Work in Progress. Raw Matters for Pictures of Nothing. Works by François Evangelista
Opening: June, 30, 2016, 7 p. m. until to 12 p.m.
July, 1,2016, 6 p. m.
July, 2, 2016, 6 p. m.
François Evangelista. Interview
What are the steps about your process of experimentation to prepare a work and what step do you prefer?
Each new phase of studio practice generally begins with obtaining tools and materials to initiate experimentation. Like beginning to improvise a recipe, one will first choose ingredients, as well as whatever equipment is needed to interact with those ingredients. What follows is a kind of material play; testing the materials, learning their nature and characteristics and physical properties. I enjoy interacting with materials that have the potential to fail or elude the dictates of initial intention.
Quali sono gli steps/ i passi relativi al processo di sperimentazione per preparare un lavoro e quale step preferisci?
Ogni nuova fase pratica di studio inizia generalmente quando sono a disposizione strumenti e materiali per avviare la sperimentazione. Inizio come quando si improvvisa una ricetta, in quanto che per prima cosa si sceglieranno gli ingredienti, così come qualsiasi attrezzatura necessaria per interagire con tali ingredienti. Ciò che segue è una specie di gioco di materia; testare i materiali, comprendere la loro natura, le caratteristiche e le proprietà fisiche. Mi piace interagire con materiali che possiedono il potenziale per fallire o eludere i dettami dell’ intenzione iniziale.
I seek to be sensitive to the body of work as a whole, providing a spectrum of material investigations rather than an overbalance of theme or desired result. To ensure that works are not predictable or easily repeatable products of mechanical process, I aim to be true to the gifts and surprises which emerge during making. My favourite part of the process is when the symbiosis of play and direction yields a completely unexpected yet beautiful result.
When beginning a new cycle of works, I may pick up the thread of previous work, and I will often conclude with new paths that I will be able to develop later.
Io cerco di essere sensibile al corpo del lavoro come un intero, offrendo uno spettro di indagini di materiale piuttosto che un sovrapporsi del tema o del risultato desiderato. Per garantire che le opere non sono prevedibili o facilmente ripetibili come prodotti di processo meccanico, il mio obiettivo è quello di essere vero per i doni e le sorprese che possono emergere durante la realizzazione. La mia parte preferita del processo è quando la simbiosi tra gioco e direzione produce un risultato completamente inaspettato ma bellissimo.
Quando inizio un nuovo ciclo di opere, posso scegliere di riprendere il filo del lavoro precedente, e concluderò con nuovi percorsi che sarò in grado di sviluppare più tardi.
Why is it important to study and analysis of the materials?
The knowledge of my materials cannot be achieved by bookish research, but only by experiential handling. For my copper works, a reference point I had was from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790. When Blake was ‘printing in the infernal method by corrosives’ onto copper etching plates, he had the aim of ‘melting apparent surfaces away, and displaying the infinite which was hid’.
Perché è importante lo studio e l’analisi dei materiali?
La conoscenza dei miei materiali non può essere raggiunto dalla ricerca libresca, ma solo dalla manipolazione esperienziale. Per i miei lavori di rame, un punto di riferimento che avevo era Il Matrimonio del Cielo e l’Inferno, 1790 di William Blake. Quando Blake stava “stampando nel metodo infernale per agenti corrosivi’ sulle lastre di rame incise, aveva lo scopo di “sciogliere e togliere via le superfici apparenti e di visualizzare l’infinito che era nascosto”.
With this body of work one focus was to explore the properties of copper and reveal what can be achieved by my interaction with it. I discovered a spectrum of colours which occur by applying various processes upon the metal itself, achieved through organic corrosion, chemical reaction, and by the signatures of heat and flame.
With other works on canvas, I experimented with various materials, tools and processes. For example, the different layers on one canvas included acrylic paint and olive oil, a drawing made with a wax candle, scorches from a butane flametorch, dissolved traces from caustic liquid ammonia, then finally leaving the canvas outside in the weather, allowing the rain to erase most of the work. What remains are the traces of its own trajectory.
Con questo corpo di lavoro un focus era quello di esplorare le proprietà di rame e di rivelare ciò che può essere raggiunto mediante la mia interazione con esso. Ho scoperto uno spettro di colori che si manifestano applicando vari processi sul metallo stesso, ottenuto tramite corrosione organica, reazione chimica e per le tracce del calore e della fiamma.
Per altre opere su tela, ho sperimentato con vari materiali, strumenti e processi. Per esempio, diversi strati su una tela di canapa includevano/assorbivano vernice acrilica e olio d’oliva, un disegno realizzato con una candela di cera, bruciature usando una torcia di butano, tracce libere attraverso ammoniaca caustica liquida, poi infine lasciando la tela fuori all’imprevedibilità delle condizioni atmosferiche, consentendo alla pioggia di cancellare la maggior parte del lavoro. Ciò che resta sono le tracce della propria traiettoria.
What are the aspects in Burri’s works that can elicite or solicit particular suggestions?
What I enjoy most about Alberto Burri’s works is that the life of his materials merge with his artistic direction in order to achieve unique process driven works, particularly in his plastic ‘Combustiones’ and his ‘Cretos’. Another artist who worked extensively making fire paintings was Yves Klein. These artists relied on somewhat taming or conducting the untameable nature of their materials; fire, melting plastic, drying liquids. To me, it is often in the surprises that emerge within the transformations of solid to liquid, or liquid to solid, or in the unpredictability of fire itself that the most interesting aspects of the works are accomplished.
Quali sono gli aspetti delle opere di Alberto Burri opere che possono sollecitarti particolari suggestioni o suggerimenti?
Quello che mi piace di più delle opere di Alberto Burri è che la vita dei suoi materiali si fondono con la sua guida/regia artistica al fine di ottenere lavori realizzati /guidati con un processo unico, particolarmente nella sua plastica “Combustioni’ e nei suoi Cretti. Un altro artista che ha lavorato ampiamente facendo dipinti di fuoco è stato Yves Klein. Questi artisti hanno tentato qualcosa per domare o condurre l’indomabile natura dei loro materiali; fuoco, plastica fusione, essiccazione di liquidi. Per me spesso le sorprese che emergono entro le trasformazioni da solido a liquido o da liquido a solido, o l’imprevedibilità dell’incendio stesso sono gli aspetti più interessanti delle opere sono compiute.
What are the currents or movements that you prefer in contemporary arts?
I tend to gravitate towards process-based abstraction. I am always looking to see how the work began, seeking for traces of its making. I enjoy works that appear to be experiments, experiences that the artist had with his or her materials. I prefer artists whose work displays their interaction with the paint, rather than their paintings only being of something.
Although I love the work of other artists, during making I find that thinking of the work of others too much can be a distraction to the material thinking involved in the studio. If I attempt to rely too much on overly contrived outcomes or finished products before I have begun handling the materials, I do not feel that I am being true to the surprises and gifts that occur during making.
Quali sono le correnti o i movimenti che preferisci nell’arte contemporanea?
Tendo a gravitare verso l’astrazione basata sul processo. Cerco sempre di vedere il modo in cui il lavoro è iniziato, in cerca di tracce relative alla sua realizzazione. Mi piacciono opere che sembrano essere esperimenti, le esperienze che l’artista ha avuto con i suoi materiali. Io preferisco gli artisti il cui lavoro esprime la loro interazione con la pittura, piuttosto che i loro dipinti che sono solo “di qualcosa”.
Anche se mi piace il lavoro di altri artisti, durante la realizzazione trovo che il pensiero su troppo lavoro altrui può essere una distrazione per il pensiero materialmente orientato nello studio. Se tento di fare troppo affidamento sui risultati eccessivamente forzati o sui prodotti finiti prima di iniziare a movimentare i materiali non mi sento di essere vero/ autentico per le sorprese e i doni che si verificano durante la realizzazione.
What are the materials that you use more often and what do you prefer?
I seek to challenge myself to learn new materials, or to use materials that I’ve used previously in a way that is new to me. I don’t want to repeat myself merely for the sake of producing another painting. The physical properties of copper were fascinating to explore. It is a metal which is sensitive to heat, and which can produce quite vivid colours in reaction to chemicals.
For now, my preferred mode of working is: with a surface, and to explore my interaction with that surface by exploring my tools, materials and processes.
Quali sono i materiali che utilizzi più spesso e quelli che preferisci?
Io cerco di sfidare me stesso e di conoscere nuovi materiali o di utilizzare i materiali che ho usato in precedenza in un modo che è nuovo per me. Non voglio ripetere me stesso solo per il gusto di produrre un altro dipinto. Le proprietà fisiche del rame sono affascinanti da esplorare. E’ un metallo che è sensibile al calore e che è in grado di produrre abbastanza colori vividi in reazione alle sostanze chimiche.
Per ora il mio modo preferito di lavorare è: con una superficie, e esplorare la mia interazione con la superficie, conoscere i miei strumenti, materiali e processi.
Why did you choose to spend a period in a residency program?
In 2015, while still an Honours student at the Adelaide Central School of Art, I was awarded the 2015 June S Tanner Scholarship through Carclew in conjunction with the Independent Arts Foundation and Italia-Australia Association.
This experience has given me the opportunity to witness firsthand artworks and galleries not readily available in Australia: seeing works by Cy Twombly, Alberto Burri, Wassily Kandinsky and Jackson Pollock at the Guggenheim exhibition in Florence, not to mention seeing Caravaggio, Botticelli and Da Vinci in the Uffizi gallery also in Florence. Seeing the works at the Burri museum in Citta di Castello was another great opportunity.
Having the time, space and funds to develop further personal artistic research and explore new studio tools, materials and processes, with the purpose of public exhibition in Italy, has also been an invaluable experience. Grazie a Dio.
Perché hai scelto di trascorrere un periodo in un programma di residenza?
Nel 2015, mentre ancora ero uno studente onorario presso l’Adelaide Central School of Art, mi è stata assegnata una borsa di studio, 2015 June S Tanner Scholarship attraverso Carclew in congiunzione con l’Indipendent Arts Foundation e l’ Associazione Italia-Australia.
Questa esperienza mi ha dato la possibilità di vedere in prima persona opere d’arte e gallerie che non sono prontamente disponibili in Australia: vedendo le opere di Cy Twombly, Alberto Burri, Wassily Kandinsky e Jackson Pollock alla esposizione della Collezione Salomon Guggenheim a Firenze, per non parlare di Caravaggio, Botticelli e Leonardo Da Vinci visti nella galleria degli Uffizi anche a Firenze, così vedere le opere presso il Museo Burri a Città di Castello è stata un’altra grande opportunità.
Avere il tempo e lo spazio e fondi per sviluppare un’ulteriore ricerca artistica personale e per esplorare nuovi strumenti di studio, materiali e processi, con lo scopo di realizzare una esposizione in Italia, è stata anche una preziosa esperienza. Grazie a Dio.
Painted canvas left outside to the unpredictability of the weather, malleable copper plates crossed by random tracks produced by sagging and mixtures of natural materials, ammonia, salt, or as generated from footprints’ oxidation, burns produced on the plastic surface by the flame: are the results of experiments conducted by François Evangelista, an Australian young artist who arrived from Adelaide in early May in Empoli with a scholarship granted by the Foundation Carclew resulting winner in June 2015 while he was finishing his studies at the Central School of Art. His presence at the Cultural Association SINCRESIS is justified because of the need to experiment, to learn and study materials for artistic production. The visual outcome of the work was the result of material thinking. I have learned that an engagement with the physical, mental and sensory act of painting brings me closer to its content and meaning. The content of my work was clear, I was making paintings, but understanding the meaning of my work was more challenging. This required an experiential engagement with the ambiguous, the inexplicable, and the indescribable. I learned that reactions stimulated in response to the potent, flexible materiality of paint generated the meaning of the work. My painting process, therefore, is not an event or action involving only my input, but rather a procedure, collaboration, and dialogue, driven and guided by affective responsiveness.
As my project developed I employed abstraction as a strategy to explore a world of feeling that is varying and unpredictable. This strategy can be defined as an experiential, subjective, responsive engagement with my materials, with an emphasis on reflection, affective thinking and processes of correspondence with the paintings”. I found that my paintings asked more of myself as the primary viewer of the work, in the sense that they asked more questions than they answered. Barbara Bolt refers to this kind of performativity of the artwork as the ‘work’ of art: ‘The work of art is the work that the artwork does; it is the movement in… methodologies, material practice, affect and sensorial experience that arises in and through the vehicle of art and the artwork.” I have understood affect as being synonymous with feeling in the sense of affect being an experience, an encounter with material qualities which possess agency to trigger a bodily reaction. My subjective utilisation of affect was manifested through sensory engagement with a co-responsive painting process. I learned that my thinking process required co-operation, collaboration and correspondence with what was emerging during the handling of materials. The outcome, even when I had an intention, was not known in advance, but developed through the collaboration between myself and my materials. In conclusion, as I directly expound upon my own revelations, discoveries, feelings and sensations in response to my paintings, I have come to understand how paint triggers affect in the body. What has been generated by my practice-led research is an accumulation of new affective experiences, and in turn the visual outcomes of the resulting artworks exist both as manifestations of affective thinking, and as sites where affect may be further experienced. A major revelation gained was that the making process does not begin and end with each new individual work, or more accurately, that works are not predictable or easily repeatable products of mechanical process. Rather, making is an ongoing interweaving of material flows and sensory awareness. Through corresponding and collaborating with my abstract paintings, I have developed an ability to merge my making process into a unified whole of thinking, feeling, responding, and acting; engaging with the reciprocating and continual flow of affecting the works, and of continually being affected by them. As I have engaged my sensorium to develop a new insight into feeling and experiencing abstract paintings, I have come to understand the mystery of these ‘pictures of nothing’. Abstraction provides entry to a world of sensory engagement with the painting process and its outcomes in order to encounter, absorb, and respond to an experience of feeling.
He is interested in the process, not at the product. “Rather – he said – the process is a continuous web of material flows and sensory awareness”. This allows him to reflect on the work of the artist – alchemist in the act of trying, to understand the changes of substance, the effects of matter, not so much for a test based on the hypothesis that provides a logical argument, a preordained cliché, a “formula to open worlds for you” and that refers to the world of the exact sciences, with proceedings already tested, but to discover by chance alone what are the effects of a mixture of ingredients that is born by chance, as – François says – for a recipe that doesn’t appear on the books, but that is absolutely the result of invention. He follows the curiosity, the pleasure of discovery, like the scientist, even if those that are the purposes in art, become the means in science, the surprise and the taste to invent, to create each time in a different way, without repetition.
François prefers in his creative work processuality as many of the new avant-garde artists of the twentieth century, the study of materials as the master craftsmen of the Bauhaus, avoid any model that involves repetitiveness, although his calculations reveal whenever cultural references: the gestures as controlled accident in American Abstract Expressionism, the semiotic proposal by Cy Tombly, the chromatic pigment subjected to the elements such as Yves Klein, the materiality as an existential occurrence of Alberto Burri, a favorite artist because of its multiplicity of experiments, from the sacks, grilled, to plastics, the cracks seen at close range while he was visiting the Burri Collection in Città di Castello.
In any case the search for François is not reduced to pure technicality or imitation, rather it characterizes as a meticulous work, independent and lonely, for the continued dedication, careful observation, day after day of its tests, of the happenings, always conceived as a new event, the care that expresses in art making, the curiosity as the basis of the will to know, which is also expressed in the ‘collection’ of items found in each place he visits, and at the same time the desire to dig deep in the nature of the natural elements, such as to want to discover the secrets, hidden aspects step by step just like an alchemist engaged in the process of transmutation of materials, the changements to reach the philosopher’s stone. Every stage from nigredo to albedo, is never the last one for self-knowledge which is reflected in the work as a construction route, in-depth, growth and catharsis.
The softness of the copper, preferred metal for its flexibility to become more, the plastic like material found, the painted canvas with different color layers, from blue to red – pink, from gray to blacks, leached up to lose all prepared preparation, fire invigorating and purifying, are the elements of his alchemical process.
François proposes no final results of his work in progress, a journey that continues from this step which is just the beginning to advance in the territories of art and in unlimited paths of knowledge.
 Barbara Bolt, ‘Materializing Pedagogies’, (University of Melbourne, 2006), p1
 Barrett and Bolt, ‘Material Inventions’, p30
 Barrett and Bolt, ‘Material Inventions’, p27
 Ingold, ‘Thinking through Making’, time: 7:13
D.O.B: 15th April 1988
2015 Bachelor of Visual Art – Honours, Adelaide Central School of Art
2014 Bachelor of Visual Art, Adelaide Central School of Art
2012-2013 Associate Degree in Visual Art, Adelaide Central School of Art
GRANTS, SCHOLARSHIPS AND AWARDS
2015 Carclew: June S. Tanner Memorial Scholarship (Value $4000)
SOLO & GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2016 Raw Materials for Pictures of Nothing, Sincresis D’a Spazio D’Arte, Empoli, Italy
2016 Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition, Helpmann Academy, Adelaide
2015 Propositions, Adelaide Central School of Art, Adelaide
2015 Pop-up Gallery, Goodwood Arthouse, Adelaide
2015 Wish You Were Here!, Adelaide Central School of Art, Adelaide
2015 10×10 Exhibition, Adelaide Central School of Art, Adelaide
2015 Hatched – National Graduate Exhibition, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth
2015 The Salon Hang, Floating Goose Gallery, Adelaide
2015 Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition, Helpmann Academy, Adelaide
2014 Breaking Silence, Adelaide Central School of Art, Adelaide
2014 Implicit, Horner & Pratt Café, Adelaide
2013 Open day exhibition, Adelaide Central School of Art, Adelaide
2013 Mural painting project, Adelaide Bike Kitchen, Adelaide
2015 Adelaide Review: August, Issue 426: Education Feature: Adelaide Central School of Art
2014 Adelaide Matters Magazine: Artist Profile; Finding Form, December Issue, pp 16-17
2014 Breaking Silence: Graduate Exhibition Catalogue, Adelaide Central School of Art, Adelaide
2013 Helpmann Academy Place Project: Adelaide Central School of Art, Flinders University Screen Production, https://vimeo.com/69149781
URL PUBLICATIONS <https://sa.academia.edu/FrançoisEvangelista>
2015 François Evangelista – Submitting the Sensorium to New Sensual Worlds: Honours Exegesis, 2015
2015 François Evangelista – Hatched Graduate Exhibition @ PICA 2015: Education Notes
2014 François Evangelista – Where Are the Wild Things? – Bachelor of Visual Art Synopsis, 2014