Taking a "Raincheck": A Conversation with Louisa Gagliaridi
Louisa Gagliaridi’s debut solo at Galeria Dawid Radziszewski, February 28 through March 28, 2020, in Warsaw, Poland happened in the nick of time, giving us the opportunity to view the everyday through her vapory, fluid reflections, just before we were all sent scuttling indoors to do our own reflections. Otherworldly visuals form a captivating contemporary surrealism in hypnotic works the Swiss artist imbues with a flat, ethereal atmosphere. In visual language, in which the material and surface seem to sublimate the physical, Gagliardi creates an alternate reality where different rules apply. A great part of the uniquely synthetic appearance of her work comes from the fact that her creative process doesn't include classical painting methods. Working on blown-up PVC prints as the main technique, her practice continuously switches between the analog and digital, conventional and progressive. From sketching over digital painting, to hand-enhancement, each aspect of her work seems to be a leap out of the ordinary.
Intrigued by her visuals and modern, technical approach to art-making, we got in touch with Louisa Gagliardi to talk a bit about Raincheck and her practice.
Sasha Bogojev: How would you describe the common theme that pervades your work?
Louisa Gagliardi: I would say the common theme would be our lack of perspective, the inability to face away from our reflection, or to face reality altogether, unable to connect with the world around.
The paintings could suggest upcoming or past little moments of chaos: a flaming cocktail on a flammable rug, a drowning rose, a concentration of cute but slightly worrisome white rabbits with red eyes… In the meantime, amused by the protagonist's lack of awareness and their navel-gazing, the inanimate seem to take a life of their own. They run free and maybe even ignite this little chaos at the expense of their hosts.
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration usually comes from little moments I encounter. An interesting reflection in a window or a puddle, an ad in the street, scenes from movies or cartoons, novels, a moment in a Renaissance painting. I usually write or sketch these ideas down quickly, and often, they are really funny to revisit, as they don’t make much sense, especially the worded one.
And who are your main artistic influences?
As for artistic influences, it depends on shows. For my last show at Dawid, I really wanted to add more texture to the works, so I kept going back to Pierre Bonnard for that. My phone is full of his paintings at the moment. Of course, I have a million more influences, but I’ll keep it simple…
What type of techniques and materials are you currently using?
I use mostly Photoshop, a lot of smudge tool going on, a lot of burn and dodge. I print on a PVC/Vinyl material. Basically the material used for outdoor advertising, but not as coarse.
What draws you to such an unorthodox technique, and how do you achieve the texture and manual feel of the works?
I like it’s almost satin skin-like feel. Once printed, to enhance some parts of the image, or add texture, I will add a layer of different varnishes, mostly gel medium or nail polishes.
What draws you to create such a unique aesthetic?
What drew me to these techniques is that I always wanted to paint but never had the patience/skills to do it properly, so I turned to the computer. It has taken a few steps to arrive there, and I’m still improving. It’s exciting, as the more I “master” the technique, the more doors it opens.