Iconography and dualism are the keywords of Nexus (The sun sets only twice), a project presented by the artist Vincenzo Zancana for the exhibition ALL VERBI ALL’INFINITO co-curated by APULIART CONTEMPORARY, which in this interview explores the research and the natural and anthropological scenario of the work.

Do you remember when you decided to take an interest in the art world and work as an artist?

I can say that I have always known it, since I was a child I have been interested in art. If I had to choose an event that dictated the beginning of my work, it could be the participation in the Artagön II contest, in 2016, where I realized that maybe I could only dedicate myself to this in life.

How has your personal history influenced your “making art”?

Surely my origin and my homeland, Sicily, have influenced and still influences my artistic practice. Sometimes I realize how this is a decisive part in the creative process of my work, even when I move away from my hometown, in the end, I can always read between the lines of my works an influence of my land.

Seeing your work, it emerges how the memory of places and people is a key input of your research. Your practice is projected into a continuous need to remember and forget, often in the form of “fragmentation”. What fascinates you about the process of discovering the forgotten?

I am a very curious person, always looking for something that no one has ever discovered, going to dig through the information of forgotten people, objects and environments satisfy this need of mine. I also believe that there is a kind of fragility inherent in myself that forces me to look for past things, to find a stability that most likely no one can find.

I also think that this thought has also been influenced by my academic training, printing and art graphics have given me this character prone to discovery, precisely because during the formation of a printed image, it can be seen only after it has been passed through the press.

Nexus (the sun sets only twice) is your work, proposed for the exhibition TUTTI I VERBI ALL’INFINITO, inspired by Franco Cassano’s words on the sea element. Were you born and raised in Sicily, how did your origins feed your imagination, also thanks to the proximity of the sea?

At first, I didn’t think I could feed my artistic research through my origins, I was trying to find the contents of my works among the elements that surround me. Only now I have understood that in order to answer the questions I ask myself, I don’t have to look around me but inside me.

Having emigrated to the north I have understood that I reach my artistic “quiet” when I return home and smell the scent of the sea as soon as I leave the airport. I add that this sort of frustration that arises while waiting to return is a creative source of my work, if I had a fixed location in Sicily this mechanism of revenge would not be activated, I am a tourist always traveling but always knows to return.

Rituality and iconography: key words for reading Nexus. A world made of archetypes and a strong bond with nature emerges. What is the necessity that sets these connections in motion? What relationship do you live with these elements?
I believe that the first necessity that has set these connections in motion is to reduce the distance with my land, to feel somehow closer to nature, and in this case to Sicily. Nexus is a copious work of iconography because it doesn’t want to become a manifesto about the social and environmental situation in Sicily, but it deliberately remains in my heart.

The use of rituals and icons allows the viewer to interpret the work as personal as possible, only I know unconsciously that it is actually a ritual offered to my own land. A sort of ransom and, in a latent way, also a denunciation, which I want to communicate but I can’t carry out directly because life has taken me far from my home.

What are your future plans? Are you currently working on new projects?
At the moment I am in residence at VIR – via Farini in residence in Milan, I am very concentrated between studio visit and open studio. In the meantime, I’m working to publish the work I did during the web residence Sciame Mobile Residence that I also direct together with Miriam Montani and Athanasios Alexo.

If the health emergency allows it in October I should do a solo exhibition in a notary’s office in Milan curated by Laura Panno and finally I will present together with Francesca Mussi and Marta Di Donna a review of the Chàrōn project at the Spazio Kunstschau in Lecce.

Nexus (The sun sets only twice), arises from the need to analyze the unique relationship between man and the environment that surrounds him. The environment intended as a space that welcomes incorporates and assimilates organic parts but also as a natural setting that hosts and nourishes man. The work is the representation of feelings such as repression, injustice, irresolution, and resignation due to the relative condition between the environment and man; an intrinsic and difficult to eviscerate bond, but always monolateral. The video interruptedly reproduces the artist’s repetitive action of stepping on coal with a mortar in white marble, common elements but with an iconographic value that impersonates the numerous duality and dichotomies of the human condition: black and white, life and death, male and female.

Vincenzo Zancana, Nexus, installation view, VIR (Via Farini in residence), 2020 Milan.
Details of Vincenzo Zancana, Nexus, installation view, VIR (Via Farini in residence), 2020 Milan.
Frame from Vincenzo Zancana, Nexus, 2020.
Vincenzo Zancana, Nexus, installation view, VIR (Via Farini in residence), 2020 Milan.


Vincenzo Zancana was born in Salemi in South West Sicily (Italy) in 1991. He graduated in Fine Arts at Brera Academy (Milan) in 2016; during this study period he was selected at a Master in Fine Arts /Printmaking at the Royal Academy of Antwerp (Belgium) and in the same year he was one of the selected artists of the contest Artagōn II, participating in an exposition of collective artists at the Passage De Retz Gallery of Paris.

Some of the most important exhibitions are:  Eadem – spazio Hus Milan, Charon – Spazio Serra Milan, Paper vs Cement – Gallerija Stavb Belgrad, Mirror Face to Face – National Library of Estonian  and Sculpture Park Museum Santiago in Cile, I like the way you Walk – A-tower Antwerp, Transcription /copiainmoviemento – MAiO Museo dell’arte in ostaggio. In 2019 he was selected for REPLICA Project and the IV Global Print of Porto (Portugal). He will be invited for future projects such as International Bienal of Douro and for an artist residence in VIR Via Farini artist in residence (Milan – January 2020).