Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Follina: Studio Visit - Denis Riva – Deriva

Studio Visit - Denis Riva
In the quiet village of Follina, north west of Venice, in a disused part of the two centuries old Lanificio Paoletti wool mill, the artist Denis Riva, better known as Deriva - drift – has his studio.  Deriva is native of Ganzamonio, a land of dark etymology, comprised in the triangle Bologna, Modena and Ferrara, he  is an illustrator, a painter, a collector, an installation designer, he experiments and is also a non-actor, who does not attend awards.  He is rarely seen without his two dogs Lui and Hugo. In a series of small rooms of the former administrative offices and in the gigantic loft spaces of the former stock rooms of the mill spreads his studio. And, though he didn't graduate from any art school, he is pressed by the terrible weight of the art that he carries around with him daily. He did not take any Master degrees, but often uses the word Mazter.   He is not a university professor either. Notwithstanding the large output of works during the last year, he thinks he is just at the start of his own research - but – he also understands he could also be at the end of it.   

 Il Laboratorio
Work in Progress – Horses in the Sky
In his works Denis Riva depicts a dream and restless nature; he uses mix media obtained by mixing painting and collage, then he proceeds in a constant and almost endless layering of materials. For his strictly pictorial works Deriva prefers a fluid, see-through, almost imperceptible matter that he calls “sourdough”, which is basically the waste-product of brush cleaning, kept and constantly nurtured for years until it becomes a sort of pulp. His paintings are currently on show in his one-man exhibition Memorandum, until January 31, at the Gilda Contemporary Art in Milan which is curated by Cristina Gilda Artese and Alessandra Redaelli

Il Laboratorio
For mix media the artist likes to hoard and overlap old papers collected from flea markets or recovered from old archives, paper fragments, pages from last-century magazines. His work becomes enriched by lived stories, people from the past, while on the surface archetypal scenes come to life, where man and nature search the sense of their coexistence.

Domenica Mattina

 “The environment in which I live immersed in, finds its way out of the papers that I bend, ruin and carry around,
as if they were maps of my relocation, useful to get lost in.
The landscape that surrounds me and that seems to always be the same, while constantly changing, is fluid.

Cambiamenti Improvisi

A corner of the archive room

Deriva Family Banner

Works on Paper
His works depict flocks of birds, but above all it is noticeable for the presence of the dog, man’s best friend and first link to Nature, but also a wolf, a pack of wolves, symbolic of a hostile nature, like a ruler that is sometimes fickle and at other times cruel, ready to get back at Mankind that it is unable to respect.  

La Stanza delle Stampe
Engravings and Drawings on Wood

La Stanza delle Stampe
Primordial Printing – Lino Cuts


“Derive builds worlds and watches them run wild in entropies, then he brings them back and fixes everything, picks up the pieces and fragments and reassembles them again;
 it doesn't mean that the reconstruction is always true or real,
quite the contrary, the usual order is always changing a bit, 
revealing surrealism and non-sense, 
shifts that bear astonishment, 
a pair of wings for those who don't have them, or clogs and claws and Long hair, tongues of flame, branches attached to feet and knees.... 
where the collages and assemblages are a vital practice of grafting 
de-contextualization which governs everything.
 A sort of careless God, or a tamer, or a conductor who moves in the chaos... alone by now ... 
A playing child who in the meantime 
relentlessly creates and destroys,
 by making up worlds, making them happen and tirelessly change. 
Derive is an explorer. 
He gives things a name and owns a jumpsuit.
He raises dead brushes and put pieces of dry color into cans.
Then he waits. I don't know if he's blindfolded, but certainly he's Listening.”
Massimiliano Fabbri
The Secret Room
Piacevoli Attese

The Secret Room


“Embers and coals are active during the day and sometimes even at night. Burn everything, throw even the last chair left, on which you were sitting on whilst watching your big fire.
To disappear, to become mud, to discover ticks, to be afraid of them, to be loved by nothing, to listen to molds, to touch the day, to use spring water, to open and close gates,
 to always be accompanied by dogs,
 to find dead salamanders, to suddenly feel in Japan in reeds near your home, to be continually surrounded by carcasses of trees, 
to smell the sounds of the wind, 
to be reborn every day,
to think it's the end,
to understand that you're always in the middle.
Personal interpretations and unpredictable changes of my life will continue until my certain death”.

The Secret Room
Autoritratto con Faccia che Bruccia
Paper Landscapes

The Secret Room

 Work in Progress
A collaboration with the Lanificio Paoletti dal 1795 with leftover scraps of woolen fabric

Hugo and Lui

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