"Seven Musicians" (work in progress)
We paid a visit to Lapo Simeoni at his studio in Prenzlauer Alle, Berlin, and asked him some questions regarding his work, studio process, and crucifixes.
What themes you explore in your art?
Themes like pollution, areas of conflict, icons, urban transformation and consumerism. I analyze what happened, and contrast the past with the present.
When did you move to Berlin and has the change of scenery affected your work?
I moved to Berlin over two years ago. Since my move, I've become more open to other forms of media and the combination of mixed media in my works.
Orange is a consistent color in your latest works, what is its significance?
Orange represents emergency and conflict. Here in Germany, the ambulances are orange. Orange has become a trademark in my works. I implement this color to call the attention of the viewer.
What areas of Berlin do you visit to get inspiration?
I would say the Ostkreuz area for its abandoned buildings and constructions with deserted materials. This is the place where I collect most of my current ideas.
What's the role of planning vs spontaneity in your work?
When it comes to painting, I do it spontaneously. Planning is something I do in multi-level works of mixed media. Sometimes I visualize and construct a project in my mind, and once I figure out how to do it, I start building it. This can take up to several years.
Do you have a routine in your studio?
My studio work has no routine. Sometimes I come to my studio and work for 3 hours or up to 9 hours and longer. There are times I just contemplate my work and think of what I have done and what I'm looking to achieve. It varies at times. I go back and forth with my work; I search and collect materials and organize them.
What's your daily life like when you are not in creation mode?
There is no such thing for me as doing something outside of my work. Everything I do, even when I am not in my studio, is close to my work. In my free time, I go to the flea markets. I like to collect and find things that appeal to me in a strange way and that becomes a subject in my future projects. I'm not obsessed with my work, it comes naturally. I like to explore new materials as well as reaching new communication levels during my research.
What items do you collect and use in your work?
The references I use to implement in my projects are based on a collective imagination of television and media. I search for icons and symbols that can be easily captured through various states of mind. I am very interested in religion even though I am not a religious person. I am fascinated with crucifixes and the impact that the icon of Christ has in art over the centuries. I also collect old litographs from all over the world which I incorporate with other forms of media.
Which artists have influenced your work?
Among some of the artists I admire for their techniques and ideas dealing with the past, present and future are: Alexis Harding, Francesco Irnem, Rana Rashid, Nicola Samorì, Kiki Smith, Gerhard Richter, Francesco Vezzoli, Aaron Van Erp, Nicola Vascellari, Eloise Ghioni, Antony Gormley, Rachel Whiteread, Moira Ricci, Andrea Mastrovito, Os Gemeos, Blu, Candida Höfer, Massimo Vitali, ZEVS, Richard Colman, Ragnar Kjartansson, Rudolf Stingel and Luca Pozzi.
What are your sources of research and analysis in your work?
I base my work on anarchist literature from Raoul Vaneigem, on anthropology science by Maurizio Galimberti, as well as media communication and television. The focus of my research is to translate the collapse of consumerism and icons in the midst of times.
When is your next upcoming show?
My next show is Art Verona INDEPENDENT SELECTION at Art.Lab Gallery from the 8th through the 13th of October, 2014. The following month in November, I have a group exhibition with Aaron Van Erp and Dario Carratta at Nomad Gallery in Bucharest.
(Work in progress)
"It is simply your last connection to that vanished world", 2014. (wax frame and spray on copper) 60 x 50 x 6 cms
"Gli Iluminati", 2014. (mixed media sculpture) variable dimension
"Through the Mirrow", 2013. (oil spray and bitume on wood) 18.5 x 27 cms
A vintage bag Simeoni acquired at a flea market containing unknown old film tapes and slides, among other unexplored things.
Lapo Simeoni was born in Orbetello, Grosseto in 1979. He studied at the Saint Martins school in London, where he completed the Foundation Course in Art and Design in 2002. In 2008, he won the international MOVIN' UP project, organized by the GAI organization, holding his first double personal exhibition in Beijing (China), curated by Filippo Salviati. In 2009, he organized and participated in the exhibition 7 ITALIAN VISION in Basel during Art Basel (Switzerland). Simeoni held his first personal exhibition in Rome, "Mind the Gap" curated by Francesa Franco at the Altri Lavori in Corso gallery in 2010. In 2011, he participated in the exhibition ARS APOCALIPSIS - KUNST UND KOLLAPS KUNSTVEREIN KREIS GÜTERSLOH, (Germany), curated by Malte & Henning Boecker. This year, he co-curated and participated at "The Grass Grows" during Art Basel (Switzerland).