Interview with Valeria Gava

In Valeria Gava’s photography we find nature as the main theme, to enhance it in all its beauty and capture a detail, a movement, a contrast between light and shade, a colour, a nuance. In painting, on the other hand, the main theme is always nature, but this time it is also dreams, the unconscious, memories, family, expressed through the use of a few colours, simple lines and essential forms with a strong expressive charge accentuated by material elements sewn into the canvas such as copper and brass.

Francesca Della Ventura (FDV): Dear Valeria, before settling definitively in Italy, you spent a few years abroad, in Spain and Ireland. What experiences did you have in these two countries, which are so different from each other? What are the differences in the field of art and cultural appreciation that you have noticed? What does Italy have more and what does it have less?

Valeria Gava (VG): My experiences abroad have formed me personally and professionally in order to explore myself and my art to the fullest. They were two completely different experiences; many people have asked me which was my ‘favourite’ experience of the two but the truth is that I don’t have one. As much as these two countries may seem like polar opposites, they have in common their love for their culture and tradition; they value their art very much, even the ‘simplest’ things to make it available to others and to maintain it in the best possible way over time.
Italy is a wonderful country, which is why I returned after so many years. Abroad, I have grasped its value and beauty more, but, if I have to be honest, I think we should take more of an example from other countries in terms of preserving and enhancing our art.
Italy is the country par excellence in terms of art and more, but perhaps we take so much wonder for granted that, paradoxically, we don’t know how to give it the right value.

FDV: What does it mean to be a young artist today? What are the challenges and difficulties you have to face?

VG: It’s certainly not easy for a young artist to fit in, especially in the art sector, which we know is a bit of an elite environment, but I think it’s important, first of all, to know yourself and your source of expression as well as possible so that you can be unique, original and communicate something important to people.

Valeria Gava at work, detail of “Maternity”, Acrylic on canvas with copper and brass wires, 50cmx70cm, 2020 ©Valeria Gava
“Maternity”, Acrylic on canvas with copper and brass wires, 50cmx70cm, 2020 ©Valeria Gava

FDV: Which medium do you prefer between painting and photography? Which one do you manage better?

VG: Both painting and photography are two very strong and different means of artistic expression. I honestly don’t prefer one medium over the other. I go by periods. Sometimes I dedicate myself only to painting for a few months, other times I dedicate myself only to photography… I do what I feel like.

FDV: Nature is an important theme in your work, especially in photography, as the series taken in Ireland and exhibited in the gallery shows. What is your artistic approach towards it? How do you live the theme of sustainability?

VG: Nature is definitely one of the themes that I like to bring and express in all my works. In my projects, I want to bring it in and enhance it in all its beauty: in capturing a detail, a movement, a contrast between light and shadow, a colour, a nuance… making the work itself express several art forms, a photograph but also a painting, precisely because of its natural ‘imperfection’.
I believe that today, more than ever, it is of fundamental importance to express the importance and beauty of nature. We are part of it and it should be respected, protected and valued.
This is why I want to bring it into my work, to remind people where we come from.

Francesca Della Ventura
Francesca Della Ventura

Francesca Della Ventura is a journalist, curator and contemporary art critic, as well as founder and director of inWomen.Gallery.