Munchies Art Club Magazine welcomes and shares with you the work and interview from the brilliant artist Fabio Viscogliosi represented by the L21 Gallery.
Fabio Viscogliosi arranges and rearranges materials that create personal and collective echoes
Fabio Viscogliosi is a contemporary artist who lives and works between Lyon, France and Geneva, Switzerland.
His artistic practice is focused on painting and drawing and inspired by different influences like comics, literature, burlesque cinema or graphic design.
The artist is represented by the L21 Gallery and has shown his work in places such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (Lyon), Museum of Decorative Arts (Paris), Galerie du Jour – Agnès B. (Paris), and more recently at the Intermediatheque in Tokyo.
He has also published several novels in France.
Viscogliosi received the Prince Pierre de Monaco award for his book Je suis pour tout ce qui aide à traverser la nuit (Stock, 2010).
He also made comic books (Da Capo, L’association, 2010) and art zines, like the current Belvédères series in duet with Luca Retraite.
As a musician, he has recorded several albums, and has collaborated with artists like Amedeo Pace (Blonde Redhead) or Vanessa Paradis.
His new record, « Camera”, was published in 2021.
1. Who is Fabio Viscogliosi? Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m a French artist, living and working in Lyon and Geneva, represented by L21 Gallery in Palma de Mallorca.
2. Painter, singer, musician, writer, acting, your artistic talents are very impressive. Do you move from one to the other? Does one touch you more? 20 years ago, what did you think or hope you would do today?
I’ve been doing all this since my teen years, so I guess it became a natural way of life.
There are many connections and echoes between the different things I do, painting or writing, for me it’s all in the same geography, the same mood.
It’s a constant dialogue between shapes, words, sounds, sometimes tiny details that respond each other.
But I also like to focus on a particular medium or technique, trying to experiment what I can really do with a tool, a simple brush on the canvas, for example.
Twenty years ago I was hoping to reach the place where I am today, being able to practice what I like the most, more and more often.
3. You live in France, but your background is Italian. Which culture would you say translates most into your work?
Yes, I grew up in France with strong Italian roots, my father always told us stories about his childhood in Italy, so it became a sort of dreamy land for me, a place to refer, and this had a big influence in my life, my point of view.
At the same time, I learned about French culture and art history, trying to master the literary language, for example.
I feel deep in my heart the burlesque melancholy of the Italian people, as well as the mechanical precision of French syntax to approach reality.
So I guess I am a combination of all that, always searching a position between these two poles.
4. Where do the ideas for your paintings stem from?
From details, books, pictures, forgotten songs, postcards, objects around me, something I see walking in the street, memories, etc.
My work is autobiographical, in the sense that I constantly arrange and rearrange materials that create personal and collective echoes.
Every object or figure have a specific and very concrete shape to explore, but is also a clue to something else, connected with background images and stories.
I also like to play with the classic icons - landscape, still life, portrait -, I like to question them through new situations of my own, always shifting my window.
5. Where do you work? Tell us a bit about your studio and your rituals.
My studio is in my house, so I can work anytime.
I like the everyday routine, I wake up early and start with a drawing and a cup of green tea.
I like these moments, this state of mind when all is not totally clear and directed by will, a sort of letting go, the hand drives in surprising places.
I prefer to work alone, usually in silence to stay focus on the canvas.
I use very basic tools, a pencil, a simple brush, industrial paint.
When I have finished, I sometimes listen to a song, as a reward - Jonathan Richman or The Jesus and Mary Chain, for example, something speed or noisy to dance on.
6. You have written books, have also published comic books and art zines. How does a vision translate into one or the other?
I like to work on situations, the way forms fit together in a particular space, a precise climate.
This manifests itself both in my stories or in the organization of my paintings.
Each detail thus acquires great importance – a look, the folds of a jacket, a hand, the orientation of a branch, the gap between two shapes, all of this takes on an existential dimension that moves me.
I also like to see my works in their continuity, each painting as the fragment of a long imaginary sentence.
It’s not a literal narrative, but a very musical movement in my eyes.
7. What makes you happy today?
My family, the long conversations I have with my children, talking about art, drawings and paintings, this keep me always questioning.
In my work, I’m especially happy that all the things are coming together now, more and more people are feeling the connections between these different things I made, perceiving the big picture, the mood that embraces it all.
8. What one piece of advice would you share with young emerging artists?
My son is in Art School, so we often have these kind of discussions.
It’s always presumptuous to give any advice, a fortiori to someone younger.
But from my own experience I would say to believe in your own intuitions, and to think about the economy behind each object you build (Eric Rohmer, the French director, did incredible movies with very little money).
Also, to have a certain taste for solitude, to stay calm and joyful.
9. How and when did you connect with the L21 Gallery? Congratulations, we are huge fans!
Five years ago, Oscar Florit invited me to take part in a collective exhibition in Palma de Mallorca (« 20CM from the ground »), and then he asked me to join the gallery.
We immediately understood each other intuitively.
You don't meet someone like him every morning, this man is special.
I felt that he really trusted my universe, supporting me with great enthusiasm, it’s really rare to find that kind of support and energy.
With all the L21 team, he's built something amazing, very dynamic to work with, I'm grateful to be part of it.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.
Thanks to you for your questions and insight into my work.
Fabio Viscogliosi (b. 1965, Oullins)
Lives and works between Lyon and Geneva
Degree in applied arts, Lyon (FR)
SOLO EXHIBITIONS AT L21
The Garden. L21, Mallorca (ES)
Home Recordings. L21, Mallorca (ES)
GROUP EXHIBITIONS AT L21
EXODUS, K11 Musea and Gallery Ascend, Hong Kong (CN)
Eating a vegan sandwich on the train while listening to country music. L21 LAB, Palma de Mallorca (ES)