José Romussi was born in Chile (1979) where he studied landscape architecture. After living in New York for a while he is now living in the city of Berlin.
He is into everything. I discovered his work when I was looking for artists working with thread and embroidery but it seems that he began with collages. Moreover, it is thanks to his collages that he decided, during a conversation, that he would become an artist. He said: “Once, a Chilean artist who managed an art collective asked me if I was an artist just like the other people present in the room and I answered “yes”. Then, they asked me if they could see my work, so I went away for a few days and I started to do collages using drawings that I had made when I was a child and pictures that my mom used to collect. Then I showed my pieces to the collective, they liked them and they asked me to work with them. It all started this way”.
But, above all his work, it is his collection of embroidered pictures ballerinas that made the Chilean artist famous. Fascinated by the subtle delicateness of their movements and the elegance of these ballerinas that appeared in vintage pictures collected from old fashion magazines, Jose breathes life into them, adorning their costumes with bright threads. Indeed, by adding these brilliant embroideries, Romussi underlines the dynamic of their fixed movements and manages to give a new lease of life to theses old pictures. Each line of embroidery invites the audience to dream with him and give life to each of his protagonists.
Jose Romussi is interested in everything. The artist himself says that “there is much more to see than what is tangible and visible” and he affirms being convinced that everything has not been invented yet. So, he constantly works to explore and discover new techniques and materials to express and represent his ideas.
This is why the artist claims: “Art cannot be criticized because every mistake is a new creation” just like it is shown in this collection realized with Rocio Aguirre’s pictures which gather picture, embroidery and typography. Theses pieces come from the idea that creation can perfectly arise from the movements of daily life, a bad idea or an accident.
Romussi’s work is a combination of fragility and preciousness with modernity. Having said that, it is not surprising that the emotion highlighted in his last collection is poetry. Using the same process (vintage pictures in black and white recollected from old magazines), Jose Romussi’s floral embroideries sublimate those girls’ portraits. Once more, the flowers embroidered on theses girls face, remind of life, the wildness of the vegetation that takes roots from everywhere, femininity and purity at the same time.
Jose Romussi exhibited his pieces in Chile, Berlin, London and Chicago.
Have a look at his website: http://cargocollective.com/joseromussi
/ INTERVIEW /
– HI Jose, congrats for your work and thank you for answering my questions. Tell me one thing, how long have you been stitching?
J: Thank you. I started stitching at the same time as I started to do collages; it was in the middle of 2011.
– You embroider manually and with the sewing machine on your pictures. How do you explain this choice? Which method do you prefer?
J: I started to embroider manually and I still do. For some specific works I used the sewing machine. Even though I don’t have a good command of it, I managed to sew some patterns. What I like most is to embroider by hand.
– You work with themes such as dance, fashion magazines, flowers, etc. Do you find the feminine universe particularly inspiring?
J: I never thought of it this way, that women are more inspiring than men, neither do I think that themes such as flowers, dance were particularly inspiring. It just came to me as the result of my work. It started with picking a photograph or picture or creating one that inspires me. The ballerinas project started by chance when I found them in a second-hand store. When I saw them I knew that I had to do something with them!
– Why did you leave New York to move in Berlin? Here in Paris it is said that when you are a young artist, Berlin is “the place to be” – what do you think? How long have you lived there for? Do you have a favourite place where you like to go in Berlin? Do you think you will go back to Chile some day?
J: Haha, it was New York that left me: I have never enjoyed living there. Then, I arrived in Berlin and everything was so different from the life in NY. Everything is more relaxed, people are friendly and you can actually see people smiling in the streets! I love the fact people are happily living together and the city is decentralized. It’s been two years now since I arrived and I have recently discovered very nice places to go in the neighborhood of Pankow, but yes, I do think I’ll go back to Chile some day.
– On which project are you working at the moment?
J: At the moment I’m working a project for the U-bahn (Berlin underground). It was an open contest that I won at the beginning of the year and that will be exhibited in Berlin on the 1st of November. I’m also working for the Sheraton Hotel in Florida and on a more personal project in collaboration with photographers.
– Who are the artists that you admire and where do you get your inspiration from?
J: There is a lot of artists that I admire. I specially appreciate John Stezaker for his simplicity and his genius and I also love the way Frida Khalo expresses her feelings.
I got my inspiration from situations I live through.
– When and where is your next exhibition?
J: On the 14th of November 2013, in Gestalten space mitte (Berlin).
Muchas gracias Jose !