Davide Balliano.

I work in a very repetitive and monastic way.

9 Questions to Davide Balliano.

Italian artist, living and working in New York.

What is your art about?

I’m not sure I can be an authority on the meaning of my research, as I often think it has its own identity. I’ll always be in the process of understanding it myself. That said, I think that my research lately seems to be focused on the power struggle between labor as human identity and the ferocious efficacy of technology, passing through time and its perception and ending with the contemplation of the sublime. I find much inspiration in the thoughts and writings of philosophers like Umberto Galimberti and Carlo Sini, specially in their considerations about nihilism in the age of technology.

Please tell us more about your working process, routine, your studio set up and the way you approach new artworks.

I work in a very repetitive and monastic way. I come to the studio every day, pretty early in the morning, and I work until evening. My practice is very time consuming and labour intense but it can be quite meditative so I enjoy it very much. New works come exclusively from the work itself and from my progress in understanding it. Lately, I’m trying to break up the constructions that I’ve been working on in the past three years. I feel at a turning point, where my work morphs into something new and different, yet remaining the same. It’s an exciting moment.

What is fertiliser for your work?

All the usual I would say… I read (or listen to audio) a lot and that’s probably my main income for new thoughts. Then I’m an avid consumer of cinema and I consume a great amount of art. Living in New York, the daily interaction with architecture is a massive influence on my practice. Nature would be the second part of the equation but, in this city, I have mainly to rely on memories of it.

Who or what has recently impressed you?

Even if I’ve seen it already on video, I recently attended a performance of The Rite of Spring by the company of Pina Bausch at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and it left me literally speechless. It was one of the most impressive, powerful, meaningful and monumental piece of art I’ve ever seen. The crude physicality of it and the visceral representation of the burden of nature on human kind (mainly on women actually…) left me absolutely astonished. Even the preparation of the stage was an amazing performance. Truly incredible. Hard to imagine something so majestic can be achieved.

Have a beer with an artist of your choice? Whom?

Luc Tuymans. I think he’s one of the most relevant thinker of our time, and an incredible artist. His work had and still has a great influence over my practice, even if visually I operate very differently.

What’s your favourite city and why?

I deeply love New York, the city that I live in, even if it’s often a love and hate relationship. I love its energy and the capacity of making you feel part of a small band of mad adventurers. It’s often a really awful place, and the effect it has on the psyche of its citizens it’s clear to anybody that uses the subway system.

But every time you are ready to fully hate this place it has a way of picking you up and making you feel that no matter what, you are doing well, you are putting up a fight and that you might as well succeed. Also, the cultural life it’s really good, and Central Park can make you feel better about anything.

After New York my favorite place in the world is probably Venice. It’s just so decadently beautiful.

What’s your favourite restaurant and why?

For special occasions, Il Gattopardo on 54th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue. The food and wine selection are great, the stuff is competent and discreet and the location is elegant yet intimate, never too loud.

For every day Diviera Drive, on North 7th St & Berry in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We are there at least once a week, often more during the summer. The food is great, the location is spacious and with a large outside area that allows smoking. Oliver Stumm, the owner, is a close friend and the stuff knows us well. We got our wedding party at Diviera. It’s the closes thing to home when we are out.

What would you do with five euro found in the streets?

Depending from the time of the day and where I am, but I would probably get a little drink or buy a newspaper and a cup of coffee.

Do you have any dream projects in mind that you would like to do in the future? 

In my own practice, I think the closest thing to a dream is large architectural sculptures/installations, but I would probably try one day, so it’s just a matter of time and logistics.

Out of my own practice, I’d love one day to open or be involved in the running of a project space… A place that can become the center of a community. Somewhere to organize shows, talks, concerts, screenings, publish books, make dinners, have a little bar and whatever else comes to mind.


Plaster, gesso & lacquer on wood board

80×64” – 203.2×162.5 cm



Plaster, gesso & lacquer on wood board

80×64” – 203.2×162.5 cm


Studio View

Studio View


Plaster, gesso & lacquer on wood board

80×64” – 203.2×162.5 cm



Copper oxide on ceramic

Various dimensions



Solo show / Luce gallery 2015, Turin IT

Plaster, gesso & lacquer on wood board
120×96” – 304.8×243.8 Cm

Davide Balliano.


All images © Davide Balliano and MariaSprowls

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