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“Redefining the aesthetic appeal of everyday objects”

Interview with Francesca Pasquali

Beauty and finesse, experimentation and art, exploration and new frontiers in aesthetics all meet in the two-star restaurant, Il Piccolo Principe, in the Viareggio Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte, which is currently the site of the installation “Setole” (Bristles) by Francesca Pasquali.

The artist came to prominence with her earliest works, which lead her to observe nature and to develop a creative dialogue to reshape plastic and industrial waste materials and place them in a new context.

“Setole” is a wide-ranging project comprising sculptures and installations that redefine the dialectic between objects made for daily use and the possibility of building a new aesthetic space.


1. How did the encounter between your artistic quest and “Il Piccolo Principe” come about?

The joint project was proposed and enhanced thanks to a meeting with the Architect Marco Casamonti from the firm Marco Casamonti & Partners/Archea Associati, who proposed my work to the owners. This isn’t the first time that I’ve worked on projects of this calibre and this occasion has further confirmed the extent to which architecture, art, history and high quality hospitality services can interact in perfect harmony. The “Setole” sculptures, made from the synthetic filaments used to make brushes, live in symbiosis with their surroundings.


2. Your installation in one of the hotels most steeped in history prompts the impression of a dialogue between past and present, between experimentation and innovation …

It’s incredible how well this everyday material harmonises with the architecture of the past; the luminescence of the broom filaments inhabits the space in respectful silence, mindful of the history, epochs and vogues of the setting, where the plastic material is embraced and recreates symmetry and grace.


3. Your artistic quest focuses on the transformation and redefinition of matter. To which point in your career does the work exhibited at “Il Piccolo Principe” correspond?

My aim is to redefine the use and aesthetic appeal of everyday objects and industrial materials and offer, as in the case of “Il Piccolo Principe”, creative compositions that stimulate the senses, not just of sight, but also of touch and hearing, of the public. I’m interested in reinstating the variety of properties and intrinsic value that a material considered sterile and devoid of any aesthetic appeal possesses. These long sinuous bristles invite you into a relationship, offering guests an all-round sensory experience.


4. ‘Reuse’ is central to your art. Does your work also invite reflection on the responsibility that each of us has for the resources we use?

Plastic and waste in general are not in themselves the demon to be fought, but we should begin to consider them as resources to be re-evaluated and which can be reassessed through regeneration and transformation. Creating public awareness of the value of a disposable object has long been my greatest challenge. The environmental aspect of my works encourages interest and increasing support on the part of the public.


5. You’re very active on Internet and social media channels. With a view to spreading culture, art and aesthetic exploration, how much can these new media help to involve a wider audience?

Media communication is now an integral part of the job: the speed with which you can reach people is amazing. I’ll always remember when the Sydney Opera House found out about my work by searching online; they then asked me to create a work using 150,000 disposable straws discarded by the many restaurants and clubs around the Opera House. Islands, a work using straws and mirrors that reproduces the geography of Sydney Harbour, is now exhibited in the foyer as a symbol of this important eco-sustainable choice. This is why, in the sea of virtual images and stimuli, it becomes essential to work with rigour at all times as the issues I face are significant. Ecology, regeneration, and sustainability: art and matter have great potential in this. But my work lives and proliferates by means of substance, so an exclusively digital experience will never fully inspire in the same way as real life.


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