Edoardo Dionea Cicconi talks about philosophy through contemporary art, alchemy, black holes and semi-legal industrial places. An interview by Maria Abramenko.
What is your cultural background and what has brought you to a decision to become an artist?
I studied Philosophy at University. I quit because I started to work with photography and music. I was part of the underground dark-industrial-electronic scene in Italy, organizing events in squats and semi-legal industrial places. Then I co-founded the Vicious Club in Rome and Alchemy in 2010. It was a cross over club. Dark, smoky, with a word to mouth way to promote the events. We gave to people transparent small papers with drawings about nature, mostly insects. I was curating the identity and communication all-round. A contemporary gallerist was interested about the club and the scene. He made me understand I was doing artworks, not only flyers. We did an exhibition as a collective and it was an amazing experience. Since then, I started to be interested in contemporary art and I tried to put all my background in what I do. I focus on developing series of works. All of them have a specific concept going with a strong identity about form. Putting together form and substance. The care and attention towards the materials and the creative process must correspond to the dedication towards researching a narrative and a strong, underlying concept. I don’t know which starts first, form or concept. But the inseparable bond between form and substance was one of the most interesting things I studied at University for a philosophy exam. And in general, between white and black, between opposites.
You use to work in series, why? What is it that connects them all in a whole?
Working on series and installations let me explore year by year something different. It is always an on-going process, always a challenge, an experiment. But this must take care about “the fil rouge” connecting all of these series. That is very important. Everything must be connected. Both in a form and substance way (the way the artwork is presented and the concept behind). When I started doing art I had one single concept. A series of glass display cases with insects inside. A psychedelia linked to nature, a beauty based upon cruelty, the result of my godfather’s work with entomology, with which I grew up. I called that BSE (Beauty, Sacrifice, Eternity). Then DUSKMANN Prelude which – as an artistic collective – examines the abstract in the world of stones and the modularity of installations, with a large red stone in the centre like a beating heart; MONOLITH, which attempts to symbolically capture the essence of space (in this case in the villa where Galileo wrote Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems) by way of a light projected onto a glass mould which, filtering through it, creates geometric shadows; FRAGMENTS, time as a fragment. Strips of glass that indicate the past (through images imprinted on the glass, like a collective memory) and the future (colored glass or mirrors that already exist, but are still indecipherable like “memories”). A network of strings in the room also symbolizes an Einstein-Rosen bridge that created links between the walls; and the most recent work that examines space-time and its distortions in a perceptive level: XYZT.SP. Only with years I am feeding my research creating a new series of artworks. It is a slow, long term process.
What is fundamental in your artistic research?
Time and Space (and spacetime) intrigue me a lot. As well the latest theories of physics, like the black hole thermodynamics and quantum loop gravity. Time and Space, are two universal themes. I think that all artists in general reflect on them. It is impossible to reflect on something without taking time and space into consideration because it would be something non-existent, without reason. Whichever avant-garde or trend that broke the mould, whichever nihilistic, violent, peaceful and beautiful wave. Everything held onto time and space and everything will take them into account. It really is only when we launch ourselves towards the horizon, the other, that we find ourselves again. By studying the stars, we learn about anatomy, and vice versa. Tending to universal themes is a way to reconcile the macro with the micro. To reconcile ourselves with everything. For me, this is the foundation of existence. All the rest is also interesting, but it comes afterwards.
What importance does music have in your practice?
I grew up with loud music, analogue photography and butterflies. Music is just everything to me.
Please tell us about your current exhibition at MuMe Museum Messina.
I had the opportunity to put forward a project to MuMe, which allowed Contemporary Art to enter inside the museum for the very first time. This was possible thanks to BIAS 2020 with patronage of the Sicilian Department of Cultural Heritage, the City of Messina, the Donà dale Rose Foundation and WISH World International Sicilian Heritage. My installation is in the room where two big Caravaggio paintings are. The project was a challenge. I thought about translating scientific theories into a three-dimensional form, in an installation. I don’t feel as though I have brought works in a broad sense, like paintings. The intent is, in fact, to elevate Caravaggio’s paintings, and therefore elevate the past. To look at it from a different angle. Most of all it is a way to reflect on the continuous flow of reality and time. The wonder you feel at the entrance of the room is linked to the enormous paintings. Continuing to walk, there are places in the room where the viewer’s own image is reflected with the paintings themselves, blending together. The installation emphasizes all of this creating a strong dialogue with the past (so, the dimension of time related to the past). The museum’s collection includes archaeological finds, and both ancient and modern art. It is a jewel for the whole Mediterranean, even safeguarding ancient treasures that were found after Messina’s tragic earthquake. Everything was collected together and put in this enormous anti-seismic cement building that sits brutally in front of the sea. To imagine this place would be exhausting, with its beauty and its uniqueness that really sets it apart.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am developing this new series of kinetic (distorted) mirrors. MuMe has the very first two sculptures. But I am also developing framed artworks having the same kinetic effect. And, thanks to you, all of this will be at Cardi Gallery very soon as an Abramenko curatorial project.
Edoardo Dionea Cicconi
Artist: Edoardo Dionea Cicconi / @edoardo_dionea_cicconi
Interview by Maria Abramenko / @mariabramenko