Studio Visit #12: Adelisa Selimbašić

Studio Visit #12: Adelisa Selimbašić

Adelisa Selimbašić (Karlsruhe, 1996) is an Italian-Bosnian artist who studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Since 2021, she has lived in Milan, when IPERCUBO gallery organized her first solo exhibition, curated by Luca Zuccala and entitled “We will never meet so young”. Having just returned from a residency in New York, the artist is now working on her second solo show at the aforementioned Milanese gallery: “Why is it so difficult to declare oneself”, which she will inaugurate on October 26th in Corso di Porta Ticinese 87, in Milan..

Adelisa Selimbašić, portrait, 2023

Ana Laura Esposito: You are currently working on your next show. Who is curating this project and which relationship have you established with the curator?
Adelisa Selimbašić: It is a relationship of absolute synergy that starts right from the conception of the project, the search for the title, the setting up of the space and every detail up to the opening day. In this case, I am working with Rossella Farinotti, who is curating “Perché è così difficile dichiararsi” with whom I have already worked in the past and who knows my path. One of the most interesting experiences I shared with her has been the mural project at the Cittadella degli Archivi in Milan, where Rossella invited me to interface with the peculiarities of a wall, of a public space in contrast to canvas, oil paint and brushes, which as you can see here are everywhere around me. Moreover, this one will be my second solo exhibition at IPERCUBO. The gallery has believed in my work since I lived in Venice; therefore, Gabriela Galati, the gallery’s curator, is also a key figure in this process that has led to the realization of my upcoming show.

Adelisa Selimbašić during Murales Cittadella degli Archivi, Milan, 2021

You have just come back from New York where you stayed for three months. What brought you to the United States?
I won an art residency at the Fridman Gallery that ended with a double solo exhibition together with Japanese artist Azuki Furuya (Sapporo, 1989): “Beacon on the Bowery”. This experience inevitably changed me. I was used to work in my studio, which I share with other artists. I like to work in a kind of community, it something that belongs to me and that feeds my work. Instead, when I was in this small town, Beacon, an hour from New York, where the residency is located, I only shared the studio with Azuki, I thus spent several moments in solitude. A solitude that I needed and that led me to pause, observe more, even listen more. When you lack words, one can still find other ways to communicate. With Azuki, indeed, the difficulty of languages led us to communicate through drawings and colours.

Adelisa Selimbašić, Caipiroska alla fragola, 2023. Oil on canvas, 145×186 cm. Courtesy the artist

Your creative process is thus nourished by moments of sharing and moments of solitude?
Absolutely, my creative process is a delicate balance between moments of sharing and moments of solitude. Both aspects play a crucial role in shaping my works. When I find myself in moments of solitude, I find the peace I need to dig deep. Solitude allows me to focus entirely on my creative instincts and to experiment and take risks without external distractions. On the other hand, moments of sharing are equally important. Engaging with others exposes me to different perspectives and ideas. Through conversations and interactions, I gain new insights that often challenge my beliefs and broaden my horizons. These moments of sharing not only inspire me but also provide valuable feedback that helps me afterwards to rework the new stimuli. For instance, during the residency with Azuki Furuya, I gained a new wide-angle perspective. We both influenced each other, and it has been very nice to see the result of this cohabitation when the show opened in New York.

Adelisa Selimbašić in studio, Milan, 2023

How has your work changed since this overseas experience?
I can say that I had time and space to deepen my artistic research even more. The depth of what I am going to represent in each canvas has changed, it is as if I had been able to immerse myself much more and in a way I had not experienced before. The epidermis, or the skin, which is very important in my paintings, has become a delicate and crucial element simultaneously. On the other hand, my canvases have become more crowded and now it is no longer the body, but the body concerning the other, while each figure has something detailed to be discovered and found.

Adelisa Selimbašić, Ci stiamo allontanando, 2023. Oil on canvas, 40×50 cm. Courtesy the artist

How would you define your research, your obsession, as an artist?
Initially, I was more focused on the female body and how these bodies were perceived according to archetypes and stereotypes. Today I believe that “femininity” has become a central term in my work, but it is a term that can belong to anyone, that actually belongs to everyone. I am not interested in gender, sexuality, where the bodies come from or what they want to be. In my paintings, bodies celebrate diversity in a non-judgement space, without hierarchies. I would like to leave the viewer with more questions than answers by presenting only points of view from different gazes. Ultimately it is a challenge between our authentic self and what society imposes on us. Identity is not a static, defined reality but a constantly evolving process. I paint every day because if I cannot live in a reality without judgements, at least I would like to represent a world where there are none.

Ana Laura Esposito


Adelisa Selimbašić, Perché è così difficile dichiararsi
curated by Luca Zuccala
opening: 26/10/2023
corso di Porta Ticinese 87, Milan


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