Born in Rome, Italy. Lives and works in London, UK.
So, Alice, what is your story?
My story began in Rome, my “Wonderland”, as I use to say. Growing up here, surrounded by such an incredible artistic heritage, determined who I am today. My innate love for art has increased day by day since my childhood, and now I feel proud to have followed this passion because it has led me to graduate in Art History at John Cabot University. I am grateful that my parents as well have always nurtured with enthusiasm my desire to pursue my passions because their support played a fundamental role in my decision to become an artist and an art historian. However, my launching pad has been London, where I will move back soon to study at a graduate level and where, two years ago, I met the awesome curators of Subject Matter Art gallery who gave me the chance to start out my artistic career. Living and working in London made me grow up as an artist and as a person and disclosed a whole new world where any effort is rewarded and any dream can come true.
Why do you make the art you make? Why photography?
My dad’s love for photography brought about my interest and curiosity in this medium so that during my BA in Art History I decided to attend photography classes. These lessons helped me to approach this medium professionally, leaving me at the same time the artistic freedom I consider fundamental for any artist to find his or her own aesthetics. And indeed, that happened! I started to experiment with the camera to express the inner turmoil of emotions that in that period I felt within, and the result was my series “Misguided Ghost”. Photography became for me a way to analyze myself, a sort of therapy. The feelings I could not describe before now were suddenly materialized, embodied, real, so I could finally deal with them face-to-face.
Once I discovered my inner world of emotions, I looked for it also in my surroundings. I started to look at things differently, more deeply and decided to use “my therapy” to analyze from another perspective what I saw around me… This is when I created my series “Spectrographies”. I like to use the camera, which is usually seen as a medium to represent visible and concrete things, to capture instead whatever is invisible and ephemeral in us.
What does your creative process look like? Where do you find inspiration?
As you probably noticed, what I usually look for in my pictures is motion. In part, I do so because I fell in love with Henri Cartier-Bresson’s and Francesca Woodman’s bodies of work, which challenge the assumption that stillness and an impeccable focus on the subject make a “good photograph.” What inspired me in Bresson’s works is his humanist attention to the everyday experiences of the subjects and his attempt to capture, quoting his own words, a “fleeting reality”. On the other hand, I was inspired by Francesca Woodman’s use of long exposures to create highly introspective self-portraits. Inspired by them, I tried to find a balance between a long shutter speed and the readiness to shoot when the “decisive moment” (quoting Bresson again) happens. The resulting images, halfway between motion and definition, are aimed at expressing an idea that came up, instead, while reading existentialist philosophy. Existentialists are concerned with finding the meaning of existence in a world that is constantly changing, and where this change is determined by our actions.
So, why I always search for motion? Because everything moves, everything changes. Nothing and nobody is still or fully discernible. Things transform and people are themselves constantly trying to find out who they really are throughout their life. I want to represent life and reality and I think the best way to do so is through motion and emotion.
What makes you most excited about what you do?
I guess it’s the possibility to show simple things and everyday situations in a way that can raise questions and stimulate meditation. It’s the hope to bring attention to something that is increasingly losing importance in today’s fast-paced and materialistic world, something that deserves value, namely the fact that beyond outer appearances, within our body, there is something spiritual in us, something that evolves, that makes each of us unique, and that we constantly struggle to understand. What excites me the most is not to capture a moment or a subject, but rather to describe the way this subject evolves and behaves in a passing lapse of time when he or she becomes simultaneously concrete and abstract, present and absent, physical and spectral, visible and invisible.
What are your thoughts on being an artist in today’s world?
There are many clichés about being an artist today. One of them is the fact that globalization and new technologies limit our creativity, and another one is that the artistic panorama has become an elitist world that can only be accessed if you have the help of the right people. Well, I disagree with both. First, I think nowadays we have an unlimited potential to give a boost to our creativity. The chance of being able to access any kind of information and to find inspiration in an endless quantity of sources are priceless possibilities for an artist working in today’s world. Not to mention the invaluable help that sharing your work and receiving immediate feedbacks can give you. You can always get an idea of what you need to improve. Then, coming to the second cliché, of course, it is difficult to be an artist and you need to work hard, and also to have luck! But this happens every time, I mean, whatever goal you set for yourself. As with any other discipline or job, commitment, determination, and a good deal of self-criticism, ambition, and willingness to learn and to reinvent yourself inevitably lead to growth and satisfaction.
Last but not least, what did you dream about last night?
In a few days, I will move back to London where I will stay for a long time, one year and a half at least…so I feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety! That’s probably why lately I have been dreaming about my departure and what could happen there. Yesterday, for instance, I pictured myself taking the keys of my new house, maybe a metaphor for the start of a new phase of my life, full of expectations but still closed and unpredictable. But I am really optimistic! I am looking forward to discovering what this new and exciting experience will bring about, living it day by day and enjoying it as much as I can!
Alice’s work is available at Subject Matter Art Gallery.
All Rights Reserved. © Alice Marinelli