In conjunction with the opening of the December Mostra, we are taking a closer look at the individual practices of our resident artists. The fourth interview is of Jacob Wolff, our Rome Fellow in Contemporary Art.
In October 2018, the lost murals by Italian Futurist Giacomo Balla were rediscovered in a building under renovation. The boldly coloured murals, which cover around 80 square metres of walls and ceiling, once decorated the Bal Tic Tac, a nightclub opened in 1921. Your residency in Rome is focusing on this fantastic space, that you were allowed to visit thanks to the architect Marco Pagliara who kindly gave you the permission to see it. Could you please tell us more about this experience?
I had seen some photos online but it was a shock to see it in the flesh. I’m glad I got to see it before all the conservation was finished because it was still in a fragmented state, like something that was still emerging from the walls.
Futurism’s obsession with movement and speed influences your practice, that you develop by sliding glass stencils across the surface of your paintings. It’s a very peculiar technique, that you started to elaborate in 2008 and which also has a connection with architecture, another very important subject for the futurist. Are you experimenting with the relationship between architecture and painting during your time in Rome? Could the December Mostra be a good moment to do so?
What I’ve realised is particularly important to me about this technique is that it shows the duration of its making, in that each line is a spray of colour in a sequence. It’s as much an action or piece of choreography as a painting. Lots of paintings you look at eliminate that evidence of time.
With the architecture, the key is that these new pieces determine their own forms and edges, instead of filling in. This means they occupy a space more like sculpture. The architecture becomes part of them and it becomes important in deciding where they are located. I’m looking forward to testing that in the gallery for the Mostra, as well as a window for Una Vetrina and street walls in Rome.
Jacob’s work is exhibited alongside other resident artists in the December Mostra. Opening hours 16.30-19.00 until Saturday 14 December 2019, closed Sundays.
Interview by Marta Pellerini (BSR Fine Arts Adviser).