Fiorella Lavado was born in Lima, Peru; studied Audio-Visual Communication, and began her career as a producer for advertising and documentaries. For the first 4 years, she worked closely with Chilean artist Carlos Leppe, who was a very strong influence in her life and work. She worked for international companies such as Adidas, focusing on commercial design and the production of PR and graphic campaigns. During and after that time she studied with different artists like Peruvian Jose Luis Arbulú in Corriente Alterna and German A.R. Penk at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. She is currently working from her studio in London.
“In my work I use science as a source of inspiration. Specially theoretical physics and philosophy. My work starts with drawings and I use traditional methods of embroidery, hand sewing, and knitting that I learnt from my grandmother.
I am interested in ideas of Time, time travelling, and how this relates to dreams. When I lived in Germany, I learnt woodblock printing with Professor A.R. Penck. I realised later that what I liked more than the print itself, was the wood carving. I like sewing and knitting because the process is visible, every stitch, every loop, the past and present, all existing in the final work. Whereas in a print, the past gets left behind when the carving is discarded.
When I collaborate with scientists, I choose to make illustrations on the computer. I find the process to be useful because it becomes a dialogue where the scientist can give me some ideas and I can directly manipulate the drawing digitally for it to make sense. The end product is a visual representation of a conversation. I have also made sculptures, weaving wire with my hands. The process is very organic and it leaves space (and time) for conversation and thinking.
My work is informed by my environment and the situation that I am currently living. I construct stories and connect them with materials that make their way to me. Stainless steel wire, rubber from bicycle inner tubes, leftover wood, computer parts, etc. I use mostly recycled materials and keep diaries and sketchbooks to document the process.
A very strong current in my work is my personal history. I come from a big family in Peru. My father was a sailor and that meant summers spent on ports and cargo ships. I used to lose myself playing in the engine, the bowels of the ship, or at the very top, at the command bridge between maps and radars. At home, I used to sit for hours with my grandmother sewing. she was always emphasising that the embroidery looks clean, well crafted from both sides. I often leave my pieces unfinished, a detail that reminds me of her, waiting to be told off in an impossible future.”