Marisaldi walks many paths at the same time.
The story she tells us is neither linear nor logical,
but fragmentary and full of associations.
So much has been written about Eva Marisaldi in Italy, yet there's a very
high chance you never heard of her. "In the stories Eva stages there's
always something missing" writes Emanuela de Cecco in the last Venice
Biennale's catalogue about her work.
I've always been fascinated by her work. She's most definitely a very
difficult artist to export: there's nothing tangible in her installations,
and watching her videos one after the other makes it look like they're all
made by different artists. For over ten years young Italian artists have been
strongly influenced by her work. Yet she's only 35, and the common link
throughout her work is only that it has been made by her. Yet I can always
recognize her in a group show, there's a mysterious aura in every piece she
makes, and I finally get the chance to solve the mystery.
SP: When did you decide you were an artist?
EM: I never decided, I studied at the Academy, then I had little shows and I
carried on, I tried to have new works for the appointments that happened...
SP: Where do your works come from?
EM: I love it when they come out of nothing, like abstractions. Often though
I have the need for a hinge, a subject around which I construct observations,
this helps me as I never think of making a masterpiece, showing a group of
thoughts seems more honest to me.
SP: Why more honest?
EM: Because I don't have certainties, people can live very well without my
work... but it's a pretext to keep on studying on certain things and to live
in a somewhat particular way, with a particular attention.
SP: When you make a work do you set many rules or do you let it go through
EM: I used to be much closer to the initial project, it was clearer. Now I
know there are operations that are not totally controllable and these
sometimes bring good surprises, but sometimes need to be modified, if not
deleted. By changing constantly between works I have to be open to incidents.
These always enrich me but at times the work suffers from them. Many people
think that my work is not always slick. Sometimes a work comes out with its
own state of grace, but I'm OK with a work that is a bit more edgy, less
friendly. At least on that I claim the autonomy do decide about its form.
SP: I think that after all making a work slick-looking is nothing but a trick
of the trade. These tricks will in time disappear, they won't be the
important side of the work. They're a market factor that shouldn't interest
you. I ask you, does the market factor interest you?
EM: It shouldn't interest me, there is that now I only live off my work, and
inevitably I get told off for certain choices, but I keep doing whatever I
desire. I understand that if someone makes a certain work, even very silly,
that is easily realised, with less problems, to a certain level nobody cares
about what's behind it, which in truth is the most important thing.
SP: How do you see your path? When you think of a work do you ever stop and
think "no, before this I should do something else"?
EM: My dream is to make a movie. Not a big production, I would like to have
an idea that convinces me and make it. I would like something that holds a
longer attention, this I would like.
SP: And a larger audience...
EM: A large public is not really me, I just would like the work to be seen by
people that is not in the art world.
SP: I was thinking of Matthew Barney, and a Cremaster I saw at the cinema...
EM: The cinema as an environment interests me very much, I have some projects
in that direction, but not the big movies. I have some passions, and I would
like to embark upon a big research, very thorough, I have the impression of
not being specialized in anything.
SP: There's something mysterious about your work which is very fascinating,
Often I see artists that I like or don't like as much and I have the
impression that I got everything, or at least caught what there was to catch.
With you there's always an aura of mystery left...
EM: Maybe because there's nothing.
SP: It's not so, I feel there's a mystery to unveil, I don't know why...
EM: I'm touched, this is one of the nicest things one can be told, mystery...
SP: Maybe idealistically I still believe in the idea of the artist, and I
think artists can't do anything else but what they do...
EM: I think the problem of being an artist is that it doesn't stop. This is
something I've been thinking for a long time, I even made a work on this, and
after nine years sometimes I would like to have a break. I can stop some
mornings for a few hours, for circumstances beyond my control, like my
daughter Stella, then I stop, but it's strange to think that only an
imposition is vacation. Because when I go on holiday it's not a vacation...
SP: I understand this very well, does this bother you?
EM: Sometimes. I'm particularly tired in this period.
SP: I think it's also due to the fact there's quite an important war going
on, and this doesn't help. Or at least it doesn't help me personally, these
days I feel like not making a work, as I think "what difference would it
EM: Exactly, this is a serious thing. In Rome I had a really hard time making
this piece. I didn't want it to have anything to do with actuality,
especially because I have nothing interesting to say about actuality, other
than I don't feel close to many decisions made.
SP: I think us artist are very limited in what we can do about it...
EM: My work with the tambourines was about this. I had two little tambourines
where I replaced the leather with velvet, and the cymbals were made of
leather, so there could be no sound coming out of them. Then in the
installation I put music made by tambourines, but it didn't sound like a
rally, just tambourine music.
SP: When you think of a new work, does the finished work live up to the
EM: More or less yes, there's always a variable that pushes a bit.
SP: And how do you see the interpretation of your work?
EM: I used to be like a teacher, explaining everything about my work all the
time, it's not like this anymore...
SP: Generally, are you happy with the interpretation of others?
EM: Sometimes yes, sometimes no, generally I accept it. In this way I feel
free to interpret wrongly anything I want or anything I see. Which is fine
anyway, because if something sparkles you surely it will take you somewhere
SP: What do you tell me about the works you had at the last Venice Biennial?
EM: It's a work with a very simple ides, it's been in my mind for years but I
never had the chance to work on it, the fact that limbs are heavy on the
people who have close relationships. Then I couldn't find a way to visualize
this attention. Then I had a show in Rome where I presented it like a
thought, with the sound of this metal ball fountain that produced melodies,
and these benches. It was a light show, right for Rome. Then the fountain and
the benches ended up in the offices of the Teseco Foundation, and I liked the
thought of people working around it, but the reliefs weren't considered at
all. Then Szeemann asked me to bring them at the Biennale, which was fine
because I was called very late and I didn't convince him with my other
proposals. That's all. We found a way of realizing them with the computer,
starting from photographs that I choose.
SP: Who's the artist you love the most? Besides you, obviously...
EM: I'm not the artist I love the most!
EM: Just because!
SP: How can you say this? How can't your works be your favorite? You made
EM: They're not my favorite, in fact in my house I don't have one. As soon as
I make them they're out, they're not my creatures... there are some that I'm
more affectionate to, other less, but I don't have this kind of attachment...
to your question only writers sprang to mind. Picking one artist is
difficult... Parmigianino, Correggio, all the soft side of art, Rembrandt.
EM: He has a humanity, a grace in treating basic things that moves me.