Elena Grossi (1994, Italy)

Montecchio Emilia, Italy
Art Project Depot - 5 questions - Elena Grossi
What are the most essential components of your artistic practice?

My idea of art is closely connected with that of magic. I like to think of the artist as a sort of magician, an illusionist. In the realm of magic, anything is possible, as well as in the realm of imagination. My works revolve around some thematic constants that often have to do with the binomial reality-fiction, possible-impossible, presence and absence. At first glance everything appears as something that turns out to be anything but. At the center of my attention is the landscape, the cosmos, the absence of gravity, the house, dust and water. In each of these scenarios the human figure is always only evoked, never explicitly evident, if it manifests itself it tends to do so in the form of a memory, an echo, a trace, a pure mystery. There is never anyone. Everything takes place within a utopian dimension, wrapped in the suspended and ambiguous atmosphere of the vision. The observer therefore comes across solitary, metaphysical and timeless contexts. In addition to illusion, I am interested in the idea of distance, to be understood in the various forms in which it can manifest itself (physical, emotional, temporal, spatial). Everything, to be seen, needs to be placed at a greater or lesser distance from our eyes. The principle of vision is also and above all based on this. Consequently, the act of seeing is another central element of my research.

How do you interact with space when creating a project?

Each work is born and inevitably ends up occupying a space, be it physical or digital. Despite this, I usually focus first of all on the need to create another intimate and inner horizon for myself. I am interested in the operation of constructing, decomposing and recomposing private, inaccessible and distant spaces, belonging to a purely idealistic dimension, designed through the metaphorical process of the “as if”. A cross between “landscapes” and “mindscapes”, or between terrestrial geographies and mental geographies, between what is and what it could become. The reality that surrounds me does not correspond to me, so I tend to cling (more or less instinctively) to the search for an elsewhere, in order to make distant universes more credible. I always make digital installation views of my projects whether they have already been exhibited or not. Anyone who works with images is well aware that the appearance of the latter differs greatly between computer vision and printed vision. Rendering and the immaterial dimension of virtuality certainly cannot replace reality, however they are extremely useful for having an excellent exhibition preview. Specifically, I always try to adapt the technique to the concept, not vice versa. The sense of precision, cleanliness and lightness that is often pointed out to me is nothing more than a reflection of my character.

What is the role of text in developing images?

My creative process resembles that of directors, it’s mostly a writing job. I start by focusing on a title and a concept, the title is fundamental for me as it represents the verbal synthesis of the work. I try to choose it as powerful and impactful as that of a book or a film, so that it can hypothetically work in one or the other case as well. The actual writing is the next step, each of my projects has its own critical and/or explanatory text, I can’t do without it. Writing helps me to clarify and make room in my mind, it makes the mechanism of creating images more natural, which is the final act of my creative process. While writing, I visualize from time to time the story I want to tell, its screenplay. For me, writing is a sort of document in which the words and the spaces between them assume, through reading, the possibility of being sonorous, of being rhythm and music, like the notes of a score. If art represents a universal language, the text is for me its added value.

What reaction do you attempt to provoke in your audience through your work?

Arouse interest. When something attracts us, we immediately want to pursue it, experience it, treasure it. I am aware of having an intimate and dreamlike vision belonging to a strictly personal imagination. This often generates vertical perspectives that guide the mind’s gaze upwards, towards the sky, or panoramas in which the microcosm and the macrocosm are correlative. My works often generate disorientation and distort the point of view, bringing attention to the always reversible reversal between the observer and the observed. I would like the viewer to remain interposed between a here and an elsewhere, free to choose which way to look. Transgressing the basic function of optical and electronic devices of various kinds such as scanners, computers and cameras becomes a new way to observe the world, always in search of a slight poetic sense.

What is the role of the research approach in contemporary art?

The way we approach things depends almost exclusively on our character, on the context in which we were born and raised, on the experiences we have or haven’t had yet. Anything can potentially be the starting point for a new idea, what matters is how you relate to it. My creative attitude brings with it the openness to things typical of childhood together with the desire to get involved, before showing off. The roots of my research are found in the stories or situations of my personal experience, but also in old family travel albums as well as in the territories of technology itself. Research for me means making your own, not the new.

Selected works