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Giulia Zorzella, spirituality in visual silence

By Sara Stefanovic
6 min read

The spirituality of people without worship, a meeting place without a unique identity that flourishes in the mystery of the unknown. Giulia Zorzella creates unconscious pieces of a puzzle that is hidden, in its final stage, on an unconscious, deeper, spiritual level. In the end, her work is connected by an invisible thread, more conceptual than aesthetic.

Giulia was born as an interior designer, but embraces various types of artistic expression, also by virtue of her innate multifunctionality. A defect or the possibility of reinventing yourself every day? Her works have been exhibited on the occasion of various artistic events, including the Milan Design Week, the Triennale, the Antonio Colombo Art Gallery, Walk in Studio Event, Matsuyama Design Week, Superstudio, Moscow Design Week and more. Her works in the end always speak of man, mind and matter.

Tell us your genesis.

Giulia Zorzella: «I was born as an interior designer, as attested by my degree… However, I soon approached the world of performative art, thanks to the thesis I wrote with Alessandro Guerriero; who has been both a teacher and an example. My degree thesis revolved around the idea of a temple for non-believers, represented through six wearable micro-architectures that explain the path to finding spirituality. These spiritual architectures were born as a result of careful philosophical (with reference to Jung and Hillman), psychological and anthropological research. They are proposed as a response to the human need to believe in something. The inner conflict between modern man and religion. There is always a need for spirituality, even when there’s no religious belief».

Do your works dress people with their own emotions? The Hedgehog’s dilemma struck me a lot. Tell us about Tensioni Emotive.

Giulia Zorzella: «The hedgehog’s Dilemma as well as Fil Rouge are part of the Tensioni Emotive project created on the occasion of the Open Studio in Milan last September. For the realization of the project I had the opportunity to collaborate with the photographer Giulio Romolo Milito and some really talented performers. The project is divided into two different ideas of human behavior related to man’s social insinct.

The hedgehog’s dilemma is inspired by Schopenhauer’s philosophical theory, which analyzes people’s difficulty in opening up to other people. The moment in which the hedgehog rolls up, showing its thorns as a protection, is paradoxically the moment in which it is most vulnerable. If squeezed in this position, the thorns that should protect it, end up piercing it. People who have this attitude need socializing but are afraid of hurting others, because they would be hurt themselves. To show this concept I realised a body with a lot of plastic quills aimed at keeping people at a distance. During the photographic performance I wanted to convey the idea of forced intimacy: one person tries to get closer, the other wants to get away.

Man is a social animal. We need to have relationships with other people to be happy. But are we brave enough to risk being hurt?

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Fil Rouge, on the other hand, is a mask.

Giulia Zorzella: «I find the concept behind masks very suggestive. Starting from the ancient Chinese myth of the red thread of destiny, I created a mask made up of red threads that represents the people we are destined to meet in our life and with whom we are forced to have relationships. At the end of the video the protagonist is seen tying a girl, this gesture is meant to represent how, in some cases, relationships force people to stay in an uncomfortable position and do not allow freedom of movement. Each strand represents a relationship that can be positive or negative.

Tensioni Emotive is the work I’m most fond of. While working to give it a shape, a strong synergy was born between the various people… Let’s say it’s my favorite project for the emotions it aroused».

What was the starting point for the creation of your works?

Giulia Zorzella: «Alessandro Guerriero set the tone, from an artistic point of view. He was of great help to both develop the concept and to learn how to collaborate. The synergy between professionals can really make the difference in a project, there must be respect for the work of the individual».

Giulia Zorzella

What inspires or inspired you?

Giulia Zorzella: «Music plays a fundamental role in my creations. In everyday life I tend to listen to the radio, I don’t feel the need to search for particular songs. When I get to work, however, I tend to listen to Love Supreme.

Another source of inspiration was Pamuk’s book entitled The Museum of Innocence. It tells about a very troubled love story that ends tragically. After losing his lover, the protagonist builds an altar representing his love for her. Finally we have dreams and Africa. I don’t always remember what I dream, but I wake up with an idea in mind. Africa, on the other hand, is a great source of inspiration for my wearable works, I really like African collars for example».

So you have a good relationship with travels…

Giulia Zorzella: «Yes, Africa struck me a lot. The first time I set foot in Kenya, I felt at home, it’s absurd, I’ve never been there before. In that place I began to mature the concept of spirituality and to reflect on human belonging. I don’t feel the desire to go back or live there, but I will never forget the feeling I felt. Apart from Africa, I always allow myself four or five trips a year. I try to spend even just three or four days somewhere, obviously following unusual itineraries».

What do you carry with you?

Giulia Zorzella: «The bare minimum. I want to live in the city or the place I visit, pretend it’s my home. I certainly bring a camera and an iPad, otherwise nothing in particular».

Any projects for the future?

Giulia Zorzella

Giulia Zorzella: «I would like to further develop the concept of the mask, I would like to embroider them on semi-transparent fabrics, to create transparencies that convey an idea of censorship. What characterizes me is the non-linearity of my projects. I realize that there are similarities between them only when they are finished. Looking at the works individually, it is not always easy to find the common thread. It is not a question of aesthetic coherence, everything is hidden in the philosophy behind it… I can’t tie myself to a particular technique, this put me in difficulty at the beginning. It’s not easy to find a place when you have so many interests.

Giulia Zorzella

In the end, however, I realize that there is a connection that is explained in my very sacred approach to things.

I like to explore the potential of the metaphysical union between people and objects, but the encounter must maintain a certain solemnity. Showing a visual, almost clerical, silence».

6 min read

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