Cristina Mangini, an interview
Aktualisiert: Apr 15
Which readings, visual, sound or cinematographic works have influenced or are influencing your work?
Thanks for your interest in my work. They often ask me where my ideas and my artistic productions come from. I would say everything because it is what we see or do daily that influences my production.
How are you experiencing this difficult time of the pandemic? Is your work moving forward or do you feel held back and disheartened (due to lack of contacts/resources)?
This period, certainly, led us to reflect on the concept of relationship, suddenly blowing up all individual and collective certainties. We have been forced to separate each other, to physical distancing, in the face of a higher and collective good, to preserve the health of all. During this particular period, the programming of exhibitions and events stopped, but, luckily, I built new relationships, adding new contacts for upcoming collaborations and future projects.
From a production point of view, in this period, I begin to work on a new series: “Spazio Prossemico”. It is a series that has space as distance as its main theme. These are small-sized works (A4) made with pastels on paper. By definition, Proxemics indicates the space that is adopted by people when they build relations. Proxemics can give us important information about the type of relationship that exists between two or more interlocutors. During the lockdown, our space has changed: we learn how far we have to stay from the people in order not to come into contact with others. We, therefore, know the border that defines ourselves. This border is represented in my drawings through a circumference created with an essential grey line which, for the right perspective, appears as an ellipse. After this bad moment, we will retain possession of our time, our affections and our vital space. I would say that, therefore, my work has never stopped, but has evolved through new stimuli and points of view.
Does the seriality of your compositions induce calm in the observer, does it reflect an emotional state or the search for serenity in progress?
Seriality arises from continuous research. And research is always a "work in progress". My works born from numerous reasoning and compositional tests, I try to always achieve an overview as if everything were a photographic film surrounded by an aura of mystery. Apparent calm, combined with serenity and silence, is perhaps the particularity that most pleases those who observe my artwork: we always need to observe what makes us feel good.
Why do you choose to arrange your objects neatly by creating a circle and a time suspension? How did you come to this result? Do you think your work can move in other directions?
The choice of circularity was born from a constructive development to recreate an environment, a circumscribed space able to activate energy. Arranging a series of things in a circle allows every single element to interact with the other components of the geometric shape, according to a mutual and infinite exchange of glances. The series of drawings “Around” create a three-dimensional ordered, almost sculptural and installational environment. The subjects represented are objects that arouse emotions, memories and thoughts. Like all the artistic projects, sooner or later, this one will have an end or maybe a future development.
Your series seems to float on a Cartesian plane, they are devoid of shadows… as if they were mental projections, can you tell us about them?
They consist of "Mental projections". It is, precisely, a mental equilibrium before becoming representative balance. In reality, the shadow is present but it is a minimal detail, just enough to make it perceive that the objects rest on an invisible plane. The eternal memory is impalpable.
You wrote in your biography that you started to express yourself as a painter. Why, actually, have you chosen the drawing and the pastel colours as your main expression?
I was born a painter, and I feel a strong chromatic sensitivity. I have educated my perception of colour over the years, but lately, I have started to change artistic media and work tools. The pastels were real love at first sight!
For practical reasons, to realize sketches, I started drawing with crayons (the pencil and paper's sheets occupy considerably less volume than canvases, brushes, acrylics and enamels). If, before, they were just preparatory sketches, then they have become real artistic creations, embellished with a more poetic and suggestive texture, characteristic of pastels' softness. I also realize some of my artworks on canvas. It would be just impossible for me to think of completely abandoning painting!
How do you select the objects of your compositions? I see the attention to their functionality (the masks), a taste for the repetitiveness specular to industrial mass production (the cardboard boxes that recall the postal parcels of companies like Amazon) but in some series also a more marked desire to play (the chess, Marshmallows, marbles).
I am fascinated by what surrounds us, by what is used or by what revives ancient memories. I start from the assumption that every object has its own potentially infinite historical memory: an object left where it is can live forever.
I like to give voice to objects that stir up inner movements and to which we feel more connected. With a simple object you can describe contemporaneity (eg: "Masks", "Cardboard boxes", "Keys" ...) fear (eg my drawings "Pills", "Sticks", "Knives" ...) pain ( eg: "Scalpels", "Punes", "Patches" ...) taste and smell (eg: "Chocolates", "Candies", "Marshmallow", "Coffee", "Icicles", "Olives", "Cherries "...) the joy of childhood and the melancholy of the past (eg:" Darts "," Marbles "," Soldiers "," Balloons "," Domino "...) the memory of a loved one (eg:" Buttons ", "Thimbles", "Lipsticks", "Enamels", "Pencils", "Chairs", "Chess" ...) nature (eg: "Hay", "Poppies", "Fish", "Pine cones", "Plants" ...). Basically everything! They are not universal emotions, therefore every object, even though it is always the same, arouses different sensations in each of us, sensitively completing the “Around” series.
You are a Decoration's expert and you teach the students of the BA and MA at the University in Bari. I assume your link with Decorative Arts is fundamental, and you work as an advertising and editorial graphics. Would you like to tell us something about it?
I think I was born to be an artist. As a child, I always created, designed and built things. But my serious and mature approach to art began when I finished my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bari in 2012. When I was no longer just a student, the desire to access the contemporary art sector started to be persuasive. I wanted to take my own path pursuing it with awareness and professionalism, finally, building my artistic poetry. I had the opportunity to remain within the academic environment in the role of Cultivator of the subject for the three-year and two-year specialization (until 2018) alongside the great masters of the school of decoration in teaching applied arts. They were years of further experience and training for the students I followed and to whom I tried to pass on my experience. I helped them to reflect unusually, to carry out collective and individual art projects and to think like artists, and not just like crafters. In subsequent years, some of them even thanked me! It's nice to know that I left a trace… In the meantime, I have perfected my digital knowledge and I also professionally trained as a Senior Graphic Designer working for communication and marketing agencies in advertising and editorial graphics. I also collaborate with some photographic studios as an Art Director. Nowadays, art also needs the "visual" and to be contaminated with new media and languages. Basically, it is fundamental to involve digital tools and cutting-edge programs.
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