Banca Sistema interviews Federico Unia

24th September 2014

What's the most important driver of your work? What's the main source of your artistic expression?

It stems from a visceral need for a type of contact that I could define as "mystical" - it testifies to the primordial nature of art over the centuries, as a deep need within each of us (just think of cave paintings for example). Art might be ephemeral, but for me it's also essential, it's the engine of life, the link between cells and atoms, the mystery of creation ... I feel almost a need or a duty to express my creativity, both for myself and for humanity.

Your work is wide-ranging, accurate, and you use a varied selection of media. For works like this, how important is a solid academic background, and how much is about talent?

My academic foundation has certainly been important in helping me to use my instruments and identify which cultural areas to work on. But I have to say that nothing is more educational than having first-hand experience with the technical aspects of an artist's work. Once you've tried them, made them your own and refined them, they're like the letters on a keyboard, a tried and tested way to communicate with your audience!

What you consider to be the main message that your art transmits to the public?

It's a tragicomic reflection on life, a "Fantozzian mystery", a sens no-sens that's always accompanied human existence. It talks of culture, of beauty but also of the ephemeral, and of damnation. I think that each of my pieces make the observer reflect on his or her position in the complex system of life, which is made up of relations and energies between people who communicate and exchange ... a reflection on some of the more common human contradictions.

Do you think that the public and private institutions in Italy offer enough space and attention for young artists?

Given my current experience, I can only reply in the affirmative, but in general I think that Italy suffers from a lack of meritocracy and too many decisions dictated by investment policies that don't accept risks ... I also think that there's a tendency to remain anchored to end-of-century manieristic forms, traces of old avant-garde movements that have been squeezed dry, to the point of becoming obsolete. There's a fear of detaching from these principles, a fear of having confidence in young people ... but they are the ones who will shape the future!

After the retrospective with Banca Sistema, do you have new projects in the pipeline?

Of course! I'm working on national events and also abroad, but I'd prefer not to say too much ... all I can add is that my sense of duty towards art has always been a part of me, and always will be.