DANIELA BUSARELLO, Expressionist of the Living

DANIELA BUSARELLO, Expressionist of the Living

Daniela Busarello describes herself as a visual artist and expressionist of the living. Indeed, the place of biological entities, whether they are plants or humans, is central in the work of this artist who seeks to introspect the world around her. This is why she is interested in the relations between Man and Nature but also in the inter-human relations which are illustrated by a questioning on the feminist cause, among others.  

Foto: Piotr Rosinski

Painting is at the center of your current practice. Tell us how you turned from an architect in Brazil to a painter in France.

It was an exciting journey in which I finally found my voice. Without really knowing why, I found myself one day on a plane to Paris to spend a sabbatical year away from my work as an architect in Brazil. Perhaps it was the feeling that if I did not leave Brazil at this moment, I would never be able to do so ever again. I woke up on my 40th birthday in my Parisian apartment with the feeling that my anxieties were gone. So I decided to sign up for the School of Fine Arts, les Beaux-Arts de Paris.

It was an adult live drawing class with human models. I was lucky enough to have a great teacher who understood that it bothered me to copy things as they are, I wanted to get into them, see further, deeper than my eyes could. It was through my drawings that I discovered the interiority of the world and the bodies. What I discovered above all is my interiority: I am a painter, I am a woman.

“I am a painter, I am a woman.”

You call yourself a woman and not a feminist?

You know, I find there is something stronger to call oneself a woman, it’s being in opposition to the other sex: I am a woman. There is a benevolence, a look, a delicacy. It also brings a whole maternal side that feminism does not. 

We love being women with all our strengths and weaknesses, don’t we.

Absolutely, I don’t want to compete with men. I don’t want to be a man. I live with this feminine power, with all its strengths and weaknesses that drive my creation. It really comes from my viscera, I couldn’t do it differently. Softness, for example, is also a human trait, it’s the mankind that interests me. 

And where does this interest for humans come from?  

I think it comes from my former life when I was an urban architect. Before designing a project, I would have to study the ground, humans are central in the process. I think I’ve never stopped being sensitive about it and about the relationships with the Other, the Other being a human being, a plant, an animal, the city. These body-landscapes are born through my gesture, in the continuity of my own body.

You talk about environment, landscape, plants, we might think that humans are not your only muse. 

There is a concept in architecture and philosophy of the genius loci, the spirit of the place. It is an idea that inspires my practice and for which I really immerse myself in nature with a protocol that I have established. I start by taking pictures of plants, flowers, stones or trees that I will collect during one of my trips. I make with these collected materials a powder that I can use as paint. That’s how I keep the spirit and energy of a place. It is an interior quest but also a questioning about what unites us to all things, in other words, the cosmos.

And what is the place that concerns you most today?

Of course Brazil and especially the Atlantic Forest, on the eve of its disappearance. Picking a flower on the sidewalk, like I did, is also a piece of this great ecosystem endangered by human activity. 

“Painting has become my new breath, I can’t not paint.”

Somewhere you save the forests of Brazil in your own way by perpetuating them in your painting. Art has the aspiration to exist forever, perhaps unfortunately not the Atlantic Forest.

I didn’t see it like this, but you’re probably right, it’s like some kind of unconscious protection of my country. All these processes are also about Brazilian socio-cultural problems that are getting worse and worse with a real race to destruction. In fact, painting has become my new breath, I can’t not paint. It is all these conscious and unconscious worries and anxieties that I infuse in my gesture when I paint. Although I prepare some paintings beforehand, it doesn’t often end as I had imagined. The unconscious guides me and allows me to express myself freely on the canvas. It’s almost therapeutic. 

Your gesture brings a depth that transcends the simple description of the world…

However, it wasn’t always like this, my first paintings were quickly completed. It was the instantaneousness of human feelings and relationships that I was depicting. Today, the act of painting is more important and it takes me a month now to complete a piece. The time when I’m not painting is as important, because it allows me to think. It’s thanks to these large canvases that I understood that taking time brings another breath to my gesture, something very meditative.

“Taking the time brings another breath to my gesture.”

And all these trips, these ideas, where does it lead you? 

I see my current work as an imaginary journey, a kind of mental exhibition if you want. It allows me to work without any real pressure. I start to make the herbal paints I brought back from Brazil, it results in a very lively shades of browns that encourage me to continue my expeditions. I am going to participate at an artistic residency program in Bahia very soon.

Coverphoto (Home) : Piotr Rosinski
Photos : Piotr Rosinski ; Franck Jouery ; Luis Alvarez ; Gilad Sasporta
Text: Raphaël Levy
Traduction : Raphaël Levy
Daniela Busarello’s website

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