Artist Interviews 2023

Annalù Boeretto  
By Laura Siebold

Photo: Monica Perin

Annalù Boeretto is an Italian artist based in Venice, Italy. We first encountered Annalu’s work at The LA Art Show in February 2023. Especially the artist’s “Dreamcatchers”, fine art sculptures made of resin glass, Murano glass, paper, and inks caught our eye. Annalu’s sculptures, and corresponding NFT art, invites the viewer into a dreamlike state, a journey through space and time. Her “Dreamcatchers” seem to have no beginning, and no end, but exist in a metamorphic realm of three-dimensionality. I n her interview, the artist tells us more about the vision behind her art, concepts of temporality and timelessness, and the artistic legacy of her poetic work.

Photo: Annalù

What does art mean to you? Have you always dreamed of becoming an artist? Did you receive a formal art education?

To me art has always been a movement of boundaries from the known into the unknown. Therefore, the purpose of my work can be explained in the continuous "tension" of making my art a stylistic figure that identifies me and, consequently, leaves a strong mark capable of pushing the boundaries a little further.

Since I was a child, I have felt the need to create, shaping or drawing, and I have always strongly wanted to create new forms. This drive was the origin and basis for my choice of studies: Art institute and Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. However, I was fortunate not to have a classical education at the Academy but instead was linked from the beginning to experimentation. This is how my approach to three-dimensionality began.

I strongly believe that this is what saved me from "craft" for its own sake and at the same time preserved the freshest and most unpredictable part of my work. In other words, when I think of projects or visionary forms, most of the time I do not know how to make that particular object but I look for strategies to realize it and put it on stage. This approach, constantly linked to experimentation and research, allows for expanding visions and even technical dynamics of doing outside the canons.

If, at one time, I suffered from the fact that my work was not "placeable" as half painting, sculpture, design, today, I understand that this stylistic language characterizes me strongly by identifying me.

Photo: Annalù

Your website describes your art as follows: “The artwork tells an expanded time when the form has the value of a mandala and the perception of time is dilated.” To me, your art tells different stories of metamorphosis. How would you describe your art?

I am an artist with a burgeoning imagination where nature takes shape in liquid forms. I work on three-dimensionality but as I mentioned earlier, I do not consider myself a sculptor in the classical sense, but rather a hybrid artist in constant transformation and experimentation. I am myself a continuous metamorphosis: I am transparency and opacity; I am the material that dismembers and the ink that liquefies.

From the resin strongly used in my sculptures, a highly poetic work is born, played on the short circuit between natural data and sumptuous artificiality, between the instant and eternity, between apparent fragility and the compactness of the material. What I have always focused on is the moment of transition between one state and another, through a dynamic balance sharing an attitude very close to alchemical science aimed at the transmutation of one material into another. The oxymoron that underlies my poetics is evident: a sculpture that imposes itself in three dimensions and seems absolutely "liquid". As Heraclitus said, "Nothing is created and nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed, panta rei, everything flows." That is why I dismember the paper by burning it and immobilize the fragments inside the resin, and for the same reason, I use symbols such as the butterfly to represent the soul and the breath of things. All my work therefore speaks of a perpetual metamorphosis in the sense that I tell a lifecycle.

Photo: Annalù

Your work is both organic, and imaginary, challenging the viewer to consider both the opacity and the translucency of your objects in time and space. Your structures of innumerable butterflies whirling around an invisible center, made of resin glass and Murano glass, are mesmerizing. Where do you get your inspiration from?

In nature, and from nature, I observe, listen, reflect, and rework, and it is precisely in this last step that my most visionary creativity emerges, staging whirlwinds of exploding butterflies or books of water that perpetually burst before the viewer. The micro and macro cosmos are for me an inexhaustible source of inspiration. I always start from reality, but my gaze is directed at transfiguring forms as if in a kind of dreamlike and dilated time where everything is possible.

In my large Dreamcatchers, the worlds of water and air contaminate and penetrate each other. The central Murano glass, in fact, recalls the spiral shape of a shell and is made by fusing glass casts through a rotation process in a single furnace in Murano active since 1300. The work generally consists of butterflies or ginkgo leaves drawn by me. These are butterflies that swim, and the central splash in resin becomes a kind of stargate to other dimensions. I usually start from a center like in mandalas and let the form disintegrate outward, fragmenting the wings using ash to create a fading dust effect.

The same surreal approach is present in my trees conceived as architectures of the imaginary, visionary sculptures with powerful roots, knotted and moving bodies, branches like long arms anchoring themselves to the sky through impossible, swarming canopies made of dismembered wings. My interest has always been on the fukinagashi (= beaten by the wind), the weeping, and the kengai for their dynamism and because they suggest the idea of a presence that continues to live, adapting to harshness. In this case, the foliage is created by thousands of butterflies that crumble in the wind, becoming leaves and then dust (butterfly=psyche=soul). This work aims to be highly lyrical and poetic: the butterflies disintegrate, becoming wind, colored dust, vital breath... It speaks of spirituality and I like to refer to it as "EMOTIONAL TREES".

Transparency of resins and opacity of materials such as wood, cement, and iron are in constant dialogue within my work. I have always felt that I should learn to work with as many materials as possible in order to make them converse. I constantly assemble different materials in my compositions, although resin is my preferred medium. Over the years, my constant challenge with resin has been to combine an element that is so devoid of emotions with an expressive language that is always full of wonder, freshness, and poetry.

Photo: Annalù

What roles do time, space, and memory play in your creation? To what extent do spirituality and the cycles of life influence your art? Please go into detail.

I start from the assumption that I consider poetic everything that is strongly evocative and projected towards the dream, inclined to that feeling that tends to have an idealized and fantastic vision. And this is the direction I try to give to my work, which always travels on the threshold of dreams, leaving space for collective imagination.

In doing so, I tend to create forms suspended in time: my many resin splashes, for example, evoke water splashes frozen in time and space as if they were photographic snapshots. In this sense, time becomes memory within my work because in this temporal suspension the form is crystallized but at the same time is precarious like a mandala that could be blown away.

In my many attempts to stop the flow of time through resin, I also try to focus on what that form was and what it could become. I want my viewer to look at the present object but imagine the future. Despite the almost baroque preciousness of some of my works, I have always preferred emptiness over fullness, and this has roots in the Eastern world where the spiritual element has a strong value. In fact, I never focus on the carnal part even when I approach the theme of the body; instead, I constantly speak of spirituality using symbols related to it (such as butterfly=psyche=soul).

It is a reflection on the world and a sense of sacredness that is intrinsic to things. The material I use simply becomes a tool to give shape to this vision. My work may seem timeless, but I want the heart of time.

Photo: Matteo Boem

How do you achieve both temporality and timelessness in your artwork?

I reach them through the "suspension" of forms through what I call "dynamic balance", evident in all my works in which one can notice a movement, frozen as in a photographic snapshot.

In all this, it becomes important to choose and use the right material to give shape to the idea. It is a continuous dialogue between thought, ideas, intuitions and doing, that is, translation into form through materials; this also involves the control of the random element that must be managed with great lucidity and madness at the same time.

Materials can be fascinating, but one must be careful of their bewitching power: for this reason, control is needed to "know when to stop".

For me, it becomes fundamental that the work does not feel like an effort, but everything must appear in front of the eyes of the observer as a natural miracle. I take great care into achieving this goal. My whole life has been based on "exercise." A continuous exercise aimed at improving and overcoming the previous steps and to do this, one must be trained.

Photo: Annalù

You have exhibited at many museums and galleries in your home country Italy, as well as internationally. What is one of the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout your career? What kind of advice do you have for artists to broaden their international exposure?

In my career, the watchword has always been perseverance and hard work. The connections, relationships, and links that are created and developed step by step, show after show, year after year, are the lifeblood that nurtures growth and improvement. Experience in doing builds the experience of being.

Assuming that talent exists, I believe that the important qualities for an artist are self-discipline, seriousness in setting goals, and a constant commitment to achieving them. An artist's self-management also allows for adequate self- promotion by finding the right strategies to do so.

Knowing one's work and asking questions about it means delving deeper into oneself and gaining self-awareness: only in this way can one be convincing to the market and galleries that should promote one's work. On this front, each era has its own dynamics, but I believe that the biggest mistake an artist can make is to close themselves off in their own shell. It doesn't matter if the doors seem closed initially, sooner or later they will open.

Photo: Annalù

What is the project you are most proud of to this day, and why?

Until yesterday, what I was most proud of was the exhibition that was part of the Venice Biennale in 2001. My work was selected by a committee associated to the Israeli pavilion: I was very young and had just graduated from the Academy; For me it was a very important start.

Today, however, the project I am most proud of is my studio: having created a solid artistic reality that has entrepreneurial characteristics while at the same time maintaining all the vitality and wonder of artistic creation.

Photo: Marco Castellano

Do you think that art has the power to transform the nostalgia associated with transiency into a positive force? Do you believe that the artist can be an architect of change in the world and guide future generations?

I have always struggled with death, and it is no coincidence that I am obsessed with creating works that represent continuous attempts to stop time. I fully agree with Duchamp's statement that art is a Heraclitan condition in continuous transformation. Art fulfills a prophecy, as Wilde said, and its positive nature should give us confidence.

When an artist draws on a blank sheet of paper with their dark pencil, they create thresholds, enigmas. They take away light.

Art represents this teaching: it obscures a homogenizing light, and in doing so, it creates thresholds and limits that must be continually exceeded.

Photo: Annalù

We are curious about your future plans. What are your projects and plans for 2023? Where can we see your art next?

My future projects are numerous: I have planned for international solo exhibitions both in the West and in the East that will materialize in 2024. However, I want to develop my work by trying to expand it with other materials, especially with marble, which is one of the challenges I would like to face. I don't want to rush, so I will give myself the necessary time to experiment and then metabolize what I will be able to achieve.

In the meantime, I am developing themes which I hold very dear and I am revisiting a methodology that I have always loved but had partly abandoned: my performative part. In fact, I am creating new sculptures that will be "cuttings", objects that will dress the body and at the same time maintain their sculptural strength as pure objects.

What I would like to work on this year is the creation of choral sculptures/cuttings, making them wearable by multiple people. I would like to develop the project primarily within my studio with my assistants in order to create an even stronger synergy, a sort of plural organism. In all of this, the sculpture as an object will become important, as well as the theatrical aspect of the staging, up to the photographic shot that will define its new form.

Photo: Annalù

What do you imagine your artistic legacy to be?

One day, A. Redaelli wrote about my work: "Annalù's artistic project goes beyond all the canons of contemporary proposals, adopts an innovative sculptural practice with materials of current relevance, and by transforming an intellectual investigation into artistic creation, enchants us by merging beauty and poetry."

Thus, I would like to leave the memory of a new sculpture that highlights the sensation of a living, breathing nature, and exalts the sense of immediacy and fleetingness, frozen in an eternal present, becoming at the same time an Absolute form.

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