On a cold December day, in a small room, two people meet and have a pleasant chat about art, surrounded by a beautiful dead moth, a rose plant and a children's book. The name of the artist who I am interviewing today is Giovanni De Lazzari; he works in the area between Bergamo and Lecco; he is a draftsman, an explorer, and a thinker.
I would like to start with the most challenging question: What is art for you?
I find it hard to answer. I will be honest: I don't know. It is such a broad and complex concept to circumscribe that any definition I may produce would be unbearably reductive.
How did your adventure as an artist begin?
It was a path that I would define as "natural". I went to the Art High School in Lecco and then I continued my training at the Carrara Academy in Bergamo. While I was attending the Academy, I began to do my first group exhibitions. My first solo show was held at Ars in Bergamo (now location_e), a small space dedicated to the contemporary artistic research of emerging young artists. Then I continued my education by attending a higher course in Visual Arts at the Ratti Foundation. Since 2009 I have been working with the gallery which still represents me today, “Laveronica”.
Most of the works you make are drawings, can you explain what this technique means to you?
I like the idea of creating, through simple pencil sketches, a space or the illusion that that space exists. It is a technique that offers a glimpse of other mental places.
How do you achieve such a high precision in drawing?
I do a lot of studies and then I continue to modify and improve even the final work. Drawing, at least for me, is a complex activity in which you never stop making mistakes. I often rethink and reworks the forms. The sign is also not a single sign, but rather a layered one. A single sign does not work in that, from an expressive point of view, it often transforms the form into a homogeneous and monotonous whole. You have to overlap signs if you want to give soul and movement to the line. So I draw a line on another line on yet another line. There is a beautiful essay by Gombrich, Leonardo's precepts for composing stories, in which the author outlines the process by which ideas are developed in Leonardo's methodology. His drawings gradually take shapes by means of overlapping, reshaping, and rejections of a previous idea. The result is a drawing that is almost indecipherable, but which records all the steps of the artist’s creative process. Leonardo was never satisfied and continued to rework his drawing by pursuing an unattainable coincidence between imagination and concrete realization.
One of your favorite subjects is nature. Can you tell us why?
Yes, I am almost constantly inspired by nature. I elaborate suggestions that feed my imagination. The first painting that I saw in my life when I was a child, and which is still crucial for me, is Paolo Uccello's Saint George and the Dragon. Nature plays a pivotal role there: it is the symbolic territory which produces the image, the characters, the apparitions. It is a mysterious and unrecognized place which elicits anxiety and fear in man. I feel deeply close to that way of feeling. I have a sort of awe for nature: the secret of eternity is hidden in its cyclical progress.
What other sources feed your imagination?
Reality, when it produces horrors and enchantments.
Could you describe a work and/or a project you are particularly fond of?
It is a small drawing from 2002 which belongs to the series of works entitled Memorandum. It represents a bloody shoe pierced by a nail. It is an emblem, a personal symbol of my life, it is the beginning and the end of what I was and what I am.