SOFIA LO BIANCO
PITCH got an exclusive with Sofia Lo Bianco, a sculptor who we stalked on Instagram and begged for a PDF preview of her work.
Unreleased, and nameless, this collection, and Bianco herself, have yet to make themselves known in the online art sphere. She does however sooth me with the fact her CargoCollective site will be up soon.
Take a read of our Q&A with our latest one to watch.
Jamie: How would you describe your aesthetic?
Sofia: My aesthetic is driven by the materials I use. I like exploring the sensitivities or ‘faults’ of materials and any unexpected behaviour they may reveal while I’m working with them. I like assemblages that are precarious and a bit ephemeral, rough and unfinished textures.
I work as an art conservator/restorer and was trained to think about materials in a very technical way. Conservators focus on the scientific properties of materials rather than their expressive qualities and use them in very precise and controlled ways.
I would say my process is influenced by this but it is mostly in reaction to it.
J: Can you explain 'discrete phenomena' and what is has to do with these works?
S: The phrase ‘discrete phenomena’ is basically what the terminology of science attempts to describe. It’s a quote from a book by Alain de Botton called ‘The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work’. Discrete phenomena are the obscure and minute details of nature. They form the foundational logic of science and new technology and to materials scientists and engineers, they are the properties of materials.
Our current state of technology gives us the capacity to engineer very specific traits into materials. I’m interested in the philosophical implications of this and the way in which these technical features might show themselves in a subjective or sensory way.
As materials are applied in, say, design or architecture, all that technical information or those properties are bound up in the final structure. I think that when something deteriorates, is pulled apart or is mal-functioning, then those properties can reveal themselves in a sensory way.
J: How are your materials choices conducive to this working concept?
S: I’m interested in the more unremarkable or less desirable consumer materials like sealants, clingwrap, waxes, films or varnishes etc. These are mostly very synthetic, processed materials that have often had a ton of processing or technology poured into them. They are materials most people would feel quite indifferent about.
J: Texture seems to be important in your work, how do you decide what to mix with what?
S: This happens intuitively, I think. Texture can tell you a lot about how a material has been worked or how an object has been made. Textures can also be lost in processing so I am interested in surfaces that are left unfinished.
I’m also interested in residues; I will tend to include something I’ve used in the process of making something else.
J: Your work is very visually appealing, the first time I saw them I thought they were so beautiful, even though I knew nothing of the subject matter. I think this may have had something to do with your use of pastel colour and transparency. These things are actually quite
"trendy" for lack of a better word, in the fashion world right now. There is often a correlation between art and fashion, were these colour choices something you were aware of or was it more suitability for your intended concept purpose?
S: Thanks ☺ I think both pastels and transparency have associations with ephemeral, or transitional qualities.
A lot of the materials I mentioned earlier are often transparent.
Transparency featured a lot in the work of two of my favourite artists from the Russian constructivist movement; Naum Gabo and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. Gabo, who did a lot of work with early plastics, described his use of transparency as a device to ‘de-materialise’ his work and bring it into the realm of the spiritual. I find this really interesting–and it resonates with me–because his work very much engaged with engineering, industrial production and technology.
Words/ Jamie-Maree Shipton