TextileStories: Aldo Lanzini

This week on TextileStories we have a silent interview with the mysterious Italian artist Aldo Lanzini. Aldo is best known for his extraordinary crochet works which reflect his thoughts on the human condition and the way in which we all construct our own self-image in our search for self-knowledge. You can read the interview and watch a slide show of Aldo’s work below.

You can find out more about Aldo and his work at: http://www.aldolanzini.eu/

As an artist, you have explored many different materials and techniques; from drawing to textiles to performance and sound, what attracts you to this interdisciplinary approach?

Every media has a specific way to carry out a thought.

Every technique has a way of unfolding itself and teaching me something about life. To deal with a technique is to develop a taste for problem solving , a knowledge that you can apply not only while working on your project but to life in general.

You are possibly best known for your amazing crochet works, especially your masks, when did you start using crochet? What do you love about this technique?

I started using the technique of crocheting in the early 90s, it is a technique that has taken a special place in my daily life, like a hobby it has become part of my everyday. For me crocheting is like sculpture, it grows little by little , it permits me to think while i work, adding to the work the sense of life unfolding itself.

I do not design or pre- sketch the work; I let it grow independently, I observe its growth. I learn from it.

Could you tell us more about your masks and what the idea of “the mask” means for you?

You consider that they are masks but in fact they are faces.

I make faces and while I make them I think about the construction of the self, allegedly the highest act of creation that for each of us , consciously or unconsciously, it is something that constantly takes place in our daily life, every day we are adding something to the understanding of ourselves.

On the home page of your website you have the words: “Learn from the spider. Make your own web.” What meanings do you attach to this?

It is connected to my search for the ways we are building ourselves as human and as creative beings … the spider is the ultimate artist: it creates the web from within itself.

Last year for Milan Design Week you collaborated with Angela Missoni on the installation “Knitown”, tell us a little about the project, what was it like to align your practice with what is arguably the most iconic knitwear label in the world?

Working with Angela was a blessing: the idea behind Knitown took inspiration from ‘The City of Sun’ a Utopian philosophical work written by Tommaso Campanella in 1602 after he was imprisoned for heresy and sedition.

The Utopian city was surrounded by walls painted with an illustrated encyclopaedia of knowledge. The history of the City was painted on the walls…with this image in mind we imagined a Missoni City where the buildings are made of knit from the Missoni archive; the final result was a surreal miniature abstract City, I also constructed the soundscape to emphasise the sense of abstraction creating electronic sound that I played live during the days of the exhibition.

And from Kintown… where to next?

Who knows…!

You can see a short video about the Knitown installation here:

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