1Jenna Basso Pietrobon
Through the lens of my own experiences I study society with extreme honesty and offer an emotionally raw critique of political, economic, and social systems. This website shows interconnections between the collections and takes you on a journey through my thoughts, ideas, research, and many years of creating.
I was born in 1986 and have experienced firsthand the powerlessness that is a recurrent theme for my generation. From the 2008 economic collapse to the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, millennial adulthood is a story of disappointed expectations. While acknowledging the hurt that these crises have caused, I also see these events as an opportunity to re-evaluate faulty systems and to purge the repressed secrets, anxieties, and systemic injustices that brought us to this point of governmental and economic collapse. I also challenge the underlying moral beliefs that continue to motivate damaging ways of life—for example, the fetishization of hard work.
I am not afraid of using my practice as an outlet for emotion—and many of my projects are geared towards uncovering human psychology and motivations. With little trust in the institutional structures of governments and corporations, I aim to reimagine society’s structure and relationship with wealth through critical works that envision and enact supportive, women-led leadership models within the arts and, hopefully, the world writ large. I believe that capitalism breeds suffering, and I use projects such as Dimmi, Amore and Fondamenta to turn the system on itself and spread.
My work registers a push-and-pull with my family legacy. While I continue to confront the aftereffects of a difficult childhood, I embrace the material knowledge imparted by my grandparents and parents who worked in ceramics, product design, stonemasonry, construction, textiles, acting, teaching, and entrepreneurship. I also draw heavily upon my Italian roots and, after relocating to Italy in 2019, have immersed myself in its rich cultural history, looking to reference points as varied as Giorgio de Chirico, Carlo Scarpa, Caravaggio, Artemisia Gentileschi, Cy Twombly, Jannis Kounellis, Marisa Merz, Maria Montessori, Antonio Gramsci, Alighiero Boetti, and Gio Ponti.
Many of my works repurpose discarded materials which vary from high-quality scraps of cashmere and marble to corroded pipes and rusted rotor discs. By giving these scraps a second life, I turn capitalist consumer culture on its head. A significant part of my use of these materials is understanding the cycle of their creation and consumption. I visit factories, learn about product histories, and spend months researching the raw materials. This process also entails collaboration—working with factory owners and employees, learning from their experiences and embodied knowledge.
Ultimately, I see my works as sites of encounter, open invitations to my viewer to reinvent themselves and the world around them. I perform the drama of life so that my viewers can see their own lives more clearly and feel less alone. Do you see me? Do you feel me? Do you hear me? Do you receive me? Do you see yourself? Do you find yourself? Are you witnessing yourself?
b. 1986, Toronto, Canada, lives and works in Veneto, Italy
M.F.A., Columbia University
B.F.A., University of Western Ontario
B.A., Media Information Technoculture, University of Western Ontario
It’s been a great honor to work with this incredibly talented team for the writing, making of the website, and digital content.
Artisans from Nove and the surrounding area
Sandro Favero, Favero Illumination
Plaster Mold Maker
Giovanni Battista, Studio Emme
Alessandro Mocellin, 4Emme
Ceramic Glaze Master
Ruggero Carlesso, Decor 9
Elizabetta and Enrico Loss