Pamela Campagna: From conception to creation
Pamela Campagna was born in Bari and after travelling and living abroad for 15 years has returned to the south of Italy.
In 2006 Pamela moved to Seville, where she co-founded with Tori Scheiderbauer L-ABLE, an art and design studio, concentrating its graphic work on international cultural and social issues. It went on to create campaigns and publications for Solidariedad Internacional, UNICEF, FeSt – festival of scenic art of Seville and the Museum of Architecture of Seville.
Since 2011 her research through art is directed to question the mutation and the impermanence of perceptions and feelings. Pamela would like that her artworks act like open questions about our way of being related to life and to human relations, bringing up the possibility to visualise invisible connections and inner revelations.
Recently she has been experimenting with different medias, but what she found most responsive to her questions is the use of fibers for a matter of tension between the simplicity and the flexibility of the material and the possibility to build fragile and complex architectures. Pamela says:
“The threads are single lines which can be extended to infinite, defining and dividing a space by itself but having also the possibility of creating meaningful interferences when they interact with other threads and with the environment. This makes me think about the interdependence that we have with the others and that we weave in being alive.”
Her work has been exhibited in several museums, cultural centers and galleries that include the CaS – Arts Centre in Seville, the Museum of Decorative Arts – Palace of the Louvre, Paris, and also exhibited in international events such as Graphisme dans la Rue in Paris, at the 100% Design exhibition in Tokyo and Seoul.
In this interview, which is part of our From conception to creation series, Pamela discusses an artwork created this year entitled Rhizomes. We learn where her ideas come from, who her main influences are and how experimentation is crucial to her creativity.
Name of piece: Rhizomes
Year of piece: 2016
Size of piece: 50 x 50
Materials used: Gutermann threads
Techniques used: Weaving by knotting
A crash of meanings
TextileArtist.org: How did the idea for the piece come about? What was your inspiration?
Pamela Campagna: It is fascinating to go back and individualise where thoughts and ideas come from, especially if you work as a visual artist submerged in a constant observation and visual interpretation of things. I have a continuous attitude in assembling pieces of reality in visual incidents: photos which often lead to a crash of meanings and unexpected metaphors. I share it on my instagram account in case you are curious to see it! I see those poetical accidents as synchronic revelations which help me to understand life.
Also, while I am working, the same art piece interfere with the tools, with the gesture, the light, the landscape, the people and with other pieces which I have on the table and that makes me believe that art, as us, exists only in relation. We change constantly depending on whom we are speaking to, so does the art pieces, changing depending on the environment and the surroundings.
I am interested in generating a new approach of thinking and making, and to do so I need to put myself in a state of chaos, in that situation in which I loose the control and the security on who I am and what I like, trying to remove my aesthetic and ethic parameters, I am addicted to new beginnings.
Sometimes what comes out is something I cannot really accept because it is new for my perception, but I found this moment really interesting and difficult at the same time because I am facing something I am not prepared for, but that can be a glimpse of the future.
I was looking at my phone to see the images I made in the last few months and here I return you something like a mood board of the pre-creation period.
The door to spirituality
While, inspiration is an instant excitement of the brain and I know when is happening and what is provoking it.
Looking at her works I really perceived how art can be the door to spirituality, a virtual elliptical space which goes in and out of you, giving the rhythm to connect you with the unknown.
I have the same perception when I face Anish Kapoor artwork, his devices embrace for me the essential role of art in this moment.
As Marshall McLuhan writes:
“I am curious to know what would happen if art were suddenly seen for what it is, namely, exact information of how to rearrange one’s psyche in order to anticipate the next blow from our own extended faculties”
Unfortunately, that’s not so easy to achieve.
Movement and expressions
What research did you do before you started to make?
The main core of my work is the experimentation and innovation of techniques.
Lately, I wanted to develop a system which would allow me to create artworks weaving the lines and the landscape together, it means that the interconnected threads were interspersed by transparency and this makes the background be part of the art piece.
I’ve got there by taking private classes of bobbin lace and I went to Burano where there are professional weavers developing amazing works with the “punto in aria” (literally “stitch in the air”) technique.
After learning some of those techniques I realized that I was not interested in realizing symmetric patterns, Kandinsky maybe would say that this didn’t respond to my inner necessity, but I wanted to give my work a more jazzy rhythm, having threads knotted together in a rhizomatic structure in which the threads were all interconnected with no hierarchy.
The shapes I’m looking for are influenced by the observation of the geometry of the skin and its way of adapting to movement and expressions, I imagine those works like an abstraction of the epidermis’s structure.
But I was also dipping my nose in different books about sacred geometry, about the development of natural forms and the relation between rhythm and rituals, but I have still a lot to deepen.
A new design approach
Was there any other preparatory work?
For having this asymmetrical/geometrical result, it was necessary the development of a new design approach, where the lines didn’t follow a progressive pattern, but a random layout which only at the end could make the sense of the whole.
So the hardest part was to design the route of the crossing threads in a way which was actually realizable.
What materials were used in the creation of the piece? How did you select them? Where did you source them?
I prefer to reduce the art piece to the minimum so I have been using only black thread and integrate the loom as part of the work.
What equipment did you use in the creation of the piece and how was it used?
I’m in love with the touch of the olive wooden bobbins which I use as needles, but if I don’t have enough I recycle the green plastic one and I also use pins to fix the knots.
The photo shooting, Livia Mattoni photographed the artwork in an open space, we went to the salt flats in Margherita di Savoia, a surreal place with pink water and a vast amount of spectacular birds and pink flamingo. It was a really calm and bright day when all of the sudden a light wind got up and that made us understand the sense of all that.
What journey has the piece been on since its creation?
They are recently born, but I hope that they will fly soon.
Let us know what your favourite aspect of the artist’s work is by leaving a comment below.