LETIZIA CALORI & VIOLETTE MAILLARD, Interview (in English): Fire, 10. – 12.02.2012, Rundgang der Staatlichen Hochschule für Bildenden Künste, Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main

Letizia Calori & Violette Maillard in Fire Letizia Calori & Violette Maillard arbeiten seit zwei Jahren gemeinsam. Sie teilen alle Arbeitsschritte von Idee über Konzept bis hin zur Umsetzung. Für den Rundgang der Städelschule haben die Gaststudentinnen aus der Klasse Tobias Rehberger die Installation "Fire" konzipiert. Die besticht durch klare Form ohne Langeweile. Diese Klarheit erlaubt es, Emotion mit Philosophie zusammen zu bringen. Fire ist eine Art konstruktiver Wigwam, der aus Holzdreiecken außen und rotem Stoff innen besteht. Fire kommt chic daher wie ein Designmöbel und entpuppt sich dann wild in seiner Bedeutung als Feuer. Letitzia und Violette erzählen über Ideen und Arbeitsschritte.
Letizia Calori & Violette Maillard work together since two years. They share the work through all stages from concept to implementation. The guest students in the class of Tobias Rehberger designed the installation "Fire" for the "Rundgang Städelschule".

Fire offers a clear form, without being boring. This clarity brings together emotion and philosophy. Fire is a kind of constructive wigwam, which consists of wood triangles outside and red fabric inside. Fire is like a chic design furniture and turns out to be wildly in its role as a fire. Letitzia and Violet talk about ideas and steps.

Fire beim Rundgang der StädelschuleKirsten Kötter, Letizia Calori, Violette Maillard, 27.03.2012, Städelschule, Daimlerstraße, Frankfurt am Main
So, maybe we can talk first about Fire? What were the very first ideas of making Fire? 
Letizia: O.K., first of all we were studying the Octagon-Form and reflecting about that and all the meanings of the Octagon and how it is related to the religion, to the religion-places, and how it is a sort of form, which is in-between to earth and sky. So, that is the form that is passing from one to the other.
Violette: So, it reaches from the square that is like earth and it is a symbolism. And then you have the circle that is like a sky. And you are looking for something in the middle. Because we were trying to make some jump, ascending jump,.
A jump from the earth to the sky?
Violette: Yeah, we were just trying to find what is in the middle. But first it was an intention. And then we came to the octagon. Saying: Oh, the octagon is exactly what we are looking for.
Letizia: And then we cope with this need of the house in a way. So we can build a structure that reminds a little bit of the idea of a house or a protective space.
A house or a building?
Letizia: I think more a house, like a small place that is just for you and it is constructing this ... finding this place, you know. Maybe, Violette, you want to add something to that?
Violette: A house was something like a primary structure for us. And so we were just in this finding the middle between air and earth thing. But then we say, okay, but we need to go down on earth, we need a house. And so we went further and further and at the end we liked the fire I think. We constructed it. Because, you know, when you put like the branches together … 
Violette: Wood, when you put the branches together to make a fire you have this structure.
Yeah, yeah
Violette: And so we thought: This is like a huge fire. We like something really alive. We were looking for some real aliveness.
So it was the idea going from the earth to the sky.
Violette: Yes. And to have a structure for this and maybe this is the fire … And the fire is something that keeps you on the earth. You need to base it on the ground. And in a way it is like going up. So that was a little bit the idea.
Is it also a symbol of spirit? In the Christian religion the fire ist a symbol of spirit.
Violette, Letizia: Ah, no.
Letizia: We were not really thinking about the religion. Yeah, of cause the fire has so many symbolic things - in every religion, in every community. It is more something about being in a place and keep together.
The Fire?
Letizia: Yeah, like you go around the fire and you stay …
Ah, okay.
Letizia: Yeah, I think that is why it is so important in every religion.
Letizia: But the religion thing was not at all what we were looking for.
But the first thing was to look in the symbols?
Violette: Yeah, first we were really looking what is in the middle of earth and air and then we say there is all this religion thinking about it. First of all if you have a …. cupola (dome).  Usually  you never start with a square but with an octagon because it is easier to make it around.
Yeah, I understand this really well and I say: Of cause it was not a religious thing! I can imagine! (Laughing) But maybe it is a little bit rellated to that ….
Letizia: … the iconological figure of the fire?
No, I was thinking maybe you were looking for something like "spirit"? It has strong energy.
Violette: Maybe we were looking for something like this, but we were not projecting this. We just assemble everything and then we were like: Oh, there is this shape. We just build it and: Woah! (Laughing)
So I did not know the story about the octagon and the circle and so I was thinking: you have inside / outside. So it is like furniture, of cause. But then it is a fire.
Normally you would not sit in a fire. And you look at the outside and the inside in it. But for me fire is something, yeah, contraire, it is going very out.
Violette: Yeah, the purpose was a little bit when the fire is starting, you know you put wood and etc. and when the fire is starting it is like: wooh! And that was our purpose.
Letizia: The beginning.
Yeah, so, yes, I appreciate the fire. (Laughing)
Letizia: What did you like?
For me it is interesting that you were working with something what has to do with "furniture", because the surface of the fire it is like – yeah, when I was a child I had a bed and something
similar for the bedding (Laughing), yeah, it was in the seventies and there was some red mattress in it (Laughing), it was a little bit like this. The Fire is "design" and very nice and clean ...
Letizia: Yeah, a sort of warm of cause you sleep ...
And elegant ... But then it is a fire. So it was something very strange. Yeah, it was love-at-first-sight ... (Laughing) So, when did you start to work together?
Letizia: It was two years ago.
Ah, okay.
Letizia: Yeah, we were in Venice. We were in the same school and we started with a project like a performance-project, a series, based on "The tempest" of Shakespeare. So, that was our first collaboration-project. And then we started working together with different kinds of things.
Violette: Ah, it worked so good, we said: 'We have to work together!' We have fun, it worked, people appreciate it! It is better to be two than to be one, because when you do your stuff you are like: okay, but when you are two you are like: yeah! 
It is perfect! And how does it work? Who is the one who has the first idea and who is the one who says: 'No, I don't know …
Letizia: It depends. We share the ideas completely. It is like: 'Oh, I thought about that.' And the other: 'Yeah, we could do it in this way. Or maybe in that way.' And then we start working.
Violette: In reality we fight a lot. (Laughing)
Letizia: Okay, that was like the peaceful version of it. (Laughing)
Violette: Like one says: 'Let's make a glass.'  And the other one says: 'No,that is terrible, we don't want to make a glass', and then the previous says … (Laughing)
But this is good …..
Violette: But the thing is: The day after, the one who says the thing is really bad, thinks the glass is good and says: 'Oh, we have to make a glass.' But the other one is not convinced any more. (Laughing)
Letizia: It is a little bit like swamping the position.
Violette: That is how it works.
Why did you decide to come to Frankfurt to "Städelschule"?
Letizia: I think before we were in a really conceptual kind of school.
But "Städelschule" is so, too …
Letizia: Yeah it is so, too, but it gives you the freedom to make really your stuff. And this was not really in Venice. You had to follow courses every time. It was really like in a way academic. And that is good to have some basis and some knowledge in the beginning. But afterwards you really need to do just your things and do it better or destroy. You are here totally free in a way …
Letizia: Yeah. We were also interested a little in changing the environment around.
Violette: Because Venice is really, really slow if you have to work there.
Letizia: And it is difficult actually, particulary difficult to work there because you have to move with boats.
Violette: And little space. If you have to put wood from somewhere it has to come with boats and you have to pay the boats. All things like that.
Ah, complicated. Yeah, and how did it change your work to be in another country, to be in another town, to be here?
Letizia: I think all this geometrical stuff comes a little bit from, I don't know, from being in Frankfurt. Because the architecture maybe and the constructivism culture you can really feel in Germany more than in Italy.
Violette: I mean we were doing geometrical forms in Italy too. But they were more soft. And here we are more like …
Letizia: I guess, I think so. We got some influences.
And when did you come to "Städelschule"?
Letizia: In October.
Oh, yes. And you are staying here some years?
Laetita: We don`t really know now because we are Guest Students. So we gonna stay for July or Semptember and then we'll gonna see what happens later.
You are thinking of applying here?
Letizia and Violette: Yeah, yeah.
Violette: We are going to apply for everything. (Laughing) As long as possible.
Violette: For what ever it is we will apply. (Lauhging)
And are you studying in the class of Rehberger?
Letizia: Yeah, we are studying in the class of Rehberger.
And how is it?
Letizia: It is good. It is more about living then like teaching. It is more about meeting and having some time together. Sometimes is like school kind of time. Most of the time it is more like having fun, going somewhere or to eat and drink.
How many students are in this class?
Letizia: 20, around 20.
Violette: Less than 25, more than 15.
Is there anything you want to say? You want to add to this interview?
Letizia: What shall we say?
Violette: I don't know.
Something important or unimportant? (Laughing) What is your next project?
Letizia: Ah, that is a good question. Yeah, we were thinking about how to develop this forms. So the form of the Fire. And now we are trying with little models to make it again but in a small version and to see how we can play with the form again. By creating something different, maybe opening the Fire. We are a little bit on the star shape.
Violette: I mean we have some models downstairs but we are thinking of doing another construction, another shape alike, or maybe something else, maybe performance.
Letizia: Because sometimes you need some ballance. Of doing more action.
Violette: Yeah, we really like doing performance.
What sort of performance? Do you already have some idea?
Laetita: [naming a title to Violette] we have.
Violette: Ah, we are working on Richard III.  We work with Shakespeare a lot. But it started as a sculpture. Then it is going to be as performance.
Laetita: Because 'The Tempest' was a little bit between a sculpture before.
'The Tempest'?
Letizia: 'The Tempest' of William Shakespeare.
Ah, okay. I don't know the story. I don't know this English word.
Violette: It is 'the storm'.
Ah, okay.
Violette: It is like the story of the Prospero.
Letizia: I don't know what is the name in German. I have no idea.
Violette: He is a king but he is on an island exaggerated. And he is Prospero. And he is very … , his magical stuff, of his daughter etc. And then the one that exaggerated him is just passing by a ship. A huge tempest. They are like rowing to the island. And he takes a sort of little revanche on them but at the end he is nice and he says okay.
Letizia: Yeah, it is all about this condition that makes all this warrior, than creates all this, a straight connection.
Violette: Yeah.
Letizia: And magic. I like happenings and all. So we were doing a little bit the same. But now we are like in this Richard III that is a little bit different, like more this king that is very mean. He tries all the way like to conquer everything. And we are like building and constructing a little sculpture about that.  Maybe we will turn it in a perfomative piece.
I like this idea of having text and doing a sculpture
Letizia: Out of it
Yes, out of the text. That is something I also like.
Letizia: Yeah, it is very difficult in a way because you have never …
Violette: But doing Shakespeare is easy because you have really some concept.
Letizia: You can really feel it. It touches you in the inside.
It it very basic.
Violette: And they are connected. So you can really make a narrative taking some of them. That is good.
Good. Perfect.
Letizia: We can show you the little sculptures we made downstairs.
Now I have to write many things. But it is in my head if nothing is recorded I can write.
Laetita: Yeah, maybe even better.