Lorenzo Nanni: Glorified Decay

Glorified Decay

Is it a lonely yet hopelessly romantic alien looking for affection in the wrong places? An evil fungus in search for a prey?

As amusing as Lorenzo Nanni’s work might seem, the true intent of the artist is somewhat darker. Disease, decomposition and the cycle of life are central themes throughout his oeuvre. It’s not as much about the ugly side of things, as it is about working around the contradiction of ugliness and beauty, and redefining the meaning of both. "To materialize and sublime the pain" as he puts it. By using nice materials, he’s able to tackle terrible subjects that would otherwise be out of the question.

"I want to provoke the person who is looking at my work to feel a mixture of repulsion and attraction. At first glance, the theme and appearance have the potential to push you away and create a feeling of unease but the reinterpretation by the textile and especially embroidery reassures aestheticians by its appearance, softening and tempering the violence, even generating a sense of attraction. This happens within the brain in seconds. My goal is to address the disturbing themes, work on things that could scare us or just things you do not want to see: blood, the inside of the body, insects, black, death."

Nanni has been trained as a textile designer, and worked many years designing embroidery for haute couture. But he much rather uses those skills to create art. "In school we could choose between embroidery for fashion, or embroidery as an art form." he says, "But I like mixing things up, so I learned the techniques for fashion and applied them to make art."

The amount of work that goes into his unique pieces is insane. Up to six months will he spend on a single piece, doing all the work himself. But despite that, the only logical next step will be to go bigger. "I’m still brainstorming on a number of ideas, but I would like to apply the same concepts to larger installations." And it doesn’t have to be textile design. "Before I was doing textile, I was drawing and illustrating. I’m not necessarily a fiber artist, this is only a phase. I rather not have people put me in a box."