Evolution and Transformation

Chicco Margaroli’s art investigates Nature and… what remains of it

Born in Aosta, Chicco Margaroli is one of the most eclectic artists of the region. Her fame reaches beyond the Alps and Oceans, but it is here, in Aosta Valley, where she maintains her roots and develops artistic projects. Her professional journey started in 1989, after she acquired her diploma at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Torino. Initially she was dedicated in interior architecture, but this was only the beginning.

“My job unfolds within two paths: one is the production of contemporary art pieces, and the other is the creation of unique objects connected to fashion” explains Chicco Margaroli.

“Nature is the focus point in my contemporary art pieces. This path started at the beginning of 1999, a year in which, starting from the trimming of secular plants, and working on the concept of “what remains of nature”, I inaugurated the exhibition ‘Potatura di ritorno’ (the Returned tree trimming): the dry tree branches, cut because they are no longer useful to the plant, find life again”.

That exhibition launched the artist from Aosta Valley towards a tangible form of art, a material one, that talks about the transformation operated on all that lives by time and other agents of nature.

“The concepts of evolution and of “what remains” has pushed me to study animal organs. What is considered “waste” from slaughterhouses has, therefore, become the basis of my art. To stabilize an organ means to give it dignity and life again, to give it a new function, in the respects of what is no longer there but has generated it and welcomed it into the world. To create my works of art I only use “objects” which have history. I’m curious about the way nature abandons what it doesn’t need anymore”.

Animal hearts, faces, tongues, and bladders have thus become the works of art in the Serbatoidell’Anima (Containers of the Soul) exhibition.

Chicco’s work on nature, passing of time, and the transformations that operate on us, is in constant evolution and uses materials such as protein gelatin and thermic PVC, which were found during some reconstruction work. “It’s fascinating” the artist confesses “to observe their material and aesthetic changes when they’re exposed to some climatic elements”.

There is another side to your art. You hinted at aiming your work towards Fashion…

“Even in this sense, I talk about recovering but in the sense of traditions. Soque is my source of inspiration. The idea came to me when, not long ago, I came across a Dutch clog made of not wood, but of vinyl plastic: it was very shiny and black, and it looked like a sports car. It was made by a famous Brazilian company that does something completely different but, in collaboration with some stylists, it created this shoe collection and design made with different materials. That’s where the suggestion came from. I asked myself: why not reinvent the Soque? And so, I took this traditional shoe from Aosta Valley, which since the Middle Ages has been used in our mountain pasture walks, and gave it a second life under a fashion profile. Therefore, in March 2015 the brand Dzoyé was created, which is still in constant evolution.

How do you create yourDzoyé?

“I start from the original shoe: wood and leather of different colors. On this 2neutra’’ base I create a design that, for most of the cases, describes characteristics of the person that will later wear it. They are designs that talk about nature, life, and emotions. The personalization is an integral part of this project: every Soque tells a story. They have gone on the catwalks of Dubai, and of major cities in Italy and Europe. Many clients wear them for walks in Milan and Rome. They are all unique pieces and are passed on from mother to daughter or grandmother to granddaughter. The decorations are made with a particular mix that makes the paint usury and water resistant, it’s very plastic and, in case of intense usury, I can intervene with a restauration. Just as if it were a commissioned work of art.

Material, tangible, usable art. Your art is something interactive.

“Yes, even the exhibitions which I organize are interactive, this is because the approach I have on art and sculptures is an immersive and experience-filled one. If I think of a work made of wood, I think of something that the user must go through. I always start from the space and physicality of the object, maybe because I work on nature. The forms I develop talk about the evolution of things, the reaction they have meeting various natural elements: the warmth, the cold, the Sun. We are always immersed in nature, we have a relationship with her and, there is the nature of relationships. We are within our nature, physical and psychological one.”

Many of your works can be admired even in Cervinia.

“Cervinia is a unique land. One of the places is the Rifugiol’Oriondé, at the foot of the Matterhorn. There, I worked filled with joybecause I was able to act in a synergetic way upon nature’s true, harsh, and extreme beauty to create contemporary art. Then I worked on Lo Copapan’s terrace. However, here I used digital techniques to decorate the birch branches that make the Bosco Riposto (the “Built Woods”). This is welcoming art: in this case people come into contact with the “Gods” that walk among the tree trunks.

Chicco, you have used your eclecticism in entering the perfume sector and in creating a characteristic “shell” which brings the Made in Italy scent.

“Mamart involved me in this adventure: they had just made a perfume and they had asked me to create its packaging. The essence is very warm, inviting, pungent and pervasive. The scents are pear, pepper and myrrh. So, I designed a round bottle that recalled the form of the fruit and that invited people to go “beyond looks”.          The name itself of the perfume “Ricordati di fiorire” (“Remember to blossom”) gives a stimulus to try to find the positive in daily life. If putting on the perfume makes the person feel good and complete, makes her feel like she can overcome her fears and throw herself beyond the surface of things, then it should become a part of daily activity. The silkscreen design carved on the glass has become a true logo, connected to this philosophy and it has allowed us to develop wallpaper, porcelain decors, textiles, wine bottles, shoes and leather bracelets with studs and diamonds. Finally, for our fashion movie we used insects which are the most long-living, ancient, and invasive living creatures on earth. We were looking for a testimonial that talked about evolution of the species and the necessary transformation to continue living. The combination is once again: past – future”.