Interview – 10 questions
Wilfried Agricola de Cologne interviews Francesca Lolli – May 2022
more biografical info on AND – Artists Betwork Database
1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background
I am an Italian Perugia-born director and performance artist who currently live and work between Milano and Perugia. After graduating at ‘Teatro Arsenale’ as an actress I attended the ‘Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera’, graduating as a scenographer. My research is focused into performance, video art and experimental film. My work is aimed on gender and socio-political issues mainly linked to geopolitical problems related with women.
All my soul searching leads me to the same end, one word: urgency.The urgency for me to express my thoughts and ideas through video and body.
Through these mediums I try to be the vehicle for emotions, to bring the spectator to a destination I prearrange, filtered by their own experiences of life.
My artwork takes a critical view of social, political and cultural issues, it pretends to be a sublimation of the weaknesses of contemporary man, of his fears, of his intimate obsessions.
2. When, how and why started you filming
I started shooting for my degree thesis. Until then I had never felt this need. For the thesis I decided to make a documentary about a famous New York photographer: Andres Serrano. Someone had recently given me a small handycam, I started with that. After shooting 8 hours of material I found myself in the position of having to edit it… what to do? I slowly learned how to edit and I spent whole nights on the frames! I haven’t been able to stop since then.
3.What kind of subjects have your videos/films?
I mainly deal with everything related to gender, stereotypes related to it, the condition of women in contemporary society, women’s rights (which are nothing but rights of the whole society).
The universe I try to portray is inhabited by creatures who experience life: a universe seen, lived and acted upon by women who consequently require me to investigate gender stereotypes and violence.
The social responsibility that I feel inherent in my work leads me to speak sincerely about what, being a woman, I feel familiar, trying, through the themes I have analyzed, to move from the individual to the universal.
The women I paint are strong archetypal figures, not always victorious, tired of being absorbed in the rhetoric of warriors, no longer compliant with the expectations loaded on their shoulders, often overwhelmed and defeated by a system that designs them as a fragile and submissive category.
With my works I tackle the issues of the social body (its use and abuse), freedom of expression, civil rights, equality.
4. How do you develop your videos/films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
At first, as a self-taught person, I let myself be carried away by what I felt. I didn’t have a specific style in mind, a particular way of shooting. I have always taken great care of the shot but I have never questioned whether it was “right” or “wrong”. It is the big picture that you must always have in mind: things are never right or wrong but they work or they don’t work.
After a few years I attended a film directing school in Rome. There I learned the classical grammar of cinema. A very important tool if you then want to subvert it! To break the rules you must first know them.
5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
For years I have worked with a Sony, a fantastic camera that recorded on minidv. I then bought a Panasonic AGAF101, a camera that still keeps me company but that I have to decide to leave soon, it is starting to get old!
In the course of my experience I have happened to work with several video cameras that are not mine and I have always found myself very well.
6. What are the chances of new media for the genre videos/films in general and you personally?
Mine is a rather pessimistic view about my kind of work: we live in a historical moment in which we are submerged by moving images and it is difficult, precisely for this reason, to focus our attention on them. In addition, the work I do is experimental, it does not wink and it does not seek consent. You have to love the genre to come across it. Having said that I am not discouraged and I continue to look at the world through my gaze, trying to transport it in the form of moving images.
7. How do you finance your films?
It depends, sometimes they are self-financed other times they are commissioned.
8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team? if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?
I have experienced both situations and they are obviously two very different ways of working. I’m used to work alone, to think about the project and to realize it in all of its phases: the idea, the production, the work with the actors, the video and audio post production. Over the years I have met and collaborated with various professional figures, some of which have remained in my professional and social life. Working alone or in a team is very different. Working in harmony with people I know and with whom I have built a relationship of esteem is much better.
9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
It depends on the periods of my life. I am a very curious person and I never stop studying, reading, watching all kinds of films. There are languages that are more suited to me but I look at things that are apparently far from my gaze willingly and with interest. However, there are directors and artists who represent a milestone for all my research, who have influenced me and who continue to be a great source of inspiration: David Lynch, Cristian Mungiu, Vito Acconci, Tina Modotti, Gina Pane just to name a few.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
One of my dreams is to be able to bring experimentation to everyone. Find the ways to make it accessible to a growing audience. And of course to continue working for a very long time to come!
Videos by Francesca Lolli can be reviewed on
Hall of Fame at Alphabet Art Centre