「我不認為我的作品裡有任何偉大的理念。我只是想把東西維持在輕鬆愉快的狀態和希望令人發笑。我從不想過於認真地對待我的工作。」—— Lucas Zanotto
一波又一波的疫情或許為我們的生活帶來了許多限制，卻沒有限制我們的想像。意大利的設計師、導演兼藝術家 Lucas Zanotto，在這反覆無常的疫情之下，跨地域地於上海 St. Mary’s Hall 舉行了首個個人展覽《MOODS》，把虛擬的人物、動畫於實體空間裡呈現出來，帶領觀眾走進虛實之間，感受簡單純粹的樂趣。一直以來，Lucas 都是專注於商業的動畫工作，包括為 Google 和 Amazon 等品牌製作和導演動畫。由4年前開始，他把他的動畫短片上載到 Twitter 和其他社交媒體，得到了更廣泛大眾的喜愛。
「當 M：87 找我合作時，我渴望已久的展覽終於成真了！在《MOODS》裡，我想提供一個完整的多媒體體驗，包括了實體的雕塑和數碼科技，如爭議性的虛擬實境（VR）裝置、CGI動畫，到聲音和音樂，動態藝術裝置和黑盒子項目。我希望參觀者有機會完全地投入他們的感官，以及真正地享受與每一件展覽作品互動。」
這次展覽最特別的地方是展覽的場地，被高樓大廈包圍、外表爬滿樹枝、充滿歷史感的歐式教堂，與 Lucas 現代簡約的風格形成有趣的對比。
「我十分喜歡展覽在很有歷史和莊重感的 St. Mary’s Hall 舉行，我們在教堂的草地上展示色彩鮮艷、6 米高的幾何人物氣球，以及加上標誌性的『眼睛』，透過教堂的窗口和大門偷看參觀者，創造了有趣的氛圍。我很開心這些外在元素與展覽的作品美麗地走在一起。」
「展覽中的動畫人物是我從大量的雕塑作品中選出來的。我以極簡的方式創作 —— 簡單、幾何形狀和鮮明的顏色。我想去展示怎樣以簡單的形狀抓住世界性的情感，所以我只簡潔地採用兩個白色圓形加上黑色圓點在中間來作眼睛，以及以幾何線條為笑容。」這些簡單純粹的表情大概是來自人類最原始的情緒、直接坦率的感受。「在某些時候，我會打破一些東西的限制，使它們達致一定的極限 —— 那就是我知道作品是最終的藝術形式的時候。」
Lucas 滿滿童心的風格，部分是受到他孩子的啟發。「他們比較年輕，和他們一起塗鴉給了我大量嶄新的想法，他們對待藝術的方式反映在我的作品上，也使我開設了兒童玩具公司YATATOY。」除了兒童書，YATATOY 還開發了結合動畫、音樂和繪畫的應用程式，是結合科技和創意的遊戲，好玩又有趣。
這讓我想起 Lucas 上年有一個藝術項目，在海邊找來奇怪的大石頭，把眼睛放上去，變成了一張張臉或動物：大嘴巴、嘻嘻笑臉、鳥兒、像蝸牛也像松鼠的，或是無法被定義的生物，擴闊了人們對大自然的想像。原來眼睛經常匆匆略過的大石，在另一角度看，會變成如此可愛。「我很高興別人看到我的作品時會感到很愉快。創作時，我的考量是致力去創造一些我個人真正享受的東西 —— 一些我想去看見或擁有的東西。」
“I don’t think there is any big or grand concept behind my work. I just aim to keep things light-hearted, and hopefully make people smile. I never want to take my work too seriously.” — Lucas Zanotto
Wave after wave of COVID may have imposed various restrictions and challenges upon our everyday lives; but it couldn’t stop our imaginations from thriving. Braving the pandemic, Italian designer, director, and artist Lucas Zanotto debuted his first solo exhibition, MOODS, at St. Mary’s Hall in Shanghai, bringing digital characters and animations into the physical realm while inviting audiences to indulge in the delightful art world where reality and virtual reality intertwine. In the past, Lucas focused mostly on animation in a commercial context and has produced and directed animations for brands such as Google and Amazon. Four years ago, he uploaded his animated shorts to Twitter and other social media, where he took the wider public by storm.
“When M:87 reached out to collaborate with me on a solo exhibition, I was thrilled to showcase my digital work in a physical space. In MOODS, I wanted to offer a full multimedia experience involving physical sculptures and digital techniques such as augmented reality (AR) installations, CGI animations to sound and music, kinetic installations and blackbox projects. I wanted visitors to have a chance to fully engage their senses and truly enjoy interacting with every medium in the exhibition.”
There is an interesting juxtaposition of the exhibition venue, a historical European church that is surrounded by high-rise buildings and trees, with Lucas’ modern and simple style.
“I absolutely love the historical former St. Mary’s Hall where the exhibition is being showcased. We created a fun atmosphere on the lawn with brightly colored six meter tall geometric character balloons and the signature ‘eyes’ peeking at guests through the church’s windows and curtain doors. I’m just very happy about how all these exterior elements come together beautifully with pieces inside the exhibition!”
Perpetually rolling is the big circle that looks either like a face or body. It has on it a pair of big round eyes and a mouth that constantly flips up and down. A beaming smile one moment, and bummed the next; twisting from one mood to another. The geometric shapes with sparkly colors are brought to life by the effective addition of eyes and mouth, and the animated loops giving them emotions and meanings. It’s pure joy to watch this humorous animated short. Simple, direct , yet kinetic and impressive.
“The animated characters are a selection of sculptures that I work on a lot. I created them using a minimalist approach with simple, geometric shapes and bright colors. I wanted to show how you can capture universal emotions from a very simple form, and I did that simply by using two round white circles and a black dot in the middle for the eyes and geometric lines for the smile.” These simple expressions represent the most primitive emotions and honest feelings of us beings. “At some point I break things down so that they reach a certain limit – that is when I know my art form is final.”
Lucas’s work radiates child-like delight partially due to his children. “When they were younger, we would doodle together, they gave me plenty of new ideas and approaches to my work, which led me to start the children’s toy company, YATATOY.” In addition to children’s books, YATATOY also creates fun and interesting mobile apps that bring together animation, music, and painting.
This reminds me of Lucas’ previous project in which he fastens “eyes” to enormous rocks on the seaside transforming them into different faces or even animals: A big mouth, a smiley face, a bird, something that looks like a snail or squirrel, or a creature that can hardly be defined. Those simple changes to the rocks widen our imagination about nature. It is amazing to see how these big rocks we usually ignore can be transformed into something so delightful. “I’m glad that people feel happy when they see my work. My main consideration is striving to create something that I would personally enjoy — something that I would want to see, or have.”