In Conversation with Roberta Borroni:


Roberta Borroni

Roberta Borroni (b. 1998, Italy) is a multidisciplinary artist and workshop facilitator working across sculpture, drawing, video, and installation. Some of the ideas explored in her practice are playfulness, encounter and the performativity of objects and materials. A strong interest in the mechanics of theatre (and the notions of hiding and revealing), together with the figure of the puppet (as the folkloristic image of a piece of material gifted with the ability to speak) are recurring themes in recent works.

︎: @roberta.borroni

Interviewed By Yan Wang, 19/02/2023

YW: I really like your artwork Untitled (day trip), the idea of creating door handles on unnoticed everyday items is really brilliant, I'm curious what the meaning of the doorknob is, is it a reflection of your concern for marginal things and your desire to explore more potentials.

               Untitled(day trip),2022,inkjet prints,21x14cm each
RB: Definitely, and the door handle is for me also a metaphor for a threshold. It is something that is awkwardly in-between but that has the potential to "open" things. I think I was also initially drawn to the idea of making door handles that don't look like real door handles as a way to include the concept of failure in my practice. And this shows in the idea that a door handle on an everyday object could open it - and open up new narratives - or could just stay there, failing to open the object.

YW: I was impressed by the coincidence that this was shot in Willesden, do you live in Willesden?

RB: Yes, I live in Willesden and the video/photos were all taken in a couple of streets that I used to walk through everyday!

YW: I actually think what you're doing is really meaningful, it's actually a practice of psychogeography, and you're like an urban wanderer who doesn't adhere to the basic social narrative, daily routine, rebellious enough, free enough, AWESOME!

RB: Thank you! I resonate with the idea of being an urban wanderer and I feel like this shows in different ways in my work.

YW: The next question is in your statement, you mentioned mapping an event in a bodily manner, may I ask what this event is?

RB: The event I am referring to is the 'day trip'; the journey that the door handle has been on.

YW: What is the connection between carpet and TV?

Hide and seek, 2021, felt, paper, cardboard, black thread, metal hooks,
Memory presents, 2021, felt, cardboard, laptop, 23x27x24cm, 42"
Installation view from the practice event "Running in the evening in a sweet frenzy"
Archway Annex Studios

RB: This event of the day trip is shown in a fragmented way through the photos, the carpet and the TV.

In the first version of these 2 pieces the "event" was of course different (they were made almost a year before 'day trip'), but they had the same correlation, that of showing one side of the story. The carpet is the map, the TV is the memory of the event.

YW: I noticed that your previous TV and blanket felt were gray, but this time it seems to have turned blue, is there any special reason?

RB: It is actually the same exact felt! The carpet will look less blue when it's finished but I think it's down to those old photos being done with the exhibition lighting on, which was very peculiar for curatorial reasons, but didn't show the colour best. There isn't a particular symbolic meaning behind the blue, I just felt like it was the right colour to use to define a space that was there to welcome the traces of an event.

YW: The last question is a general one that every artist will be asked: What do you think about the relationship between human society and nature?

RB: I think the answer to this question brings up many more questions: what is nature? Who defines it? What is a human society (and is everybody included in one)?

I think all these questions are vast and complicated, and in my practice I try to see nature, or rather every object around me, as something on my same level, and that I can have a conversation with. This helps me question my anthropocentric point of view. I think this is also a question that is open to many answers, and that perhaps should be phrased as a conversation, or rather a talk.