The papier-mâché sculptures in Antonella Paglialonga's set design.
The papier-mâché sculptures in Antonella Paglialonga's set design.

The papier-mâché sculptures in Antonella Paglialonga's set design.

Paper, flour, and water, these are the ingredients that Antonella Paglialonga mixes, creating papier-mâché sculptures that come to life in her Bolognese space called Ozio. Her work combines manual skills and creative flair, shaping through paper, pieces that are born from free inspiration or from the context she is called to interpret and populate.

Antonella Paglialonga, set designer specialized in interior design, studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. After her studies, she experimented with different art forms but over the years, she was drawn to the shapes and volumes that a simple sheet of paper could take on, electing this material as the ideal one to express herself.

Let's get to know her better through this interview where she told us a lot about her work and creative process.

The papier-mâché sculptures in Antonella Paglialonga's set design.

#1 answer

You have studied various forms of scenography: television, theatrical, and cinematographic, and then focused on melodrama scenography working in theater where your passion for papier-mâché was born. A technique with ancient origins and deeply rooted traditions, especially in Italy, just think for example of carnival floats. How have the studies you have done influenced your way of making art?

Academic studies in scenography have taught me to perceive and use space effectively, design settings that are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and suitable for the specific needs of each production, whether it be cinematographic, television, or theatrical. I had the opportunity to develop technical skills in drawing, modeling, construction, and the use of different materials. Scenography often requires collaboration with other professionals in the field, such as directors, cinematographers, costume designers, and technicians.

#2 answer

Paper is your preferred tool for expressing yourself and creating, what fascinates you about this material and why this one?

Paper is an extremely versatile and fascinating material for sculpture creation. It can be folded, cut, glued, molded, and painted. This allows me to explore a wide range of techniques and styles. Paper is lightweight, making sculptures easy to transport and install. Using recycled or recyclable paper is a sustainable choice. By shaping and gluing layers of paper, I can create three-dimensional works.

The papier-mâché sculptures in Antonella Paglialonga's set design.

#3 answer

There are different processing techniques, what type of paper and adhesive material do you use? And what do you use for coloring?

I prefer to use tissue paper, it is lightweight and easily takes the shape I desire due to its softness. I use different grammages, ranging from 18 to 50 g/m2. I layer it, it is thin and allows light to pass through, making it slightly transparent. Tissue paper, known for its lightness and translucency, lets light pass through, creating unique visual effects. I find this particularly interesting for my works that play with lighting and shadows. The lightness of tissue paper allows for creating sculptures that almost seem to float in the air. Additionally, it is easy to transport and manipulate. It is extremely flexible and can be folded, crumpled, torn, and molded into complex shapes. The ability to layer multiple sheets of tissue paper allows me to achieve unique color and texture effects. The layers can be used to create shades and depth. This type of paper absorbs inks and colors well, I mostly use acrylic colors. It is easily accessible and available. I find it an extremely delicate material, which allows me to create works that convey lightness and fragility, characteristics that are difficult to achieve with other materials. I use the paper to create suspended installations that react to natural or artificial light. I make the glue with flour and water, this solution is ecological, it does not contain harmful chemicals and can be easily disposed of without environmental impact, offering a combination of effectiveness and sustainability.

#4 answer

I am very curious about the creative process, from the idea to the realization, tell us how one of your papier-mâché works comes to life from a simple sheet of paper.

The creation of a set design is a process that involves different stages of inspiration, design, and realization. In the first phase, there is research and ideation work, I decide on the theme and examine different processing techniques. I define the final dimensions of the sculpture, create detailed technical drawings with measurements, and a scale model of the sculpture. I determine the quantity and type of material needed and assess the supports to ensure the stability of the set design.

The papier-mâché sculptures in Antonella Paglialonga's set design.

#5 answer

You have worked as a set designer with various artists in the Italian music scene, including Beatrice Antolini, Giusy Ferreri, and Tre Allegri Ragazzi Morti. What was it like to bring your works to the stage and have them coexist and harmonize with the music of these artists?

Collaborating with musicians I admire was very creatively stimulating. Set design plays a crucial role in defining the atmosphere and visual context during musical performances. The dialogue between set design and the musician can manifest in various ways. Set designs can reflect the theme or concept of the band's album or tour. If a band is promoting an album with a specific theme, the set design can incorporate visual elements that echo these themes, creating an immersive experience for the audience. The lights, colors, and materials used in set design can amplify the emotions of the music. The film reels, celluloid, and other cinema-inspired stage elements created for Giusy Ferreri's tour were directly inspired by her album Short Films.

#6 answer

Little men and musicians of an orchestra, organs of the human body, small and large objects are part of your production. What are the themes and underlying threads, if any, that drive your artistic production?

I enjoy exploring the artistic field without necessarily following a defined theme. This allows me to be free from the constraints of having to adhere to a theme, enabling me to explore my emotions and ideas in different ways.

The papier-mâché sculptures in Antonella Paglialonga's set design.

#7 answer

In 2022 Ozio Art Space was born, tell me about this place, what is it for you and what do you want it to be for the people who experience it?

Ozio is my creative space, studio, and laboratory. I chose this name, from the Latin "ozium," precisely because it represents leisure time dedicated to rest, relaxation, and tranquility. This allows me to temporarily disconnect from daily occupations and facilitate my artistic expression. It can be experienced as a place for sharing and exchanging ideas.

#8 answer

We are almost at the end of the interview, in the editorial office we are all passionate about music and it is one of the artistic languages we privilege, I know that you also love this art form, so I ask you: three tracks that you are particularly fond of. Thank you.

Thank you for this question, it is always a pleasure to talk about music, one of my greatest passions. The tracks I am particularly fond of are: "Electricity" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, "Dymo" by Verdena, and "Roman Holiday" by Fontaines D.C.