Interview with Ludovica Gioscia

Ludovica is a London based artist born in Rome. She graduated with an MFA Fine Art Media from the Slade School of Art in 2004 and has been exhibiting internationally since. Recent solo exhibitions include Patterns of Trade (with Jebila Okongwu), Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan (2015), Neurotic Seduction Astral Production, John Jones Project Space, London (2014), Mineral Rush Flamingo Crush, Galleria Mangiabarche, Calasetta (2013) and Forecasting Ouroboros, MACRO, Rome (2012). Recent group exhibitions include Toast, Atelierhaus Salzamt, Linz (2016), Imitation Game, Maraya Art Park, Sharjah (2015) and Liquid Lead, Off Biennale Cairo, Darb 1718, Cairo (2015).

DC - What made you decide to become an artist?

LG - A profound fascination with materials and colour that, like many artists, I’ve had since I was a child.

DC - What inspires you? (and/or) Which artists inspire you, and why?

LG - Katharina Grosse’s immersive chromatic installations, Thomas Hirschhorn’s labyrinthic environments, Samara Scott’s intriguing exploration of household products as sculptural material, Karla Black’s avalanches of powdered cosmetics, Josh Blackwell’s embroidered plastic bags, AVAF’s carnival favelas (in particular the one they realised in 2008 which was nested in the open-air archaeological site of Largo Argentina in Rome) and Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculpture garden based on the esoteric tarot in Tuscany.

DC - You often discuss how your work explores consumerism. How do you think consumerism manifests in western society today? Do you think it is changing?

LG - Packaging design and adverts in general are some of my investigative sources. They are excellent baselines to track changes in consumers’ needs and fears and marketing strategies. In 2009 I started manically collecting cosmetic adverts. Around that time I noticed that since a few years beforehand, make-up was no longer advertised as an intact flawless product but as consumed. It was depicted as being destroyed, dissected, pulverized, smeared, crumbled… To me this clearly indicated a change in our relationship to consumption, in which perhaps the ever increasing acceleration of the cycle of consumption has lead to an unconscious shift in our desires. As space in most cities diminishes and storing things becomes prohibitively expensive and our landfills are crammed we can no longer accumulate as we did before. Perhaps we have interiorised these issues to such a degree that we are now aroused by destruction: something already consumed doesn’t need to be stored, it is already disposed of, and we can freely and endlessly consume the already consumed.

DC - You cite science fiction as an influence on your work. What aspects of sci-fi inspire you?

LG - Imagining life in multiverses is probably what inspires me the most in sci-fi. My series of compressed paper geological-like formations, the Debrocks, stem from this interest. These are rocks made from destructured magazines and publications that are forced into becoming rocks with the aid of vacuum storage bags and a hoover. In a fictional parallel universe consumer goods are the local geology.

DC - You describe yourself as a compulsive hoarder. When did this habit begin? What do you think encouraged it?

LG - My mum accumulated stuff to the extent that it might have been a form of hoarding. It is difficult to say, as she kept it all very organised, our house was full of lists describing the contents of boxes and wardrobes. She belonged to a generation that mended things and regarded the act of discarding as wasteful. I’ve inherited the impulse of preserving potentially useful stuff from her, and I also organise it in a similar way to how she used to. The difference is that my collections are only useful within the context of art making. My studio and cellar host dozens and dozens of plastic containers filled with magazines clippings, Apple packagings, ash, bits of plastic collected on the beach, Paninaro paraphernalia, etc.

These collections then get activated in a variety of ways; they may become part of a sculpture or an installation or presented as an archive. For instance in 2011 the destroyed cosmetic ads collection was activated in the installation Exfoliate, Cleanse & Tone, in which the clippings were divided into the seven colours of the rainbow and presented as a chroma-led archive.

DC - You currently have a large scale site-specific installation at the Maraya Art Park in Sharjah. Can you tell us more about the exhibition and the work you have in the show?

LG - The show is called Imitation Game and it is curated by Dr. Alexandra MacGilp. It consists of newly commissioned outdoor sculptures that look at what makes us human in the digital age. I was asked to realise a new site-specific wallpaper installation, entitled Oceanic Subconscious Inhales Bionic Symphony. My Giant Decollages are massive hoardings of images which are layered and exposed in fragments, and for this project I worked in an intuitive way. I wanted images that are present in my subconscious to surface in an erratic way, to mimic the kind of fragmented navigation we might experience online. I feel like the internet is connecting our subconscious, creating a cacophonic and giant collective one. The images I was thinking about were female incarnations of artificial intelligence, from the 1970’s American series Bionic Woman which I grew up with to more recent examples such as the bot Evie and LaTurbo Avedon.

DC - What are you working on right now? (and/or) What future projects have you got coming up?

LG - At the moment I am working towards my next solo show, in which I envisage a collapse of numerous of my archives into one big installation.