NEED OR NO NEED – these four words say it all about Lara Favaretto’s approach to art. What objects do we need? What materials do we use? What do we discard, throw away and scrap? And there’s more: what is necessary for an artistic composition, or for a sculpture? What is too much, and what is too little – in art, in our society, in our
lives? The Italian artist develops objects, installations and situations that fuel our thoughts, in a manner that is deeply rooted in the material aesthetics of Arte Povera, but goes far beyond them.
Lara Favaretto repeatedly limits herself by taking things away, by intercepting or adding them on. It’s tempting to describe her as a composer who connects objects, materials, colours and forms in unusual arrangements full of tension. Her materials are “poor”, in other words everyday and simple: wood, metal, concrete – but combined with materials that are frequently precious and vibrantly coloured such as silk, gold and confetti. The contrasts between hard and soft, heavy and light, found and created, humble and costly, produce sculptural compositions within an existing spatial structure.
Her minimal interventions follow the logic of the materials and have a tremendous lightness about them, while remaining absolutely precise and radical. She constructs an
expanse of used scaffolding poles, one of which is covered in a coloured woollen thread. Or she places corroded steel road plates on paper-thin pieces of silk in vibrant colours.
She dips her hands in cement which has not yet hardened and then leaves prints as a piece of bodily action. And by driving a Citroën LNA along the walls of the exhibition space she creates a drawing in paint and scratches. These examples clearly show that her interest as an artist focuses on processes of collection, remembering, transformation and decay. Her works intrinsically bear the qualities of their materials, narrating the existence and lifespan they have hitherto experienced. All materials have the tendency to change over time, diminishing and then ultimately disappearing. These inexorable processes take on a special quality with Lara Favaretto because she exposes her materials to high levels of stress. This makes it impossible to predict how they will develop as things process, and how much the ravages of time will gnaw at them.
This lies behind her interest in methods for accelerating processes of elimination, something which is also illustrated in videos such as Eraser, where the artist repeatedly throws a yellow eraser against her white studio wall, or Doing, which shows three people gradually turning Carrara marble blocks into dust.
Each of her works attempts to give the viewer a day, as Lara Favaretto puts it – an additional moment. It is a freedom that marks the spirit of collaboration rather than being subject to everyday duties and laws, a free space that signifies interacting with other people and getting involved in processes, a rebellious gesture in the face of the uniformity and conformity of human actions and thoughts. NEED OR NO NEED at Kunsthalle Mainz is Lara Favaretto’s first solo exhibition in Germany.