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C o n t e m p o r a r y

Reconsideration, 2015 A work by Chantal van Houten

A r t

R e v i e w


C o n t e m p o r a r y

A r t

R e v i e w

Belen Velasco United Kingdom

Merryl Custers

Chantal Van Houten

Australia

The Netherlands

A painter at heart, who dabbles in photography and drawing, my practice has, of late, focused primarily on a discussion around social expectation, both individually, and in a larger sense. The resultant works have taken the form of figurativebased paintings as almost visual portraits of society, exposing and discussing concepts of social expectation and cultural norms.

Art is for me is bringing emotion, I love it when a painting really get's to you, gives you a little tickling. The image is leading to imagination and comes alive for the person who looks at it. I get my inspiration from the people around me, a long walk in the park, life and world issues. With my paintings primarily figurative I want the viewer to experience different emotions.

Marcus Carlsson Sweden

I'm very new artist and discovered the painting rather late, I was in love and could not stop to sketch. It was just pencil and charcoal. In autumn 2011, I started painting with color and made my first color paintings called just fruit, had exhibition once in Lund. I have no education in art, but as I said, I just follow my heart. I have also worked with photographer for over 10 years.

Peggah Khashian

Lorena Herrero United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Peggah Khashian's work is highly influenced by surrealism, semiotics and Phenomenology. She focuses on connecting unrelated items, both organic and industrial, to create images that invoke variable meanings through their interaction and context. Her fascination with line and fluidity in her works can be trace back to the traditional techniques still used in Iran.

My current source of inspiration is geometry and concepts such as lines, forms, symmetry and asymmetry, radial symmetry, shapes and dimensions. What fascinates me about it is the use of a single unit, a line or a circle, to create complex compositions. Study the repetition of lines in regular or irregular intervals.


In this issue

Chantal van Houten Lives and works in Alphen aan den Rijn Painting, Mixed media

Marcus Carlsson Lives and works in Sweden Painting, Mixed media

Tristan Rain Lives and works in Paris, Basle, Berlin Mixed Media, Painting

Lorena Herrero Lives and works in London, UK Mixed Media, Painting

Belen Velasco Lives and works in London, UK Mixed Media, Painting

Jack Clayton Jack Clayton United Kingdom

Kelci Jun Tristan Rain Switzerland

My work is usually character or landscape based and I enjoy breaking them down, finding forms to manipulate and creating illusions that trick the eye. I also utilise natural patterns found in the grain of the wood, sometimes letting them inform and dictate the work in progress; with my drawings I create labyrinthine illustrations that unravel and reveal the more they are scrutinised.

Tristan Rain is an artist from Switzerland. He is both a photographer and a painter. His main themes involve questions of perception - seeing the world as an incomplete, fragmentary, discontinuous vision of what we understand as reality. He has had exhibitions in Europe and Asia, as well as both North and South America.

Lives and works in London and Ho Chi Min Mixed media, Woodcut prints, Ink

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United Kingdom

My signature work consists of bright, vivid colours, simplified expression with smooth lines. The fascination with pattern images has led to my experiences and observations with my composition style. To describe my relationship with art, I would say that my art is based on journeys. I am particularly interested in the interplay between objects and unique places. The pattern journey project has now become a very prominent feature in my work

Peggah Khashian Lives and works in London, UK Mixed Media, Painting

Merryl Custers Lives and works in London, UK Painting, Installation, Mixed media

Kelci Jun Lives and works in London, UK Mixed Media, Painting

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Special thanks to: Chantal van Houten, Sarah J. Morris, Krzysztof Kaczmar, Tracey Snelling, Nicolas Vionnet, Genevieve Favre Petroff, Christopher Marsh, Adam Popli, Marilyn Wylder, Marya Vyrra, Gemma Pepper, Maria Osuna, Hannah Hiaseen and Scarlett Bowman, Yelena York Tonoyan, Edgar Askelovic, Kelsey Sheaffer and Robert Gschwantner.

On the cover: Reconsideration by Chantal van Houten


I was born in 1979 in the Netherlands. In 2005 I finished the academy of media and art in Amsterdam and worked several years as a graphic designer. Art is for me is bringing emotion, I love it when a painting really get's to you, gives you a little tickling. The image is leading to imagination and comes alive for the person who looks at it. I get my inspiration from the people around me, a long walk in the park, life and world issues. With my paintings primarily figurative I want the viewer to experience different emotions. To let people get closer to their emotions and rethink things that are important for use human beings living together on our planet. I use in some of my artwork old newspapers for recycling it makes the painting more actual, and that the small pieces of news paper becomes a whole new image and have their second life is just a beautiful.


Chantal van Houten


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Chantal van Houten

untitled 2013 collage Vincent

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acrylic and paper on MDF panel

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An interview with

Chantal van Houten

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator arthabens@mail.com

Through a careful investigation about the concept of identity, Chantal van Houten gently invites the viewers to rethink things that are important for use human beings living together on our planet. Her delicate portraits capture emotions from everyday life and reveal insightful connections between individuals, unveiling the unexpected point of convergence of different human experiences. Van Houten work condenses a an insightful journey in the realm of memory and associations and we are really pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating works. Hello Chantal and a warm welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after graduating at the Academy of Media and Art in Amsterdam: how has this experience influenced your evolution as an artist? In particular, do you think that your previous work as a graphic designer may have informed the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Chantal van Houten

Well when I was a little girl, I was always drawing instead of playing outside with friends so it has always been in my system to express, I think that creativity is not something you can learn but has to be apart of you and when you have that an education is something that gets you to a higher level in your development. So the main thing I learned during my education is to go deeper in the material, look beyond boundaries. And also explore your feelings in all sorts of matters.

designer peeled off a first layer in becoming an artist, so in that way it helpt me. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from the diphtyc "Perfect environment" and "Vincent" that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductry pages of the article and while you walk us around the genesis of these piece I would like to recommend to visit http://www.chantalvanhouten.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. What was your initial inspiration for these stimulating pieces?

I worked several years as a graphic designer, where I learned a lot about commercial thinking in this world. As the years past by at some point it felt as if I was in the wrong place, this commercial world didn’t feel right to me anymore, I had a lot of feelings whom I wanted to express and couldn’t in my job, so I made a radical decision and quitted my job to focus completely on painting and expressing my emotions in painting. I think being a graphic

My initial inspiration came basically from all bad situations in the world, everything that’s been spread all over the news everyday, it never seems to end.. And it made me think about people and these terrible things that are happening in the world today and thought, what is the one emotion that can bring people closer together and reconnect again and sympathize

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Perfect environment 2

Perfect environment 1

60x60cm acrylic paint on panel

60x60cm acrylic paint on panel

with an other human being? That’s crying, crying brings people together, it gives us a sense of solidarity, makes us touchable, cuddly. Being able to cry and let the world see makes you the most real, most pure person that you ever can be, there is no hiding there (except if you are an actor) and it is the most intimate moment you can get with another living being. It is a beautiful thing to being able to express your self and connect to another. . I wanted to relate crying people to world issues so people can think about what is happening in the world today and explore their own feelings in the matter.

Realize that he was a very hardworking man and had a lot of struggling in his life and the sadness that lingers around him because his real succes came to late after his death, which is still a mystery today. To let him cry in my piece, makes him an accessible person and I think it’s beautiful to watch and stand still about his life. Your work appeals to me for the way you structure figurative painting and an emotional gaze on reality into a multilayered unity, in such a compelling way. I would consider your portraits as visual biographies in which your investigate about the ambiguous relation with Perception and Experience. In particular, in your recent Reconsideration series, you seem to question the way we relate to each other, giving to the abstract process of art making a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the emotions you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The perfect environment serie is about the pollution situation in Asia, it’s a very big problem there and also in some Asian cultures it’s not common to cry, it’s losing face.. that made me sad, in other words they can’t be human and connect to an other human being. When I made “Vincent” (around his birthday) I really want to let people see the tragical side of Vincent van Gogh’s story. Give people a further thought than his beautiful paintings.

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Perfect environment 3 60x60cm acrylic paint on panel

to. I think if you have personal experience it makes a creative process easier, because it’s easier to relate to your own experience and to go deep into that feeling but I don’t think is’s absolutely necessary, more how far are you

I always question the way we relate to each other because it’s such a personal matter, everybody is different and it seems that people want to be the same at some level and even trying to convince themselves that they need

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Mr Rock & Roll

Perfect environment 1

40x50cm acrylic paint on panel

60x60cm acrylic paint on panel

willing to let go to come to the depth of your feelings. So I do think it’s possible have a creative process but not the direct experience but I do think that direct experience makes the process easier.

hope that it will make people think about there own emotions and expressions. My painted faces show “almost” (and that’s the part I hope the viewer can see) no expression, it’s a reflection of reality today.

Your portraits are always pervaded with a subtle but ubiquitous narrative that seem to show the empathy you have established with your subjects, the deeper understanding of how that person thinks and feels: I can even see their will, and that's incredibly beautiful. Your approach seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to focus on this form of expression?

And I’m hoping that if you can see what someone else is missing of expression and emotion, you will recognize what is missing within yourself and next step is to reconnect to yourself and to people around you and experience the difference and also very important to reflect on your own doings. Personally I love it when you look at a painting and it gives you a little tickle, a feeling of excitement and connection and I can only hope that people can feel the same thing when they’re looking at my paintings.

Well for me It has been a journey through feelings and emotions to come to the conclusion that we are threaten to be disconnected of expressing our feelings. By giving my paintings a subtle glimpse of how an emotion can feel, I

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While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, some of your pieces, and I think to the ones from the series "A Family story", seem to reject an

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The Father

The Other Sister

open your eyes

explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell through your portraits... this quality marks out a considerable part of your

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production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and memory in a truly engaging way. What is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you try to

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it's not true

achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

setting. Every family has their secrets and their imperfections. People often think there is a picture perfect, they should try to achieve in their life. I think that that don’t excist, not that I’ve had a terrible childhood, I have had a good

With “A Family Story” tells a story about imperfection, recognition, reflection in a familiar

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The father

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childhood with loving parents, who are still together (no they are not perfect ;-) and sure when you look back there are things you would like to see different, but that’s just life.I always try to achieve a sincerely visual translation of my feelings. If it’s the right feeling it is not for me to decide it’s for the viewer. They have to experience it at their own level and the main goal is to reflect on their own feeling and emotions. I want to them experience there is no ideal situation, no picture perfect, you can be happy in your own situation as bad it may seem, all you need to do is see it.

inner Self and the way we relate to it. This is a recurrent feature of your approach, that provides the viewers of an Ariadne's Thread, inviting them to challenge the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

The way you recontextualize the act of crying and consequently question about our own identity, unveiling the power of an act that despite apparently shows human fragility, reveals how we are emotionally connected one to each other. As in an suggestive eterotopia this series brings a new level of significance to the relationship between our

Agree! As an artist I feel the urge to do so, because I think it’s necessary to let people reflect on their own behaviour and reconnect with their inner selves. Nowadays that connection and self reflection often gets lost, it’s a luxury problem in our society I think and if you can reflect and reconnect again with your feelings and emotions you can make a

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beautiful albino

difference in our society today and it just makes you a more pure person.

subtle layer of (non) expression on a face or a pose.

I can only hope as an artist that people pick up the signal that’s comes with the painting. And I hope to achieve this with giving my painting a

The dialogue established by delicate, thoughtful nuances of tones is a very important aspect of your style, that is

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Gemma Pepper

basterd

sst..don't tell

capable of summing up a combination of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

this about being an artist, it’s always a very emotional thing for me because it means the end of a journey but simultaneously new opportunities to begin a new one. What's your point about self-portraiture? I am always intrigued by self-portraits because I find interesting to see how an artist decides to portray herself when in fact she has the power to portray herself as anything at all. Self-portraits often reveal a moment captured in time when one had been feeling relaxed but then suddenly something made her alert to danger. So what does a selfportrait show us of an artist?

When I first started to paint, I often used only black and white because I felt that it couldn’t give more contrast than that, I came back on my decision because I felt it was not enough layered to give the painting the expression it needed. So I began to add more colors to give more expression to the painting. Now I work with no more than 5 different colors because I don’t want to give everything away in a painting, just the extra depth but not to much to let the viewer compose for themselves. Mostly when a painting comes to his end I only have to add just one or two strokes to give the painting it’s right immersion, I absolutely love

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Maybe in the future I will paint a self portrait, if I have the courage.. I think it’s beautiful when an artist does this, it radiates some kind of selfconfidence. It tels us a lot about the artist and I think for an artist it’s a very fragile moment because it feels like you reveal a lot of yourself. Maybe I’m just not that self-confidence…yet…

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Gemma Pepper

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please stop

regrets

Your approach is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers and one of the goals of your art is to let people get closer to their emotions, and over your career you have exhibited both in your country and abroad, including a recent show at The Road Gallery in New York City. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Chantal. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work onetwo, from the series inside/out evolving?

Thank you! I really enjoyed your questions! My work is constantly evolving, I never stop learning only moving forward. I have developed my own style and coming one step further every time and it’s never finished. Currently I’m working on my new collection called “Rumour”. It’s about spreading rumours, everybody has been guilty of spreading a rumour at one point in its life. It’s in our human nature to do so. But why are we doing this? Is it because we think it’s sound to judge or just to make us feel better about ourselves? And do we think about the consequences for the person the rumour is about? These are the questions, which stands central in my new “Rumour” collection. Portraits of people who spread a rumour, as well the people are victim of this rumour, but are they really a victim?

I think that if you are being true to yourself and make art from the heart your audience comes automatically. And of course everybody has an opinion and you have lovers or haters. If somebody is being critical about my work (usually my partner;-) sure I will hear him out, discuss and still do my own thing … no sure I pick somethings out of it and see if I can improve here and there. But I don’t really let it influence on my desicion-making process. It’s really something of my own but this doesn’t mean I’m not open for it.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator arthabens@mail.com

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Marcus Carlsson Carlsson Marcus Carlson, born in 1977 in Sweden �Teckomatorp�. I'm very new artist and discovered the painting rather late, began with a 5-day summer course in drawing in 2009, I was in love and could not stop to sketch. It was just pencil and charcoal. In autumn 2011, I started painting with color and made my first color paintings called just fruit, had exhibition once in Lund. (Sweden). I have no educations in art, but as I said, I just follow my heart. I have also worked with photographer for over 10 years, even there I am self taught. Marcus Carlsson

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Marcus Carlsson

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Marcus Carlsson's works highlight a variety of unexpected relationships between free imagination and an insightful process of abstraction. His approach conveys both symbolic and surrealist elements into a coherent unity, urging the viewers to explore the liminal area in which emotions blend with a structured gaze on contemporary age. One of the most convincing aspect of Carlsson's approach is the way it condenses the permanent flow of associations in the realm of memory and imagination: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating artistic production. Hello Marcus and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You are basically self-taught: are there any experiences that have particularly influenced your evolution as an artist and that inform the way you conceive your works?

Marcus Carlson, born in 1977 in Sweden �Teckomatorp�. I'm very new artist and discovered the painting rather late, began with a 5-day summer course in drawing in 2009, I was in love and could not stop to sketch. It was just pencil and charcoal.

Marcus Carlsson

In autumn 2011, I started painting with color and made my first color paintings called just fruit, had exhibition once in Lund. (Sweden). I have no educations in art, but as I said, I just follow my heart. I have also worked with photographer for over 10 years, even there I am self taught. Now I have my studio / gallery in Ystad, located in southern Sweden.

Photographer: Daniel Persson

Comes from the photographic, as they say old school. I got my first camera Nikon FM 2 as a 14 year old and had no idea what exposure time and photo mixer were, so it was just to

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Marcus Carlsson

Photographer: Daniel Persson


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Marcus Carlsson

borrow picture books in the library and start exploring the photographic world. So it was that my art interested in running. As a child I was already very idea rich and creative. Had a very free and liberal childhood that anything is possible. You should see what is possible in the impossible and what makes it challenging and results in what we do. The experience that has influenced me as an artist today is that I have photographic background, and partly because I'm self taught and not received any guidelines, but that one has to find what feels right for me. The technology I'm working today seemed to me hand in glove. Art as I do today is a mixture of Cobra art "abstract art" and action painting "abstract expressionist�. My expression in the abstract art is chaos and the strict, makes it a depth in the painting and that there is always a given in any series or painting that I paint. I always give a name to my art or my series, as always fine a message, and that means something to me. There are almost always one or more boxes in the paintings, it is my background as a photographer. An image composed of squares "pixels"! Your paintings reveal an incessant search of an hybrid synergy between abstraction and imagination: what at has immediately struck on me is the way you structure abstract painting and an emotional feeling into a multilayered unity that could be considered as a visual biography in which you explore the ambiguous relation with Perception and Experience: in particular, you seem to question the way we relate to each other, giving to the abstract process of art making a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the emotions you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from

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direct experience?And in particular, what is the role of memory in your process?

Life experience is important in everything you do, not only in the art and it is the person who will develop into. The art I make I put down my thoughts and ideas, it can be both positive and negative experiences. For me, my paintings form of a diary. Answer to the question: Experience is important in the creative process. I would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.gallerym.se/ in order to get a wide idea of your artistic production: in particular, I would start to elaborate on your Black & White series, an interesting project that our readers have already had the chance to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. While conceiving Art could be considered an abstract activity, you seem to capture subtle hints capable of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The message with the Black & White series is that life is not only black & white that you should see with clear eyes. It may be small everyday things that one does not go in the same footsteps. Living life when you can and were reciprocal to each other. I have a saying in this. Live Your Life When You Can, but don`t forget your life on the way! Creative and experience cannot share at, all you have gone through associated to it are to be developed has a person. What has immediately caught my eyes of the pieces from this series is the way they convey an abstract gaze that I would define oniric with reference to our perceptual dimension. As Philippe Dagen once established in his Le

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Silence des peintres, the coming of a straight realism has caused a progressive retenchment of painting from the mere representative role of reality. With exception of Hyperrealism movement, Painting is nowadays more and more marked out with a symbolic feature. Do you think that the dichotomy between Representation and Pictorialism is by now irremediable?

With those days’ artists during the early 1900s, it's very much about finding new imagery and expressed the form. Because of pictorialismen, which compete with portraits and nature painting. Even so is abstract art more about feelings that the artist wants to get out. Answer to the question: In the abstract world, there are no rules! The dynamism that pervades your pieces stimulates the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. Do you conceive such composition on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

Different colors, depth and pattern affects both the psyche and the subconscious. It can be both positive and negative o the shape I paint. The I develop, I have a complete idea, message and color setting so as to get the right balance in the painting. That said, I want to stimulate all the senses with the right balance! Although conveying a sense of spontaneity, your pieces seem to be the result of a lot of planning and thought: I like the direction you are taking, in fact: creating what at first appears to be a typical abstract painting but then subvert its compositional elements, making the viewer realize that your work has a different message. what has influenced your style?

What affects my style? Then we will come back again to the life experiences that you have done and gone through

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in life even the strict and chaos of life. They are part of my message that I baptize my series.Then it is to the viewer to perceive, feel and explore their minds in the abstract world.

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The dialogue established by the nuances of tones you combine is a crucial aspect of your style, that is capable of conveying a variety of thoughts and emotions and that often provide such a tactile sensation. How much

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Marcus Carlsson

does your own psychological make-up determine the perspective composition and the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece? In particular, how do you develop your composition?

When you put my soul in a painting, it takes a lot of energy and also I get energy. I have a foundation in the process, then so in style with drawing and tests with color combinations and also very much jazz music. Your works are strictly connected to the chance to establish a deep invovement with the viewers and you seem to aim to delete the frontiers between the artist and people. So before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Firstly, I paint for myself and my own meaning in what I do! Exhibiting is a very difficult process with all judging and criticizing bit, but it is also a challenge in itself. Is very happy that the audience appreciates what I do and understand my message in the process. A big thanks to all of you! Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Marcus. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Future plans are to develop and hone my techniques and develop new ideas. The I love about painting is that one can never be fully learned. They are new challenges all the time. Working with my agent that I have in China artplu.com and France theasartgallery.com. In China, I will continue to exhibit around the country. In France it is the same there, but in Europe.

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Tristan Rain Rain Tristan Rain is an artist from Switzerland. He was born in 1972 in Basel and splits his time between Paris (France) and in Berlin (Germany), as well as working occasionally in Stockholm (Sweden). He is both a photographer and a painter. His main themes involve questions of perception seeing the world as an incomplete, fragmentary, discontinuous vision of what we understand as reality. He has had exhibitions in Europe and Asia, as well as both North and South America. The paintings "Mercator" (2014-2015) were conceived in Stockholm (Sweden) and finished in Paris (France), and use several concepts from cartography. The Mercator projection is a cylindrical map projection presented by the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569. It became the standard map projection for nautical purposes because of its ability to represent lines of constant course (known as rhumb lines or loxodromes) as straight segments which conserve the angles with the meridians. The linear scale is equal in all directions around any point, thus preserving the angles and the shapes of small objects (which makes the projection conformal). The Mercator projection distorts the size and shape of large objects, as the scale increases from the Equator to the poles, where it becomes infinite. These facts are used for the concepts of these paintings. It is a large form in the center of the composition of distorted space and objects. It is composed by a large number of small geometrical forms. They include a complicated running line - like the expeditions of historic explorers - going up and down the canvas. It connects the two extremities of the painting and eventually the two parts of the diptychs. It is an abstract composition with basically two colors that are slightly unstable and asymmetrical in a richly-structured color field of bluegreens. Things only become visible after a considerable time looking at the painting.

Tristan Rain

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Tristan Rain

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Ranging from Painting to experimental Photography, Tristan Rain accomplishes a suggestive process of harmonization between multiple time-frames, to create works capable of walking the viewer through multi-layered experience, urging to rethink about the ambiguous relationship between the perception of space and time. While re-contextualizing the idea of motion in an attempt to look at time in spatial terms, his approach guides us into a liminal territory where we are invited to explore unexpected relationships with reality and the way we relate with it. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Tristan and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview I would pose a couple of questions about your background and the way it informs the way you currently conceive your works. First, you have a solid training and along with your studies of Architecture, you nurtured your eduction in Painting, Photography and Film as well as in Art History: how do these experiences impacts on your current process? Moroever, how does living in multicultural realities as Paris, Basel and Berlin influences the way you relate yourself to art production?

Tristan Rain

My training in painting, photography, film, art history on one side, and architecture on the other side has always been for me an important base on which I build my work. While studying art, I completed a degree in architecture. I worked in the field of architecture for a few years, as well as interior design. These were important experiences for me that are reflected in my artistic work.

learning and discovering new topics because it allows you to see things from multiple perspectives. It's always a good thing when you aren't limited by any one specialization. As an artist you should be more than just a specialist. All of these different experiences and approaches have proved useful for my work and allow me to switch easily between the different mediums with which I work. So it often happens that an idea is developed for a photographic project, but finally leads to a group of paintings, or the reverse. For me, everything starts as a drawing. From there, my architecture training

Then there are several personal passions that influence my work process -- archeology, cartography, South American literature to name a few.. I think it's a good thing to never stop

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Mercator F-069, oil on canvas, diptych, 2 x 146 x 89 cm, 2015 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

and my aptitude for extreme concentration (a vestige of my childhood focus on music, which almost became my profession) are very useful today. Even film plays a role in my thinking and is a major influence for several of my work series. I am particularly interested in the editing of film and the possibilities for manipulating the audience and their way of looking at things. As an artist, having at your disposal such knowledge and the ability to explore interconnections are as useful as they are stimulating.

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And of course multicultural realities are fundamental. I grew up in Switzerland -- a country with four official languages, countless dialects and significant cultural and topographic differences between its regions. I came to Paris in 1995 and it continues to offer pretty much everything I need. I still sometimes go to Switzerland, where important friends and collectors live. There are also those incredible art collections in Basel, which I was exposed to growing up. These regular visits are for me useful "going back to

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Mercator F-058, oil on canvas, 130 x 160 cm, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

the roots" experiences. And as you know, there is the Art Basel, which offers every year the possibility to see great art, from modern classics to very contemporary works.

Today we live in a multicultural society, and mankind has never been able to travel so extensively or eat ethnic food. Rarely were urban societies multicultural to such a degree. Look at the younger generation. They use very naturally all kinds of things from all possible cultures and are more global then we ever imagined to be one day. My son, SĂśren PhinĂŠas, has three nationalities and inherited four food traditions. I believe that the upcoming society will be truly cosmopolitan, inter-ethnic and postnational. The appreciation of multicultural

I often staying in Berlin, a city that has a stimulating effect on me and I create new works there during every visit. I regularly stay in Stockholm, where my wife comes from, and I enjoy being close to water and boats. It's a beautiful city, built on numerous islands, so different from Paris and Berlin!

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Mercator F-057, oil on canvas, 130 x 160 cm, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

multifaceted artistic production, which is marked out with a stimulating multidisciplinary approach, splitting your work among Painting and Photography to accomplish a refined investigation about perceptual processes. In particular, I have really appreciated the way your works are capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, questioning the theme of perception both on an aesthetic level as well as on a functional one. Such combination reminds me of the idea behind

identity, it seems to me, is fundamental. Art somehow also reflects society. For me personally and artistically, the importance of this exchange -- this multi-layered nature of values and cultures and history, of languages, arts and culinary traditions -- cannot be overestimated. It naturally finds its expression in my creative work. Your are a versatile artist and I would invite our readers to visit http://www.tristanrain.com in order to get a wider idea of your

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Mercator F-059, oil on canvas, diptych, 2 x 146 x 89 cm, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

Thomas Demand's works, when he states that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". While the conception of Art could be considered an abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a sense of permanence, going beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of those concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the

creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I consider myself as an empiricist. But my deepest artistic roots are both German-Austrian expressionism and cubism, as well as the expression of sentiments but also more theoretic concepts. Emotions and conceptual considerations are balanced, they are both essential. My principal area of research is human perception in a technological, highly-

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Mercator F-068 (detail) ©Tristan Rain Prolitteris

urbanized society. One of my early ambitions was to find my own artistic language, the creation of autonomous independent work. I don't want my works to make you think of some other artists or influences. Everyone starts somewhere and is building on traditions, but it is essential to find your own way and to be free. But this makes it much more difficult for the viewer and the art buyer. Habits can be very comforting. It's assuring to find reminders of things you already know and appreciate, even on an unconscious level. My wild expressionist emotions as a young artist

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became more and more rational and conceptual. I have developed over the years a kind of "vocabulary" with "words" that are repeatedly used in different ways. Some examples in my work include: the vertical orientation, the limited scale of colors, the textured surfaces (for the paintings), the multiple layers with the lower levels shining through, transparencies and multiple reflections, asymmetries and slightly unstable compositions, multiple visual elements, unusual panel-sized paintings and photographs (for example, “Torse lent”, “Dialogues” or “Transparencies”).

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Mercator F-069 (detail) ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

approach seem to be oriented to provide the viewers of a set of fragmented but at the same time evocative images that works together as a map or I daresay an Ariadne's Thread, which urges us to challenge the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension. I find absolutely remarkable your successful attempt to invite the viewer's eye to spend a considerable time on a variety of patterns, which suggests me the idea that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe

And when I switch back and forth -- between painting, photography and drawing, or between abstract, figurative and spaces -- it's not a contradiction for me. I explore the same questions of perception and overlays, of an incomplete view of the world, with invisible parts. I merely try to use the respective technique’s own opportunities and limits. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Mercator, a stimulating body of works featured in the introductory pages of this article. Rather than an explanatory strategy, your abstract

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Mercator2015 F-067, oil on canvas, 130 x 97 cm, 2015 ŠTristan 05Rain Prolitteris 4 23 Summer


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that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

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time considering the work. He has to take time, to confront his own values, to project them into the artwork.This may be a chance to discover himself. A contemporary artwork offers the possibility of changing a person’s view of things and inviting reflection For me, a work of art is only in the worst case an object for speculation.

My work is a fragmented view of things, because we never see the whole picture. I have recently developed a technique that consists principally of small, geometrical, monochromatic colorfields. And I use industrial colors and road paint, enrich my oils with hair, sand, glass and stone powder. My paintings have always been very much based on materials, with very few colors at first sight. That's why reproductions of my works don't always show so well. All the richness and dimension are visible from the original and even then what you see depends on the light and lighting.

Urging us to interpret your images on a multilayered level, you stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to focus on this form of painting? And in particular, do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

One of my private passions is archeology. I’ve never worked in the field, but I love the pictures and plans of excavations. They are geometrical, systematic and they dig down strata by strata. In an archeological context, it means going back in time. The deeper the older. Cultural eras are superposed. It is the same with the contemporary cities we live in. Rome, Athens, Paris, London, and Beijing are huge layers of history and of stories, of fragments and of people who re-used structures and materials. In Paris, you have more then 2,000 years piled on 105 square kilometers and there are some leftovers from every era. I find this very exciting. Even the very well-informed and attentive stroller in Paris will always discover new (old) things. Believe me, I've been doing it for 20 years now. I do the same thing in my work, both photographic and painting.

These are conceptual works, I call them "Cryptochromias." Have a look at "Strange Behavior" (2009) or "Not One Less" (2010-2011) and you may see what I mean. Most “things” are hidden, invisible or even outside the picture, sometimes encrypted in a larger structure. You need time to discover it and to complete your inner picture of it. For a year now I have been working on the series "Mercator". As is apparent from the title, it's about cartography, meaning the perception of space and a scientific understanding of the environment. Maps apply different concepts of translation of a spherical reality into practical twodimensional documents. I use this in my way to elaborate the “Mercator” series. The viewer needs time to experience this kind of paintings. It's one of my aims. We live in a world full of images, fastmoving images, images of commerce, fashion and advertising. This flood of images is reflective of many individual efforts to catch our attention. Come and buy me! Own me and you will be happy! The message has to be understandable by the potential customer in a split-second. The faster, the better. As an artist in such a world you find yourself with an urgent question -- does this world need me to produce additional images? In my opinion, it's affirmative. But when you choose so you must really redefine the images you create. You invent new images of our time, noncommercial images, images that do not sympathize with fashion trends, Images that need more time, images that ask viewers to take more

I had read long ago a quote that I still like very much. I think it is from Jack Yeats: "A painting is an event. An event can be planned, but if it runs according to plan, it is no longer an event." The creative process is a very interesting and mysterious thing. You always want something in particular when you do something. There is an intent, but then there are many layers of unconsciousness too. You can't control them all. The creative process is a very interesting and mysterious thing. It always starts with an idea. I develop a concept, then I try to reduce everything to the essence. To find the “core.” I try to encircle the problem. In this process I make many drawings, sketches, studies, and then a series of

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photographs or a painting group comes together -- sometimes both. What I do is intentional. It is critically considered and supervised, but evolves in a natural way. You have to let it breathe. You need accidents to happen, something more than great skill. Mastery and intuition. Yes, you are right it is a balancing act. And, at best, it becomes a work of art! It's also about experience, though. I've been working constantly for many years. My work is very complex, and my work rhythm involves drying cycles and chemical processes that are very restrictive. But I'm surprised by the ease, especially considering all of my expectations. I think I've been really lucky. Would you like to tell our readers about your composition and about the evolution of your pallette? Why these radical choices? I reduced my colors to a very few. Blues and greygreens, grey and black are dominant. Colors are waves that reach your brain and evoke emotions through the eyes. Every color has a different frequency, a different speed. My manipulation of color helps to makes apparent things that typically wouldn't be visible so easily. For example “Transparencies” (2003-2014) or “Empire” (2004) in natural colors wouldn't show the same things. You would just recognize things you already know. For me, however, the form of things is much more interesting and important than the color of things. I'm sure you've noticed! Another series from your recent photographic production that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Les Bandes du Port: while investigating about the concepts of time, space, and movement, this project accomplishes a subtle but insightful sociopolitical criticism about environmental pollution. It can be also considered as an allegory of the tension between Nature and the role we play in the unstable contemporary age. Many contemporary artists, as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to include socio-political and environmental criticism and sometimes even convey explicit messages in their works. Do you consider that your works could be considered political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

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Les Bandes du Port #1292 C-Print, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

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Les Bandes du Port #1293 C-Print, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

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No one is neutral. I don't like it very much when art is too political. We are of course influenced by our world, our society, our financial and economic systems, ecological problems, philosophical tendencies. But I consider my art to be apolitical. (There a very few exceptions. Sometimes you cannot look away, even when you know that your ability to change things is extremely modest.) But of course I wouldn't be literal. No, I have more of an aesthetic look on the world. Often an aesthetic look is more accurate than a political one. And what influences me probably more is matters of ecological consciousness and sustainability. How we live with nature, how we use the earth’s resources, how we produce, transport and consume responsibly. The pollution of the air, soil, water and even the food we consume. The massive use of synthetic products. Where does all our plastic go? Have you seen pictures of the “plastic continent” in the Pacific Ocean? But how would I translate this into my creative work? It's more a personal position that stays in the background. “Les Bandes du Port” (2014) may illustrate my position. I was spending a few days in Granville, Normandy. It's a beautiful little town with a historic uptown, a downtown and two ports. I was hanging out at the industrial port, I like these places, the doors to the world. And I found piles of fishing nets, rusting fishing material and all kinds of rubbish, synthetic residues, rotting seaweed. All things you wouldn't be able to describe or even imagine. “Les Bandes to Port” came up quite spontaneously when I was ruminating about what I saw. It's my usual style of using multiple layers and signifiers and interpretations. And it just seems very beautiful to me. Anyone looking at your work can recognize that your pieces have a lot of messages to share and that Art for you is an effective way to speak to the world. While bringing new messages and inviting the viewer to elaborate personal interpretations, you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively combination between conceptuality and beauty. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

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Let me reply first to the question about “messages,” before talking about “beauty,” Of course when you are eccentric enough to create something, it's probably that you think you have something to say. But there are no smart messages for a better world here and I'm not sure that I would have encrypted some kind of messages in my works. These are just my reflections about perception and it's more a surface for individual projections. Now, about beauty (by the way “About Beauty” (2004-2006) is the title of one of my series): The decorative is the complete opposite of art. And beauty and the decorative aren't even kind neighbors! But art means a system of order, concepts, selections and decisions, aesthetic values. I thank you for asking about the importance of aesthetics in my work. I believe that this is almost a taboo today. There are so many very small ideas around in art, funny and amusing, poor and silly. How can so many people in the art market be satisfied with so little? Since most people think that anything that exists must be good or at least acceptable, talking about beauty, aesthetics and stuff like that appears an anachronistic! Paul Feyerabends “Anything Goes” was misinterpreted and did not mean that anything must be accepted because there may always be someone who might find it cool. It's not all relative. Look out. It's a disaster! It's the drama of post-modernism. Yes, aesthetics are very important to me. Aesthetics, both as a philosophical discipline, as well as a search for the beauty in things. I'm particularly interested in the reflection by Shaftesbury and Hume and their consequences. Questions of beauty, taste, quality... That's what artists do. Even for scientists, the beauty of a scientific model is an important factor. While exhibiting a suggestive vibrancy the pieces from Anaphora were shot by a camera moving in a predefined way, exploring the creative potential of repetition as well as its relation with randomness. This process seems to offer a representation of the relationship between memory and a rigorous formality, in a truly

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Les Bandes du Port #1295 C-Print, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

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Anaphore #6279

Anaphore #6282

C-Print, 60 x 33 cm, 2013 ©Tristan Rain Prolitteris

C-Print, 60 x 33 cm, 2013 ©Tristan Rain Prolitteris

engaging way. What is the role of memory in your process?

not randomness, it's a concept and it's well planned. It's the repetition of a view of a common object. Well, it's not as funny as The Kid's misadventures!

Charlie Chaplin once said that a burlesque scene becomes much funnier when repeated many times. “Anaphora” (2013) might be a good example to talk about in my photographic work. These pictures were shot by a camera moving in a predefined way, while collecting multiple views on the same object at different angles. It's

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Concerning the role of memory, I invite you to look at works like “Empire Film Stills” or “Transparencies”. Such series were reflections about memory, history, artistic languages through time and their reinterpretation today. In

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Anaphore #6280

Anaphore #6281

C-Print, 60 x 33 cm, 2013 ©Tristan Rain Prolitteris

C-Print, 60 x 33 cm, 2013 ©Tristan Rain Prolitteris

the case of “Empire Film Stills” (2003-2004) and some other works, I shot pictures of projections of movies from around 1900 that I distort by copying multiple times. “Transparencies” (2003-2015) are photographic panels (27x177cm) made through glass and mirrors inside the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London and the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin. Popular clay sculptures from Ancient Greece are displayed in

neoclassical rooms (in the Louvre) and contemporary showcases and lights. Multiple reflections and transparencies as well as all types of significance, memories, cultural periods and cultural codes merge together. What's left of all this? What do we see and understand today? Think about it. It's fascinating. In Around the Corner you show the consequences of an extreme manipulation of

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images: the recent impetuous development of digital technologies has dramatically revolutionized the idea of work of art, inviting us to rethink to its materiality, since just few years ago an artwork was first of all -if you forgive me such unpleasant classification- a manufactured article that materialized an abstract idea. I'm sort of convinced that new media technologies will eventually fill the dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness: what's your point about it? In particular, do you think that there's an intrinsic contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

For many people, the world no longer seems to be material, it has been broken down into a bunch of ones and zeros, and the line between reality and illusion is increasingly blurred. (The cubists must have felt similar when the existence of atoms was proven in 1905.) The new technological opportunities such as digital photography, computers, the virtual worlds of video games and computer-generated imagery just overrun us. I love the story of photography very much. The techniques of the pioneers are incredible, the daguerreotypes, calotypes, cyanotypes, gum-dichromates, albumen-prints and many others are just magnificent. And their possibilities were well explored. Then photography became accessible to everyone, easy to use (Polaroid!) and we thought that those techniques were as far as we could take it. But suddenly photography wasn't a chemical process anymore. How do we deal with it now? What are the features of digital photography? Its possibilities and its limits? I quickly concentrated on the intrinsic possibilities of digital photography. All of my recent photographic works are expressions of such interrogations. “Around the Corner� (2010-2011) consists of a series of photographic shots of erotic film sequences which, after undergoing extreme compression, were projected into the corner of a room. These moving and ever-changing projections include a time factor. Space and figures seem incomprehensible, objects fall apart, parasitic structures dominate, resulting in compositions that are dominated by the characteristics and limits of digital media. I'm manipulating it from the inside (I'm even writing

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Around the Corner #074 C-Print, 2010-11 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

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Around the Corner #062 C-Print, 2010-11 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

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into the code of the file). Some other examples of this manipulations of the digital material are well illustrated by “Pirates” (2007), “Hunt down” (2009), “A Majority of One” (2010) or “Ostentation” (2013). It's a natural development of techniques. It's not a choice between “great” traditions and “trendy” easy-to-use hi-tech. There is a new tool around? Can you get it? Use it! From this point of view, yes, new media could eventually fill the dichotomy between traditional and contemporary. It depends on what you are able to do with it. The technique does nothing, you eventually do. By the way, all artists I like tried just to continue great traditions and the result was always a very contemporary image and vision. Gary Hill simply wanted to find a way to make pertinent, contemporary works with the artistic quality of Velásquez's paintings. Pierre Boulez generalized the serial system Schoenberg had developed to finish what Beethoven didn't have the time for. There is no conflict between traditions and contemporariness. Over your twenty years long career your works have been exhibited in several occasions around the world, showcasing in Europe and Asia, as well as both North and South America and including seven solos: your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience: so, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Yes, I certainly hope that my works interplay with the viewers. Earlier I was talking about my conviction that works of art, as I think of them, are destined to find their place where people live, that the public should live with them. Don't put artworks in a safe-house! I have many pieces in office spaces and conference rooms and it makes perfect sense. But my ideal public sees the work every day at home with different light and moods. It seems it works quite well, and I have received a

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lot of feedback on it. Very beautiful and touching stories about how people live with it and what happened over the years. I'm happy that my works are traveling. In fact, my pieces travel much more then I do. And I have often been invited to participate in thematic shows and I like that. But I think It’s time also for some new solo shows. But to respond properly to your question, during the creative process I guess I'm not reacting to feedback. I like feedback, but it shouldn't become a component of decisionmaking. By the way, I'm sure this approach has protected me from silly decisions, You can't imagine the things you hear during the first years of an artistic career! Here comes unsolicited advice for young artists: listen to your inner voice and never let people discourage you! Stay strong in your convictions!Everybody wants your best, …hold it tight! Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Tristan. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I'm currently quite occupied with the continued evolution of the Mercator series and I just started preparing the first sketches for a next project. On the photographic side, I'm working on a project about topographic structures in Stockholm. I also would like to try working on a much larger scale. Something comparable to the 8-meter wide corner-polyptych “Lebenswinkel” (2004) I did for an art space. It will be interesting to see what will happen from where I'm standing now. In the autumn, I’ve been invited to present a huge diptych from “Mercator” at the show “Realités Nouvelles” in Paris. And I'm always looking forward to meeting people who appreciate what I'm doing and who are willing to help support my work. I'm not gifted in self-promotion and networking, so I depend on people who discover and appreciate my work. People who can open doors, who can accelerate things, who can make things happen. There are things you can't do for yourself.

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Les Bandes du Port #1304 C-Print, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

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Lorena Herrero Herrero My first approach to Intaglio, and more specifically Etching, started over five years ago. Fascinated by the scope and the potential of the medium, I was immediately addicted.†At first I was more focused on the learning of the more traditional techniques: hard ground, soft ground, etching, dry point, aquatint. For me knowing the basics was essential to be able to move forward. Etching is the medium that I feel most comfortable with and I love it for the tones, textures and the quietness of it. The influences in my work come from various sources and often represent a mixture between a realistic world and a fantastic dimension where nature and urban spaces come together. My current source of inspiration is geometry and concepts such as lines, forms, symmetry and asymmetry, radial symmetry, shapes and dimensions. What fascinates me about it is the use of a single unit, a line or a circle, to create complex compositions. Study the repetition of lines in regular or irregular intervals. How to find order, balance and harmony in each composition, how to break the balance, how to play with perspectives and create forms and dimensions. All these ideas are always in my mind when I start a new project, but there is also an element of unpredictability and randomness present in each work which adds flexibility and, to certain extend, loss of control over the composition. Lorena Herrero

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Almost What You Have Wanted, detail

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More than you had hoped

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An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Lorena Herrero accomplishes an insightful exploration of the complexity dued to a refined repetion of geometric patterns. Her works reveal an incessant search of balance and harmony, and unveils the way we interpret the translations of the liminal area in which symmetries blend with asymmetries conveying into an unexpected, ambiguous point of convergence. Herrero's work condenses a an insightful journey in the realm of memory and associations and we are really pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating works. Hello Lorena and a warm welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after graduating at the University of Salamanca with a Bachelor Degree in Journalism and Broadcasting studies you moved to London where you attendedstudied etching at the Working Men’s College: how have these different experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? In particular, do you think that your previous studies may have informed the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Lorena Herrero

Hello to you too and thank you for inviting me to this interview. Responding to your question, well, I consider myself a bit of multidisciplinary person, I have lots of interests that can go from politics and social issues, to psychology, to philosophy and, of course, to art.

college has been paramount, I was privileged to learn with John Roberts, whose mentoring and guidance has been, and is, still, fundamental in the way I have developed my techniques.

It’s very difficult to compartmentalise and separate what had or hadn’t had an influence in what I do, and potentially everything that surrounds you makes an impact, it’s also a matter of how receptive you are. When it comes to my work, going to

I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from "Less than you had imagined" and "More than you had hoped" that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductry

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pages of the article and while you walk us around the genesis of these piece I would like to recommend to visit http://www.lorenaherrero.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. What was your initial inspiration for these stimulating pieces?

These two pieces represent a kind of new phase, artistically speaking, which in a way already started with the series Lines of Asymmetry. You can see quite a change compare to my previous work. I took more than a year off from the studio and during that time I didn’t produce anything. These two prints are the first work which came out after the break. I was back to the studio with renovated energy and with a very different approach to the creation process. I wanted to explore concepts such as lines, symmetry, perspective, dimensions, shapes and the endless possibilities they offer to create dialogues and to communicate.

Almost What You Have Wanted

Your work appeals to me for the way you investigate about symmetry and asymmetry in such a compelling way. I would consider your works as maps that provide the viewer of an Ariadne'e thread capable of unveiling the ambiguous relation with Perception and Experience: in particular, in your recent "Light is a Kind of Reassuring", you seem to suggest the presence of an unexpected order that emergence from the straightness that marks out this piece. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that urges us to question the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

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Ariadne’s thread, I like the way you describe it! I haven’t thought of it like that, but it makes sense, although it this case I’m not clear there is a solution to decipher at all... Light is a kind of reassuring does indeed challenge that common way in which we like to look at things where there is a blurry line between the appearance of a perfect order and what you actually experience which is much more complex and chaotic. It’s a dialogue between order and disorder, which as you said, reveals a lot about my inner nature and that constant search for meaning. In your work you accomplish the difficult task of creating a coherent unity between a fantastic, almost dream-like dimension, and a rational gaze on the reality in which we find ourselves: your re-contextualization of urban environmental elements reveals a

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Less than you had imagined

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Suppose There is some connection

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Full of sweet nothing

deep interest in how we interpret and make meaning of what we see, and in particular you seem in search of a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

insignificant can resonate in you and explore why. Everything we experience makes an impact, then is up to you to internalise that, to make it yours and to tap into it to create something personal. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, some of your pieces, and I think to the recent ones as "The Dazzling Flashes of Lightning", seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell through your portraits... this quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and

Absolutely not, as I say before I take inspiration from many sources and in some occasions from the most superficial things that you can imagine, it’s about how open you are to see and experience what is out there; how something, good or bad, big or

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Lorena Herrero

Lines of Asymmetry I

memory in a truly engaging way. What is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

If what I do is a faithful representation of my feeling? Well, I like to question appearances and what I am presented with, things are a lot more complex that what they look like and full of grey tones rather than just black and white, so I guess this complexity, this dialogue between perception and experience, that we discussed before, gets translated, as I’m sure more profound personal issues and thoughts are represented. I’m sure we can psychoanalyse myself through my prints haha

Hmm I think I will need a LOT more of tangled lines to translate my feelings! These later works are of course the reflexion of personal changes in my life and memory plays a big part in the way we experience and how we perceive life.

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The dazzling flashes of lightning

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The Staggering Summer 2015 Blow

Naim El Hajj

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Naim El Hajj

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Summer 2015 Tea Time

Naim El Hajj

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Lorena Herrero

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Some Light Still

unexpected messages and invites the viewer to elaborate personal interpretations: at the same time, you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively combination

The way you find a balance and break it suggests me a process of recontextualization, that altering the functional aspect of a form brings

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Lorena Herrero

Light is a Kind of Reassuring

between conceptual and beauty. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

Summer 2015

Aesthetic plays a big role in my work. It’s something that I always keep in mind when I work on the composition, there has to be some sort of harmony, of balance that its

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Lorena Herrero

ART Habens

Cool & Dark

capable of summing up a combination of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

appalling to the eye. It becomes part of the creation process. I think every artist has the concept of beauty in mind when they work on something, no matter how broad that concept can be. The dialogue established by delicate, thoughtful nuances of tones is a very important aspect of your style, that is

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Lorena Herrero

There is a quite dramatic difference between my previous work and this one, the first one is much more detailed and the creation process was a lot more precise, my latter work is much more intimate and personal, I’ve moved towards a more conceptual and abstract process that is more flexible, more dynamic and liberating to work with. And I’m sure this change is the response to some psychological changes deep inside. Your approach is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, so, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I wouldn’t say is a crucial component, my work is very personal and beyond everything else satisfies a need for expression. But obviously when you exhibit your work then is open to an audience and is open to criticism or to recognition. We talked about beauty before, well, I hope some people share with me the same concept of beauty and then we can talk not only about expression of the artist but also communication with the audience. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Lorena. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I have a couple of exhibitions planned for the summer and I definitely want to continue working with these geometrical ideas, I’m not done with them yet! I also would like to thank Art Habens your interest in me and the kind words about my work, I really appreciate it.

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Lines of asymmetry III

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Belen Velasco Painting is transferring thoughts to colour and life, feminine figures are one of my basic elements, limitless expression, beauty, sexuality, shame are their words. Their stories. Mixed materials, wood, thread, different kind of fabrics, wires and plastics. Splicing my work so as to create organic progression, texture.

Breathe Forrest, Breathe!

Sophie Iremonger

Installation(4mx4mx4m), 2013

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Belen Velasco

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Belen Velasco accomplishes a sensual investigation about the liminal area in which emotions blend with a careful and structured gaze on contemporary age: her refined approach approach conveys symbolic and surrealist elements into a consistent unity and deletes the frontiers between the artist and the people, involving the viewer into an engaging journey in the oniric dimension concealed by perceptual reality of everyday life. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Belen and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly informed the way you conceive your works? And in particular, how much has your cultural substratum as a native Mexican artist influenced your evolution as an artist?

Hello, thank you very much for having me. Belen Velasco

I think the whole journey from my child hood has certainly influenced my thought. mexico as a country is colour, love, passion, it is intensity and tradition. I feel the murals and works of Orozco, the cultural struggle for independence have all been part of my evolution. growing in mexico was certainly liberating for my creative self.

production: in particular, I noticed that your approach is currently marked out with a compenetration between a sensual exploration of femininity, sexuality and beauty, that you wisely mix with to a rational gaze on the surrealistic dimension you explore. This suggestive combination has reminded me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative

I would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.belenvelasco.co.uk/ in order to get a wide idea of your recent artistic

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Belen Velasco

elements within the medium instead". While conceiving Art could be considered an abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

They are a blemished remodelling of personal experience, or only the essence, inner focus,however the process is more a performance when we create we are performing a dance, movement that you do with out thinking. even those pieces disconected from reality will be experienced in that moment. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from In a dream and Maria that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that I have to admit are a couple of my favourite work of yours. As most of the pieces from your recent production, and I think especially to Bird hat, these works are open to various interpretations and they communicates me a process of deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage. In particular would you tell us something about the genesis of these interesting works?

Maria is my mother. it is to me everything that my mother represents, strong intelligent, nuturing she raised our familly and I carry her with me always, I think she is present in much of my art even when I do not see her.

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Belen Velasco

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in a dream is one of those pieces that tumbles directly from your head, from the dream to the real world, I rushed to paint it as soon as I awoke from this image. i think deconstruction and assemblage I important when viewing an idea it allows us to get inbetween and fill the space with our own flesh. The dialogue established by the thoughtful nuances of tones you combine on you canvas is a crucial aspect of your style, that is capable of summing up a combination of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

If you can picture yourself sitting on the tube, your eyes follow the streaming windows or the shapes of the other passengers, but it is only texture your vision is not focussed but at the same time, it is perfectly clear. I paint first in my head and then build on this blank piece of reality, once it is a solid landscape the mood starts to wash it with colour. I feel this then effects the psycology of the piece. The recurrent reference to an emotional but at the same time universal imagery dued to the fruitful juxtaposition between the reference to elements from universal imagery and a lively approach, as in the interesting Eliza hula hoop seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the

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Belen Velasco

chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, I daresay that the semantic juxtaposition between sign and matter that marks out your art, allows you to go beyond any dichotomy between

Summer 2015

Tradition and Contemporariness, as in the interesting Inextricable, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any

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Belen Velasco

contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

ART Habens

grew living and enjoying tradition, influence of form, colour, material and texture and have strong respect for that, in art and culturally, we have a

Over time we spend our customs and beliefs from generation to generation, I

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Naim El Hajj

I definitively love the way you urge the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension as well. As you have remarked once, art is

duty to what is before but it is our nature to transform this essence into something more actual, to be a part of something living and in a state of change.

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Naim El Hajj

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Belen Velasco

discovery of what is around and inside of you: in this sense you seem to provide the viewer of an Ariadne's thread that, to quote Simon Sterling's words, force things to relate that would probably otherwise be unrelated. Such exploration establishes a process of inner catharsis: maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

ART Habens

completely but to the point of a revelation within. there hae been times when the observation of a peice has sparked a new understanding for me of my own creation. We can not always load our view with a single aim, a single perception so that it is unmoving and dies with out lengthy explanation or a set of rules. and we are able to come away with something of our own.

The true nature is inside you, any narrative that you could possibly conceive is born there. whether that be the message or intention of the artist is sometimes irrevelant, not

I daresay that the surrealistic qualities that mark out your works, that I can recognize especially in Su reacciรณn are in

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Belen Velasco

a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and memory. I find it truly poetically engaging and I have to confess that it

Summer 2015

suddenly forced me to relate myself to your works in a different way. What is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you try to

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Belen Velasco

achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

ART Habens

someone about a dream that you have only just woken up from, it seems so vivid as if a memory, but as soon as it

it is like the experience of trying to tell

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Belen Velasco

is realised with words it becomes corrupted only fragments, as if you could see the whole scene in a

Summer 2015

reflection and your words crash down on it like a stone. I have the same when im painting, the perfect image is

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Belen Velasco

in my mind, the memory, it must have an element of the present to anchor it or it will float away like the dream.

ART Habens

i do not always manage to stick to my feelings but the memory is often the start, not always the end.

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Belen Velasco

Your works are strictly connected to the chance to extablish a deep invovement with the viewers, that seem to to delete the frontiers between the artist and the people: so, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

My art is how I speak to the person viewing it, me standing infront of them, my proposition is hanging in the air and they are kind enough to answer, I want them to be able to touch and gain as much sensual knowledge as they can from the piece. though what they perceive in reality can not be adjusted to what I expect but rather through them they keep that first proposition alive. they are the receptor that motivates me to show my self. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Belen. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I would like to experiment, to explore new lines of communication and most of all to grow, develop myself, be a part of what I see to be important, I would like to create and meet people, to exhibit and continue to express. Thank you it has been a pleasure.

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Summer 2015


Jack Clayton Clayton I am an artist from East London who has been travelling the world since early 2010 and the more I see the more my art changes. My work recently has been related to my current home of Ho Chi Minh City. I previously lived in Australia basing myself in Melbourne whilst travelling and working across the country. My environment is an important fuel for inspiration as I am a keen traveller who likes to live and work in many different places in order to try and really immerse myself into different cultures. My body of work is an interlinking mix of woodcut prints and intricate pen and ink illustrations. I see myself predominantly as a woodcut printmaker who focuses on experimentation to create unique and eye catching work. I like my images to catch the viewer’s attention using iconic imagery they can relate to abstracted with the use of form manipulation whilst allowing experimentation to teach me new methods and techniques. I was originally attracted to the simplistic nature of the woodcut medium and also the expressive limitations and possibilities provided by the structure and quality of the woodblock. I enjoy mixing the inks, to create my own blends of colour and trying out different carving methods to move away from the traditional aesthetic. The freedom of these mediums has allowed me to continue production with little to no studio space and equipment. All of my woodcuts since leaving the UK have been created using a wooden spoon to hand burnish each layer. My work is usually character or landscape based and I enjoy breaking them down, finding forms to manipulate and creating illusions that trick the eye. I also utilise natural patterns found in the grain of the wood, sometimes letting them inform and dictate the work in progress; with my drawings I create labyrinthine illustrations that unravel and reveal the more they are scrutinised.

Jack Clayton

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Jack Clayton

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Dong Son Drum

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Jack Clayton

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Walking the viewers through the culture of the places he visits and in which he often settles, Jack Clayton accomplishes a stimulating investigation about the expressive potential of woodcut prints and ink illustrations. Drawing inspiration from Vietnamese culture and environment, his recent works that we'll be discussing in the following pages convey humour, social criticism and a refined, autonomous aesthetics. The reference to an evocative set of images invites us to investigate about the relationship between reality and the way we perceive it: one of the most impressive aspects of Jack's practice is the way he projects us into a liminal area in which memory and perceptual processes find an unexpected point of convergence. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Jack and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does the relationship between your cultural substratum as a London artist and your current home in Ho Chi Minh City inform the way you conceive your works?

Hello! And thank you for the opportunity to share my work with a wider audience I am very glad to be part of this publication.

Jack Clayton

I feel there are a lot of different factors and experiences that influence my art. I was born in Homerton, a very poverty stricken area in the 80s then at the age of seven my family moved to Wanstead which although still in East London was a very different environment. I lived there until I spent one year studying for my Art Foundation in Canterbury then my Degree at Leeds Metropolitan University. Although I love London and I think it is one of the greatest cities in the world after graduating I knew the time had come to expand my horizons so I started

travelling and 5 years later I’ve ended up in Ho Chi Minh City. My life in Vietnam is very fruitful in terms of artistic inspiration as the city is a never ending sensory overload. The inexpensive cost of living and the luxury of being able to teach English for a few hours a day also means that I can afford to give myself full creative freedom and don’t have to rely on constricting illustration briefs and just create what I like. There is a very interesting creative scene opening up in Ho Chi Minh City and there are

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no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

always events and exhibitions to be part of. Lots of my friends are also creative and share similar goals which is great. I would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.jackclaytonart.com in order to get a wide idea of your recent artistic production: in particular, I can notice that your successful attempt to move away from traditional aesthetics does not imply a total rejection of Tradition. The way you refer to fruible elements from the emotional sphere as well as the subtle symbolism that pervades your imagery, seem to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, your works go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

For me, my personal experience is of course an indispensable part of my creative process. After many years visually documenting my thoughts and reactions to new environments it has become a natural practice for me. My ‘Inspirations’ illustration is a direct result of my psyche adapting from my London background to my time in Australia and arrival in Vietnam. This was an important period of transition for me which shows a distinct lack of knowledge or understanding about the area. My later illustrations entitled ‘Compass’ and Dong Son Drum show more of an understanding of the city where after a couple of years I felt more like a part of the cogs rather than a confused passer by. I am not sure if it’s possible for a creative process not to be connected to direct experience as our experiences make who we are and a good artistic practice should always come from within and be connected to the creator psychologically.

When I previously referred to ‘moving away from traditional aesthetics’ I was talking more specifically about woodcut art and the way the majority of prints have a similar feel. I try to use my own unique carving techniques to create new textures and layers which is part of the fun for me. I also prefer this timeless look and feel which is helped by the lack of technology involved. It is of course possible to have work which is modern and contemporary but then still relies on traditional processes although once people hear that you make woodcuts they instinctually think of the old and traditional.

Your works exhibit a colorful palette and often very intricate patterns: the dialogue established by the thoughtful nuances of tones you combine together is a crucial aspect of your style, that is capable of summing up a mixture of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of palette and how it has changed over time?

I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Dong Son Drum and Fish Gut Hotpot that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. As most of the pieces from your recent production, these works are the result of the combination between the spontaneity of your everyday experiences in Ho Chi Minh City and a careful gaze on manipulation of forms. Such effective combination reminds me of a Thomas Demand's quote: "nowadays art can

Summer 2015

My limited palette of colour was at first purely economical as when I was travelling I couldn’t afford to buy a wide range of inks and it wouldn’t make sense to have to carry them around too so I made use of what I had. Even

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Saigon Compass

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How Do You Look At Yourself?

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Jack Clayton

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Jack Clayton

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ancient indigenous rock paintings in Australia. When combined with the resistance of certain wood grains this effect can provide a whole range of new textures and combine the image to the structure of it’s material. The patterns I chose for decoration in ‘Dong Son Drum’ and ‘Compass’ were found on the streets of Vietnam to give the image authenticity. I copied patterns from paving stones, kitchen tiles and naturally occurring forms from bunched up electrical cables and the typical Vietnamese housing. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, many of your pieces, and I think especially to How Do You Look At Yourself?, seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the concepts you question... this quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between memory and a rigorous formality, in a truly engaging way. What is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

I think memory plays a big role in my process but as a lot of my work and ideas are intuitive and are seemingly plucked out of thin air it’s hard for me to pin point exact moments and experiences related to certain images. I like the idea of giving the viewer a key to finding their own personal interpretations as if done correctly this will provide them with a much deeper emotional attachment to a piece. My work at first glance can appear negative and even upsetting but they usually contain a comic / satirical element.

Stand Point Theories

now I rarely use colours other than the basic primary ones plus black and white in order to mix and blend my own. I do this quite freely too and often change my mind mid printing as to what colour I’ll make an edition, I can say it’s a very intuitive process which must come subconsciously and therefore reflect my feelings at that particular moment. I create unique textures by using different and innovative carving methods often using old biro pens, nails or anything that can make a mark directly onto the woodblock. I have developed a cross hatching effect which I originally noticed in

My first experimentation with deformed faces and splitting / combining them came naturally when I was drawing in my sketchbook during my art foundation. I was practicing my quick doodling and in doing so I noticed the pen was showing through multiple pages so I decided to try joining them together to create new images. Stand Point Theories was created for a specific show in Ho Chi Minh City dealing

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Summer 2015 Space Panther

Naim El Hajj

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Guerande

Mr Forgetful

with the way individual's own perspectives are shaped by their position in society. I like this subtle but insightful socio-political reference and although I'm aware this might sound as stretching a bit the point I would consider it as an allegory of the tension between a variety of identities that shares our multifaceted reality. Many contemporary artists, as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to include socio-political criticism and sometimes even convey explicit messages in their works. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

strong views on this topic which will naturally come out in my images. I have previously made political satire in the form of comical caricature as I enjoyed venting personal opinions but decided that there was more to gain from different avenues but often a political message is present as a subtle undertone in my work. I sometimes create comical satire related to certain news events or stories that I’m not happy about or don’t agree with but I don’t see it as a main part of my practice. I also like to respond to narratives from stories or books I have read.

I don’t think it’s possible for me to be completely politically neutral as I have quite

Jung’s Dream reveals an equilibrium between perceptual reality and the oneiric dimensions

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Jack Clayton

Bacon

Tree

and stimulates the viewer’s psyche on both a subconscious and a conscious level. I noticed this also in the way you satirically play with the semantic of "bacon". Do you conceive this composition in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

The Bacon image was completely different as I wanted to re-create the violence and brutality of the work of Francis Bacon whilst keeping a slightly satirical element. His work revolved around man’s inhumanity to man so I playfully used the image of a full English breakfast with the subtle hints of the slaughter house and gas mask. The cogs seen inside the sausage / nose are representative of the cogs to Francis Bacon’s brain whilst also mimicking how sausages are made. The colour palette was borrowed from his iconic triptych ‘Three studies for figures at the base of a crucifixion’.

In Jung’s Dream I intended to re-create an unclear, dream like quality by allowing the interference of the wood grain to distort the image. I also used washes of ink and cooking oil to dilute the layers and as I didn’t wait for each layer to dry they seemed to blend together nicely.

Summer 2015

I don’t have a set structure to creating these images rather I freely doodle and brainstorm

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ART Habens

Jack Clayton

small ideas and usually start before I know what the final idea will be allowing the image to evolve naturally.

what it means to them as well as me personally. I don’t over analyse how I think people will react to my images when creating them as I feel the creative process is and should be disconnected from the critique of others until it is fully realised.

Your insightful manipulation of symbols and pattern creates illusions that trick the viewer's eye: While bringing new messages and inviting the viewer to elaborate personal interpretations and associations with environmenal elements , you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively combination between concept and beauty, as in Tree and Environment. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

If you are too quick to judge your own ideas before they are fully formed then you’re only selling yourself short and never know your full potential. Sometimes prints and drawings go wrong and it’s frustrating but also a lot of my favourite works started from ideas I wasn’t originally keen on. I might put away illustrations for weeks or months at a time almost completely giving up on them until coming back at them with fresh ideas.

It’s important for me not to completely reject the aesthetic element as I enjoy making art that people like to look at and not turn away before having the chance to fully understand it. I also feel it’s important to not let the want or need for a certain aesthetic dominate the creative process as it can limit the results significantly.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Jack. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Thank you for choosing me to be a part of this magazine and I hope I have answered your questions fully.

My original inspiration for creating illusions came from an early age, watching my Grandfather performing magic tricks. He was a well respected magician and performed himself around London from as early as the 1940’s. He made a habit of never telling me the rules to these tricks which is part of the reason I became so interested in them. I like the way some of my drawings you can notice different things each time you look at it and some people don’t see certain details until I mention it to them.

I have some plans for future works when I get back to Vietnam I will start working on a series of large scale woodcuts which delve deeper into my surreal caricature work. I want to experiment more with text and graphic typography within my woodcuts and will research more into this. I also want to start experimenting with screen printing and mix media prints, lino printing, stencils and water colour as under layers too. I have just secured a quite spacious house to share with a friend which means I’ll no longer be confined to a small room and will have the space to go big with different projects which I am very excited about.

Your style is strictly connected to the chance to establish a deep involvement with the viewers, that seem to delete the frontiers between the artist and the viewer. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship with your audience. In particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator

Yes, I suppose it is I create work to inspire the viewer to think deeply about the image and

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arthabens@mail.com

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Inspirations

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Peggah Khashian Khashian Born in London to an Iranian family, Peggah began painting seriously as a young child. At fourteen, she moved to Dubai where interaction with a global community of expats began to peak her interest in the concepts of interpretation and context. During her formative year, Peggah travelled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East giving her a broad perspective on world events and the interaction between eastern and western values and culture. Whilst in Iran, she studied Persian miniature painting, which taught her the skills and techniques that are still evident in her works. Her fascination with line and fluidity in her works can be trace back to the traditional techniques still used in Iran. Upon returning to London she has continued to cultivate her artistic perspective, and having finished a Masters in Law, has decided to devote herself to developing her vision and style. Peggah Khashian is an Independent Iranian artist living and working in London. Her work is highly influenced by surrealism, semiotics and Phenomenology. She focuses on connecting unrelated items, both organic and industrial, to create images that invoke variable meanings through their interaction and context. Peggah Khashian

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Peggah Khashian

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

The work of Peggah Khashian conveys surrealism, semiotics and Phenomenology into a suggestive and coherent unity that aims to force the connections between unrelated items. Her paintings, besides capturing emotions, question the perceptual process of the viewers and unveil the unexpected point of convergence in which her Persian roots blend with her lively gaze on contemporariness. Khashian's paintings walk us through an insightful journey in the realm of memory and associations and we are really pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating works. Hello Peggah and a warm welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? In particular, over your formative years you had the chance to travel extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East: as you have remarked once, this experience has given you a broad perspective on world events and the interaction between eastern and western values and culture. Since you have started to paint since you were a child I would like to ask how have this variety of experiences influenced your evolution as an artist?

Peggah Khashian

Expat and there were people from all around the world: India, Thailand, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Hungary, France, Albania, Egypt....everywhere! And it was different to the diversity we get in metropolitan cities. In London, you can find the same number of nationalities but most people now consider themselves British, in Dubai, everyone was first generation immigrants and no one felt completely settled because foreigners were never

Hello and thank you. I have indeed been around. I was born in London, England but as a child I used to spend long summers in Iran which is where my parents are both from, then in my teens we moved to Dubai for three years. This was just before Dubai became big, I don’t think I would recognise it now if I went back. The one thing I miss from my time being there is the diversity. Almost everyone you met there was an

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Identity on the brain

given citizenship status. I don’t know if that’s changed now, but when I was there, no one felt they were really citizens of Dubai, they were just passing though.

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Growing up with multiple cultures and in different countries you end up feeling like you’re in a constant state of being an outsider. It can be quite jarring when you’re young. I still feel that way now, to be

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Identity on the brain

honest, but these days I take pride in not

back to London and getting a culture shock.

feeling like I belong to any particular

What I once took for granted as being

culture. For one thing you learn to see

“normal� I could now see as cultural. There

culture more clearly. I remember moving

is a quote by T.S. Eliot that always pops into

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my head when I think of this “We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” The most normal things to us are only normal because we’ve become accustomed to them, we can only see them if look with an outsider’s eyes. Even things you don’t usually think about like the weekend...in the west you generally would assume that meant Saturday and Sunday, but in many places in and around the world, the word “weekend” means Thursday and Friday. These cultural confusions are why I became so interested in Semiology and the concept of how one thing could have multiple meanings depending on context. There is a quote by T.S. Eliot that "We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Identity on the brain and #1 that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of the article and while you walk us around the genesis of these piece I would like to recommend to visit http://khashianarts.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. What was your initial inspiration for these stimulating pieces?

The idea behind my recent work stems from the theory of Semiotics and hermeneutics which are concerned with interpretation, meaning-making and signs. It was upon reading Umberto Eco that I discovered these theories and became very involved in th literture.

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Electric

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Light through the cracks

Ontogeny

the cracks, seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell through your portraits... this quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and memory in a truly engaging way. What is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

My work now seeks to create meaning and interpretation through juxtaposing unrelated visuals or “signs� together, thereby creating new connections that act as a stimuli to those analysing it. However, the reason why I used particular imagery in any painting is hard to pinpoint, I could speculate but it would be trying to rationalise in hindsight rather than give a true account. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, some of your pieces, and I think especially to Ontogeny and Light through

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The function and significance of memory is

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extremely important, in fact I would say it was essential to the work I produce. My paintings rely on the fact that the person viewing them has knowlege of the objects portrayed and also has their on personal associations with them. The objects I place together don’t necessarily have any natural connections but connections are made nonetheless in the mind of the person who sees it. We are inclined to create patterns and meanings, I believe this phenomena is called “Pareidolia”, and this is what I’m trying to tap in to. In juxtaposing images each of which already have individual significance to the viewer meaning is generated. The Art isn’t in the painting, nor the artist, the art is in the interpretation and how this can vary drastically depending on each person’s personal experiences. An apple to one person is symbolises food, to another, innocence lost and yet to another in signals the beginning of spring. It is all determined by your previous encounters with the represented item. What is interesting in relation to memory however, is that it is so mysterious, we still don’t know how it works but it has been proven to be very malleable. It can change over time and you can even remember things that you never experienced. Emotions also play a vital role in memory as we remember emotional experiences much more vividly and intensely than we do everyday occurances. In this sense, perhaps emotions play a part in my work. But I’m not an expressionist painter, I have never sought to portray my emotions through work, rather I want to invoke interpretation. Your work appeals to me for the way your semiotic exploration structures figurative painting and an emotional gaze on reality into a multilayered and consistent unity, in such a compelling way. I would consider your works as visu-

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al biographies in which your investigate about the ambiguous relation with Perception and Experience: in particular, in #2, you seem to question the way we relate to each other, giving to the abstract process of art making a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the emotions you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

That’s a great way of thinking about it. I’ve never considered it quite in that way but to think that there is information and concepts hidden in our environment, waiting to be discovered is very exciting. But I wonder, if that information and those concepts are less in nature than in our own heads, or perhaps it’s in the interaction between the two? Each artist has their own ideas about their role in the world but I would say that the majority whom I have met have a curiosity to see things differenty and a hunger for new experiences.

Experience, like memory, cannot be disconnected from the creative process. Creativity needs to feed off experience and experience feeds off creativity. There’s a great line from an introduction to one of Alduous Huxley’s works that perfectly describes the relation between experience and creativy. He wrote that “Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him” I believe that completely.

Red is a very recurrent tone in your palette, and the dialogue established by intense, thoughtful nuances is a very important aspect of your style, that is capable of summing up a combination of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

In many of your pieces, you seem to investigate about the relationships we establish with the environment we inhabit in, but from a refined conceptual viewpoint: to quote, Simon Starling, you suggest the viewer to force relation between things and concepts that would probably otherwise be unrelated. Your visionary emphasizeation of connectivity brings a new level of significance to the concepts you communicate through your paintings and I daresay that in a certain sense your works challenge the viewers' perception in order to going beyond the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but the way we relate to it... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we

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Yes, red was, for a time, very dominant in my work. I have moved away from it now in order to study creating pieces in more neutral colours. During the time I did more figurative works and I was experimenting with bold colours. I was very influenced by the dynamism of some of the Fauvist, Post impressionists and the Abstract Expressionist artists. I greatly admired, and still do admire the works of Matisse, Munch and Kandinsky. They used colour as a semioticians use signs.

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My palette has completely changed nowadays but I’m not quite sure why I seem to be attracted towards more neutral colours. When I married and moved in with my husband, I also found myself surrounded by the most stunning fossils which he inherited from his grandfather. I’ve fallen quite in love with these objects and perhaps their earthy colours are finding their way onto my canvas. I may return to bold and bright colours someday but for now I’m enjoying the subtlety of muted colours. Your approach is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers: over your career you have exhibited in several occasions and you often curate as well. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

The audience is of the utmost importance. Definitely! I don’t subscribe to the idea that an Artist is a person who creates work for himself without caring about what others think. If this were the case, there would be no point in showing or exhibiting your work. Even when Art is made to shock, it has to have somebody there to shock. At the end of the day, it’s communication, or sometimes miscommunication that is the point of Art, not necessarily the piece itself. My work is created to be interpreted, without an audience to interpret it, it will still exist but it’s value would not. I would no longer consider it Art, mere self-indugence.

something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

It was my pleasure, thank you for your very interesting questions. They’ve made me think about my own work in a new light. In terms of future projects, well, I’ve just finished a joint exhibition at Espacio Gallery in London and will hopefully have a few more this year. Unfortunately the studio I have at home is quite small otherwise I would have loved to venture into sculpture. Maybe someday. For now, I’m still exploring theories and imagery and hopefull will have a few more paintings to show soon.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Peggah. Finally, would you like to tell our readers

Summer 2015

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

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Merryl Custers When I create art, I attempt to capture notions of vulnerability, social conformity and cultural identity. Natural human interaction and social phenomena are fascinating to me, and find their way both into my subconscious and my creative expression. A painter at heart, who dabbles in photography and drawing, my practice has, of late, focused primarily on a discussion around social expectation, both individually, and in a larger sense. The resultant works have taken the form of figurative-based paintings as almost visual portraits of society, exposing and discussing concepts of social expectation and cultural norms. Currently in Europe exploring my own European heritage, it is my own ‘fractured’ cultured identity which has informed this work on an emotional and psychological level, as have my personal feelings regarding the pressure to conform to society’s intrinsic demands on the self. Through my work, at its core, I am in the process of asking two very different questions, “What is art?” And “What is identity in its truest form?” The answers to which, constantly evade me. But that just keeps things interesting.

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Identity Duplicity, detail (2014)

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Merryl Custers

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Walking the viewers through a journey in the liminal area in which perceptual reality blends with symbolism, Australian artist Merryl Custers accomplishes a stimulating investigation about the sociology and psychology surrounding cultural identity in the unstable contemporary age. Drawing inspiration from a variety of experiences around the world, her recent Exist, Apply, Permeate that we'll be discussing in the following pages, conveys a rational gaze on social norms and practices as well as a refined, autonomous aesthetics. One of the most convincing aspect of Custers' work is the way she invites us to investigate about the relationship between reality and the way we perceive it: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Merryl and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts that you received from the Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. How has this experience influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does the relationship between your cultural substratum as an Australian artist and your frequent travels around Europe inform the way you conceive your works?

Merryl Custers

Hi there, and thank you so much for the invitation to share more about my practice.

My current cultural substratum does indeed inform my work in a variety of ways, be they inherited or borrowed. This frame of reference within contemporary Australian culture, as well as historical and social influences, do of course, find their way into my consciousness and my work.

My cultural background is a rather diverse one. Raised in post-apartheid South Africa, and possessing Dutch citizenship, I immigrated to Western Australia when I was a teenager, where I still live.

Through my painting, ‘Identity Duplicity’,(2014), I deal with this cultural substratum in a layered sense, incorporating different cultural influences. Culturally specific inconography and ritualistic

This underlying complexity within my own cultural identity has been a theme which has come up repeatedly in my practice over the past few years.

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influences are depicted through everyday objects and activities, such as a breakfast foods and traditional cultural icons, as well as the incorporation of different styles of painting. I enjoy including both traditional elements, in this case, still life format, (an homage to the traditional Dutch still life genre...), whilst simultaneously depicting contemporary content, colour and pop-culture references. My travels this year around Europe have informed my most recent body of work in a similar fashion, allowing me to play with ideas and tradional iconography. I play with unique landscape and ideology specific to each country, and each work is greatly influenced by my current surrounds. My formal training at Edith Cowan University provided the time and space for direction and evolution of practice, whilst providing a collaborative environment for my work to grow in form and content. I learned to question things, and how to engage with art. It was here that I discovered my real love for painting, and gained an understanding of art history as well as the current contemporary art world. I would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.merrylcusters.com in order to get a wide idea of your recent artistic production: in particular, I can notice that your successful attempt to move away from traditional aesthetics does not implies a rejection of Tradition. The way you refer to fruible elements from universal imagery as well as subtle symbolism that pervades your works, seem to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, your works go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

I have a fascination with both contemporary and traditional artforms, which is something which

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From "Nothing New Under the Sun" Photographic Series (2014)

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From "Nothing New Under the Sun" Photographic Series (2014)

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comes through in my work often. My photographic series, ‘Nothing new under the Sun’ (2014) as well as my painting ‘Identity Duplicity’ (2014) are essentially works which question the nuances of traditional style and contemporariness. I do this by including seemingly worthless ‘everyday objects’ in the work, which in turn invites the viewer to question for themselves, ‘‘Is this real art? What IS real art? What gives art value?’ The atemporal perception of my work results from combining both the traditional and contemporary, and is a prominant aspect of the work itself. As I see it, throughout history, both socially and philosophically, there is always going to be a divide between traditional and contemporary thought and behaviour. The role of the artist is to question these concepts, to bring them to people’s attention, and to ultimately ask questions about the human condition. This can be done through traditional as well as contemporary approaches, and if developed free from the limitations of time, allows engagement with the work in the here and now. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Exist, Apply, Permeate, an interesting series that our readers can admire in the following pages. While accomplishing an insightful investigation about the emotional sphere, these pieces shows an autonomous aesthetics that invite the viewer to elaborate personal interpretations and associations with environmenal elements. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a body of works?

As stated, a pervading personal motivation for me lies in inviting the audience to personally engage with the work on an emotional level, whilst simultaneously, on an aesthetic level. From conception to fruition, I am always aware of the aesthetic problem. I am acutely aware of the disparity between

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from the "Exist, Apply, Permeate" series


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Sun on my Skin (2015) Acrylic on linen, 81 x 54cm

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from the "Exist, Apply, Permeate" series

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Cloud Girl (2015) Acrylic on linen, 80 x 80cm, from the "Exist, Apply, Permeate" series

beauty and meaning, always trying to involve both possibilities, and sometimes failing in this respect. Mainly figurative in nature, my work has a strong aesthetic power, but this is an aspect which happens best when I presuppose the

aesthetic wth the underlying narrative of the piece. I try to always have the narrative dictate the aesthetic. When conceiving a body of works, I invariably

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Goodbye Horses 1 (2015) Acrylic on cotton, 80 x 80cm

start with the spark of a concept. The spark awakens, and then evolves from a thought to the visual realm of my mind. Then the reality.

process as organic as possible. I usually begin by researching imagery, which can be in the form of drawing, documentation, photography, books, online research and so on.

I struggle sometimes, but try to make this

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Goodbye Horses 2 (2015) Acrylic on cotton, 110 x 50 cm

you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

This gathering of data, so to speak, will then inform the aesthetic reality of my work. Ultimaltely, the aesthetic problem is tackled over the entire process, with both inward and outward influences. Much like a story I am telling myself, I must allow this process. I love it when my work is free to evolve and change day by day, until finally settling on a conclusion I am content with.

I would agree with the notion that personal experience is a large part of the creative process, because the process which the artist goes through is a largely innate and individual one. I believe that an artist should make work for themselves, first and foremost, and that it is up to the audience to engage with what the artist is offering in communication. I believe this to the most authentic motivation for any artist, purely creatively speaking. But it is not a singular motivation. The motivation must also be to engage.

You draw a lot from reality and Exist, Apply, Permeate was painted whilst in Europe at two different artist residencies in Finland and Portugal: the effective process of deconstruction of social norms you accomplish in your work reminds me of a Thomas Demand's quote: "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do

So, with regards to your question, no, I don’t believe that personal exerience is indespensible to creation of work. Not everyone has experienced everything personally. Instead, I DO believe that authentic attachment to the subject matter is what is needed. An artist must have the freedom to commit to

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26-06-15, Acrylic on linen, 100 x 80 cm

tural identity: in Identity Plasticity you play with evokative images from pop culture and it seems you have an attraction to events that trigger massive changes in cultural thought. I like this subtle but insightful socio-political reference and although I'm aware this might sound as stretching a bit the point I would

research, and then to make work processfully, in an informed way, which is something I try to achieve in my own practice. A crucial aspect of your work is a refined exploration of concepts as symbolism and cul-

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Living Doll, Acrylic on linen, 110 x 85cm

consider it as an allegory of the tension between a variety of identities that shares our multifaceted reality. Many contemporary

artists, as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to include socio-political criticism and sometimes even convey explicit messages

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Perhaps this stems from my previous work in social services, which is largely psychologically, emotionally and relationally based. My work tends to explore issue around these areas, as opposed to political thoughts. I recently completed a commission from a London film maker, the content of which could be construed as political, as it is in direct response to the US legalisation of gay marriage this year. However, even my work in this context, which portrays the statue of liberty as a drag queen, is not politically driven. It is emotionally based. The work was made more from my response to the emotional struggle of many in the LGBT Community, and is less a political statement, although it could be read in that way. Whilst I don’t actively attempt political neutrality, I believe I am less prone to make work that makes a political statements, and more inclined focus on the human emotional experience. This may change over time, however, as I am always evolving in my personal interests and passions.

Captions

Your works exhibit a palette marked out with a variety of vivid tones: the dialogue established by the thoughtful nuances you combine together is a crucial aspect of your style, that is capable of summing up a mix of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of palette and how it has changed over time?

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The Bull and the Mouse

I find acrylic paint to be a very easy and flexible material to work with when creating textures. Oil paint is more languid in its nature, and requires more of a thoughtful approach, whereas acrylic goes well with my very quick and expressive painting style. When creating a texture, as well as a colour palette, I will look to photographs, drawings and documentation I have done, and from there the aesthetic palette of the work develops.

70 x 40 Mixed Media, Oil and Collage on canvas

in their works. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

Whilst I have certain personal political leanings, I am less than fond of politics in general, and as such, prefer to deal with issues surrounding the everyday, and the human condition, in my work.

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My palette has always been very bold. Much of my earlier works employed the use of

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from your Nothing new under the sun series, you seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the concepts you question... this quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between memory and a rigorous formality, in a truly engaging way. What is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

bold primary colours in contrast to each other, not mixed, but alongside each other. I am fascinated with how colours, when placed alongside other colours and tones, can create an immediate emotional / psychological response for the viewer. This is always in my consciousness when developing a palette for a piece. Having researched colour psychology, I’m aware of the psychological response that certain colours can evoke. The colour pink, for example, as utilised in my ‘Goodbye Horses’ (2015) series, was chosen to evoke emotions of femiminity, childhood and nurturement.

Neurologist Oliver Sacks states,

Studies have confirmed that exposure to large amounts of pink can have a calming effect on the nerves. This influenced my choice of palette in this particular series, as I then juxtaposed the pink with the more masculine imagery of the horse, in strong black and grey contrasts, to create a more interesting, dynamic visual and emotional response.

“Memories are not fixed or frozen, like a jar of preserves in a larder, but are transformed, disassembled, reassembled, and re-categorized with every act of reflection”

I very much want the viewer to question what they are seeing and feeling when viewing the piece…to go beyond what they are simply seeing and to engage on a deeper emotional level.

I am always accessing my own emotional responses and desires whilst painting, which are themselves, informed through memories and experiences. I choose to access these emotions in order to create, and to engage with my own thoughts around a certain subject.

I agree with this statement, and like to think of memory playing a very present role in my process.

My own psychological makeup cannot help but influence the tones and textures employed in a piece, an example of which could be seen in my 2013 series, ‘Aesop’s Chameleons’, which deals with the concept of social conformity, through the use of animal imagery. This series is largely indicative of my own personal response to social conformity, and is expressed in bold, almost aggressive tones and colours.

My focus on ‘social conformity’ and ‘cultural identity’, for example, are in essence both informed by memory and the visual translation of my own feelings about these two subjects. My opinions and knowledge are translated visually onto the canvas, and are there for the viewer to engage with through the veil of their own memory and feelings, which is why I am less obvious in my choice of content and symbolism, in order to allow for this very process.

My more introverted, laid-back nature seems to take the opportunity to express itself in a loud and bold way through the colours and textures I choose in my paintings, a fact which I find fascinating! I know this can often be the case with creative types, who through their work are able to release their ‘bolder inner voice’, and this is definitely the case for me.

Authentic translation of feeling onto canvas is something I am always attempting to achieve, and believe it is all part of the ongoing journey of self-awareness and discovery. Your style is strictly connected to the chance to extablish a deep invovement with the

While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy,many of your pieces, and I think especially to the ones

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viewers, that seem to to delete the frontiers between the artist and the viewers. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience In particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

thoughts with your readers. The future holds some exciting projects ahead. I am taking part in group show in Barcelona in December 2015, and upon returning to Australia later this year, I will look at taking part in some group shows there in collaboration with other West Australian artists. My work will no doubt evolve and change with my changing environment back in Western Australia. A possible immediate future project looks like being a series of works about my 2013 trip to India. Whilst there, I was involved in working with disadvantaged women in Kolkotta, many of whom are forced into a life of prostitution. My time there has affected me greatly on a personal level, and I can feel a strong pull toward a series of works based around this.

I do consider the issue of audience reception a key component of my decision-making process. As stated previously, I try to achieve a faithful, authentic translation of my own feelings through my work, but it goes beyond that. I am attempting to create a response in the viewer as well. My work is not a solitary, almost ‘diary-esque’ process of expression, but rather a conversation between myself and the viewer, whilst always trying to maintain authenticity. Yes, work must be made for the artist themselves, but one cannot ignore the simple fact that art is made also to be engaged with. And thus the motivation is not purely cathartic self-expression of feelings, but rather exchange of ideas and feelings. A conversation.

As for my work’s evolution, only time will tell! I look forward to collating all my photographs, sketches and paintings done whilst here in Europe, and in particular Spain, and I may look at focusing more on drawing as opposed to painting, in an effort to shake up my practice a bit and see what might evolve. Once again, thank you Art Habens for the chance to chat about my work. It’s been a pleasure!

The manner in which I choose to have this conversation is at times, less than obvious, as I use symbolism and layered meaning in my work, but this is done purposefully in order to challenge the viewer. My use of human form in my work, something which is done purposefully, hopefully invites the viewer to personally engage with a piece in a way that allows for the message to be effectively communicated. So yes, the visual language I choose is done so with the audience in mind.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Merryl. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Thank you! I have enjoyed sharing my

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Kelci Jun As artist, designer and illustrator, London is my first turning point in my life. Pattern journey project began since when I came to London in 2013. I would like to create artwork wherever I travel places which I experience many different cultures. I try to enhance historical architecture, colours, environment, people and objects into my artworks. I would like to preserve a moment in time that I enjoyed from my pattern journey. To describe my relationship with art, I would say that my art is based on journeys. I am particularly interested in the interplay between objects and unique places. The pattern journey project has now become a very prominent feature in my work and I continue to travel and use mixed medium. My signature work consists of bright, vivid colours, simplified expression with smooth lines. The fascination with pattern images has led to my experiences and observations with my composition style. Kelci Jun

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An interview with

Kelci Jun An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator

pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production.

and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Hello Kelci and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid training and after your studies of Visual Communication Design at the Kookmin University you moved to the United Kingdom, where you earned a MA of Illustration from the Kingston University: how did formal training impact on your evolution as an artist?

Kelci Jun harmonizes the expressive potential that comes from geometrical patterns with a rigorous formal approach. One of the most convincing aspect of her practice is the way he finds a point of convergence between several visual disciplines that invites the viewers to explore the crossroad between Human representation and Nature: I'm very

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In particular, how does it inform the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

I grew up in Seoul, South Korea, and I studied two MA degrees, which are visual communication design in Korea and illustration in the UK. Each study has been implemented in a very different ways for my works. During the first MA I have been mainly dealing with commercial design. During my studies in both universities, Kookmin University helps me developing design and graphic skills. On the other hand, Kinston University inspired me importance of researching, various experiments and processing more than the result. I have been living in London for two years and traveling around Europe for my current artistic practice. Current projects are based on research, experiences, feelings and observations whenever I visit some unique places. Some might be well known however some may not. All places are very specials and allowed me to get variety cultures that I have been designing into symbols. The hallmark of your approach is a multidisciplinary symbiosis between several visual disciplines, wisely combined together in a way that gives a dynamic life to your pieces, and I would suggest our readers to visit directly at http://www.jkillust.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. While crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Yes I agree with that. After traveling various remarkable places, I realized consequence of communication and finding out the way to precise into my own concept. All artworks that have been created are based on

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memory of places, and concise with people or objects at that time. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Oslo Pattern Journey that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: since this, as most of the pieces that we are going to review are drawn from your travels, it is critical to document the work in a way to best narrate your own story. Would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

Pattern Journey leads to create lots of pattern images wherever I travel different places or unique spaces. I would like to be named as Pattern Journey Project. Oslo Pattern Journey is my main artwork where I have inspiration of Pattern Journey in Oslo two years ago. Story began from the Viking Ship Museum, Munch Museum, Norwegian Museum of Cultural history and surroundings after. After taking lots of photos I did sketching and drawing, then I select several unique and the most memorable items which I think the best and expressing of places. For instance, I felt fear Munch’s life in Munch’s works as well as Viking’s history and culture in the museums. My feelings and emotion stayed with his life and their history after understanding their history and life style. In my work, I prefer the angle because of compositional layout. Each object is used 90, 180, 270, 360 angles with some repeating. Background colour is reflected the representative Oslo’s colour from own my feeling that I believe each city or object have their own colours that I often spend long time to choose the colour. Your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of deep interplay with the viewers, that are urged to

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evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience and I definitely love the way you explore the interplay between objects and unique places: In particular, the intrinsically contingent nature your investigation has reminded me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Yes it could be disconnected depend on people and how they understand my work. People would not be realized straightaway by looking my patterns whether its objects or places. I also often use something that is curious objects, unique images and many different angles. They might try to remember what or where object from which is a very interesting part for me. Some may feel connected if they understand objects or places from their memories of past seen. It has been created by my own thesis, thought and experiences. Although each of your project has an autonomous life, there's always seem to be such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose ideas and media: as I have been told once, "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

After seen some memorable places or objects people would have felt their own feelings and emotion, which is different by individual. I think that my narrative elements for my

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works deal with communication between objects. Symbolic elements cannot expose everything but there always way to find solution. I talk with some objects, finding out their history, and making an effort to find out solutions if I still have questions whether they are atmosphere, weather, people and object. My narrative started from my curiosity. While referring to a "fruible" set of symbols that comes from common imagery, you seem to urge the viewers the chance to perceive in a more absolute form and as you have remarked once, your works are marked out with bright, vivid colours, simplified expression with smooth lines. Your paintings encapsulate a freedom of form with abstract features that reminds an oniric dimension and what mostly matters, they do not play as a mere background. Do you conceive these compositions on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

Yes. All Pattern Journeys are modified simplify after experiencing lots of challenges. I implemented changing lines struck, colour balance and layout which looks simple and unique. Afterward, I made my own best line struck, colour balance with regular angles. It is rule of Pattern Journey however each artwork is sometimes changed a little bit differently however pattern Journey rule is kept continuously. The reference to basic geometric patterns have suggested me a sense of luminosity, that seems to flow out of the canvas and which communicates such a tactile sensation: Any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

When I went to unique places or exciting spaces, I always take photos, sketching, writing story. Several objects are chosen by my emotion, atmosphere and feelings. These are my favourite things before creating any

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symbols. Afterward, each objects is changed with simplistic line and colours. It takes more than 50 times of trials with different compositions before creating a final outcome. I definitively love the way you re-contextualize the idea of the environment we live in and I would go as far as to state that your capability to evoke the presence of a view forces the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension as well ... you seem to deconstruct and assembly memories in order to suggest a process of investigation: maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

I believe all artists have creativity and imagination to express their artworks. Many are creating in various ways with different materials, skills, experiences and methods. As an artist I find my own way and style to expose my Pattern Journey. All my artworks are based on experiences. Some could have seen on everyday life, media or never seen them before. The message of my Pattern Journey is simplicity of patterns by mixing some objects with my own artistic skills and experiences. Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

As you may notice, some symbols are easily recognisable and expressing their individual component.

Yes, I do. It could not be considered because I would like to communicate with audience with images and symbols. Pattern Journey’s key is connecting with my audience by artworks.

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Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Kelci. Finally, would you like to

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tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

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will share feeling and thought after seen Pattern Journey. My future art fairs are New Artist Fair in September 2015 and The Other Art Fair in October 2015 both in the Bric Lane, London. I will be participating many art fairs in the next two years of time.

I would like to thank for having this opportunity that I could express more about my Pattern Journey projects. I hope everyone

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