In conversation with collage artist Roberta Guarna from Bari, in Puglia, Italy. Roberta studied in Florence, at the Quiete delle Montalve, Villa Medicea, which today is a museum.
Can you talk about your journey into or interest in the arts?
My interest began when I was very, very young, thanks to the city where I born and lived – Florence. Thanks, too, to my family – my father, for example, who was a fashion and costume designer. [My family] have always loved art and they encouraged every form of art and education in it. I continued with passion, commitment and rigour.
Can you talk about the influences upon your work?
I am not an easily influenced subject, not even in art.
Above all, I give a lot of attention to the thought / concept behind a work of art, if there is a thought / concept.
However, I love the great Italian artist Maria Lai, the Dadaists of Berlin (in particular Hannah Höch and Francis Picabia), and Marc Chagall; also classical music and Russian writers of the 19th century inspire me.
Can you talk about the social issues that inform your work?
My work is [directed at] the marginalized, invisible and fragile society, oppressed by pain and loneliness. I try to fight against the immense human indifference and I try to do it also with my art.
The main themes of my work are disability, poverty, human rights, mental illness, the health of the planet, freedom, women’s rights and many other important subjects.
You work in collage predominantly, and specifically analogue collage. Why analogue specifically?
I think it’s impossible to give a precise answer to this question, just as love cannot be explained: it is born in your heart and spontaneous. Maybe also I received a gift, a very special and precious gift, from my father, who used scissors with great skill and extreme precision. Sometimes I think that it is not I who is cutting out the paper but my father, or my mother and God. They move my hands and do it all.
I work exclusively with the analogue collage technique, which I often integrate with other artistic techniques: gold leaf, acrylics, watercolours and photography.