Andrea Botto (Italy)

Artists in Residence, 2022

About the Project

Andrea Botto (1973) is an Italian photographer and lecturer. Interested in the cross-pollination of various contemporary art mediums, he uses photography as a means of dissecting the world in order to express its complexity and to expose its stratifications.

EPHEMERA. Fireworks and Other Effects – Andrea Botto

Fireworks are born to enchant, amaze and terrify, to magically connect the earth with the sky. They are the result of a creative commitment to dominate and tame fire, modifying the elements for aesthetic purposes. I am attracted to fireworks by their ephemeral and iridescent character, but also by their extreme precision and plastic/sculptural aspect. Just like photography, they live through light. In some of the countries bordering the Mediterranean (Italy, Greece, Spain, Malta, France) we can find different traditional expressions of an ancient pyrotechnic art, the result of influences and cultural exchanges over the centuries. Since the early 1900s, an autonomous and particular pyrotechnic art has developed in Malta archipelago. Fireworks are widespread and integral part of local culture. Each village has at least one factory, most of the time two, which carries out the shows for the patron saint feasts which take place all year long. And all that is on a voluntary basis, because pyrotechnics is not a profession. The particular design of the Maltese ‘bombs’ is not only what can be seen in the sky, but is also expressed in their construction, the result of decades of material culture.

EPHEMERA Panel Discussion

The conversation between the Italian artist Andrea Botto, and Dr Godfrey Farrugia, an expert in the field of fireworks. During the conversation, you will hear about what entails to create fireworks and the art which is created out of it. Discussion moderated by Ramona Depares.

Q&A with the artist.

1) Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an Italian visual artist and teacher, working mainly with photography and images. I’ve been taking pictures since more the twenty years, with a strong focus on human and natural landscape transformation processes and on memory sedimentation of facts and events.

2) Tell us a bit about your art practice and what inspires you.
I’m fascinated by time and by particular events that modify reality. I try to activate a potential look, an imagery, even through the evidence of the aftermath. I can say that my work deals with a sort of creative destruction, because sometimes you have to destroy something to create or to make space to something new. That’s why in 2008 I started a long-term research about the use of explosives in civil works, from controlled demolition and excavation to artificial avalanches and tunnelling, up to pyrotechnics.

3) What do you hope to achieve with your residency in Malta?
I want to finalize a personal research about pyrotechnics that I started in 2018, when I saw for the first time the amazing Maltese fireworks and I definitely felt in love with them.
I was introduced to fireworks by my father when I was a child and because there is an ancient traditional feast in my city, Rapallo, where typical fireworks are displayed, by day and by night as well. I had the opportunity to photograph other kind of traditional fireworks in South Italy and I would like to visit other countries in the Mediterranean area, but in Malta I’ve found something really special. I like your material culture, intertwined with design, sculture, light and time. Starting from pyrotechnics, my work will be basically about the relationship between art and science, using photography, video and ceramics sculpture.

Spazju Kreattiv Artists’ Residency programme is organised in collaboration with the Valletta Design Cluster and the Ministry for Gozo

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