From Caravaggio and Italian realism, Stefano Cozzi embraced his cultural heritage and enrolled in the The Slade School of Fine Arts in London. As an Italian, the influence of realism was, pun intended, very real. It became the foundation for his work. Realism was an artistic movement that rejected romanticism and exaggeration in favour of a true portrayal of contemporary subjects. Realism has been connected to Italian culture since the 16th century with one of realism’s most prominent artist’s being Caravaggio. As a digital and video artist, realism is an intrinsic element to his practice. “My art comes from a desire to capture the reality of the world around me,” Cozzi tells us.
For the Italian artist’s current project, his sights are set on the Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Set to take place next year, his project will explore the potential of personalized medicine with a focus on the social responsibility that comes with it. In collaboration with the Regenerative Medicine Research Center in Modena, Italy, Cozzi looks specifically at how personalized medicine is developing in Italy and within a larger international framework. Cozzi explains how personalized medicine is a step forward for Western medicine, using genetics to understand how disease develops in specific patients. Through genetic engineering, new tissues can be produced for each patient. For instance, the “butterfly boys”, a name given to those with epidermolysis bullosa due to their very delicate skin, have been helped considerably by this process at the research center in Modena. When considering the social sustainability of this medical development, Cozzi mentions the impact of COVID-19. The virus has shown that we need to learn how to treat groups of people, not just individuals. Curing groups of people must become as efficient as personalized treatments.