INTERVIEW:Piero Golia

Piero Golia, Photo : Nicole MillerPiero Golia, from the beginning of his career until now, remains an enigmatic and avant-garde artist, since he seems flirting with challenges. From his first impressive work at the 1st Tirana Biennial in 2001, that he rowed from Italy to Albania crossing the Adriatic Sea, as a social act to emphasize the illegal immigration, to “The painter” (2016), his latest work that is on presentation at the Group Exhibition “Conversation Piece-Part 3” at Fondazione Memmo in Rome, a robot-painter. Golia, belongs to very successful artists since he presents his work at Gagosian Gallery and as he says to us, instead of other artists he moved to Los Angeles ‘’Not about the place, it’s all about the people”, where he met “Great Masters”, like: Chris Burden, Mike Kelley, Paul MacCarthy ect.

By Dimitris Lempesis
Portrait Piero Golia, Photo: Nicole Miller
Photo: New Atlantis Enterprises & Fondazione Memmo Archive

Mr. Golia, as we know, in your work you are using many and different expressive media, giving emphasis on the theatrical and conceptual part, which of your needs are covering?
Arstists should not have needs because it’s not about us. I’m focus on what is necessary and I act according.
“The painter” that is on presentation in the exhibition “Conversation Piece| Part 3” at Fondazione Memmo in Rome, remind us the “Machines à peindre” that Jean Tinguely set up at the 1st Paris Biennale in 1959 and produced some 40,000 different paintings for the exhibition visitors. Is there a conceptual connection between the two artworks, or your own goal and worldview with a distance of 57 years is different?
“On Presentation” sounds terrible, I don’t believe in the idea of the exhibition as a display. Art is a dynamic experience. Any way going back to your question I remember seeing a beautiful exhibition of Tinguely’s work at the Stedeljik Museum a few years ago, so incredibly poetical, but this is not the case. My “Painter” insteds is cold, just a statement about Abstraction.
Do you consider that the contemporary artist through the needs created by the international art market is a producing machine of ideas, projects and artworks?
Today very often artists are responding to a request, living and working to fulfill expectations, but artists should establish alternatives instead of following expectations.
Your work “The painter”, with which you are participating in the exhibition “Conversation Piece| Part 3” at Fondazione Memmo in Rome, predates or was created especially for the exhibition in dialogue with the other artworks and the space?
I haven’t seen the other works before installing, the dialogue you are looking for is not with the other works or the space, this would be a big limitation. Work should be created in dialogue with the general situation, not indeed as what is immediately around it, but on a larger scale in dialogue with the world and the people.
We observe that most of your works occupy a lot of space, what is your relationship with architecture? When you create an art piece, are you concerned about its connection with the space?
I build what is necessary to build, size just happens, you consider the work big because again you compare it to the “Room”, instead you should compare it to the world and so the world maybe is very small.
Italy is a country that has generated art, important artists, art movements and of course the historical Biennale di Venezia to name a few, however we observe that the last 10 years more and more Italian artists and theorists of your generation, are moving to the U.S.A., especially in Los Angeles that became the new Contemporary Art Center. Do you believe that Europe is antiquated? If you were not living and working in Los Angeles, do you think that your career would not have this raising course?
It’s not about the place, it’s all about the people. I moved to LA long time ago, when wasn’t the fashionable Art Center you are talking about, but home of incredible artists. I was so lucky of meeting great Masters such as Chris Burden, Christopher Williams, Eric Wesley, Mike Kelley, Nancy Rubins, Paul McCarthy and Richard Jackson. Was a great Learning Experience. The Gratest experience.

First Publication: www.dreamideamachine.com
© Interview-Dimitris Lempesis

Info: Curator: Marcello Smarrelli, Assistant Durator: Michela Tornielli di Crestvolant, Fondazione Memmo Arte Contemporanea, Via Fontanella Borghese 56b, Rome, Duration: 17/12/16-2/4/17, Days & Hours: Mon & Wed-Sun 11:00-18:00, www.fondazionememmo.it

Piero Golia, The Comedy of Craft - Act 1 Copying the nose of G. Washington, Installation view at the Hammer Museum, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive
Piero Golia, The Comedy of Craft – Act 1 Copying the nose of G. Washington, Installation view at the Hammer Museum, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive

 

 

Piero Golia, The Comedy of Craft – Intermission Paintings, The monochrome paintings made with relics leftover from the carving of Washington’s nose, Installation View Gagosian Gallery-Rome, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive
Piero Golia, The Comedy of Craft – Intermission Paintings, The monochrome paintings made with relics leftover from the carving of Washington’s nose, Installation View Gagosian Gallery-Rome, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive

 

 

Piero Golia, The Comedy of Craft - Act 2 Making the mold Team working stiffening the rubber mold, P3, Curated by F. Sirmans, Prospect NEw Orleans, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive
Piero Golia, The Comedy of Craft – Act 2 Making the mold Team working stiffening the rubber mold, P3, Curated by F. Sirmans, Prospect NEw Orleans, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive

 

 

Piero Golia, The Comedy of Craft -  Act 2 Making the mold, Finished acrylic coated rubber mold at the end of the exhibition, P3, curated by F. Sirmans, Prospect NEw Orleans, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive
Piero Golia, The Comedy of Craft – Act 2 Making the mold, Finished acrylic coated rubber mold at the end of the exhibition, P3, curated by F. Sirmans, Prospect NEw Orleans, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive

 

 

Piero Golia, My gold is yours, Concrete cube enclosing 1 kg. of gold, 2.5x2.5x2.5 m, Installation View, Venice biennale 2013, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive
Piero Golia, My gold is yours, Concrete cube enclosing 1 kg. of gold, 2.5×2.5×2.5 m, Installation View, Venice Biennale 2013, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive

 

 

Piero Golia, My gold is yours, Person carving the cube to extract the gold, Venice biennale 2013, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive
Piero Golia, My gold is yours, Person carving the cube to extract the gold, Venice Biennale 2013, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive

 

 

Piero Golia, My gold is yours, Detail of concrete fragments with gold enclosures, Venice Biennale 2013, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive
Piero Golia, My gold is yours, Detail of concrete fragments with gold enclosures, Venice Biennale 2013, New Atlantis Enterprises Archive

 

 

Piero Golia, The painter (2016), Motion control robot, paint, canvas, Fondazione Memmo Archive
Piero Golia, The painter (2016), Motion control robot, paint, canvas, Fondazione Memmo Archive