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Recycling Information: A Conversation with Perino & Vele
by Laura Tansini


Emiliano Perino was born in New York in 1973; his parents returned the family to Italy when he was nine years old. Luca Vele was born in Rotondi, a small southern Italian village about 52 kilometers inland from Naples, in 1975. They met in 1990 at art school in Benevento, an important ancient town with pre-Roman ruins, and their artistic research has developed in parallel and together ever since. They are an unusual artistic pairing in that they do not have individual roles or specializations; instead, they share and discuss every idea at each step of their very peculiar way of making art.
Perino & Vele are sculptors, but they do not sculpt or model a material. Their work begins with making the material itself—papier-mâché, made from old newspapers of different colors that they have learned to mix in combinations that create inventive shades. Once they have decided on a new work—after discussing, planning, making drawings—they select the newspapers, mince them with water in a blender that they call “Frullatore,” dry the papier-mâché—either outside on iron cots or in a dryer—and finally mix it with resin and wallpaper glue. They then make square tiles of different sizes and thicknesses. While the tiles are still half-wet, they are positioned on a structure—the “skeleton” of the sculpture—made of iron and fiberglass. Each work involves hundreds of tiles so precisely and carefully joined that the junctions are almost invisible.

Eat me big mouse, 2002.
Papier-mâché and galvanized iron, 80 x 99.5 x 62.5 cm.


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