Art We interviewed Jago, a simple artist

We interviewed Jago, a simple artist

Emanuele D'Angelo
Jago |

Our friendly chat begins immediately by revealing a secret, perhaps taken for granted by some, but not trivial if you tell it is an artist who works and has held solo exhibitions around the world: “In art there is nothing to understand.

On Saturday morning we had a chat with Jago, an artist we talked about last week here. When I call him he is at the entrance of his studio in the Sanità district, precisely in front of the Chiesa di Sant’Aspreno ai Crociferi, a structure that dates back to 1633 which is now his studio.

Jago is an Italian artist-entrepreneur who works mainly in sculpture and video production. He was born in Frosinone (Italy) in 1987, where he attended art high school and then the Academy of Fine Arts.

By revealing that secret to me above, he has partly involved the first question I was about to ask. A simple question just to start and break the ice, falling into banal clichés, but we absolutely want to know his and her point of view.

It is clearly difficult to give a definition of art in general, we are talking about something complex, which not everyone can understand at times, not by ability, but because everyone can always find a different meaning. Basically, art is like a container, which must be filled with emotions, and in the last part, it is the artist who puts the word. From the point of view, as an artist, can you give us your definition of art?

I don’t have the slightest idea (he smiles), just zero.
It works a bit like that, I thought I knew it, I always thought I knew it, but the more I go on, the more I go in the direction of nonsense.
It is definitely something that has a root that is being lost, actually, I should go back in time to understand, to be aware, to live all the lives that I have not lived, to understand and understand a little bit, to give meaning, to give meaning. In reality, I go in the opposite direction, I go forward, so I move away from the meaning, but I continue to use this word. I try to give, let’s say, to this word a meaning that is material, that is production of a wealth of content for a community, as a form of language, but then if I had to give an explanation I would risk becoming banal. So I decide to use the word, to understand what we are talking about, but in the end, I produce images that then belong to everyone. It’s like a scientific path, you produce a summary of research, which is aesthetic in this case and then you give it back to the community and it becomes everyone’s heritage.

Jago is an internationally renowned artist who travels back and forth between America and Italy, whose artistic research is rooted in techniques inherited from the masters of the Renaissance.
So with a lot of emotion, we fall into a second cliché, a bit to make us hate, label ourselves, even if in his opinion we should be more generous with ourselves.

What kind of artist are you? It’s clear that in your works you want to transmit something, you want to fill them with emotions, you want to put that word in them that, by linking back to the previous question, comes out of you and then you give it back to the community, which has a bit of a duty to judge it, to reinterpret it according to how it sees it. In general, seeing your works, the studio, trying to understand what’s behind them, we define you as “crazy” in a cheeky and impudent way. But how do you define yourself?

If I avoid defining myself, I am doing everyone a favor, but especially myself. Every definition can be a limit, like the explanation of a poem, poetry is already an explanation to itself. If you define yourself, you also set a limit to the freedom of the other to define yourself.
My thought is that if one thinks he is an artist, good for him, it is useful for him to define himself in this way, but then there is also a community that is free to define yourself as such. So I want to avoid giving definitions, I can say this, right now I am talking about so I am an orator, then I will start sculpting and I will be a sculptor. In short, I am what I do, at the moment I do it, we don’t have to have a label.
In the academy there was a small bar, it was called “Da Walter”, I remember that every time you came in, the girl who worked there would greet you: “Good morning engineer, good morning lawyer, doctor and so on”, then an ecological operator would come in and simply say “Good morning Andre’, Hello France”. We are identified with the label, we are in a sense obliged to say, I am an artist, I do that and when you stop what are you? You are nothing anymore? Too much identification with a certain thing is actually a chain, because when you stop doing it then what you are. So I prefer to avoid definitions and that’s fine.

Leaving aside then the identification, we can say that you are Jacopo in art “Jago”, a simple artist, nothing more?”

Let’s say yes, more than anything else I am Jago, not Jacopo, because it is something that was given to me, I didn’t have the possibility to choose on that, I choose instead, that’s why I am Jago.
Our name has basically been given to us, everything has been given to us, we defend it as if it were ours, but in reality, it is not true, it does not belong to us. They gave it to you because you keep it, it’s a bit your religion.
You protect it and you are also willing to make war for the things that they have given you, so no, I am Jacopo I am for those who gave me the name, my parents, it is something that I protect, it is my memory.
So I am Jago, because that is what I have chosen, my freedom.

Last week you delivered your last beautiful work to the city of Naples, it is not the first time, almost a year ago you were always here, on display with your “Veiled Son”. Even from the way you described the place where you were, we have captured something special, as if your eyes shine, is there a deep connection with this city?

The place is that thing that affects you much more than everything else, one thinks I am myself, then in reality, we are made of the places that we frequent, which bring out one aspect instead of another, so come to Naples emerges your Neapolitanity, as well as in Rome or any other city. Naples has appeared in my life and like all love affairs you have to follow them, you have to follow them, you have to take care of them because they can enrich you.
Here I certainly found a fertile ground to be able to do and look for a new opportunity for personal growth. Right now I’m here, I’m doing things that elsewhere I might not have been able to do.

Naples is a magical city, certainly, we are not the ones to say it, but these words of yours still strengthen the connection with this city. We want to dig deep into this relationship, what more from Naples than your art, your way of working?

I don’t know, I think more about me, here is emerging a side of me that I like and therefore pandering to, because I am discovering myself. At the end that’s what we’re talking about, my art is a bit of expression of what my personal path is, being in a place allows you to manifest aspects of yourself that otherwise would not come out. Because if you were confined in your small village you would clearly manifest something else, we are sponges, we absorb a little bit from the context, so if you are smart you can also choose what to let you touch, contaminate. Even the people you frequent are what you will become, for example, if you are with ten entrepreneurs you will be the eleventh, that’s how it is.

Going back to us, what struck us in your last work “Look down” installed in Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples, is the concept of abandonment, take the work of art and leave it there at night, we can say without anyone looking at you, away from prying eyes. Can you explain to us a bit more? And above all why the choice of a child?

Then I answer both questions at once. When you do something that costs a sacrifice of yours life, you do a work that has value, you go to a square and leave it there to say something, what do you call it?
There is no one watching over it, telling you not to touch it, not to dirty it, not to dance around it, what do you call it? If this is not abandonment.
I don’t intervene anymore, it’s there, a child who is left in the middle of the street is at the mercy of the context, but it doesn’t mean not taking care of it, it’s different.
I have made a conscious abandonment, even according to the rules, today we talk a lot about street art, about artists who illegally leave their creations in the city at night. I did everything legally, with all possible permits, I put my face into it.
This must make it clear that each of us can make gestures according to the rules, imagine if we all did the opposite, we would live badly, it would be total anarchy. We can say that it is a gesture of street art moved by different dynamics, the abandonment has been conscious.
The figure of the child then is an emblematic figure, the child continues to be an image of purity, capable of moving our different emotional dynamics, which are different from seeing another person.
For example in New York, you are used to seeing so many homeless people around, that after a while you get used to it, it is a terrible thing. A presence you get used to because you are used to seeing them every day.
A child on the other hand is completely different, I cannot imagine a child abandoned on the street, I would be forced to stop and do something useful. In this sense the child has a strength, his image continues to carry with it a power, a strength that can move something different in us.

We end this pleasant conversation on a sunny Saturday morning, asking Jago something more about his next work.

We know that you are working on your Pity, from what we see in socials and some previews, we can say that it is a male version. Can you give us some more information about your “Contemporary Pity”?

It is a reflection, I cannot tell you the meaning already, because it would be useless.
It is a way to deal with a path, a subject that interests me and I deal with it in my own way, then there is a myriad of Pietà, not only Michelangelo’s masterpiece.
I can tell you that it is a paternal image, a subject little dealt with within art history, a different aspect of masculinity has been given ample space. In a certain way, man is labeled as the rapist, the evil one, but there is also another type of man, here, I can say this. I have only tried to emphasize one aspect that I think is right to emphasize today.

Written by Emanuele D'Angelo
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