[INTERVIEW] DEFI GAGLIARDO and the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance

Ahead of his upcoming solo exhibition, RAW, in Galeria UNION, we spoke to Defi Gagliardo about his new body of work, the influence of the past year and some of his exciting upcoming projects.

saatchi-6_Defi site

It’s always a good time for a show. But you don’t always get the results you expect, on a personal level anyway. In this particular expo I start a new stage, which I have been developing for a few years now.

RAW has to do with the aesthetic description of the work, the colors and composition, and the subtitle “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” is more conceptual; it encompasses a broader meaning than just this show and has to do, on a whole, with my career as an artist.

I have never really cared about the art world, it’s something I accidentally cross paths with. I think that’s part of my ignorance.

I think the relationship between my beginnings and my present is the constancy of movement. If you look at the chronology of my work from the first to the last, you will notice a slow but very marked change. There is conceptual change, a long process that goes from chaos to ordered chaos. The colors are contained, as are the shapes. Imagine the typical drawing of the creation of the continent where parts of the mass are separated, well, mine is the reverse.

Untitled / Mixed media with 3v light / 26 x 26 x 9cm

Generally, music makes me think a lot. Out of that come ideas for my paintings or some other work. But the same thing happens to me when I paint as well. My music studio and my workshop are always close to each other, which allows me to go back and forth between the two.

As graphic designer I would say that Dadaism and Futurism had a strong impact on me. The vanguards, Malevich’s Suprematism. Nowadays some of my favorite artists are Lolo i Sosaku, Momo, Mark Jenkins, and Koen Delaere, among others.

The abstract works have developed alongside my years of work and research, it was a process, a lifestyle that led me to see the colors, shapes and composition in a different way. Abstract work seems easier to digest and live with every day. When I started painting around the year 2000, my paintings had a different vibe than they do now. They had another mood. They were pictures that you could hang in meeting rooms or museums, that is to say, people would look at them for a few minutes, they had a lot of presence, they generated tension. They were not paintings for houses, I realized that when I started with abstraction. The tension became more comfortable, I began to try to achieve a balance.

I started off with the cats, painting them on the street around 2000 also, and then I painted them in pictures. The cats never really left, they just took a break from the street, they were a little bit frightened of the trend and jumped into the fire.

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Untitled / Mixed media on wood / 27 x 32cm

My creative process has changed for this show, I started designing my pictures and not just spitting them out. I started to think from the white and not from the colour blocks. I learned how to handle the beast. It made me tackle the exhibition from another perspective, now I’m trying to achieve a show that isn’t visually loud but rather works in your head. Before I tried to make the work impactful on the first view, I put it right in front of the viewer, but now it’s something I try to incorporate into the work instead.

I began the year with a residency in Oqubo, Alicante for a month, in the middle of the country, and it was there that I began to define this new stage of work. It was totally experimental and unpretentious, and I let go of my old ideas. For two weeks I didn’t paint, I was just thinking and connecting with the beautiful place. In the last two weeks, I painted a series of canvases that were the real beginnings of this new phase. Once I got back to Buenos Aires, I started preparing an expo for the Chien Noir gallery. That’s where I started my new body of work. 

I’m really excited to have left the city center of Buenos Aires, and that’s the most important thing about my new project, which will involve inviting people to my studio. Now I live out at a house in the province where I have my workshop, my music studio, and soon a small restaurant. I studied cooking at the same time as graphic design. And when I started to paint, I also began to produce music. So everything is related. I want to invite people to eat in my house, to cook for people and have them dine in my studio.

“50-50” / Acrylic on canvas / 140 x 280cm