ART & CULTURE | by AIDHA BADR | 09 JULY 2020
LUCA BOSANI: MORE THAN SHOES
Luca Bosani is a 29-year-old artist from Pregnana Milanese, a small town in Lombardy, Italy, currently living and working in London. With an educational background in the history and practice of performance, fine art, and interior design. His work, described by others as carnivalesque, funny, intelligent, cheap, genius, ridiculous, the waves that move the ocean, a caricature of a dancer and not as fluid as a non-dancer, macho, queer, horrible, so evocative that makes me wanna go to the toilet, exists in the space of sculpture, performance, and painting. This is LOS GATOS in conversation with Luca Bosani.
LOS GATOS: The statement you make for yourself is "Not Just Shoes" what does this statement entail?
LUCA BOSANI: It entails that my practice is not only about shoes; but it is more layered and complex, encompassing for instance painting, garment making and performance. In addition to that, ‘more than shoes’ directly refers to my Sculptural shoes (see photographs), which are not just shoes but are also sculptures. Neither of the two and both at the same time. Therefore, my Sculptural shoes should not be seen only as static objects but as containers of meaning and as performative subjects.
Mini Sculptural Shoes 02, 2020, Epoxy / self-hardening paste, paint, varnish, metal structure, metal pins, elastic laces, leather sole, 15 - 17 cm each
Mini Sculptural Shoes 01, 2020, Epoxy / self-hardening paste, paint, varnish, metal structure, metal pins, elastic laces, leather sole, 15 - 30 cm each
GATOS: At what point does it go from being a sculpture to being a wearable article of clothing?
BOSANI: My artworks are the best possible answer I can give you to this question.
Mini Sculptural Shoes custom, 2020, Epoxy / self-hardening paste, paint, varnish, metal structure, metal pins, elastic laces, leather sole, 15, 30 cm
GATOS: Starting out, did you intend for your creations to be worn or displayed?
BOSANI: It started as a constellation of elements related to a live performance: ’Knaves of Radiance’, which was my MA graduation piece at the Royal College of Art London, 2017. It featured three performers: Rafael Escardò Espejo, Tom Ribot and myself, and had three iterations over the ten days of the degree show. Sculptural shoes and Wearable paintings were created to be worn as shoes and garments during the live performances and to be exhibited as sculptures and paintings when the live work wasn’t happening. A series of twelve small paintings, approx 23x25cm each, completed the environment, functioning as backdrop for the performance; and when the performers were not present, as a version of paper of the performers.
‘Knaves of Radiance’ then became a series of performances, and had many iterations between 2017 and 2018, such as: ‘Knaves of Radiance (Food Edition)’ at Guest Projects London and ‘Knaves of Radiance (Bolan edition)’ commissioned by Nine Elms on the South Bank London and Art in Embassies. Not many know that, ’Knaves of Radiance’ also had a Prelude, presented in spring 2017, in Uppsala, Sweden, for Revolve Festival; where my very first Wearable painting was introduced.
Sculptural Shoes (eggplant purple), 2018, Papier-mâché, acrylics, varnish, metal spikes, laces, rubber, 40x22x30cm each
Sculptural Shoes (eggplant purple), 2018, Papier-mâché, acrylics, varnish, metal spikes, laces, rubber, during the live performance Knaves of Radiance (Bolan edition), 2018
GATOS: What are some themes that you explore in your work?
BOSANI: Through my practice I question the structures that influence the development of identity and sexuality. Deconstructing and dissecting my own identity and gender, I propose fluid and inclusive modes of being. Combining and confounding performance, painting and sculpture, I create environments which foster critical thinking and encourage personal and collective transformation. Fashion functions as a mirror for the self. Sculptural shoes and unconventional ‘non-uniforms’ are presented to the audience as a tool to alter perceptions, challenging stereotypes and preconceptions. Identity is explored in time and space; allowing change to occur, embracing weaknesses, striving for equality and against discrimination, existing both in solitude and togetherness. Working alongside other artists, performers and movers, my attempt is to go beyond my understanding as an individual. Stretching and expanding my practice towards the unknown and the unfamiliar; I present ‘not knowing’ as a generative state of mind and point of the departure.
Sculptural Shoes (melon yellow), 2017, Papier-mâché, acrylics, varnish, metal spikes, silicone, laces, rubber, 45x25x13cm each
Sculptural Shoes (melon yellow), 2017, Papier-mâché, acrylics, varnish, metal spikes, silicone, laces, rubber, during the live performance Knaves of Radiance (Bolan edition), 2018
GATOS: What words (if any) would you use you identify your style?
BOSANI: I try not identify or define what I do with words. My work rejects categorization, from the moment you try to box it, it escapes definitions, so I’d rather let it be.
Sculptural Shoes 02, 2017, Papier-mâché, acrylics, varnish, metal spikes, laces, rubber, 50x20x13cm each
GATOS: By creating work that is seen as more interesting, odd, otherworldly etc. as opposed to just “beautiful", would you say that your work could be a critique of conventional beauty standards?
BOSANI: Beauty is a concept which cannot be easily approached; canons continuously mutate over time and vary for each individual and for each culture. I’m doing my thing - a visual research of solutions for ontological issues? An aesthetic journey through identity and sexuality?
Sculptural Shoes (Too Early), 2019, Papier-mâché, acrylic polymer varnish, acrylics, metal spikes, EVA foam, 42x34x13cm each
All images courtesy the artist.