Erik Saglia


“I stopped thinking about the final result when I understood that things happen only by making them”

AT: Where are you from and how/why did you start engaging with art?

ES: I was born and raised in Turin. I was a hyperactive child and drawing was one of those things that kept me calm and focused.


AT: When did it become serious?

ES: I believe it was around the second year at the Art School when I invaded my mother’s garage and made it into my very own first studio. I then started to spend most of my time and energy there working.


AT: Are there any person who has been significant in your breakthrough as an artist?

ES: Besides my parents, who have been very supportive since the beginning, Marco Cingolani, my painting teacher at the Accademia Albertina di Torino, and Thomas Brambilla, the gallery owner who I’ve been working with for 5 years now.


AT: What is your first approach to the work? How would you describe your practice?

ES: During these years I’ve tried to have a casual approach to my work but keeping a very acute distance, as a surgical approach. I like doctors who don’t get emotionally attached to their patients in such a way that one can get to the point of doubting their skills and that they might result hateful in a way. Then they reveal themselves flawless while operating. That’s the kind of approach that I look for whenever I’m working.

“Untitled, 2019”, Spray, paper tape, oil pastel and epoxy resin on panel, 150 x 200 x 7 cm

AT: What do you aim to reach with your work?

ES: I think the nice thing about my work is that it isn’t up to me to decide what it might achieve and where it might go. The whereabouts of myself are constrained to a time-wise restricted reality. Thus, I tend to create pieces that can last in time and are able to have their own hypertrophic “pair of legs”. What I as a person will achieve will be what I will eventually deserve.


AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?

ES: My hands are my favourite tool. Regarding materials, I don’t like the idea of focusing on one in particular as I like anything that I learn to handle and understand. The important thing for me is what has been created, done or modelled by my hands.


AT: What do you feel while you work? Do you usually think about the final outcome beforehand?

ES: I stopped thinking about the final result when I understood that things happen only by making them. I don’t believe in mistakes and I throw away everything that doesn’t satisfy me or that I don’t feel making up to the standard that I have achieved through the years. My staring point is usually a draft because for me it’s unthinkable to conceive the final piece in my head from the beginning. I go through many different emotions while working. When work becomes your life of viceversa, one learns to translate feelings and mind states into the work. I can find myself happy, sad, anxious, excited, hungry, but as I said before, I try to keep it casual.


AT: How do you understand that a work is finished?

ES: A work is finished when its presence overcomes mine.

“Caino e Abele giallo, 2020”, Spray, paper tape, oil pastel and epoxy resin on panel, 180 x 120 x 5 cm
“Caino e Abele blu, 2019”, Spray, paper tape, oil pastel and epoxy resin on panel, 180 x 120 x 5 cm

AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from?

ES: The word “inspiration” has always bothered me. I prefer the word “admiration”.


AT: Are there any artists who influenced your works? Why?

ES: I admire Carlo Carrà because of his flexibility and ability to go through Futurism, Metaphysics, Primitivism and Ritorno all’ ordine with ease while maintaining a strong recognisability and tecniche.


AT: How important is the role of social media for you?

ES: I grew up with social media. One of my closest friends I met through an online forum called Bombersbard back in 2003, I opened my first photo blog on Fotolog back in 2004, and I think I have had an account on every main social network. But nowadays I’m going through a phase of reflection and break from social media as I’m using it only to keep myself updated and I barely post any content. The beauty of instagram relays on how big and diversified this platform is. Regarding the art world, it’s still very limited. Very few artists are able to have a certain voice outside of the small and constrained art system.

“Goldigger (N3), 2020”, Spray, paper tape, gold leaf, oil pastel and epoxy resin on panel, 30 x 40 cm
“Untitled, 2019”, Spray, paper tape, oil pastel and epoxy resin on panel, 30 x 40 cm

AT: As an artist, what is your point of view about the contemporary art system?

ES: I think art system today is comparable to the one at the end of the XIX century and the beginning of the XX century French one as decay was set against scientific positivism and Naturalism. The only difference is that time has not yet given its judgment. Art as History is cyclical so we have to wait and see.


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?

ES: For a while now I’ve been trying to avoid everything that I don’t feel like doing and that reflects in a way that I don’t suffer much or find many difficulties in doing my work. Regarding the positive aspects of working as an artist, I think that time flexibility is a great advantage as I feel very free to manage it as it pleases me. I must admit, though, that I tend to create a daily routine for myself, very full and articulated, that I can get the best out of every day.


AT: What do you do besides art?

ES: I have two passions I have been carrying on for years: ice cream and music. I feed myself with both in a similar and compulsive way. As a kid I only ate two ice cream flavours: mint and violet, and now I only listen to two songs each week on repeat mode until I have consumed them completely. I listen to them everywhere and by any means: car, headphones, stereo system in my house or at the studio. This week I’ve been listening to Always Knew by Bmacthequeen and Tricheur by Nekfeu and I have ate an average of four ice creams a day.


AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?

ES: I’m very focused on the present and I’m currently working on my first catalogue with Thomas Brambilla and remodelling my studio in Turin.

Erik Saglia at work | Studio view, 2019
Erik Saglia (1989) is an Italian painter currently living and working in Turin, Italy.

In his recent works, the strictness that seems to disappear with the smoother motion of tape come back thanks to the precision of applying resin, here revived with an almost sculptural thickness. The use of materials, spray paint, tape and synthetic resin, seeks to renew the concept of surface, deleting every biographical and pop aspect reconnecting the work by Saglia to the Spatialist research by Lucio Fontana and the lesson of Alighiero Boetti.