The Wind from Nowhere. An interview with Cristiano Focacci Menchini

“The Wind from Nowhere” is the first solo show by Cristiano Focacci Menchini (Viareggio, 1986) by New York-based curator Eugenia Delfini (Rome, 1983), which will be up at Eduardo Secci Contemporary in Pietrasanta, Italy until June 19th.

Samuele Menin, artist, curator and art critic based in Milan, interviewed Cristiano for Droste Effect magazine, to introduce us to his practice.

 

Cristiano Focacci Menchini, Eduardo Secci Contemporary , Pietrasanta, interview, drawing, painting

Installation view: Cristiano Focacci Menchini, The Wind from Nowhere at Eduardo Secci Contemporary

 

Samuele Menin: Cristiano, could you please introduce us to your interest in nature and its representation? Where does it come from?

Cristiano Focacci Menchini: Since I was a child, my parents used to take me to the mountains, on the Tuscan Apuane Alps. My father loved birdwatching, mushroom picking, discovering and observing nature in all its forms, and this was very relevant for my personal growth.
Later, when I started attending the Fine Arts Academy in Venice, and began to make my first steps into the world of painting, it came natural to me to keep going back to those places.
I began painting small watercolors that depicted decomposing leaves and branches, along with fragments of a humid underwood; over the course of time and thanks to practice, these small portions of landscape have grown to become more complex and evocative.

 

Cristiano Focacci Menchini, Eduardo Secci Contemporary , Pietrasanta, interview, drawing, painting

Installation view: Cristiano Focacci Menchini, The Wind from Nowhere at Eduardo Secci Contemporary

 

SM: The human figure never appears in your artwork, but its simulacrum is often present, reduced to scraps or rubbles. Why?

CFM: It’s a matter of attraction; at the moment, I am fascinated by representations such as a discarded car, scraps, wreckages, or a dead palm, seen in their tranquility, in the passage of time, in their slow and unavoidable decay. In those cases, man is there but as a reflection, like a witness who observes and represents what he sees.

SM: How important are drawings in your research?

CFM: They are the structure of the painting, they allow me to understand, build and develop an image.
At Atelier F, the painting class by Carlo di Raco I attended in Venice, prime importance was given to the study of drawing; as a daily task, we had to achieve at least one drawing in our personal notebook that the professor would check weekly.
Through that daily practice, drawing became a personal language capable of forming new imageries.

 

Cristiano Focacci Menchini, Eduardo Secci Contemporary , Pietrasanta, interview, drawing, painting

Installation view: Cristiano Focacci Menchini, The Wind from Nowhere at Eduardo Secci Contemporary

 

SM: When we met during your residency at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice, I remember you were working on ancient maps, drawn in a detailed way, like a medieval botanical expert would. Now, in these works installed at the Eduardo Secci Gallery, plants and nature are always the main subject but your gesture is more soft and the gaze is opened: no more clippings of nature but landscapes… What do you think the direction of your future research will be?

CFM: I am trying to keep this double feature: on the one hand I am working with an analytical and detailed approach, and on the other in a more elusive and evocative way.
In the last year, I have sought to load my work with a new narrative power. If at first I depicted landscapes apparently stable and quiet, where the composition rhythm suggested a growth or a spontaneous decay of the elements, now I am introducing into the painting a different kind of structure, in order to generate images loaded with a new tension and motion.
For example, The Wind From Nowhere, the painting named after the title of this exhibition, is inspired by a J. G. Ballard novel where an unexpected and uncanny wind rages around the world, gradually increasing its speed and sweeping away everything. I chose to represent the initial moment in history when the wind is still in power, ready to explode in its arcane force.
My research looks into fantasy literature. At this time I am in Milan, at the print shop 74/b by Ivan Pengo, preparing a cycle dedicated to some tales that I’ve already selected. It will be a series of engravings. The work is still developing, but I feel that new solutions are being born.

Cristiano Focacci Menchini: The Wind from Nowhere, curated by Eugenia Delfini, is at Eduardo Secci Contemporary in Pietrasanta, Italy until June 19th, 2016

 

Cristiano Focacci Menchini, Eduardo Secci Contemporary , Pietrasanta, interview, drawing, painting

Installation view: Cristiano Focacci Menchini, The Wind from Nowhere at Eduardo Secci Contemporary

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