For a almost two years this interview [of Giovanni Leonardo Bassan] has been locked due to technical issues. The reasons, fortunately, are not longer important considering the inspiring results. When we found the questionnaire shining on the inbox, Bassan was showing In Martyrdom, his first solo exhibit in Dubai, around 2015; the Italian artist had chosen saints as they were part of his past, his education and in order to speak about the present he wanted to start from the roots. Giovanni’s pieces remained political and religious, but also with an erotic aura printed in most of his work. “I believe the body is fundamental on our life and it’s a constant point of interested especially on mine,” he told CHEVET, “I love the human body and I think an erotic aura is always transmitted by my pieces,” said Giovanni Leonardo Bassan (1989).
Let’s start from the basic first. Tell us about growing up in Marostica (Vicenza, Italy) grow up and where’s Giovanni right now in life?
I grew up in a very traditional and catholic family in north of Italy, having the possibility to travel a lot since very young age. Now, since 6 years ago, I’m based in Paris but keep jumping around the world non-stop. I will say that not much has changed except that my new French/Owens (as Rick Owens and his wife, muse and creative collaborator Michèle Lamy) “family” is the the exact opposite of traditional and catholic.
Is your work of art evocative or provocative?
I hope both at the same time. My goal is not to provoke. I believe today it’s becoming quite hard to shock my generation, so my wish is to inspire and if the spectators are feeling connected, to make them stop for a minute and think about something would be amazing.
How was your first encounter with painting?
I have been drawing since my first memories, but I started taking seriously only few years ago, when I got my first studio, a basement of Michèle Lamy (his artistic training began at the Art School A. Martini, Schio and then continue at the Politecnico di Milano, graduating in industrial design in 2011.)
How does it feel being a young artist in this century?
It feels great! The competition is very high, one can feel saturated, but that’s great at some point. The market, I believe, is always strong. I can’t think of a great change from the past century, or the one before. Obviously, technology along media had helped a lot to perceive some sort of change with its super updated tools but the struggle, the hanger, the love, the discovery of yourself are part of every young artist trail and this remains the same.
What do you think is the most important role of you as an artist?
I believe art can make a difference. In a small scale, if you want me to count it. But I think we can fight our battles with it. From my corner, I have been doing a few charity projects, helping with my paintings to give a real contribution to people in need. For example, the last group show in which I was part of; helped Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a non-profit association that support the LGBTI community based in Kampala, Uganda.
Are you into photography or sculpting? Have you ever considered those scenarios?
Yes! More and more throughout the years. I had two photos included in my last personal show in Paris, opening and closing the show. I’m working on my next Dubai show with many sculpture pieces.
What do you think about the connection between fashion and art?
I honestly don’t care about it, even after working in fashion companies in Milano and still nowadays (I’m in charge of the furniture and art departments). But on my personal point of view, I would try to divide these two universes, not because I want them to be completely separate, but it’s a way to keep figurative art is a real passion for me, something that moves me inside and fashion doesn’t, really.
Related to the starting point when an artist of any kind tries to develop his art… What’s your opinion on ‘niche’ and something more ‘universal’?
That’s a hard one. In my case, I develop my pieces with/for an inner need, It’s a slow process that started long time ago simply because it was making me happy (and still does). I wasn’t planning to show it to a certain public or have exhibitions in some a galleries.
What are your next moves?
I don’t have any. I will keep doing what feels good and let’s see what doors the future will open for me.
Having said that, how can an artist like you respond to a world in crisis?
As everyone else should, just keep yourself in constant evolution, doing things, from making little choices to bigger projects, respecting the environment around us.