International Studio Visits and Exhibitions by Julia Hartmann
Anti-Portraits by Lucas Gabellini-Fava
In my first post on this blog about young and establishing artists, I want to present you the youngest artists I’ve come across so far. Lucas Gabellini-Fava is 14 years old, or maybe he turned 15 already?! Anyways, I met him at the Metropolitain Art Fair in Vienna in November 2012, which was his first official outing as an artist, presenting his photographies courageously to the all so critic art public. Initial complications of curatorial issues were rapidly overcome, though and my interest in his works arose in the exact same speed. Needless to say, the fair’s visitors were instantly paying attention to his photographies, as well as buying them. Encouraged by this success, he is more than ever loaded with ideas and inspiration and works on ever more photographies, videos and installations (as far as school allows him).
Here I present you with three works out of his Chastity series that have enormous potential. Lucas used old family portraits found on the flea market, which he then deprived of their identity by erasing the faces with bleach and forcefully replacing them with scratches. In his own words:
“Chastity is all about destruction and being in a way selfish. I wanted to create something that only I would understand in the long run. So as I got planning and thinking, I was walking by a market in London. I was talking to the man at the stand about the cameras he was selling, but none of them interested me. I was walking away, but then he showed me a box of old photographs and letters. The box contained about 250 old photos. When I came home I started analysing every single one of them. I felt a bit strange looking into these peoples lives, it felt a very ‘voyeur’ and as if I was invading the privacy they had had in that old box for decades. Out of the 250, I only found one picture that I found fit for my next series. I scanned that image in and started working at it. I was thinking that I would erase the faces of the subjects in the photographs so that I would always know what they look like, but the person looking at them would never know and have to make up the emotion and the character for themselves. I showed no one in the whole world the faces!
So in a way I was taking the faces, the expressions, everything! and keeping it to myself to keep. I am letting people decide for themselves if the picture is a dramatic picture, a happy one, a sad one etc…”
Lucas’ description shows another aspect of his geniality. Despite his young age, he develops elaborate concepts which he is stringently following up on. This early conceptual thinking is what makes him remarkably interesting. Moreover, everything he does is self-taught, as he hasn’t been to any art school or the likes, yet. Without any academic education he knows exactly how to put his ideas into effect. He knows exactly what he wants and why. We can be looking forward to all his future endeavors.