5 minutes with Giovanni Leonardo Bassan

Encompassing social and political happenings, Italian artist, Giovanni Leonardo Bassan has pushed boundaries with his first solo exhibition; Martyrdom, that is currently being exhibited at The Mine, Dubai. Bassan’s work is a clear dissection of the past and present, which drives society to question the contemporary viewpoints and epochal perceptions. With a soupcon of violence, the art works are a vocal point of identifying societies roles and responsibilities as human beings, emphasizing the incisive urgency of a collective awakening. Between working for Rick Owens and having Michele Lamy as his mentor, Giovanni speaks to TFH about his recently publicised talent.

Image: Alvaro Colom

What’s a typical morning for Giovanni? I'm not a very morning type of guy, I try to wake up as late as I can, it helps that I live less then a minute away from my office.


Your artwork has very powerful meanings behind them, does a lot of your inspiration stem from political and social happenings? Yeah definitely, the inspiration comes from all of us in todays society. It’s about our generation and our vision of 'system, all the references on the pieces are events that are taking place in various places around the world.


Where do you feel most creative? I feel very creative at night, usually after playing sports and when I'm alone in my studio. Sometimes I can spend a full night painting or testing new surfaces without realizing that it’s already morning.


When do you feel most beautiful? Ohhh that’s a difficult question. I feel beautiful when I create, but the beauty is not me, but on the act. I have a very difficult relation with self esteem, in fact I am the worst judge of myself!


Why Martyrdom? Most martyrs are considered holy or are respected by their followers, becoming symbols of exceptional leadership and heroism in the face of difficult circumstances. Martyrs play significant roles in religions. I wanted to research what a modern marthyr means and what the relationship with the actuality of these heroes and the guys and girls that are on our street now fighting for what the believe in.


How do you think your mentor, Michele Lamy, has impacted your approach to art, and publically displaying your work in places like Dubai? I respect and love Michele very much, she pushes me to take myself more serious, to experience and stay in my representation. I wouldn’t say that she influences my art but definitively she helps me shape my view on art.


How do you see your art and it’s strong aesthetic impacting peoples understanding of the art industry and what’s the most important thing you want people to know about you and your art? The most important thing is how people feel about it, and that they should understand that there is more than an aesthetic sense; that behind accurate representations there are messages that I believe in. Whether people agree or not, for me its important to cause a reaction or an emergence of some critical idea.


5 things you can’t leave your house without? I'm a free spirit so I don’t really need much when I leave my place. I would say a nice book to fill the empty time, and some pens or pencils (I don't need paper, I always find a support to sketch).


Favorite place in the world and why? Without a doubt Venice. I think it’s my favorite city on the entire planet for now, it’s quite close to my family that I feel at home and every corner there’s some form of art; the stories and the inspirations are immense.


Tell us something people would be shocked to know about you? Now a days it’s difficult to shock people because the extremes have become more normal and people are used to see or know a bit of everything. But in my case, something that may shock people is knowing my tranquility and simplicity.


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