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Interview with Raffaella Bruzzi

Photograph taken by 

@corinne_genier, @marco_samuse2

Q. Welcome to u1 gallery. We are so grateful to be able to interview you.We can never thank you enough.Could you introduce yourself and your works? How did you begin creating art?


A. I am a self-taught artist, a mother of three, an environmental engineer (Polytechnic of Milan), and I work as a banker right now. I also have a PhD in life sciences from the Faculty of Medicine and Biology in Lausanne. Although I was raised in Novara, I was born in Milan. The first time I moved to Lausanne was for an Erasmus project exchange year at the Ecole Polytechnique (EPFL); the second time was two years later for my undergraduate thesis; and the third time was for my doctoral thesis.


I've always wanted to paint, but it wasn't until after the birth of my first kid that I decided to take the plunge and paint my first canvas while juggling motherhood and my career in banking. I felt at peace right away and discovered a moment of escape, but I would also say meditation, in creating a space for myself. I became interested in abstractionism early on because I was drawn to the subject and needed to experiment freely with shapes and colours.


In the ninth month of my pregnancy, I had my first exhibition. I recall the gallerist calling me two weeks prior to the vernissage to inform me that the artist who was due to exhibit had canceled, and if I wanted to, I could show a few paintings. Although it wasn't on the agenda and I wasn't ready, I concurred. Since Leonardo was born on schedule a few hours after the show ended, I was able to attend the vernissage and finissage.


The years that followed were exceedingly demanding. Because of my rigorous profession and the young age of the kids, I frequently painted at night or in the evening. Without getting hungry or sleepy, I thought I could paint nonstop for hours. Since 2017, when I started working part-time, art has taken a bigger role in my life. Since then, I've been painting more frequently (two days a week, plus whatever extra nights or weekends I have available) and I make an effort to participate in two or three exhibitions each year.


Painting for me is now a necessity.

Q. Could you talk about the process of creating and the way of expressing your work?


A. I enjoy trying out new methods over and over again to see what effects may be produced by combining various hues and materials.


I've created a number of series: I began with the "METAMORMOSI" (probably the most materialistic) in blue and red, where I create fictitious forms of vivid color covered in resin (a vitrified effect), cut into a substance to resemble tree bark or the crust of the earth. These are strenuous tasks. The painting's form emerges almost instinctively, spontaneously, and without planning. The process is lengthy and unfolds via layers of substance and color in a series of exhilarating and frustrating moments.


Later, I created other themes, including "MATERIA," where matter predominates over color and the paintings are primarily monochromatic or bichromatic, "COLORS," where color predominates over matter and consequently uses more colors, and more recently, "I PAESAGGI DELL'ANIMA" and the series "IL MIO MARE," where I tried my hand at oil painting.

Q.  Do you use special colours or tools for your surfaces?


A. I mostly use chalk, marble dust, sand from the seashore, string, wood or iron dust (which I rust), gold foil, and whatever else I can get my hands on. In addition to all of this, I can also include enamels, paints, resins, inks, wax crayons, tar, cement, and the specialized media available on the market to enhance the color's transparency or brilliance. I've been painting abstract landscapes for the past few years using oil paint (how beautiful!) and natural colors, mainly seascapes (this series is titled "IL MIO MARE") or desolate stretches (this series is titled "I PAESAGGI DELL'ANIMA").

Q. Where do you get the inspiration for your work? I also wonder what helps you when you work?


A. The first ones that come to mind: Rothko, Soulages, Ryman, Burri. When I started I think I was more inspired by the classics of Impressionism, the master of light Monet with his Water Lilies series or Amedeo Modigliani with his unbridled passion for women.


My artistic inspiration comes mostly from my own life, my emotions and my feelings. Nature and sea, waves crashing, salt air breeze, the endless horizon... are always present in my mind when I paint.

Q. What do you hope that the audience takes away from your art?

A. I try to speak to heart of people with painting without words. Each of my works aims to capture the essence of who I am and a particular aspect of who I am, but the spectator interprets each one according to his or her own preferences and feelings at the time, which may or may not result in the work evoking strong emotions. The work itself turns becomes a place for interaction, communication, and the start of a journey. An incomparable thrill to be able to look into another person's soul through a painting without having to speak or get to know them first. Regardless of whether the person who saw the piece eventually purchased it, there is no greater fulfillment for an artist than being able to reach another person's spirit through one of their creations. This reflects a different kind of fulfillment, one that is less spiritual and more materialistic, and fortunately, I do not paint for that reason. One of the incidents that gave me a lot of inspiration was when, a few years ago, I made my first sale abroad—specifically, in Chile—to an unidentified customer who contacted me on Instagram. To individuals who are entering the field of abstract painting, I would advise, "Dream, Plan, Do!" Lastly, and most importantly, never give in to discouragement because it is at these times that the best work is usually produced.


Q. What is your dream project? Could you tell us your plans and aspirations as an artist?


A. I'm working on a series of 5 very large paintings 150*150. Seascape and landscape.To describe my plan in simple sentence, painting, painting and painting. I have several exhibitions scheduled until the summer of 2024 between Lausanne and Geneva.


My dream is to hold an exhibition in USA and Japan.

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