Featured in out Jungle Decor auction are the natural yet fantastical tableaus of France-based artist Victoria Stagni. Harnessing inspiration from magical realism, her works depict humans coexisting with captivating creatures. Inspired by her upbringing in Buenos-Aires to an Argentinian mother and Paraguayan father, her works always feature the crucial links between people, animals and nature.
We talked to Victoria about her influences and the inspiration behind her sometimes friendly, other times menacing worlds.
What are your artistic influences and other artists who inspire you?
You can see in my painting the influence of magical realism works of great Latin American novelists such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Alejo Carpentier, where lush nature often holds a predominant place. I also admire Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits and Gustav Klimt‘s colorful, precise, and sophisticated women. Otherwise, for the composition of my landscape paintings, I am influenced by the naïve style of Henri Rousseau.
Can you tell us a little bit about your process of creation?
My work consists of representing the living from a human subject that I immerse in a dreamlike composition. If I often choose the self-portrait to do this, it is because, like Frida Kahlo, I am ‘the subject I know best’. My relationship with painting is sensual. Before starting any new painting, I take special care in the choice of colors. By their vividness, they transcribe my feelings, my sensations and give their balance to my creations. As Matisse said: ‘I feel the paintings by the colors, it is according to the colors that my paintings are organized’.
Many of my subjects are feminine because the image of a woman’s body or face is spontaneously imposed on me in front of the canvas. Thus, my painting is deeply feminine, even feminist. When I do not represent myself on the canvas, I like to paint strong women, sure of themselves, masters of their destinies.
What is it about nature that captivates your imagination?
I am fascinated by wildlife. The graphic power of animals is unparalleled. Vectors of poetry and mystery, they nourish my paintings. Everything inspires me about them: whether they are hair, feathers or scales, their beauty is immediately obvious. I play with them, with their looks, their expressions, their postures. They are marvelous themes with symbolic significance, sometimes also political; they are my totems, my divinities.
Painting animals, especially by my side, is celebrating their beauty but also hiding, escaping with them away from other men and the absurdity of their need for predation and mass destruction. Several of my paintings are therefore clearly pleas against pollution and destruction of the environment, and for the preservation of nature.
Do you think that your background affects your artwork?
I was born in Argentina from Argentinian and Paraguayan parents and Latin America keeps a big place in my heart. No doubt my roots and original culture affect my painting style.
Your paintings often have a dream-like quality, why is that?
The freedom that dreams give me is essential. On the canvas, I can allow myself whatever I want to evoke the mystery of the world. When I create, I look above all for images that will surprise and arouse enchantment, even if the dream can border on the nightmare. I want to share the feeling of our belonging to an enigmatic and magic world.
Thank you to Victoria Stagni for taking the time to answer our questions!