“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. So wrote Pablo Picasso. And this sentence couldn't be truer since we met Clarissa Falco.
Curator, performer but, above all, an artist, who has developed her passion since she was a child. Graduated in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies at the NABA School, Clarissa knows very well that art can be chased for a long time, since perfection and limits do not exist. Clarissa’s art is something that you breathe, something that goes beyond the initial amazement and a photo to be immortalized. The completion of Clarissa’s art, however difficult to achieve, includes a profound reflection on the part of the beholder.
Hello Clarissa, when did you choose that visual art was your way?
When I was little, I always asked my father to draw me something. He is very good at drawing. In reality, he is very good at everything, I don’t know exactly how he does it. He is my hero. However, one day I decided to copy a sketch of a pokémon I had in my collection of playing cards (it was a nerdy thing going on in the early 2000s). I sat down at the table and very carefully began to draw Nidoran, a kind of purple hamster. When I felt ready, I showed my father the drawing I made and, being only six years old, I have to admit that it came out fine. When I saw my father being so enthusiastic and proud of me I decided that I would study art, and so I did.
What job did you want to do when you were little?
One day I was walking with my mother and she asked me the same question. This happened before the drawing that I showed my father. I was about 4 years old and I replied that I wanted to be a stylist for porn actresses. My mother burst out laughing. In those years, my sister and my cousin, who were older than me, rented movies from Blockbusters, and, on the high shelves of these stores, usually, porn films were exhibited. I remember always looking up and seeing these young and beautiful women with huge breasts dressed very little in glitter and sparkles, and so on. I asked my cousin and sister what those movies were about and they explained to me the little they knew. That’s why, when my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered her that.
I think it is very important that a work does not end completely, but that it can always lead to possibilities.
How do you identify yourself? A performer, a designer, an artist?
Definitely an artist, I think it’s a macro word that can include the others.
Tell us about your creative process and sources of inspiration.
When I want to realize a work I go through four stages that I can not do without:
- deconstruction of intuition
- reorganization of what has been deconstructed
I think it is very important that a work does not end completely, but that it can always lead to possibilities. It has happened to me many times to give up a work for years and then come back to it with a more critical look.
How was your interest in the female body and its social status born?
I’m actually interested in all bodies and their status. I think that, in the society we live in, we are constantly alienated from the frenzy of progress, the “need to do something”, and this happens to everyone indistinctly. I just think that, as far as women are concerned, this can be more accentuated. Some of the reference texts on which my entire artistic career is based are: “A Cyborg Manifesto” by Donna Haraway; “Materialismo Radicale” by Rosi Braidotti; “Testo Junkie” by Paul B. Preciado and “Corpi Mutanti” by Tiziana Villani.
I tend not to get too attached to my works because, as I said before, I happen to take them back after years and twist them.
What is the deep message of your performances? What would you like to spread?
With the performance I allow myself to tell what interests me. For example, one of the last ones I realized consisted of a drummer playing in the sea on a floating platform while the audience carried it out to sea swimming. This action represented a criticism of the limitations that exist in the field of music, but also of art in general. Permits on places, times, songs, and so on, take away from art its spontaneity. I decided to put the drummer in the sea improvising to try to metaphorically stem these imposed limits.
Do you have a project you care about most?
No, I tend not to get too attached to my works because, as I said before, I happen to take them back after years and twist them. For example, the pictorial and sculptural works with machines that I had started in 2014, but then I felt that they were not ready. I abandoned them until 2019. Now my theoretical apparatus is ready and consolidated to carry out my projects with greater awareness.
Contemporary art is not conceived as a single discipline but as a real method that allows us to start from a thorough investigation of the contexts in which we live. In fact, your works certainly lead to profound reflection. Tell us about your “Just good friends” project.
“Just good friends” is the three-year thesis project I realized together with Camilla Alberti, with whom I still collaborate today. “Just good friends” aimed to focus attention on the unpredictable relationship between work, context and audience, in a fictional dimension that belongs to the field of art but that recognizes a series of rules and habits that define this relationship in a common “area”, in the ritual of a meal, in the sociability of a dinner. The installation and temporal succession of the works in the space divided the restaurant room into micro-experiences or sensory crossing areas: from sound to smell, from taste to sight.
“Wardrobe rules” is a very interesting project that wants to awaken the soul of girls and push them want more. Do you remember exactly when you came up with the idea of such a project?
I am Ligurian, I live in Finalborgo, a very small village, still very tied to traditions. When I started university, more than half of my friends gave up studying. Many married and had children. But, beyond being able to share their joy, I wondered if it was really their choice or if it was imposed on them, in general, by the reality in which we live. “Wardrobe rules” does not want to criticize, but to raise awareness, to invite you to think with your own head. Also, in this case, the work was born as an installation but, after several years, it became a performance that I had the opportunity to present in Milan and Modena.
I think that the school does not perfect the artistic vision but, instead, puts it in crisis.
You attended the master of Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies at the NABA School. In your opinion, how does the school perfect your artistic vision?
I graduated in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies on February 13th and, fortunately, we didn't have to stay indoors yet due to the lockdown and the Covid-19, so I was also able to celebrate as usual. I think that the school does not perfect the artistic vision but, instead, puts it in crisis. Let me explain better. It has never happened that a teacher explicitly said “No”, rather they could give you an “invitation to think” that could allow you to question what you were doing. In this way, you are the one who develops your own personal vision and your own mental process, without it being imposed on you as in other disciplines or schools. I am very happy to have attended the NABA School and to have remained in good contact with many of my teachers.
To know more about Clarissa's work, click here.
Interview and Article by
Clarissa Falco Website