Stefano Conti is an italian artist based in Sweden, Göteborg. After his BFA in photography from the LABA Academy in Brescia he completed his MFA for the same subject at the Valand Academy. Today we are discovering his Studio and his art.
His cross-disciplinary approach intertwines protography, video and sculpture.
What is the limit of photography? This is one crucial point for Conti that tries to navigate this realm experimenting with different medium.
Conti stirs also issues linked to archaeology, museum and history practice to be brought into the contemporary art scene:
I believe that a museum must not be the setting for an accumulation of isolated art objects, but the space in which our relationships with them and reality can be reconfigure. The methods that archaeologists use to fill in information gaps and to reconstruct the past fascinate me. In my works, I want to re-establish this confusion of information on a visual level, combining materials from the past to materials from the present to observe what may emerge.
Walk us through your academic experience. How do you think your education shaped your career?
In Italy I studied a Bachelor in Photography, which I remember being very focused on product photography within a studio setting. It was quite stiff. I would use both 4x5 cameras with a polaroid back and digital cameras. Then I moved to Sweden for a Master in Fine Art Photography, where I started to understand more what I wanted to say through my images, and how to do it more freely. During those years, I started to express myself through artist books and installations. I would say that now my practice is informed by both these experiences.
What is indispensable while working in your studio?
I like to talk about my studio as a playground. Having the space to freely play and to be a bit messy is indispensable. I love my cheap printer, my universal scissors, and my snacks (usually biscuits).
Who are your favorite artists and who are the ones that built your creative imaginary?
The thousands of anonymous artists that lived in Prehistory are continuously shaping my creative imaginary. What they were able to visually express without the invention of writing systems was just so powerful. It’s incredible what they could see in a rock, in the rain, or the fire. Prehistory is also the period of human history we know the least about, but the imagination that people had, keeps being so inspiring.
How did COVID-19 impact your way of making art?
In the beginning I was very disappointed, because the pandemic happened right at the end of my Master's, and the degree show got cancelled. Thankfully photography is a very flexible medium, so I started to work with it in a more domestic way. Instead of working towards installations, I spent time compiling some images in a publication titled ‘When I killed your tulips’ that I released in November 2020.
What is your relationship with social media and how do you use them?
I use Instagram as a shortened portfolio, sometimes posting working in progress from the studio and to promote the publications I produce. It is also great to get to know new artists.