The invisible sources of the artwork: talks with today’s artists

by Emma Coccioli

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Romanticism, the brooding and intensely personal eighteenth-century art and literary movement, takes on a new lease of life in this carefully curated collection of interviews with contemporary artists from around the world. Informed by the writings of the renowned psychoanalyst James Hillman, Romanticism is reconsidered from a twenty-first-century perspective. Moving past a purely formal presentation of the artists’ work, this text strives to uncover the deeper meaning and more pressing issues present in the artworks.

All connected by a similar romantic vein, Emma Coccioli explores each artist’s individual practice through a series of carefully selected questions. For Coccioli, discussions of ‘the moral issue’ and the future of the world also form an important part of the interviews. Coccioli acknowledges that artists have often been asked questions about their role in relation to the moral issue and the problem of nihilism. However, even if we have an inherent understanding of the concepts of good and evil, Coccioli argues that there is a need to re-examine the modern-day psyche as it tends to be apathetic and with little emotional resonance on our actions and behaviour.

Global overpopulation, climate change, and the planet’s limited resources are also meaningfully discussed in this collection of interviews. In questioning the artists, whose work addresses, even remotely, these topics, Coccioli encourages them to consider what they believe to be the greatest threats to today’s global community and to suggest solutions that might be adopted by future generations.

This original and engaging look at contemporary art practice presents a sophisticated discussion of some of the most pressing issues for modern-day society. The interdisciplinary nature of this book means that it will appeal to students, scholars, artists and to anyone with an interest in the fascinating world of contemporary art.

Chapter 1 Paul Benney
Chapter 2 Liu Bolin
Chapter 3 Christopher Bucklow
Chapter 4 Giacomo Costa
Chapter 5 Thierry De Cordier
Chapter 6 Susan Derges
Chapter 7 Simone Douglas
Chapter 8 Ilaria Ferretti
Chapter 9 Neil Folberg
Chapter 10 Amy Friend
Chapter 11 Jane Fulton Alt
Chapter 12 Omar Galliani
Chapter 13 Ori Gersht
Chapter 14 Karen Gunderson
Chapter 15 Yoshiaki Ishikawa
Chapter 16 Alexander James
Chapter 17 Claudia Kunin
Chapter 18 Abelardo Morell
Chapter 19 Lori Nix
Chapter 20 Josephine Sacabo
Chapter 21 Jennifer Schlesinger
Chapter 22 Luzia Simons
Chapter 23 Sandy Skoglund
Chapter 24 Penny Slinger
Chapter 25 Berndnaut Smilde
Chapter 26 Rosetta Whitehead

Emma Coccioli studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, whilst also pursuing her interest in music. She began her professional career as a production secretary in the film industry, before shifting her focus to the world of contemporary art. Since then, she has worked for several art galleries in Milan.

Inspired by the evocative power of art, Coccioli’s research was driven by a need to develop a working relationship with esteemed artists from across the world. Animae is the result of these exchanges between Coccioli and the artists in question. By answering this need, Coccioli has also been able to contribute to the promotion and support of the artists’ work.

Gaston Bachelard, Serge Latouche, Naomi Klein, Margherita Hack, Dostoevskij, Hannah Arendt, Jan Švankmajer, Hudson River School, psychoanalysis, ecology, contemporary philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, human achievements, human organizations, utopias, dreams, symbols, sublime in art, garden of Eden, morals in animals, magic, dolls, feminism, immortality, gold symbolism, shadow symbolism, mirror symbolism, cloud symbolism, moon symbolism… And all the names of the artists in the list.

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title


Book Subtitle

The invisible sources of the artwork: talks with today’s artists





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


197 B&W

Publication date

June 2019