by Guglielmo Greco Piccolo & Francesco Giuri – pics ©ourtesy of Tablet Community - Translated by Damian Killeen
Claudia Scandella: The Girl With Talent in her Suitcase.
The strange story of the red-haired waitress who exhibits in Museums and Art Galleries
It is evening, the night is almost over in the Capital of Festivals. But what is there to do in the Grassmarket, if not to get a coffee or sit at the tables in one of the group of pizza restaurants, next door to each other, which distinguish the area? Hunger in any case exists, especially for those who are looking for a good pizza.
When you are ready you sit down, ask for the menu and make a decision, raising your eyes to notice a smiling girl, very pretty, looking truly celtic, with 100% ginger hair and eyebrows like very few people around, even in the UK.
The girl, quickly writes down the order, smiles and, especially observes the material and images showing on the tablet that you are working on whilst waiting for the food to arrive.
Between courses, and in answer to our question about why the interest in the visual arts, the girl finally reveals all: Claudia Scandella is an Italian citizen residing in UK, Edinburgh, near the end of her BA Professional Photography at Edinburgh College / Abertay Dundee University and, above all, she is active in different exhibition projects.
Claudia is one of many young people with talent in their suitcase, who do various various jobs to keep themselves alive but, at the end of the day, they release all their creativity and enthusiasm to show what they really want: new visions of the future.
Since concluding her studies, Claudia has experimented with a variety of expressive language, even being avant-garde in her technical research, before reaching visions and concepts so intense and sought after, albeit in their simplicity, that they have been included in collective exhibition spaces such White Space (where she is now among the finalists for AOP 2015), in London, Awol Studios in Manchester, Drill Hall, RSA and the National Gallery, Edinburgh, to name a few.
After a few visits to the spaces where Claudia expresses herself and promotes and exhibits her work a feeling is born between the observer and Claudia as she procesess her images almost to the point of graphic minimalism as was experimented with in the 1950's by the likes of Luigi Veronesi, in a time when computers and the software for processing and editing were not even in the dictionary of the collective imagination. Claudia has shown, from the beginning, a particular talent for an almost obsessive research into the differences but also the connections that the British, Scottish and Italian areas reveal only to those who have the capacity and know how to really see.
An obsession that will lead to her inclusion in ItaliaModerna - New Culture on the Flat, the extended section of a project for the promotion of Italian contemporary art and cultures, supported by the Italian Consulate for Scotland and Northern Ireland, based in the Scottish capital.
Claudia participates with "Connections", a series of two diptychs in which minimal elements of the urban and natural worlds, lose their usual space-time locations and are reintegrated into totally white backgrounds that return them to their formal purity, dignity and value in a new way.
So, the girl we met almost by chance at a restaurant-pizzeria, today is exhibiting along with the likes of M & P-Monticelli & Pagone, Ezia Mitolo, Magda Milan, Pierluca Cetera, Pino Caputi, Giuseppe Palumbo, Cosmo Vestita and Astormendez Community, with her red hair, those lapis eyes intelligent and visionary, a menu and the audacity to always bet on difficult ideas and projects. To learn more about this young creative mind and the reasons why she left her native country to challenge and compete in a tremendously competitive capital, we met again and, this time, as an artist, exclusively for Tablet2.0.
1) Thanks Claudia for joining us for this interview. What prompted you to get away from Italy and why did you choose Edinburgh to pursue your very personal alternative ideas about photography, in a place that is still anchored to certain traditional patterns?
C. S. First of all, thank you very much for involving me. It is a great pleasure for me be part of this project. Curiosity about what is going on outside the small reality I grew up in , is the reason why I left my country in the first place. I loved my job and I didn’t have any particular need to move out. I was not sure what to do exactly, but I am glad I have found my way, moving to UK about 8 years ago. I first move to London and only 18 months later I decided to go to Scotland. I took a train with a friend of mine and I started living in Edinburgh. Edinburgh has been a random choice, but I am glad I did it as I believe it is a perfect city in which to study, work and enjoy life. I like the fact that Scotland is still strongly linked to traditions, I don’t see this as an obstacle but, rather, it makes me feel at home.
2) You work in very different settings. Have you been surprised your great ability to move betweenthem?. In short, food and visions of the future: what are the possible connections?
C. S. Ah, Ah I can’t stay without do anything. I always need to keep going. Unfortunately, sometime I struggle with the time, but I always try to do as much as I can. I am working in a restaurant to pay for what I most like to do, travelling and photography. I cannot see any strong connection between the two jobs at the moment.
3) Do you think it might be an impossible project to link food and the art of photography (not still-life); what do you think ? It Would it be a possible project for Claudia Scandella?
C. S. I love eating, I really love eating. A few months ago I started developing a project relating to the acceptance of one's body in this multicultural and globalized society, but it is still embedded into my hard drive. Maybe one day it will be able to come out.
4) Quality rather than quantity, this is the intention of the exhibition you are currently participating in. Do you have a strategy or a research basis to how you promote yourself?
C. S. More than strategy I would talk about luck. I have been lucky enough to meet the right people who supported me and put me on the right direction. I enjoy getting involved in many different kinds of contexts, I believe this was the key to me starting this new adventure in the right way.
5) Would you like to tell us about one of your most interesting projects, "Connections"? How did you get the idea, what inspired you exactly to use so many different places, at least so it seems?
C. S. Connections was born two years ago during my Christmas holidays in Italy. It was snowing, so I decided to get my camera and go for a walk. Only few minutes later I realized that what I was photographing it could have been easily Scotland. I then started writing this new project about how to represent the connection between places so far and so different to each other.
I decided to keep the project quite graphic and minimal, in order to make it accessible for the viewer. Negative space plays an important role in this whole set. When I came back to Edinburgh I did the same, I went to the north of the country and found the same landscapes that I had photographed in Bergamo. I then expanded the project with some places in South of Europe and Asia.
At the moment the project is a series of 20 diptychs with more to come.
6) You are a talented young woman who works hard, as much at the restaurant as for the exhibition projects to which you are now invited. What do you expect from a Capital of Culture, headquarters for years of various Festivals, that somehow still finds it a little hard to accept particularly innovative iconography?
C. S. I am generally an optimist, so I am hoping for the best. Edinburgh has a lot to offer, I just need to find the right way in order to get what I am looking for.
7) Digital or analogue? Which do you think wins today in terms of ability and quality?
C. S. Ha, ha, this is the million dollar question. If I were to reply to this question by counting the hours I usually spend in front of the computer using Photoshop and the hours I normally spent in a dark room developing negatives, well... the answer will be pretty immediate and obvious. I rather prefer to say that digital is now pretty much everything when we are talking about commercial photography and analogue is not necessarily everything when we are talking about art photography.
8) What convinced you to participate in ItaliaModerna? What did this project, in particular, have that others do not?
C. S. As I said before, I enjoy experimenting different fields, also I really like the fact that ItaliaModerna is a baby project like me, so why not, watch them grow together.
9) Would you like to tell us about your next exhibition?
C. S. I am currently exhibiting at the Italian Consulate in Edinburgh, I am not really sure what It will be next but I will make sure you will get all the details.
Thank you again for your time and consideration, it has been great.