*Featured photo: Michela Baldi, Ho lasciato il cuore in Finlandia. Installation, fabric, gum arabic, marker, watercolour, plastic templates. Variable dimensions. 2013
Michela Baldi was born in Milan and after working as Art Director, she graduated in Visual Arts at the LABA in Brescia. She has participated in numerous prizes and competitions, winning several awards including the Premio Celeste, Premio Colomba and Premio Viviani. He participated in the IX Soncino Biennale. Her artworks are regularly exhibited in private and public collections in Italy and abroad in galleries and institutional spaces. She holds contemporary art and art history courses in schools. We interviewed her after her last exhibition to ask her about her artistic career and her research in the field of fiber art.
Who is the artist Michela Baldi?
I am a very normal person, but I have always had a strong creativity that I have developed over time. I love art in all its forms. I feed on art by going to visit the many exhibitions that Milan has to offer, but if something interests me far or far away, I don’t miss it. At this moment in my life I can finally concentrate and work every day. People believe that the artist has creative lightning in a magic moment but it is not like that, it takes practice and application, that is the only way to get results.
How do you develop your research and your artistic practice – what are your sources of inspiration, how do you choose your materials, what techniques do you prefer, how does the idea evolve into a work?
My research always starts from the past, from memories, from the most intense moments of my life that can be of great happiness but also of deep sadness. Sometimes I feel like a miner digging and digging into the memory not only of myself but also of people and places. So often history overlaps with something else and this is where my passion for light and transparency comes from. The former is above all a legacy from my photographer father, the latter is an attempt to hide myself, but at the same time discover and see what lies beneath. I have always been fascinated by the idea of exploring the hidden side of things, because I am curious and fascinated by discovery. I believe that in everything there is a visible and a non-visible part and on the border of these two emotions arise and I would like those who look at my works to be captured by them so that they can share them with me. The materials I use are therefore light and transparent such as light fabric, tissue paper, but also glass and ceramics, anything that can dialogue with light. That is why I abandoned painting and started to look for transparency in photography, drawing, collage and in the composition of even different elements such as fabric, which can be light and luminous just like any other material.
How much is the textile medium – materials and techniques – present in your work and why?
At this point in my career I would say quite a lot. I use textiles above all as a background in collage, in sculpture as in the case of crocuses, and also as a support for writing, be it about images or something else. I love fabric, it reminds me of afternoons with my mother sewing and I love the tactile sensation of different thicknesses and textures.
How has your approach to art evolved over time?
Art has always been present within me and the hunger for knowledge is what led me, albeit late, to the Academy of Fine Arts, where I realised how much I still needed to know in order to make a career in art.
What was the project – the work or installation – that you still feel represents you most deeply today?
I would say that the site-specific installation I did for the Soncino Biennale “di due spiriti bollenti spegnere le fiamme ardenti” in 2017 is the one that has all the characteristics that represent me: light, transparency, chaos and history.
What is the meaning and role of the artist in contemporary society in your opinion?
The artist has a sensitivity that should make him perceive everything more intensely and therefore has the role of communicating with those who do not have the same receptivity. His duty is to spread beauty and show it where there is none, but also to show ugliness where beauty blinds.
What are you working on at the moment?
After the “100 crochi di luna”, the installation created for Naturales Quaestiones that has just ended in Bobbio, I would like to continue developing this work involving light and nature, but I am also working on the meaning of time. Lately it is very much in my thoughts, not MY time but OUR time, understood as humanity that engulfs it by living only the present.