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«Art is being able to do something personal but understandable to everyone» Interview with Tommaso Ottomano

The investigation of the body in the group exhibition LOOK AT ME

«Art is being able to do something personal but understandable to everyone» Interview with Tommaso Ottomano  The investigation of the body in the group exhibition LOOK AT ME

It can follow trends but transcends fashion, speaks about us even though we often hide it from others, it's a burning topic but talking about it is taboo: the body sometimes complies with us, other times it rebels. This is the protagonist topic of LOOK AT ME, the exhibition curated by Sara Van Bussel and Manuela Nobile which will open to the public on February 16th at the Royal Hammam Sauna in Milan. The third and final chapter of a project that has evolved over several years, it offers visitors a completely new perspective on the body through an artistic lens. A deep reflection on corporeality in all its perceptions, from eroticism to functionality, from physiology to aesthetics, the collective exhibition celebrates the work of four artists who have been able to question and reevaluate the body as an instrument. We had a chat with Tommaso Ottomano who, along with colleagues Beatrice Favaretto, Daan Couzijn, and Salomé Chatriot, will unveil their work this weekend within the exhibition spaces of LOOK AT ME.

«The body, our way of experiencing space through it, is all a matter of perception.» When Ottomano created BODY with nss, in 2021, he did so to illustrate how each individual perceives their body in a unique way. «It's a very subtle balance that I tried to render visually,» the artist tells us, «because it's all always left to interpretation. Through the body, we can experience pleasure, pain, experiment, but above all communicate with others. If I cut my tongue in two, if I tattoo my face... I provoke something in others, I try to give an idea of myself to others.» A film that Ottomano describes as experimental, it consists of «a visual experience that concerns how each person sees themselves in relation to the rest of the world.» Change is another theme of BODY, in the film exposed through the stories of the protagonists. «In the film, we addressed how a person decides to modify their body to appear in a certain way,» Ottomano explains. «There's an idea behind it, it's very much about one's identity.» Through a bold yet deeply intimate representation of physicality and how it influences our minds (and vice versa), BODY won the FFFAmsterdam award thanks to its protagonists and their stories, as well as the extremely candid storytelling of its creator. Through the words and bodies of Elettra, Antonio, Sara, Lolita, Numa, Moussa, and Mari, the short film breathes new life into a theme that, especially at the time of its release, when the Italian government had blocked the DDL Zan, has never ceased to be relevant. Despite the success received, Ottomano would like to push the limit even further with this film, and also bring out the purely physiognomic aspect of the body. «Not to do something pornographic,» adds the artist, «but to give yet a new perspective to nudity often so narrowly relegated to sexual acts. «If I were to think about what I have not yet expressed on the subject, I would certainly like to talk about the body in a more 'anatomical' way,» he adds. «A study of tense tendons, the twisting of the shoulder blades during a hug, the movement of the pelvis during sex. I would still like to talk about the body, telling it in an even more physical way if possible.»

Ottomano's participation in the collective exhibition LOOK AT ME this February allows the director to distance himself, albeit briefly, from the world of music, to which he is deeply connected. Having worked on music videos for artists of the caliber of Chiello, Maneskin, Lucio Corsi, and other equally important fashion campaigns, including Prada, Versace, and Gucci, Ottomano's art is not limited to a camera but ranges fluidly from production to composition, a versatile talent that strongly emerges in every artistic direction. Films like La Notte di Evelyn and La Vergine della Fontana explore the aesthetics of the '70s, discovering a whole new language in Ottomano's register, while instinctively following his pop imagery. «I think it's almost stupid now to make a distinction between what is considered pop or niche,» he says. «In the end, I don't care about anything niche, the beautiful thing is to be able to do something personal, with your own language, without losing yourself but understandable to anyone.»

BODY will be on display with Look At Me on Friday, February 16th from 12:30 am to 5 am at the Royal Hammam sauna, located at Via Plezzo 16, Milan.