Home EdizioneEd. 13 Giuseppe La Spada: “the word aesthetics includes the word ethics”.
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Giuseppe La Spada: “the word aesthetics includes the word ethics”.

by Monica Landro

Written by Monica Landro

Giuseppe La Spada is a sensitive artist keen to explore the man-nature relationship, whose art is a tool to raise public awareness of environmental issues, with particular reference to the element of water. A photographer and filmmaker, he is a multimedia artist whose commitment has united Art and Sustainability since 2007, when he won the prestigious Webby Award (The Oscars of the Internet) for a project related to ecology.

You define yourself as an interdisciplinary artist: explain it to us in other words…
It is difficult to define oneself, but the fact of always using different tools and even different disciplines, could be a fair way to define the concept of ‘interdisciplinary artist’ but I could also say multimedia, in the sense of using several media to tell something that then goes into art.

So art as a tool…
I see art as a means of translating more invisible concepts to be able to speak to people. The artist’s task, in the end, is not to simply create beautiful images to stick on, to print. At least that cannot be the role of the artist in a society like ours….

In fact you combine art, innovation, and sustainability to raise awareness on environmental issues. When did you feel the urge to make art in this direction?
I started from an aesthetic research point of view, then in 2006 I was lucky enough to meet the great composer Ryūichi Sakamoto and to start working with him. There I realised that there is indeed a role in the artist and his art. I realised that within the word aesthetics there was the word ethics and therefore those with talent must make proper use of it because they have a responsibility, a social role.

Giuseppe La Spada - Svetlana Shikhova

Giuseppe La Spada – Svetlana Shikhova

Beautiful concept of aesthetics and ethics! Did Ryūichi Sakamoto pass it on to you?
Yes, we met in Rome through a series of work circumstances and we kept in touch. He liked the videos I made at the seaside in Sicily and so he asked me to follow him on tour to shoot some videos. I accepted and spending a lot of time together one day he told me that he had founded an association called ‘More Trees’. He told me that his intention was to leave his children a world with a better air. That is, he was buying forests to prevent them from being deforested. Faced with the magnitude of such a thought, I felt like a nobody and there I realised that indeed we in our small way and with our daily work have the possibility to change something. Just as he changed something in me, I can change something in others.

The element that belongs to you most is evidently water, which is the constant in your work…
Absolutely. I started with him because I used water to translate his music and then I started shooting all these female figures underwater. As well as making other works, of course, abstract things. Water became my stylistic signature that I somehow used.

Giuseppe La Spada - Svetlana Shikhova

Giuseppe La Spada – Svetlana Shikhova

Your nude pictures in the water are very delicate… what message do you want to get across?
The message is as simple as it is strong: there is a human being alone, naked, in contact with nature: water. When we enter the water our senses change, you realise for the first time the importance of breathing that you see, perceive, underwater. The way you perceive space also changes, so it is as if you are taking a journey into another dimension. This journey, which the ancients called a ‘vertical journey’, is a journey within ourselves as we enter into a relationship with nature. There is nothing anthropic in the water, nothing related to human beings. The message as well as the strength of those shots are: “Look at yourself, immersed in water, like inside a mirror, look inside yourself”.

Giuseppe La Spada - Svetlana Shikhova

Giuseppe La Spada – Svetlana Shikhova

You are a digital artist, yet you yourself have stated that it is necessary to return to the warmth of craftsmanship. How do you combine these two concepts that seem so far apart?
There is a basic problem: technological evolution is so fast that if you don’t have an analogue counterbalance, which is what I think gives you access to your higher, spiritual part, you run the risk of somehow getting burnt out, and that is my biggest fear, especially for young people who haven’t had the traditional education that we have had. Today there is access to all layers and types of information and the technology is such that with artificial intelligence, for example, I was able to clone myself, to take pictures the way I take them. This means that in a few years time there will no longer be the possibility of understanding what is true and what is false. That is the great danger today. We will live in a total illusion….

Is it on this principle that you conceived the digital platform ‘Being Ecosophy’, which hosts artworks and educational tools aimed at creating a new ecology of thought?
Yes the aim, among others, is to include young artists and older artists who work on the subject of nature because I, after many years of research on the subject, feel I can say that the real pollution is inside the human being. What we see outside is simply a reflection of our way of thinking, so we have to work a lot on ourselves, because then the reality outside is a reflection of the reality inside. I see art as social architecture, so every human being can be an artist, he can sculpt this the society he lives in, he can change it with what he does.

Giuseppe La Spada - Svetlana Shikhova

Giuseppe La Spada – Svetlana Shikhova

Your social, civic and environmental commitment is remarkable. You don’t use words, as for example in a book, but you use images. Do you think it is more incisive?
That’s right, I try to create beautiful, powerful images that somehow strike you because precisely in today’s society we are bombarded with information. Compared to a book, it is more incisive to create an image that manages to capture the attention on a subject that is close to my heart. If you wanted to codify all my thinking, my art is a pretext to talk about other things.

Photographer Giuseppe La Spada | Instagram @giuseppe.laspada

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