Barbara De Vivi: the past in the present

“It’s important to not try to mystify your own thoughts and go as deep as possible into them.” Barbara de Vivi reflects on the importance of an artists’ honesty through their work. Sincerity, the search for answers to internal questions, the exploration of topics of fascination and the allowance of curiosity can give a sense of freedom. 

The youth that inspires

Barbara recalls her childhood. Seeing narratives in images was a skill she had ever since she was little. She remembers herself drawing and checking art books she would find along in her home. Having clarity on what she wanted, she then decided to pursue a life in the art world, which led her to begin her journey by studying in the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. 

pictures by PILOTENKUECHE or supplied by artist

Barbara’s work mainly focuses on connecting and overlapping traditional iconographic motifs with personal experiences and contemporary aesthetics. She wants to honor and reference a cultural heritage while still giving the audience the chance to  remain open to multiple interpretations. This reenactment allows the viewer to see the relevance and a connection to today’s world.  An important aspect in her practice is to study the evolution and hybridization of images over time, as well as the interaction between analog and digital mediums. Nevertheless, It can be quite challenging sometimes to explore these  traditional mediums and classical topics, that are already well known, developed and studied in art history. And to be able to  find a way to face them from a new point of view, adding something personal.

The process of re-creating 

The way Barbara approaches her work is both systematic and creative. It all begins in the design phase, where she spends a lot of time reading and researching different iconographies. The artist is constantly drawing throughout the process, she draws as if she would be taking notes and she doesn’t skip paying attention to found images. De Vivi then imagines a scenario in which a model re-enacts these traditional mediums and pictures it with specific colored lights. She is eventually able to re-elaborate the photos and create a composition  through digital collage.

Barbara’s Teenage nostalgia 

During these three months at PILOTENKUECHE, Barbara is exploring the topic of adolescence. She believes it’s an age of transition that is characterized by indeterminacy. “I’m working on a series of scenes that arouse nostalgic memories of early experiences, only to reveal a mysterious side that triggers feelings between attraction and uneasiness.” Mostly, De Vivi is recreating  compositions from the Renaissance period, with a special interest in the mythological and religious. “Is this sacred and suspended atmosphere what I’m trying to evoke in my latest paintings, alongside the feelings of ambivalence, uncertainty, and solitude that characterize adolescence.”


written by Sarah Boada

Make sure to keep up with the latest from Barbara through her website and instagram or catch up with her at our upcoming show.


Vernissage 18 March 7-10 PM
Open Sun 19 – Wed 22 Mar 4-8 PM

Franz-Flemming-Str 9
04179 Leipzig


Vernissage 18 Feb 7-10 PM
Open Sun 19, Sat 25, Sun 26 Feb 4-8 PM
Geisserstr 75
04229 Leipzig