A talk with Chiara Rusconi
Portraits by Piergiorgio Sorgetti
Installation views by Piercarlo Quecchia - DSL Studio
The project of Subbrixia begun in 2015 with the aim of bringing contemporary art within the subway of Brescia, by realising artwork and installations. Would you tell us how it started and developed throughout the years?
Subbrixia is a contemporary art project born in 2015, with ephemeral characteristics: it featured temporary installations by Rä Di Martino, Francesco Fonassi and Elisabetta Benassi, but also permanent ones by Marcello Maloberti and Patrick Tuttofuoco. In 2019, thanks to the intuition of its President Italo Folonari, UBI Fondazione CAB picked up the baton and transformed the project into a permanent exhibition that spreads throughout the ultra-modern subway stations of Brescia. Subbrixia will grow station after station, through a narrative that will be unveiled gradually, giving birth to a public art project. It will include all the stations of the city, involving protagonists from both Italian and international artistic scene. Their works will take into account the history, architecture and specific context of each station as well as its neighborhood, ranging between installation, sound, sculpture and other languages. The curatorial coordination of this considerable operation has been assigned to Luca Lo Pinto and NERO team.
Mind the gap, the artwork designed by Nathalie Du Pasquier with Mattonelle Margherita, has been inaugurated today within the station of Piazza Vittoria. What’s the concept of the installation and how did it develop?
Nathalie Du Pasquier designed a permanent installation capable of transforming the entrance of Piazza Vittoria station, influencing visitors’ fruition. It invites passengers to change their perspective about the everyday experience, turning the space into an imaginary that fluctuates between figuration and abstraction. By using the ceramic elements, Nathalie created a composition of shapes and colours which gives birth to an “other” place.
The experience of Mind the gap will involve the everyday life of all those people who, entering the subway station, will be invited to interpret the installation on different levels: from paying attention to the actual “gap” to simply observing and being aware of its presence.
It invites passengers to change their perspective about the everyday experience, turning the space into an imaginary that fluctuates between figuration and abstraction.
How do ceramics and their colourful patterns dialogue with the underground space and architectures? What kind of experience did you aim to create?
Nathalie’s interest for ceramic has strong roots in her artistic practice. Starting from the simplicity and functionality of the material, she explores its infinite creative possibilities thanks to the collaboration with Mutina, with which she worked also for the realization of Mind the gap. In this case, the elements have been used to transform the space, which is determined and shaped by patterns and colours: like this, ceramic becomes an element for architectural construction, defining a new unexpected geometric landscape.
You already had the chance to work with Nathalie Du Pasquier for Apalazzogallery. How does the poetic of her works and her creative approach reflect the new edition of Subbrixia?
Our gallery, Apalazzogallery, have been working with Nathalie for some time and one of the things about her work that has always fascinated me is the shift of scale: everyday objects become great architectures and those that resemble buildings, palaces or architectural plans derive from domestic scenes. Intimate and private worlds become public. Reality is depicted without deception and, from this multifaceted fund of ideas, Nathalie chooses what interests her the most and turns it into a place, a space inhabited by geometries, symbols, colours and shapes.
Mutina actively participated to the development of the project, providing not only the modules of the collection but also its craftsmen, as well as collaborating with Brescia Mobilità. How important has been this synergy between different forces and specific skills for the success of the installation?
The collaboration with Mutina and all its team has been crucial for the project and its realization, since the very first phases. Also the contribution and cooperation of Brescia Mobilità, Brescia Metro and Comune di Brescia have been fundamental, as they allowed us to create a complex public artwork whose’s end result was not at all obvious.
Working in a place which is constantly open to the public and that hasn’t been conceived to be an art space requires to take multiple aspects into consideration, difficulties and rules to protect the passengers as well as respecting the installation. In order to overcome all the technical problems and regulations of such great project, all the subjects must be equally involved. As Nathalie often says, this project would have remained an idea without the work of artisans and engineers.
Do you remember the first time you got in touch with Mutina? What did struck you the most about the company?
I’ve always admired Mutina, especially because of their research and the openness to art and design. I met Massimo and Giuliana, discovering their extraordinary vision, through Mutina for Art. Nathalie was invited by curator Sarah Cosulich to work on a project which gave birth to BRIC, a great installation made of seven structures, designed and built accordingly to on one of the paradigms of architecture: the brick.
What’s your favourite Mutina collection? Why?
Mutina is innovative and visionary, it changed the traditional rules of ceramic by bringing experimentation within the company, inviting designers and artists to realize not only products, but artworks and installations, as in the case of Nathalie. That’s why it is difficult to choose only one collection, I think that each collaboration brings an unexpected and peculiar result, reflecting the practice of the creatives involved.
I especially like Brac and Mattonelle Margherita, because of their dual soul, rational and extremely creative: colour and sign can be declined in infinite possible combinations.
Reality is depicted without deception and, from this multifaceted fund of ideas, Nathalie chooses what interests her the most and turns it into a place, a space inhabited by geometries, symbols, colours and shapes.