Barak Lili M resident Luca Vanello

About care and connection

Entering Luca Vanello’s room at the See U site is like walking into a fairytale or daydream. Walls painted white and branches and other natural objects floating around. Later on he will explain how important these objects are during a talk about care, mutual connection and a respectful approach towards our environment. 


When looking up information about his work, I came across a work I’ve seen earlier on in Watou and which stuck with me. A big room in an old, abandoned castle where a big installation in Luca’s characteristic style was set out. Installations are one part of his oeuvre, in which he combines objects and looks for the interaction between them. His overarching interest is the exploration of the relation between the cycle of our human existence and the cycle of materials that surround and influence us. His work revolves around the combination of these different cycles or lives and to recombine them into sculptures. The main idea behind this set-up is to look for a more respectful and though-through relation between the human and the non-human. To explore this idea he looks at different stuff for inspiration, depending on the stage of the work he’s trying to develop. To bring materials from one context and blur them into another, opposite context is a large part of the work. Luca also often re-uses an object from one work to make another combination in a new work, which is why a work can transform. In general it is important to think about the chosen aesthetic of the connection between objects and the way we talk about this interrelation. The aesthetic is the result of Luca’s different sources of inspiration and different spheres of life which are put together. These spheres can also switch depending on the work and the environment in which it is shown. 

Therefore the context is very important for Luca Vanello’s artworks. Each collaboration with an art gallery, museum or other organizations which have nothing to do with the artworld brings out a different aspect of the work. You have to think about the criteria of a place before creating a piece that will be put into it is Luca’s mentality. Each work is created with the exhibition place taken into consideration. For example in Watou, Luca chose his materials from the neighboring park, which is located in a domain where therapeutical sessions for disabled people take place. This fits nicely into Vanello’s work, since he’s intrigued by concept of care and mutual help. The materials he chooses, such as feathers, are linked to the process of healing and regenerating. The ethics behind the work are just as important as the aesthetic and there is a lot of research and thinking before a work comes into being. He works a lot with one material before introducing a new one because the created connection and the generated feeling afterwards can be very delicate. To look for the right communication between different materials is one of the most difficult, but also one of the most interesting parts of the making off. The connection between art and science is also the main idea behind Pilar and thus fits Luca’s interests. Other art & science-artists focus more on the sci-fi aesthetic, while Vanello wants to reach a more egalitarian approach while keeping the research aspect and the explorative view. That’s why research institutions can be very helpful with insightful knowledge and feedback. One of the reasons to participate in the residency of Pilar is to question the choices made and to really think about how his aesthetic and artistic language assumes form. 


The combination of different materials, spheres and environments are the essence of Luca’s work and the main purpose is to communicate an idea or intention. The bottom-line for this is a respectful approach towards nature and the awareness of choices made during the making-off. All these different choices form a specific language, which hopefully resonates with the audience. The idea of concept behind the work can be quite clear for the artist, but this isn’t always obvious for the audience. That’s why Luca is also more focused on the precise reflection of these ideas in a non-verbal or linguistic way, although writing is for him personally also a part of the process. When looking at art, people are often focused on the message which the artwork may spread but then forget the other aspects which make it so special. This intrigues Vanello and therefore the exploration of these other poetic elements is also part of his approach to art. 
With a second residency in Belgium after the 2-year stay at HISK, Luca plans on staying in Belgium for a while. The art-scene here is a real community according to him and there’s a lot of stuff going on all over the country. The link between different cities can be very helpful as a starting artist because you meet the same people on different occasions. Other parts of the country such as Verbeke Foundation are also easy to reach and this benefits the cohesion of the artistic community.

Written by Ella Oelbrandt

Mainly self-taught photographer and sociologist. Focussing on Brussels, human movement and culture.

26 April 2022
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