Outdoor retrospective



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You met them, you loved them. Their monumental paper sculptures filled the corners of Lucca with wonderment...and for those who don't know them yet, they're the Outdoor artists of Cartasia. What were their best moments during residency, and what are they working on now?

As we wait for the new edition of Cartasia Lucca Biennale, we've quizzed the Outdoor paper artists from the past editions. Here's an interview of the paper artists that created the amazing sculptures that make the Biennale so unique.

mykl wells Guido Mencari resize-min
Mykl Wells has been welcomed to Cartasia twice, winning the 2012 edition with "Bucaneve", a reference to the flower that blossoms after a harsh winter, a cycle of crisis and rebirth, and returning as a special guest to Cartasia 2016 edition with "Astronave", recreating the landing of a cardboard spaceship in the heart of the city.

"I continue to work and be productive meeting the demands of being a professional artist. In the last few years I have participated in more gallery shows and community events than I can count. In terms of cardboard I am doing less work in that material in general, though I am working on a very large scale cardboard installation. It has hundreds of sculptural elements and is my most ambitious cardboard work to date. 

As for memories [of Cartasia] there are many, Cartasia has changed my life in both profound and subtle ways. I have great respect for Cartasia as an institution. It gives artists the freedom, workspace, physical support and platform to exhibit their unique visions, monumental or subtle. My most cherished memories are for the people who worked with me to see my vision made flesh. They are as much authors of this work as I am. Having been able to participate twice, to see this organization grow and develop has been amazing. Eating drinking breathing in the shadows of other artists, sharing ideas. It is both energizing and humbling."

Ines Hubacher starred at the Cartasia 2012 edition with her piece "The Theatre of Life", a wall of cardboard with carved words on the topic of that year's edition: crisis and rebirth.

"In the past three years, I've been experimenting and working with printing techniques, mainly monotype printing on paper, wood or plastic [...] My thematic focus lies on alpine landscape and space and how we deal with it. In my current work, I use paper again, but not exclusively, and in a very different way.
Cartasia 2012 was a great experience for me. I very much appreciated the opportunity and great support to realize such a huge project from A to Z, with all its challenges, the last one being its transportation to the final destination at Piazza San Francesco.

 ines hubacher theatre of life
Would the lorry be able to pass the city "porte" safely with the three parts of the installation fixed on it or would it get stuck? I was the last one of the group to install the work and quite nervous! Luckily, everything went well. I remember Lucca as a very inspiring place with a welcoming, friendly and relaxed atmosphere."


 Stefania Giannici
Stefania Giannici also took part in Cartasia 2012, where she created "Afasia", a composition of hanging paper hexahedrons and spheres, symbolizing an inner exploration.

"For the past 4 years I've been managing a small handmade craft business in Venice, which has brought me great satisfaction, seeing as for example I won the first edition of the Segalin Prize in 2015, and in a short amount of time I've gained a national and international reputation; [...] I've explored new working techniques when working with paper and I create different kinds of objects, maintaining my signature way of imagining and creating, I've grown and my style keeps on evolving.
I recall with pleasure the atmosphere of working side by side with other artists [at Cartasia 2012], the satisfaction to have created for the first time a piece of such great dimensions and the joy in seeing it exhibited in the most beautiful squares of Lucca."

Giacomo Zaganelli created "Moto" at Cartasia 2014, to represent the theme of the edition liquid identities, he chose to create a spiral of cardboard tubes representing perpetual transformation.

"At the moment I'm working in Asia, in particular in Taiwan, where I have just finished a solo exhibition at the MoCA in Taipei, the first for an Italian artist. At the same time I'm working on some projects that I'll develop in the upcoming months, here but also in Italy [...] Every experience and every place is different from the previous, this is exactly where I get my inspiration from, depending on the context I model my approach with the aim of communicating through my work. The approach is somehow the same, the language has evolved.
I have good memories of Cartasia when it comes to the relationships created in those days with some of the technical staff. There was a nice atmosphere."

 giacomo zaganelli
 giulio biazzi
At the latest edition of Cartasia in 2016, Labadanzky explored the theme of borders and perspectives with a monumental cardboard robot, "U.E.C. 9000", a war weapon that hides its weaknesses behind an imposing appearance (You can still visit Labadanzky's robot: he lies under the Sorita San Martino in the walls of Lucca!)

"I've been conducting an installation project between 2017 and 2018 between Geona and Turin, that cilminated in November with a temporary solo exhibition at the ex Olympic Village (Torino Lingotto), during Artissima 2017. This project is currently in Genoa, where I am preparing a solo show at Palazzo Ducale [held between the 22nd February to the 15th March] titled "Rest in pieces", which will present a few reinterpretations of a selection of my most "famous" urban installations, in full size and/or to scale. My style remains substantially the same [as that seen at Cartasia 2016]."

Thank you to Ines, Stefania, Giacomo, Labadanzky and Mykl for having given us this little interview, and thank you to Guido Mencari and Alessandro Casalini for the photos used.
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