Through the glass. An interview with Lorenzo Passi

On the occasion of the opening of AT WORK! Lavoro, Società, Comunità nell’Arte Contemporanea [Work, Society, Community in Contemporary Art], opened last November 13 at MO.CA – Centro per le nuove culture in Brescia and open until January 6, 2022, we interviewed the two youngest artists in the exhibition: Lorenzo Passi (Milano, 1985) and Giulio Malinverni (Vercelli, 1994).

Lorenzo Passi, artist and craftsman, makes his debut in 2013 after a long period of training with Italian and international glass masters. His works present a strong contrast between iron and glass, which are the materials he prefers: the first is heavy, solid and rough, the second is light, delicate and complex to work.

Follow us on our Instagram profile for the interview with Giulio Malinverni that will be published on the occasion of the second stage of the exhibition of the project that will open on November 27 at Spazio Berlendis in Venice.

ACME – The concept of AT WORK! reads:

AT WORK! is an appeal addressed to artists not only to invite them to continue to intervene in society with works capable of unhinging the common point of view and highlighting the most burning issues and prophecies, but also to ask, to the social community, to continue to recognize and safeguard the work of the artist, a fundamental tool of analysis and vision of the present aimed at the future, in its social, cultural, human and political implications, in the broadest and deepest sense of the term.

What is your point of view?

LP – As far as the intervention of the artist in society is concerned, he or she believes that his or her actions undoubtedly have a subjectivity that in contact with society has a more or less disruptive effect. The idea that this must necessarily “unhinge the common point of view” is not realistic, let’s rather say that art generally wants to be the bearer of a message but its effect and interpretation are not always in line with the artist’s own vision. The fact that art is “a message” implies an interaction with the world and its problems and, therefore, with one’s own interpretation of what is happening.

Being an artist, as misunderstood as it may be, is onerous and I am both a worker-craftsman and an artist. But it is work in general that must be safeguarded. And while it may be that the work of the artist has in the past been that of those who, perhaps, did not have a word, it is fair that in every sphere of contemporary society it should be understood that there must be an effective safeguard for everyone. The artist can also be someone who fights, for himself and for others, in the front line so that this principle is respected.

Lorenzo Passi, Black
Lorenzo Passi, Black, 2020, blown glass and metal structure, 36x18x28 cm. Courtesy Marignana Arte and the artist. © Enrico Fiorese
Lorenzo Passi, Deserti di Cemento
Lorenzo Passi, Deserti di Cemento, 2014, blown glass and metal structure, 50x50x30 cm. Courtesy Marignana Arte and the artist. © Enrico Fiorese

ACME – How do you develop your works? Tell us about them, from research to production.

LP – I used most of my energy and concentration to achieve a discipline that results in the use of glass material, my main method of expression. Once I learned the very complex techniques of glass working, I realized that the creation of my work manifested itself in a direction far from the “academic” and figurative idea of art: although I tried to represent my thoughts through art, it was not possible for me to do so through the mere learning of a technique.

I love to make installations and single sculptures, especially the first ones, which allow me to use sound, movement and light, as expressive tools; unfortunately, making complex projects is much more difficult.
In general, I love to combine different materials with glass: metal, wood, stone, to which I add sound, kinetic and luminous effects.
My research starts from personal experiences and my interpretation of the world translated with the tools I have available.

ACME – The materials you use have a complex processing, how important was your training experience in close contact with the glass masters?
How did you link what you learned from traditional craftsmanship to your personal artistic research?

LP – I would say that contact with master glassmakers was essential and a starting point, from which to detach myself in order to understand what I really wanted to do. I am not a master glassmaker, but through glass I found my voice. It is so complicated to know how to handle glass that using it requires an enormous amount of expertise, where you never stop learning and surprising yourself.

Lorenzo Passi, La conquista dell'inutile
Lorenzo Passi, La conquista dell'inutile #2, 2021, blown glass, steel, 62x32x17 cm. Courtesy Marignana Arte and the artist. © Enrico Fiorese
© Marco Menghi

Lorenzo Passi

Lorenzo Passi was born in Milan in 1985. He lives and works in Venice and he studied in Italy, Finland and the United States. His enthusiasm for glass began in 2005, he started his apprenticeship in Murano studying glass for a long time. He made his debut as an artist in 2013; since then his work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions.