multidisciplinary and centered around the performative possibilities of language. By placing writing in interaction with other media, her practice inquires the relationship between word, image and body through fiction, ambiguity and potentiality.