Interview to Cosimo Terlizzi by Stefania Seoni: all photos and video by Cosimo Terlizzi

S. Hello Cosimo, can you tell us about your art background?

C.T. There is a mysterious genesis.When I was 5 years old and I lived in Milan, my mother asked me to choose an afternoon course in painting, swimming or other disciplines.. I firmly answered : painting. I found myself in a course frequented by older people, and I remember that I needed help to climb on the stool. Maybe is better to talk of baptism then of background! My training took place in Bologna, during years when there was a cultural excitement linked to the University ( one of the oldest in the world) and others experimental and avant garde centers , like Link and Neon Gallery. I lived in a squat in the center, consisting on 12 flats , where everybody arrived in rotation. I've known punk, post punk, beastly punk, lesbian, separatist feminists, anarchists , communists intellectuals, writers, and all the different kind of humanity. I was living split: between the struggle for survival and existential  struggle : in few words I had to feed my stomach and I had a big hunger for knowledge. During the morning I studied  the structuralism and post structuralism theory:from Rolan Barthes to Luciano Anceschi,and admired the works of Lorenzo Lotto and Bronzino. During the afternoon I passed from Duchamp to Franko B. In short a sort of hysterical period.

S.You are currently displayng Traffic Gallery in Bergamo with "Landscapes", let's talk about that..

C.T.  Over the last 3 years I have watched the landscape in a different way. Some years ago I came upon the book "Invisible cities" by italian writer Italo Calvino, looking through the train or car window I saw that our landscapes are always framed by  power cables, fences or cement blocks placed in o particular way. The never-end city unsettles me. In these landscapes I have noticed some details in which is evident a continua human landscape.

S. There are specific  characters recurring in your work and in your life?

C.T. I 'm always looking at my subjects  for something that belongs to me or that look like me, perhaps a gesture or a way of looking.  I register  feelings that I recognize, that have touched me. My models are my friends and people that  I respect.  For me creating art also represents a lot of love..

S. Can you talk about the video presented at the London International Documentary Festival 2009 " Murgia Fenomeno Carsico"?

C.T. I made a documentary in three parts dedicated to my country and in particular to a park in Bari's province, Murgia. It is a huge plateau of mediterranean steppe. A landscape of thorny plants, lizards and snakes. Many people consider this place useless. There I found my paradise.  In the episode Murgia phenomena Carsico I included a female figure, who  is the voice of the documentary . A figure that apparently   fell from the sky, a top model that describes the landscape walking and climbing on mountains with high heels and so much charm!  The film is smart, because every time I introduced it to the audience of teenagers or adults, they were  all attentive and smiling, even though it is a documentary about  stones and thorns..

S. You have worked with video, photography , installation, which of these artistic languages do you prefer?

C.T.  I have no preference. I divide my work in three stages: performance art, photography and video.  To create an opera, I hypothesize a formative action , then photograph  the stronger points and realize the full video of the action, sometimes the video becomes a real movie, as it happened for my last work "Folder".

S. What is your relationship with fashion?

C.T. There is a relationship but it is not strict.  I am a creative. Fashion passes, but my works should not pass, but must resist  time. So my relationship with fashion is not trusted. 

 S. Your  subjects are always characters which cover  a story an episode , a moment that is not necessarily the shot, it rather a moment of their life, .There is a use of the aesthetics in a communicative way in your works?

C.T.  For me aesthetics are  also a method , not only in recognizing the beauty, but also to give it meaning. My studies in Bologna have served to give me the method , thanks to Luciano Nanni. The Italian Renaissance gave me a lot, I thank Lorenzo Lotto , The portrait of the tailor, where some subjects are placed on the table is one example. The cinema of Pasolini, Jarman, Ruiz have opened my horizons. I hate all that remains on the surface.

Damien The Animal Boy, courtesy  Traffic Gallery Bergamo

Campo Bello, " Landscapes", courtesy Traffic Gallery Bergamo

Fratelli fava in campo
Fratelli Fava in Campo, courtesy Traffic Gallery Bergamo

                "Fratelli Fava"