Welcome to eMbroidery, a series of interviews with male embroiderers. This month, Chiachio & Giannone.
Name: Chiachio & Giannone
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Main embroidery medium: Hand embroidery
Noteworthy projects or pieces:
“La Famille dans la verdure Joyeuse “ (2014-15) is hand embroidery with cotton thread on fabric (5 x 3 mts. ). This large-format embroidery is part of a project which were awarded in the “CitÃ© Internationale de la Tapisserie et de l’art tissÃ© -2013” in Aubusson, France. Aubusson´s Artisans weave on a loom a tapestry with the same image and the same size.
“Ciudad Frondoza” (2012) is hand embroidery with cotton thread, rayon, jewelry effect and wool con fabric (5,40 x 2,80 mts). This piece belongs at MAD´s collection – Museum of Art & Design New York – USA.
“Postal de San Jacinto” (2011) is hand embroidery with cotton thread, crochet knitted flowers and pompons on hand made mat, woven on a loom (5,40 x 2,50 mts). This is a project we did for the 42 National Artists Salon in Cartagenas de Indias, Colombia. We have done in collaboration with the San Jacinto Artisans.
We have done other projects in collaboration with artisan communities in Guatemala (2009). We have also have been doing a series of hand embroidery on HermÃ©s fabrics since 2009.
How did you come to be embroiderers?
We have worked together since 2003. We are a couple in life and in art. We have academic studies in painting. We have decided to transfer our knowledge in the art of painting to embroidery. From the beginning, we have devoted to embroidery as a technical process to develop our images.
What does it mean to you?
We have the same attitude before embroidery that we had to paint. We like to think we’re painting with threads.
Where do you like to work?
We like to work on our house/atelier/study. At first we had a small work area in our house but as our works grew in both size, quality and complexity of the technique; our atelier was also growing. Currently all our home is a big atelier.
How do people respond to you as male embroiderers?
There is a tradition of textile work in Latin America. At the beginning was amazement when we show our embroideres in Contemporary Art Galleries, Art Museums and Cultural Centers. But there was always more amazed by the fact that these big pieces, professionalism and sophistication in the use of the technique it is performed by “two men working together”. The work realized for two persons was always more powerful than using technique chosen.
Who inspires you?
Many things inspire us. The history of art, literature, cinema, fashion magazines, books we were using in high school and elementary school. music, long hours of talks with our friends, our travels and our frequent visits to all flea markets, craft markets. Our dreams.
How or where did you learn how to stitch or sew?
Daniel learned to embroider with nuns in Elementary School in CÃ³rdoba city. These were the first steps in embroidery. Leo after finishing his studies at the University of the Arts took his first steps in embroidery during his frequent visits to stores that sell materials for embroidery and also through dialogue with sellers needle embroidery on the streets of our neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Together we began to refine their knowledge and skills in the use of various techniques of embroidery.
Are your current images new ones or have you used them before?
All our work are always self-portraits where we are as a family posing in various real scenarios or scenarios created by our imagination. Since the birth of our pet called “Piolin” (miniature dachshund dog) he has begun to form as part of our family portraits. Among other things, we want to talk about the new models of family in society; in our case a family of two men with their pet as a child.
How has your life shaped or influenced your work?
Embroidery is a technique that we can make at our home. It´s a technique that allows us to talk while we are working. The technique of embroidery allows to share with our friends long hours of conversation while we´re embroidering. You could say it´s a social activity. Our work as painters was more isolated and lonely.
There was a big change in our atelier in the organization, provision of working materials; our attitude to work and working time in each work of art is very different from working with embroidery threads that we were working with wet materials such as oil, acrylic, etc. The speed and the total time to perform a completely hand embroidered piece is longer than the realization of an oil painting or acrylic painting.
What are or were some of the strongest currents from your influences you had to absorb before you understood your own work?
Art history, the textile tradition in Latin America, the craft, etc.
Do formal concerns, such as perspective and art history, interest you?
We have great interest in art history and Contemporary Art. We have always interested in learning new ways to work with the techniques. We are interested in the production processes of the artists that interest us.
What do your choice of images mean to you?
For many years our interest is self portraits in real or imaginary scenarios. We want to see how our images are changing over time; while we are always the same people. When we started to portray us as a family, we wanted to talk about the different models of family in society, male ornamentation in different societies and cultures, etc.. We want to see how our images are changing over time; while we are always the same people.
Do you look at your work with an eye toward it like what can and can’t be visually quoted? In other words what you will or won’t cut out?
We like to see us as a solo artist “Chiachio & Giannone.” An artist who has two heads and four hands. We like to see our work as a collaborative work. We like to see us as an artist who works with many techniques including embroidery, but it is not unique.
Do you have any secrets in your work you will tell us?
We believe in our work there are no secrets. We enjoyed sharing the creative process with friends, colleagues and students of fine arts. All are welcome to enjoy our studio work.
How do you hope history treats your work?
We would like the history of art in the future treat our work with love. We expect our work to bring something to the world and the Argentine contemporary art.
Where can we find you and your work?
You can find it at our website www.chiachiogiannone.com.
We are represented by art galleries:
- School Gallery Paris, 322 rue Saint Martin 75003 France.
- Ruth Benzacar galerÃa de arte Florida 1000, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Our work is in public and private collections in Argentina and abroad. Including: MAD -Museum of Arts and Design NY, 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019, USA.
eMbroidery was created with the support and wisdom of the magnificent Bascom Hogue.
If you are, or know of, a male embroiderer that we should interview as part of this series, contact us!