Forward by MANUELA PORCU, FAIR DIRECTOR, MILAN
It was love at first sight with Giulio Zanet’s artworks. They are an explosion of colour and dynamic movement that make you want to keep looking at them, again and again. Nothing could be more suitable to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Affordable Art Fair Milan (7 – 9 February 2020, Superstudio Più) and the joy of collecting contemporary art. So, it was without hesitation that we selected one of his works to be featured in the fair campaign that will decorate the city in 2020.
We were introduced to Giulio with thanks to Arianna Beretta of Circoloquadro, an independent non-profit space which aims to support emerging artists, bringing their contemporary works to a wider audience, while also supporting collectors interested in emerging Italian artists, talent scouting the hottest new artists. As such, Circoloquadro is a the perfect place to discover artists who are at the beginning of very promising careers, such as Giulio Zanet.
Giulio, who was born in 1984, is already an indisputable talent who has already marked several important milestones, including international residencies, solo exhibitions and winning awards. Giulio’s work has been included in the Benetton Imago Mundi collection and in the Artist Pension Trust Collection in London; and we can’t wait to not only exhibit his work at the next Affordable Art Fair Milan but also feature one of his exciting pieces in the fair campaign!
We asked Arianna, Circoloquadro Director and art historian, who knows Giulio well to speak to him in advance of all this exciting activity. Read on for the interview….
MEET CAMPAIGN ARTIST GIULIO ZANET
Arianna Beretta: Where does your interest in painting as a medium come from?
Giulio Zanet: I probably always breathed a bit of artistic air at home. When I was young my mum played the piano and my dad painted. Then they both stopped over the years, perhaps too busy with us kids or with the necessities of life. When I was a teenager, the first form of expression I approached was music; I tried to learn to play the guitar, I played with friends, but after some time I realised that it wasn't for me. Then I tried writing stories with the ambition of becoming a writer, but not long after I realised that this wasn't for me either. Then came painting, where I fell in love. And I haven't stopped since. I enjoyed it and I was good enough, so I chose it as my language to express everything that I had inside that needed to be expressed.
AB: Do you think that painting still makes sense in today’s art market?
GZ: Yes, absolutely. Any talk about the death of painting makes no sense. So much so that painting is making a huge comeback; there are so many young emerging painters. Painting will make sense as long as human beings exist. It’s mankind’s oldest expressive form, and it connects us to our origins. It makes sense because it’s timeless. It will always find new life in new living artists. Painting is a way of being in the world and I think there will always be people who will choose it as their way.
AB: What inspires your work?
GZ: Everything I do, live, see, read. My inspiration is life. I live, so I paint. I keep asking myself if what I do makes sense, and maybe the fact that deep, deep down it doesn't is why I keep doing it. That is enough for me in terms of inspiration.
AB: Which artists have influenced your work the most?
GZ: I love so many artists. As a boy I loved Egon Schiele, then I loved Bacon, then Schifano. I still love them all, in addition to Hockney, Sol LeWitt, Burri, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, Matisse, Richter, Malevich, Morris Louis, Ellsworth Kelly. And of course, there's many others whose names I've forgotten. I devour art, I see a lot of it and store it in my memory. And it's not just painting that influences my work, it’s everything I read and watch – literature and cinema have a great role in my imagination.
AB: What does a typical day in your studio look like?
GZ: I wake up around nine in the morning. After a quick breakfast I walk to the studio, taking the chance to walk my dog too. In the studio I listen to music, I read, I sit and look at what I created the day before or look at the still-blank canvases. I try to imagine what will happen on those surfaces. I work until one o'clock, then I either go home or I stay in the studio and my girlfriend visits so that we can eat lunch together. Around 3 pm I start working again and I continue until 7 or 8 pm. Then I go to a bar to have an aperitif before returning home, always with my dog. I meet up with my girlfriend again for dinner and we spend the evening together. This is a typical day, but then of course there are days where I don't do anything, and days where instead of staying in the studio I go to see exhibitions or meet up with friends.
AB: Can you tell us about your creative process?
GZ: I usually start by choosing the base material - I use paper, canvas, PVC, various fabrics – after which I throw some colour on it, very instinctively, almost randomly; I never have a specific image of what I want to do in mind. Then, more rationally, I try to create some order within the initial chaos I made. So, it's often about removing things. This is an aspect that I consider important in my work. There’s a lot of error and failure, and an awareness of defeat. It's like life, we all know we have to die, but we don't kill each other because of it.
AB: What do you consider the most rewarding and stimulating aspects of being an artist today?
GZ: Definitely the interactions. The people that I have gotten to know over the years, thanks to what I do, is the part of my career that makes me confident I followed the right path. And then of course the good fortune that I’m doing what I like to do, not having a schedule, enjoying a certain freedom. I continue to feel lucky and privileged doing what I do, despite the many difficulties in having made this choice.
AB: What are your thoughts on promoting your work? Do you think it’s important to have gallery representation?
GZ: I try to promote my work as much as possible. I use the relationships that I’ve gradually created with those working in the arts, and with the public. And then I try to use social media which these days is of significant importance, even though I think I'm not very good at it. Being represented by a gallery is definitely important but not essential. It acts like a guarantor, as if it guarantees the quality of your work. It's a question of reputation.
AB: What is the most memorable moment of your career to date?
GZ: I'm not sure. There have been exhibitions and awards that I consider important moments in my journey. I was chosen for a residence in Berlin, won the Cairo and Lissone awards, had a personal exhibition at Circoloquadro and another at Fonderia Battaglia, but I haven't really felt like I’ve reached a pinnacle. I guess, if something memorable occurs, we'll know it after I'm gone!
AB: Your work was chosen to be featured in the Affordable Art Fair Milan campaign: what did you think when you found out? Will you be creating bespoke works to exhibit at the fair?
GZ: I was really excited! And I'm going to work on a large, site-specific project for the fair in collaboration with Circoloquadro.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Giulio’s work in the run up to Affordable Art Fair Milan (7 – 9 February 2020, Superstudio Più) and why not sign up to the newsletter to stay in the loop on Giulio’s exciting installation, ticket offers and all the news about the 10th anniversary fair.
All images of artist Giulio Zanet, with his bright colourful works.