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ART H A B E N S

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

A r t

R e v i e w

MIYA ANDO RAM SAMOCHA MYUN YI JULIJA LEVKOVA NOFAR HOROVITZ IVONNE DIPPMANN CHRISTIAN GASTALDI BLAZO KOVACEVIC FRANCINE GOURGUECHON , performance, 2016 a work by

, photo by

ART


ART

H A B E N S C o n t e m p o r a r y

A r t

R e v i e w

Julija Levkova

Christian Gastaldi

Ivonne Dippmann

Nofar Horovitz

Corbett Fogue

Annemarieke Van Peppen

Latvia / United Kingdom

France

Germany

Israel

USA

The Netherlands

I have been always inspired by the beauty in unusual. Also I think like each artist you growing by numerous expe-riments. I am constantly developing my style. I’am always exploring new ideas and technical aspects of what I’am doing. When I get an new idea I always write it down. After I leave it for some days but it still in my head. When I have the image in my head I don’t need to use much time shooting. Mostly I shooting in my home studio. What I find fascinating about photography is working ‘in camera’ to create altered realities. This happens quite spontaneously while engaging in the ‘taking’ process or by purposefully pre-visualising and ‘building’ the image in my mind and then in reality using the camera to explore the idea.

I am a painter who takes colors from used, distressed material, for whom brushes strokes are tears of posters or magazines. Art is for me a process of sublimation. It is most challengingly achieved using plain, everyday life material not perceived as ‘beautiful’ because of their mundane functions. In my view it is impossible to separate the art you create from your entire life experience. No one has this freedom. We are products of past events, of interactions we have had with people in the places in which we have lived. Now, what are the driving forces, the triggering events that push you into creating?

My works generally starts from relatively small-scale drawings. A starting point, because these small formats will later encounter a different situation, an exhibition space, a stage or a book. They will transform themselves in order to adapt to a new room.

Photography for me is a remarkable tool that allows me to sculpt my vision into an image. I appreciate the necessity of light in the picture, and also the lack thereof. In my observation of the world, I examine and focus on details that make up the greater picture, and at the same time, I skip various components, sometimes in a less controlled manner so as to leave gaps, which viewers can fill in according to their perspectives, thoughts, conclusions and observations of all components simultaneously.

Our bodies, by design, mark time with each beat of the heart and each cycle of respiration. A sense of time customized for and by each of us. But, for each of us, it will eventually stop.

I think my way of working is pretty intuitive, I don't want to be destracted by technique. I always look for a certain directness and raw-ness. I like to bring my models, even if I am the model myself, out of their comfort zone, it often gives a reac-tion or emotion wich helpes me forming the image and the development of my concept. Once I process the images, I like to work with my hands and experiment with materials and shapes. I think rawness and a particular way of repetition it is a common thread in my work.

Nothing remains as it was and if Dippmann uses templates – which were originally used as illustrations for a book – and converts them into large-scale murals combined with colorful yarns

When a loved one dies, we often select remnants from their life to serve as reminders of their existence and our own. These mementos draw attention to the liminal space between the ephemeral and the eternal. As an artist, I am drawn to these concepts.


In this issue

Miya Ando

Julija Levkova Nofar Horovitz

Myun Yi Ivonne Dippmann

Christian Gastaldi Alon Peretz

Myun Yi

Horacio Carrena

Israel

Korea

Argentina

Moments of real clarity and stillness are very rare in life, these moments are also very evasive. I need art, both as audience and as an artist to remind me of these seldom moments when everything seems to quiet down, and an acute sense of reality takes over.It might seem odd to search for a sense of reality in art which is all about making things up, and even odder to search for quietness with sound. But for some reason this detour seems to work, and whenever I encounter a good work of art – in any medium, I get a glimpse of that special kind of awareness

Exploring the natuthe different approaches ral world around me that are taking hands and and focusing on my fingers to move on the role within it, I strive light. I realized that contractions and to illuminate the extensions of the parties tension bet-ween nature and humans creating a strange and through art. Using interesting landscape occurred. The actual found materials I process of creation always challenge the starts with a specific idea integrity of the or a particular topic I want to research. Collaboration materials within spatial boundaries. with the composer is essential prior to Whatever the implementing the physical material, I find elements in the studio. myself testing it, The light is inserted searching for its through any space you limits with a find free and produce structural balance, these visual effects of light and shadow, transparency much like an and intense areas of light explorer gingerly traversing a glacier and dark. Just complete them in black and white to in high summer. make these effects and

I am interested here show

also the gray intermediates.

Blazo Kovacevic Francine Gourguechon

Ram Samocha

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Special thanks to: Charlotte Seegers, Martin Gantman, 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.


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Miya Ando

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video, 2013

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Caroline Monnet

4 03 Summer 2015 , 16mm, 2012 (film still) Š Eric Cinq-Mars Summer 2015


An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello and thank you very much for your interview. I am American, my mother is Japanese and my father is Russian-American. I lived when I was a child in a redwood forest in Northern California and also spent time in my family Buddhist Temple in Japan. My ancestors were sword smiths before they became Buddhist priests. My work is inspired and informed by an investigation of history, as well as by ideas of the ancient

Miya Ando

past juxtaposed with contemporary ideas and techniques. I am interested in matters of identity and memory.

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Miya Ando

The installation piece ‘Emptiness The Sky’ is inspired by a Japanese kanji character, ‘Sora’ which means both ‘emptiness or void’ as well as ‘sky’. Sunyata is another word for this idea. The idea was to create an empty space of reflection, the form is inspired by traditional ‘chashitsu’ or tea houses, a very simple structure which delineates a space separate from the mundane world. The piece is about memory, identity and the notion of ‘home’. The free-standing sculpture is clad on the exterior with a charred wood, called Yaki-sugi or Shou Sugi Ban. This material is used in my neighborhood in Okayama, Japan. It is a fire-preventative. The material embodies transformation. I find poetic the idea that this material is burned in order to protect it and the contents of the building within it. The interior has floor to ceiling metal paintings. The eastern or Zen notion of ‘empty’ has a meaning which can mean ‘full of opportunity to change’ and I am very interested in this concept.

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(Shou Sugi Ban) 84 x 84 x 84 Inches, Charred Wood, Metal Paintings. Installation created for The 56th Venice Biennale, 2015

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Emptiness The Sky is a physical space which represents a different consciousness or state. I used Shou Sugi Ban (Charred Wood) to demarcate this space, the wood is a material which has very clearly been through a transformation and this is a symbol to represent an entry into a different plane or field. My intention was to create a physical representation of an inner space, a space of memory, a space in another level of consciousness.

‘Obon’ is an ongoing public art project that I have been putting forth for the past six years in various locations and countries. The piece is inspired by the ancient Japanese festival of Obon, a ceremony to honor and

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commemorate the departed. Obon is an ancient event, which occurs every 15th day of the 7th month of the Lunar Calendar (mid-August). It is believed that during this 3 day ceremony the spirits of one’s departed family members and ancestors return to the home and are reunited with their loved ones. Lanterns are hung inside the house to welcome the spirits inside and on the evening of the last day of the ceremony, lanterns are floated on rivers to guide the spirits back to the netherworld. There is a beautiful, non-denominational notion of respect, interconnectivity, history, and memory that is celebrated with the festival of Obon. For the ‘Obon’ (Puerto Rico) version of this piece, I created 1000 hand painted (resin and phosphorescence) skeleton Ficus Religiosa (Bodhi) leaves. The leaves were hand painted with non-toxic, phosphorescent pigment. This phosphorescent pigment ‘charged’ with sunlight during the day as the leaves were cast afloat on a small pond, at night in darkness the leaves emitted a soft, blue glow for a five hours. Each fragile leaf appeared clear during the day and became luminous at night. This was a 24 hour, temporal public project.

material for each project. The material reiterates, supports, communicates the idea of each work, therefore I allow myself to consider any and all substrates and mediums in my work. Skeleton leaves are very intriguing to me in their paradoxical nature. They were once alive, now they have been bleached, dyed and preserved, leaving only their structure. I sew them into configurations, mandalas and hanging installations for example, such as ‘Koyo’ (which in Japanese means ‘Changing of Color of Autumn Leaves). The leaves appear to be delicate, lace-like, fragile but in fact they are quite strong.

I remain within my own established visual vocabulary regardless of the context.

Thank you very much, I have two upcoming solo exhibitions, September 2015 at Sundaram Tagore Gallery Hong Kong and October 2015 at Sundaram Tagore Gallery Singapore. I will post images and information on instagram: @studiomiyaando Also my piece if The Venice Biennale will be on view through November 22, 2015.

I consider materials to be intrinsic to my practice, I focus a great deal of attention on materials and in selecting the appropriate

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Julija Levkova

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hotographer Julija Levkova was born in Latvia during the Soviet occupation, currently lieves and works in Belgium and The Netherlands. Levkova studied Photography in Antwerpen and Breda (Academy of Fine Arts & School of photography). Levkova’s photography is published at Photo Vogue Italy. Her work has been exebited across Europe including big cities like London, Venice , New York. Levkova, who was raised by her mother, describes her childhood as “isolated.” Much of her time was devoted to reading art history and visiting museums where she became fascinated by the work of Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Rubens. Levkova’s portraits are a tribute to the Old Masters, employing framing and lighting techniques that blur the distinction between painting and photography. “In my photos you will find the lonely nest I felt also as a child,” Levkova says. The nest, while lonely, is beautiful too. “


from the


Julija Levkova

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Julija Levkova An interview by and

, curator , curator

Hello to all dear readers of abens. Well, actually, I always felt I want create, I had the need to express myself, do something with Art. From very soon I know I wanted do it the rest of my life. At the moment I am still studying at Fine Arts academy in Antwerp. It is inspiring, I think. At first, you learn to see, hear, and it bring your creative soul to life. All these make you grow. My unconscious fantasies and feelings came to surface and were depicted in my photo’s. I don’t like standart or stereotypical imagens , I like unusual. My work is a reflection of our contemporary art.

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This two peaces are very personal. Both are reflection of my childhood. I do not always reveal the real story behind my works, which is my story. What I like that the viewer has their own interpretation and feelings about it. Remember I started to investigate my inspirations. Since I’ve remember I was fascinated by work of Rembrandt, Vermeer and Rubens. I love their perpetual beauty, their palette, their stories behind them. This two works and many others are tribute to the Old Masters with twist of unusual element. It is interesting to combine the two techniques and two artsphotography and painting. All the materials or textures used in my work are painted by me in acril. I wanted to make compositions with very soft and dreamy light. I like to play with viewer . I like then the people dream a little bit. Before each shoot I am thinking about what story I want to tell and what lighting would best describe the mood I want to share.

I was always surrounded by museums, architecture, art books. I was always inspired by the beauty in unusual. Also I think like each artist you growing by numerous experiments. I am constantly developing my style. I’am always exploring new ideas and technical aspects of what I’am doing. When I get an new idea I always write it down. After I leave it for some days but it still in my head. When I have the image in my head I don’t need to use much time shooting. Mostly I shooting in my home studio. Also I use Photoshop to create mood I want, sometimes I edit picture more carefully as “Another Point of View” My work is straight focused, simple, a lot about mood and symbols.

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I believe that creative process could be disconnected from direct experience. A good photographer can make a piece of Art even with his iPhone, it imagination what matters. Also I believe that visual appeal is important in the picture as much as the message or story. If one of them is missing, the purpose of making the picture is only half complete. I work with everyday people and beginning models. I always try to find the right angle and bring out the best features of them. Love working with small children, they are unpredictable, they have their own world and you need to understand that. But it always brings unique images.

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from the

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think the most important people interaction. They are never neutral and that is the best thing we, as artists, can look forward.

from the

With regarding my own photography I would say that I more pictorialist. It’s all about the image and the model is the secondary importance but at the same time I like the simplicity of Hyperrealism. Like most of us know Pictorialism permitted everything to create image. It did not have to look real it had to loo esthetically beautiful. Where reality can be beautiful and real, the pictorial can be unreal. I do tend to see them as two sides of the same coin.

I do believe most of the artists are busy with inner research. I always try to give my point of view on things. I am truing to show loneliness, mortality, vulnerability.. I

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from the

from the

My passion for my work is the beast answer. I put all my energy in my work. My ideas come from imaginary and modern world. Our world at the

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My childhood was in Riga and my family has the roots in Orthodox Christianity and I always was interested in but also in other religions I like when I open eyes and people think about what they see and are willing to see things from different perspectives and not with a small view.

, 38x42, 2010

moment. To walk around with an open mind and a sharp view i see so much that I even cant remember everything. My ideas and passion is growing and growing and I like this so much.

That is not so easy to answer. Yes i like to invite my audience reception

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for sure but this is not what I think about of I start compose the work. It comes up from my own imagination, dreams, feelings and memories from the past. I doint need to think a lot about the process it just comes up and I start with my work but always with full attention and passion. That me..

There is many exciting things happening in my life right now and I absolutely love it! Yes, I’m on something new, recently I’ve begun a series on flowers still life. One of them you can see above. It’s refreshing and something new in my portfolio. There a whole new world open for me. I am intrigued to explore!

from the

I still practice my skills. I think it’s very important as photographer you need to learn to criticize your own work to find things you can improve. And is important to know what makes you happy. If you are happy and feeling well it is also easier to be creative!

your photography. Spend a lot time observing. When you dedicate more time to your work, you will make great images.

Small advice is that nothing happens very quickly. You need give time to

and

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Nofar Horovitz Lives and works in Tel-Aviv, Israel

P

hotography for me is a remarkable tool that allows me to sculpt my vision into an image. I appreciate the necessity of light in the picture, and also the lack thereof. In my observation of the world, I examine and focus on details that make up the greater picture, and at the same time, I skip various components, sometimes in a less controlled manner so as to leave gaps, which viewers can fill in according to their perspectives, thoughts, conclusions and observations of all components simultaneously. In my view, I search for order, sharp lines and cleanliness, which for me empower the meaning of the final product.


from the from

series


Nofar Horovitz

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Nofar Horovitz An interview by and

, curator

For as long as I can remember myself I have always been interested in art in general, monochromatic art in particular, and in following the entire art making process myself.

, curator

In my days as a student I naturally found myself attracted once again to the same things and more. I enjoyed needing to learn technics through trial and error, getting to know studio equipment, methods and more. All of these gave me the abilities and technical knowledge that support my art making process to this day. Studying has broadened my point of view of the entire art world, which I believe is necessary in order to create meaningful art. I value greatly the time I spent as a student. I think that the experiences that I had and knowledge I accumulated became a great part of my artistic being. I think that the ability to create art from an open state of mind is a skill that needs developing. Being at art school and taking classes such as history of art and photography is, in my opinion, what creates the atmosphere that allows new art to thrive.

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denominator that unites us all, despite our diverse interpretations, clearly emerged by the end of each photographic session. Whilst in the process of choosing which works to use, I discovered that through the encounter of photographs with subjects, and connections to images that represent the common denominator, it became very clear and easy to identify. This project taught me a lot about the sometimes incomprehensible connection of the female experience. My choice to represent my subjects throughout the project without clear facial identities derived from the desire to allow their body positions to reflect their status without distractions through body sculpture using light and shade.

I started my work on nude-patterns from my increasing need to address a certain issue through my own eyes. I was searching for the core, that which is common to all women, which unites them all and could be understood via photography. In the course of my work I photographed women with different body structures, of different ages and different life stories. In order to better express my thoughts it was important for me to get to know them, learn about them, their ambitions and wishes. I came to realize that despite many changes that have occurred in women's status over the years, many still see themselves through an outdated, rigidly structured prism, as if this is something they can't avoid. They find it hard to detach themselves from specific stereotypes that have been engraved into their consciousness. Therefore, in my work I have tried to isolate secondary variables and establish a common denominator to all women, so as to emphasize the one thing that has not changed over the years, which every woman has - womanhood.

The first piece I created as part of this project was a self-portrait that I photographed in my studio. Whilst photographing my portrait, I still did not know that I would want to develop it as a series, nor did I know how far my presence and this portrait would open the door to an area that over time became so significant to my artistic creation. I believe that my ability to connect personally both as a photographer and subject and as such to fully participate in all aspects of the project, connects me most personally to the very

Throughout the progress of my work on this project and during my meetings with many women whom I photographed, I was exposed to diverse definitions of the female entity. The meaning of life as altered for each woman during our preliminary conversations and photographic sessions. Nonetheless, the final conclusion and acknowledgement that one common

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status, with the most important element being to neutralize these by creating an environment that enabled neutral observation. My intent is to give the viewer the ability to observe the images as a whole and reach their own opinions without any external involvement. The ability of an artist to choose whether to give viewers the tools to interpret what they see for themselves is no less important than the ability to take a firm political or social stand.

heart of the project. In my opinion, personal involvement in artistic creation of any kind allows artists to connect profoundly with their subjects and as such increase their expressive ability, achieve the goals they have set for themselves and reduce the gap between artistic ambition and practical creation to a minimum.

Art, and photography in particular, is a remarkable tool that allows me to sculpt my vision into an image. I appreciate the necessity of light in the picture, and also the lack thereof.

My aim in the NUDE PATTERNS project was to discuss the female factor by observing the preconceived stereotypes that accompany each of the women, their opinions and environmental influences that accompany them and embodies their being. During this project, I concluded that many women see themselves in many ways, affected by environmental pressures, social and political influences.

In my observation of the world, I examine and focus on details that make up the greater picture, and at the same time, I skip various components, sometimes in a less controlled manner so as to leave gaps, which viewers can fill in according to their perspectives, thoughts, conclusions and observations of all components simultaneously.

I define this project as a research project whose aim is to carry out an observation of the female level in order to draw conclusions and find the common denominator that unites the community of women. In the course of my work, I found myself focusing less on being critical and more on emphasizing values, shortcomings and social

My work on this projects was characterized by gathering images that represent diverse testimonies to the changes that have taken place on different levels that represent the

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state of Israel and as such are expressed over the course of a years in the landscape that surrounds us. The images in this project are fractals and fragments, which represent the broken reality of the landscape at Israel's borders, revealing, to a certain extent the margins of social, defense, and urban situations as well as less overt interpersonal conflicts. The project is a collection of individual photographs reflecting the fractals of Israel's cultural landscape in the face of existing constraints, which change personal, social and state-defense priorities. The images make up a presentation of the landscape of Israel as a state, a social body that is constantly changing in the face of events at all levels: having to defend its borders and residents, the social revolution, the economy, elections and so forth, and through all these the country's face is changing, as well as its priorities and agenda as part of the intensity of life in Israel. Within all this, the fractals emerge as witness to the processes that the country's landscape is undergoing. When all these parts join together, they present a timeline that reveals the revolutions, reforms, protests, difficulties, wars, desires and wishes that have characterized the past number of years. Some have failed, others are in process, some are still at margins of society, and others have left their mark on the country's landscape. I chose to allow a sort of breathing space between the project's images that allows them not to be defined under a narrow heading or specific definition. This by connecting diverse environmental elements that represent and refer to the heart of the project and changes undergone at many levels of influence in the Israeli landscape. I invite viewers to

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formulate a position by filling in the gaps and understanding what is taking place by connecting the puzzle pieces into a whole picture. Therefore, in my opinion as an artist, there is a great importance to touching on different psychological elements whilst the narrative does not have to be complete, but rather can create wide interest by inviting viewers to participate in its completion. In this project, the importance of active observers' points of view is when their individuality reflected from personal memory and personal experiences whilst filling in the gaps influences the development of the narrative in their eyes, and as such creates in fact a different work of art for each observer.

My development as an artistic creator has been characterized by the imaginary world's powerful influences on real objects. When I encounter a specific object in its natural environment or a situation that encompasses an object and connects it to its environment, my desire as an artist is to transmit the essence of the object via photography to an audience without any preconceived connotations or references and as such, in fact, to break connections between individuals and society and place the object in its natural place and reveal the personal characteristics that embody it. The intuitive connection created between me and the

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photographed element is created by the beauty reflected by its traits. During my work with elements, the freedom to create diverse compositions of the same single photographed element in a completely neutral environment captures me as if the same element decided to disguise itself anew from every viewing and photographic angle.

I started the current project with a wish to explore the small details that would capture my eye on occasion when I was outside. I sought to try and isolate them and objects in their natural surroundings and create similar neutral conditions in order to examine whether I could, by changing the environment and the lighting, discern various details, which would otherwise go unnoticed with the diversion of scenery and nature. In the course of my work I have realized that when I isolate an element, it is often released from concepts attributed to it as a result of its being connected to its natural surroundings, and becomes something entirely different. Not only has the object become different, but it keeps changing its essence from every angle and every time we close our eyes.

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I have learnt that when people are not familiar with a photographed object, that flower, thistle, plant stem, they have no idea what they see in the photograph and their first utterances describe whatever emerges in their imaginations, and their way of seeing and interpreting the object photographed. To an extent, each photograph is subject to a beholder's interpretation, but in this case, I enjoy the level of freedom the imagination can reach with some of these images. When I photograph a specific element, I aim neither for interpretation nor a specific appearance. In fact, when I choose my photography elements, the only thing I know is that I am interested in them, as they offer an extent of mystery that enables me to work with them. Drawing photographed elements out of their natural environment and placing them in a neutral one that serves as an incubator, photographs are placed on a level playing field to show off their qualities both on an aesthetic and sub-conscious level. The great importance of a photograph's environment is to allow observers to take an active part when observing an entire body of work and as such, to formulate their individualistic interpretations and reveal the hidden visual qualities of the object.

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In the past, photography was seen as a way of documenting the present and preserving that moment for posterity as an image. It is possible that this definition is also correct for a certain type of photography today, nonetheless, in my opinion, photography includes many levels that represent the visual form of an image, an object, a person or subject photographed, its time axis and experience content passed on from conception through observers' interpretations, which constitute an essential element of artistic work. Peeling off the layers of this experience is an essential requirement while viewing my NATURE project. The elements photographed in this project receive, with the integration of viewers' analyses, diverse interpretations and as such even reflect their thoughts, subconscious, creations and general perceptions.

more personally and from their point of view. While I appreciate all forms of art, I also believe that art, which comes from the same unique place burning in the heart of every artist is powerful and important even if it does not suit the entire viewing community.

Over the last six months, most of my work has been characterized by two key areas of which one deals with artistic nudes focusing on people's self-perceptions, their ambitions and dreams shown through an internal mirror. This project is called "Ties of Perception". I decided to describe the many situations of dealing with barriers using different types of ropes in a series of self-portraits. Using studio lighting and black and white photography allows me to create a greater emphasis on the situation taking place, and to turn our attention to the tension and lack thereof between the body and rope, twisting forms and the tightening and release of the ropes. At the same time, I focus on creating a new body of work using analog photography with a medium format, which is bases on photographing natural elements while they remain in their natural environment, where the effect of highlighting their qualities by creating an external dimension is expressed both through technical means and observing every piece of the overall picture as joined together.

My artistic creative process derives from a personal desire, curiosity and an ambition to express myself, when all these and like factors combine, I create a broad scope of images and bodies of work. My works represent and symbolize urges I have felt at certain points in time to express. My works are characterized by leaving behind a window that invites viewers to connect

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, from my ties of perception series


Myun Yi

T

he scenery I am looking at is a vestige of evolution that has undergone a long evolution, and at the same moment, it is an endlessly repeating eternal time. I am pondering about the relationship between it and the limited human life on the border of instance in various methods, and I am trying to tell a part of it through my artwork.

MyunYi


An interview by

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curator

Myun Yi Brenda Bullock video artwork that came to production during this time was the “Field.� It earned the opportunity to be showcased in the 11th Experimental Film and Video Festival in Seoul and the 18th Jihalava International Documentary Film Festival in Czech, and the experience prompted me to continue working until today.

I majored in Western music theory and composition, and the field of study I especially took interest with was the theory and works of composers of contemporary music in the late 20th century. Their ideologies and ideas, as well as their diverse ways of expression laden in their works greatly influenced my composition after I finished my studies. A few years back, I felt that there was a limit to specifically express my ideology and identity through mere composing. The first

The first thing that came into my mind when I thought about the relationship

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between the cultural basis as a Korean and my work was my way of understanding and using the text (language). This is because this matter of language is the most crucial and considered motivation in my music and video works. Since South Korea is part of the Chinese-speaking country, a lot of Korean words contain Chinese meanings. (Up until Korea had its own text called, “Hangul,” Chinese was the main language used in the country). The Chinese character is an ambiguous one, in which a letter’s meaning can either be expanded or diminished in different situations, thus I believe that Chinese character is an important component in understanding the religion, philosophy, and culture of East Asia, in other words, the East ideology. On the contrast, my mother language, Korean, is like music that contains tone and pitch, where Korean’s emotions and status can be delicately expressed the most. For example, among the works, the work “ ”(Empty) contains various meanings such as, vacant, meaningless, weak, sick, reside, hole, and gap. I understand the tone of the word “ ” when I read it in Korean as a state of detachment or a feeling of loss or grief. I design my work with the idea that came to be in the process of conceptualizing and mixing together the characteristics of the meanings of two languages. I actively use this in all the aspects of creating an artwork – ideologically and technically (screen, editing, music, sound).

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My works can be divided into two: works whose subject is my personal emotions or state (Postcard, Flicker, Eternal

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Myun Yi

Frame, Windows) and works whose subject is social problems and issues (Field, Empty, Lease, Afterimage, Hole). The former usually tackles on the concept of Eastern ideology and

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psychological problems, and they are mostly produced intuitively and spontaneously. On the other hand, the latter ones are produced specifically and systematically with a subject gotten

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Myun Yi

ART Habens

universal problems humans are faced with through a scenery only, through a fixed gaze at one point. If I have chosen a subject, then I take a long time in doing the process I mentioned above on language. I walk, meditate, and gaze at one point for an extended period of time over and over again. The subject’s overall ambience, material, and idea become compressed into one word through this process, and this is the point where natural shooting happens. The compressed one word, then becomes the title. Then the shoot video is produced in many methods through computer screens. Sometimes I zoom into the screen and take a closer look at each subject or zoom out the screen and survey the entire scenery. I at times change the video’s layer and play speed in many ways using the computer effect, or I would watch the video without the audio or listen to the audio without the video. I repeat the process of expanding and compressing the subjects and ideas of the work several times and complete the work.

from newspapers or TV news. If there is anything common between the two, it would be that humans do not become the main figure, the subject of the works. I rather try to contain the

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ART Habens

Myun Yi

I do not come up with a specific image or have a visible model in mind when I work. And sometimes, I do not look for a certain place and shoot. Rather, I try as much to eliminate the images or sounds that come to my mind during the initial period of working. This is because I believe that any place has its own story and aura. I just wait and see until I can feel it, and I try to give my ears to their stories. If the stories are fitting to the problem and the subject I have been having in my head for a long time, I begin to shoot, listening to the story quietly. It is like a coincidence that comes to me or that I find at the end of long meditation. The Eternal Frame is a visual expression of my pondering on human life, an expression which used the concept of East’s belief in the rebirth, and the Empty was a work made to commemorate the sinking of the Sewol ferry ship in Korea that happened a few years ago.

I try to feel the movement detected amid tranquility. So I gaze at one place for a long time, steady my breath, focus on the surrounding sound and smell,

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Myun Yi

and feel the passing wind. The scenery has been constantly talking to humans for a long time, but haven’t we just lost the ability to hear it, that our ears are

ART Habens

closed to its words? Before it, we will be able to sensitively feel and react to the space and relationships among the

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ART Habens

Myun Yi

things around us, as well as our inner self.

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ART Habens

I do not think that everyone should be actively interested with social problems. But I believe that anyone trying to express his/her thoughts through any means should ponder about the various social problems along with his/her concerns. Artists are the people who raise questions. They should pose endless doubts and questions to themselves as well. In this sense, the artwork should be different from media (news, journals, critique, and others) and works that are for entertainment. The desire to make change becomes my motivation of work. But I try that it will not become a one-sided forcing of my thoughts or act of agitation. Of course I try to be careful that my works will not be using unnecessarily stimulating methods. I want to throw a question, “How should we think in this situation?” instead of saying, “We have a problem and let’s solve it this way.” Coming to an easy answer – this is what the artists should be cautious about. I offer the least guideline to the audience, and I hope that they will have their own self-time, meditation time without any teaching or forcing of

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Myun Yi

thoughts, at least for a few minutes, during the running time of my works.

I believe that all the creatures in this world as well as objects have their own unique vibration and sound, and I try to listen to the sound coming from the shooting site as I carefully look around the place. At times, the sound becomes a story, a song, or a rambling, or sometimes, a humming. Then I use them as music to my work, and with the obtained sound at the place, I minimize the artificial touch to make it sound natural. I composed an orchestra or harmonized songs out of the completed nine works of mine even when they are being played together at the same time and in the same place. If I have a chance, I wish to try out for showing.

I intentionally intervene in the time of the work and manipulate the flow. I either lengthen or shorten the shoot video, cutting or jumping into another

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Myun Yi

time frame and changing the linear structure of time. I believe that the visual distortion that comes along in this process is similar to the human’s

ART Habens

memory. In the work, I make use of the visual effect and work on the flow of time carefully and delicately, visualizing the form and phenomenon of time.

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Myun Yi

Personal experience matters little in this because as I have mentioned above, my works begin by trying to prioritize the

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idea gotten from the concept of language. When I was working on “Flicker,� it

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Myun Yi

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Special Issue psychological approach and tried to express it. The below is the work’s author’s note. The moment the successive visual information disappears, the boundary between the reality and dream is gone and the human’s perception between the absolute perception and relative perception breaks down. Memory flickers like a flashbang, causing optical illusion. Dizziness strikes in and the spatial sense becomes dull. Confused. Consciousness fades. What am I being conscious of?

Since my work was centered on composing for a long time, I lack in the understanding of theory and technique on photo or video. Thus, I enjoy looking at the photos published in a news article or uploaded by amateurs in the internet. I look at each of them closely, imagining what story it has to tell. On the artists who influenced me, Gyorgy Ligeti, the main contemporary Hungarian musician of the 20th century, and Isang Yun, Korean composer who lived in Germany, influenced me. They lived in the same time period, giving and receiving influence to each other, and they completed their own distinct music grammar. Their music philosophy and

began with a simple question – How can humans be conscious that they exist? I pondered on this question in a

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Myun Yi

technique takes a significant part in my works.

My works that are normally composed of one scene are not a striking, ideaheavy, and interesting videos. There is hardly a camera movement or change in scenes. The change in the frame is repetitive, slow, and minute, that it looks like a photo. So I know that the audience may become bored. But I hope that my audience who looks at my video would stand for a while and wait and experience the stopobservation-idea process at least for a short period of time. For me, the direct participation of the audience is experiencing the three stages.

perception of the world, and the working method to expose those. Only, it might be that continuing to produce the works without stopping would be the only way to check my

I am not so sure yet. I still continually doubt and ponder about myself, my

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Myun Yi

work evolving.My works have been made

ART Habens

that I can introduce my works in the Land scape Art Review.

public through the website.

An interview by

And I want to continue sharing my future

and

, curator , curator

works as well. I am happy and thankful

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Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

Portable Sanctuary

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Ivonne Dippmann

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video, 2013

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An interview by Melissa C. Hilborn, curator and Josh Ryder, curator arthabens@mail.com

Honestly, Art? I don't know. A more colorful, overpriced version of the New York Times? Good Art for me is characterized by attitude and having something to say. It derives out of curiosity, playfulness, a very own opinion and the capacity to take responsibility for. Essential - a good sense of humor! Contemporary basically means today, so I guess Contemporary Art should talk about your own time and generation in an eloquent and unpretentious way. Tradition for me preserves values and rituals that influence social structures and norms, publicly and in private. Contemporariness is somehow a different basket. I associate this term more with trends in the fashion industry. Unlike tradition it comes along very unpredictable, eccentric and a bit overrated. But a well executed contemporariness may transform into a tradition one day?

Ivonne Dippmann

Experimental Media Design and finished with a Master in Fine Arts in Israel. Coming from East Germany, I saw my "education plan" as a free ticket to conquer and explore the world, not just creatively. Being a student at the University of the Arts Berlin, I have spent 70% of my time abroad. By learning within different creative fields and manners abroad, I created considerably, with a clear agenda attached my personal "box of tools". These skills now define the spine of my daily work flow and led to a personal freedom and artistic independence. It was a very privileged time and experience. I don't believe in a formalistic discourse of "art

My studies were an unforgettable 10 year life experience. I received my MeisterschĂźler in Visual Communication, cross studied in

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Ivonne Dippmann

education". The outcome is very hollow without significant substance! In my opinion it is of relevance to have a life first and with it, hand in hand, a good education which will help to sharpen your qualities, to find your own language and to have the opportunity to encounter great people on the way. I am drawing since I am 5, I guess the only though very comforting consistency in my life so far.

ART Habens

Broad street line is a textile project, executed within a 3 month apprenticeship at the FWM in Philadelphia. Out of my own designs, I created a two (Broad street line) and a four way repeat (Hallah). I printed 3 months straight and it was a pleasure experimenting and playing around with techniques, shapes and colors. As in A&W the initial design was drawn out in one of my sketchbooks (Book 05 PH2012, Broad Street Line). Some of the printed fabrics were used for designing the fashion line "Hallah", a project in collaboration with the Berlin designer Kunji Baerwald. It was very much a last minute project for a shooting planed to be included in an art book publication (Ivonne Dippmann - My hostilities Are Distributed In A Justified Way, 2013 Revolver Publishing).

A&W was based on a collaborative project with the German author J. Kuhlbordt, now living and working in Leipzig. I produced a series of black and white drawings for his upcoming publication "Stoetzers Lied - der Gesang vom Leben danach". Stoetzer is a character who takes on everything that rolls him over: politics, economics, art, history. Out of statics he is commenting the movements, the decay of the past and the arrival of the new millennium. It is a philosophical interwoven volume of poetry, that addresses with humor and sharpness the complex approach to history. I connected to his work right away since we shared common grounds by being raised and educated in Karl Marx - Stadt. Aktivisten und Westarbeiter works with the former qualities of my hometown, which has been the center of textile production in East Germany. I basically grew up in the middle of cotton and wool. The center pieces of the two installations in A&W 1/ 2 were made out of yarns of different colors of VEB POLAR Karl-Marx-Stadt, taken from my personal archive of my family. All the drawings and wall-paintings were based on the drawings for Kuhlbordts book.

Art talks about time, to some extend it embodies history, which is more less an archive of "steering" peoples behaviors. I think the power of art is that a piece of work keeps on communicating without you. It shapes time historically and provides a peek into someone's personal agenda and perception. By showing a specific selection of art to the public, institutions create an archive stuffed with experiences, remarks, thoughts and insides, defining and redefining a "Zeitgeist" within an era or time period. By walking through a retrospective feels like flipping through someone's fotoalbum which is for generations to keep and remember. My personal decisions or choices can be seen as a summation of experiences based on the

My works are oftentimes inspired by texts, by works of authors I collaborated with for their own publications (J. Kuhlbrodt, C. Wagner or R. Winkler). I also use dialogues from movies (I had a great Woody Allen time in Jerusalem), the everyday talk outside, dreams and outside observations which I write down separately.

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people I met on my way and whose works and personality touched me somehow.

http://www.ivonnedippmann.eu/index.php?id=1 23,

I think "disciplines" how you call it or a medium are simply tools to execute an idea. The more you have the more freedom you experience in expressing your thoughts and ideas. LMP just happened by going through old fabrics and towels made in former East Germany at my parents house last summer. I found those old, worn out crystal salt bags from my grand father in our basement and wanted to make something out of it. Since I planed a shooting for documenting "Broad street line" anyways, I thought why not including a recent line of textile work? I had an apartment to work in and a printing place at a friends design firm (Zwoelf Medien Berlin). Since I had no budget, I could not hire a model / make up person in Berlin. As I was looking desperately, a friend just commented on fb: "Why don t you do it yourself?" So based on the circumstances I did everything myself and I had a very patient and passionate photographer. I see LMP like a series of drawings, it flips through shapes, material and movement in real time. It is one of my favorite pieces so far, it really came out of nothing and says everything.

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Ivonne Dippmann

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Ivonne Dippmann

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Well I guess this phenomena of being disconnected from a direct experience is called "conceptual art"? I am not a fan. It feels like a dry dessert. I personally admire artists who work passionately hands on, going through a work period which requires time, involves physical movement and transpiration on the way. My drawing routine is the spine of my daily life experience and vice versa. It is a safe place I can always go back to. I started literally "shooting" myself by documenting myself in relationship to my work or to a specific environment. It helped me to establish a connection with a new place. It caught the way I felt. For , I was meeting a friend in Paris who works by chance in the Louvre, Paris. He gave me a tour in the Museum after everyone left, no lines, no crowds, no school classes. The place was empty and while walking with him through this impressive collection of art, I felt the urge to make a work there. Two days later we got the permission to photograph for 10 minutes. Of course I did not find the room I wanted, so I chose the center hallway of the old Masters. The piece goes together with a 3 m x 6 m written wall work, containing excerpts of dialogues of the war movie Lakonia in combination with expressions of a crossword puzzle. The works mentioned are not performance pieces, I see them purely as a documentation of a work.

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Ivonne Dippmann

"We believe that interdisciplinary collaboration today is an ever growing force in the art-, fashion- and design world. We believe that our traditional distinction between these fields is rapidly breaking apart, making room for crossplatform projects that question the authority of each classification. We strongly believe that most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project." Those 3 lines are taken from a recent proposal for an interdisciplinary workshop "The Art of collaboration", drafted by a colleague of mine (Marek Polewski, Floor5 Berlin). There is not much to add. For me to collaborate means an enrichment of my quality of life as an artist. I do only collaborate with people I like and get along with well, based on a mutual understanding of work attitude and respect. Collaborations are a great opportunity to learn and to have an artistic dialogue on a daily basis. I don' t want to be surrounded with my own state of mind and work always, so I decided to collaborate at least once a year in whatever field, rhe more diverse the better. E/Scapes is an ongoing textile based project in collaboration with the Berlin artist and designer AVR who I met by coincidence through a friend. What finally brought us together is the empathy and the immediate use of textiles and the material related printing craft. We are still looking for funding in order to finally execute this project in the coming months.

would not stand where I am now and I am grateful for that. Regarding feedback,I think you are better off if you don't give a crab. It doesn't really matter what people think of you. I did not become an artist in order to get compliments or to be liked. My audience should enjoy the ride and remain critical and opinionated. To push myself further, I appreciate honest, constructive critique. Business is something different. Therefore it is a lucky win, if you are represented by a gallerist who is professional and trustworthy. A genuine relationship?

Awards and grants provided me with the financial basis in order to live and to execute my art work as I do. Without this support system I

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Ivonne Dippmann

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Ongoing projects are the fundraiser for the project which can be accessed through both of our websites. There is a show coming up at the Kulturforum Alte Post Neuss next year and of course, worthwhile mentioning my recently published art book "Ivonne Dippmann - My hostilities Are Distributed In A Justified Way", 2013 by Revolver Publishing Berlin.

Never!, therefore the art market is too chaotic and biased.

Well, on one hand I am looking for a studio in Berlin in order to have a home base for production and meetings. On the other hand I would like to spend some time in Paris for collaborating on a fashion project, creating exclusive designs for a brand or label.

An interview by Melissa C. Hilborn, curator and Josh Ryder, curator arthabens@mail.com

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Lives and works in Chicago, Illinois, USA

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Christian Gastaldi

ART Habens

video, 2013

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Land

scape

CONTEMPORARY ART REVIEW

- 2013 - 41 x 33 cm


An interview by and

, curator curator

In my view it is impossible to separate the art you create from your entire life experience. No one has this freedom. We are products of past events, of interactions we have had with people in the places in which we have lived. Now, what are the driving forces, the triggering events that push you into creating? You may not be aware of what they are, at least immediately, and you also may not be the best placed to understand what they are! This perception comes through time, as small hints, feelings that you perceive and that sometimes fail to materialise into clear concepts. Interviews help in that respect, forcing you to put into words vague feelings, imprecise sensations.

Christian Gastaldi Sète is a place where most inhabitants are a mix of French, Italian and Spanish origins, as I am. I came to think that the geographic setting has a strong influence on people. Sète is a place that gives you the irrepressible need for freedom and the desire to discover what lies beyond the horizon. So, I studied and worked abroad (Holland, Brunei, Argentina, Angola, Azerbaijan…) coming back regularly, as if in exile, experiencing the joy and sadness of departures. As described by Fernando Pessoa in Oda Maritima: ’O mistério alegre e triste de quem chega e parte’. Living abroad, doing

I was born in France, in Sète, along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in a city surrounded by salty waters, almost an island.

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Christian Gastaldi

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magazines, newspapers or distressed posters recovered from illegal billposting places.

geosciences research and practicing sports provided me with the emotions I needed. Then Art became a necessity. I needed the emotional rewards of the creation process, the entire mobilisation of body (soul and flesh) into a transcendent experiment. I had no choice, I had to create.

The time spent to create a piece is variable with the nature of the material used and the size of the piece. I generally spend more time collecting materials or finding the places where posters can be collected, than doing the work itself. I try do a sketch before starting the work, by arranging the paper elements side by side on the floor before going into the gluing process. But this is impossible when I work on a piece which is purely focussing on rhythm from typographic elements, like ‘Sous le Pont XCII’. In that case, I put together the elements of typography I want to use and start straight away without knowing exactly where I will end-up, except that the direction was clear: I had decided, in this case, not to use any vertical or horizontal lines. I wanted to create a piece that flows.

If now one looks at my work, it may not be obvious at first sight, but I am a painter. And the fact that I do not use paint is a detail. I conceive my work as a painter. The graphic and chromatic equilibriums of the work are paramount.

In 2013, when I did a commissioned work for a hotel in Barcelona on a 2.4 m by 7.5 m wall, it took me a day to do the initial compositional sketch on the floor, then 15 days to finalize the work on the wall, out of which, one day was spent to complete the final half square meter without destroying the equilibrium of the entire wall!

Through the years, I became fond of literature, of the rhythm and musicality of sentences. I did not care so much about the stories, but the style was critical. ‘Voyage au bout de la nuit’ of Louis-Ferdinand Céline and ‘L’amant’ of Marguerite Duras are great examples for me of what can be achieved through style. This is what I want to achieve in Art.

How does a writer arrange the succession of words to resound with the inner self of the reader? How can the rhythm of written words create transcending feelings? I have similar questions in mind when I do my work. How can I create rhythm and equilibrium in a frozen frame? How can I arrange linear elements to create movement? How will the picture be balanced if I accumulate elements in one place? ... In addition to Rhythm and Equilibrium, the material used is critical. The transcending nature of art is reinforced when working from mundane material, from elements that contain dismissed traces of life. That’s the reason why I work from used

Landscape was my first series. At that time I was mostly working from torn magazines.

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ART Habens

Christian Gastaldi

The series started with the intention to study how the chaos of juxtaposed paper blocks and the usage of bright colours could be organised to create forceful, yet harmonious, landscapes. In the process, I sometimes deliberately unsettled the composition to see how it could later be recovered. As the series progressed, the colours became fainter and the works moved from figurative to abstract until I discovered Nicholas de Staël landscapes. It disturbed me. I had evolved towards the type of abstraction and cold colours he had used. So I stopped. The choice of the theme had also to do with the fact that Landscape is a ‘classical’ subject of painting. I decided that, if starting in Art, I had to confront myself with classical topics right from start. Even more so with the unusual type of material I used. Before the Landscapes, my earlier subjects were even more classical: Christ and Madonna! The picture ‘Monocromo azul (casi)’, though part of ‘Monochromes (quasi)’ series, is conceived as a landscape. It is a tribute to my Mediterranean origin.

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Christian Gastaldi

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Christian Gastaldi

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- 2012 - 7.5 x 2.4 m - Reception room of hotel Vincci Bit (commissioned work) - Barcelona, Spain

My work should certainly force the viewer to reconsider his environment. As I pick-up elements, visible in everyday life, under other functions (and therefore with other meanings) I take the viewer to question the perenniality of the messages, of the images. Displayed in a canvas they acquire a new function. To keep the viewer totally free in his re-interpretation I systematically destroy the original messages and images. They are re-incorporated in a new chaos of onomatopoeia, the Babel world of today.

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Christian Gastaldi

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into a piece of art but it is for the benefit of the creation of emotion, not as a substitute, a justification by itself.

As we discussed earlier I don’t think it can be. And I would even say it should not. Art without the projection of the personality of the artist is a negation of Art, a senseless activity. There are already so many of those meaningless activities in our surrounding environment, not to add Art to this list. I believe in Art as both a product and a source of emotions. I cannot conceive it as a pure intellectual activity. Of course thinking goes

Experience is the soil that feed the art. I started late my artistic activities. Maybe I needed more time than others to assimilate life experiences.

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Christian Gastaldi

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Christian Gastaldi

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The environment, and the way it expressed itself into the material, is critical to my work. My series from distressed posters are organised by the places where the material was collected. The characteristics of the place and of the people that live there, are influencing the specificities of the colours and typography used. They provide a humanity to the medium that I want to reveal in the creation process. So it is right to say that, in that case, the environment provides the narrative elements of the creation. I have also experienced in my work, that I sometimes use a narrative analogy to help structure my creation. A strong tear, through stack of posters, will be perceived as an analogy of a sea shore line, separating two physical worlds, like in ‘Sous le Pont CLIX’.

The only acceptable limits in Art are those that you imposed to yourself. Those constraints are a stimulus to the creation process. Any material, in particular in collage, can be used. I am an

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Christian Gastaldi

admirer of Rosalie Gascoigne’s work, and of the old painted wood she used in some of her creations. My current preference is for material which has been exposed to life. The ‘MAR-POI’ series originates from old posters collected at the Paris subway station ‘Marcadet-Poissonniers’ undergoing refurbishment. At that occasion, the recent posters had been removed from walls, leaving to the surface old posters, hard to remove. They were several decades old. The passing of time had given them specific textures and altered colours. They had a fragile beauty that interested me. Only small elements could be recovered, difficult to manipulate. In that case my work is on subtlety. If most of ‘Sous le Pont’ series can be seen as, as you said, energetic, sort of fights within canvasses, MARPOI is a caress. In MAR-POI 10, I decided to use only colours elements. No line, no letter, no figurative element. A pure chromatic palette. In doing so, I am, more than never, a painter. The challenge was to find an arrangement of colours that vibrates with the perception of textures. Softness of the tears, conveyed the fragility I wanted to achieve. I particularly liked the fainted colours that reminded me of old Japanese prints and the manner they were later interpreted by Van Gogh and Gauguin.

I totally agree with you that giving a second chance to images (and elevating them into

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Christian Gastaldi

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Christian Gastaldi

pieces of art) is a politicised stance. Even more so when there is no explicit political messages imposed on the viewer. I find a bit obscene, even if the word is a bit strong, to have messages on a canvas. As a viewer I want to be free to think on my own. It also distracts the viewer, steers him to the trivial, when what is essential is to emotionally react.

contribute to making people proud of themselves. They are much more capable than the politicians or the society want them to believe. Seeing elements that they are familiar with, in a new context, could help them rethinking their role in society. Will it steer people’s behaviour? I would like to be as optimist as you are!

My pictures do not have political intentions. But, by the choice of material, I would like to

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Christian Gastaldi

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winery in Var, south of France, during JulyAugust. In October, I will participate to the Salon Réalités Nouvelles in Paris. Before that, I will most likely go back to Montréal (Canada) to work with OXYD Factory on the second phase of our common project where we combined old car parts with distressed posters into creations focussing on textures.

Currently I am for a month in an artist residency in Moncontour in France. My intention is to work on large formats on the MPL series. Then I will customise a cow for the Paris ‘Cow Parade 2015’, go to Sète for the opening of the ‘Transformations Urbaines’ exhibition at Galerie Plurielle (JuneOctober) and install a solo exhibition at a

An interview by

, curator and

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, curator

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The project “Probe” is a commentary on the issue of personal freedom and how it is abused today worldwide in the name of the “war on terror”– The project raises questions whether taking away citizens’ rights to privacy is a legitimate tool in this fight: do we lose more than we gain by giving up so much? This project also refers to the issue of identity: true, assumed, hidden, etc. and the image of distorted identity generated in media: TV reality shows, beauty magazines, and in popular visual culture, which terrorizes us with an unrealistic aesthetic and cultural norms, expectations, and illusions. The heroic images of this exhibition are our own bodies and concealed belongings, now revealed. Strangely enough, people are more accepting of their own image if it is “gentrified” through the artist process, elevated from its natural existence and immortalized as a work of art. This show is offering the redemption of the ordinary human existence, celebrating its honesty and uniqueness.

Live video stream from X-ray baggage scanners from an international airport was streamed to the gallery space for the exhibition reception. For one day and for 30 minutes only visitors in the galleries (several galleries were involved as well as online viewers) were able to peek into the privacy of random passengers, without knowing anything about their true identity. They had the opportunity to imagine persons and personalities based solely on their luggage content. On the remaining gallery walls selected im- ages of the passengers’ belongings were executed as digital prints. The Gallery floor had crowd control barriers deployed in at- tempt to control crowd flow and to restrict and direct their movement.

them home upon leaving the gallery. The visitors’ experience of anxiety and passivity as victimized objects of observation, is transformed into a unique creative activity, a voyeuristic feast for the eyes on the gallery walls.

A checkpoint equipped with an X-ray contraband scanner was placed at the gallery entrance. Gallery visitors had the opportunity to become subjects of security screening. Images generated this way and with visitors’ consent were immediately printed and displayed in the space. Visitors had the option to remove their prints and take

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Blazo Kovacevic

ART Habens

, installation view Atelier Dado, National Museum of Montenegro, Cetinje, Montenegro, 2010 (currently in planning)

Similar to stage two, the gallery entrance will be equipped with a body scanner (nowadays installed in mayor airports). Scanned images of visitors’ video,bodies 2013 will be transmited to the printing center on site. Digital prints will be made and imediatelly installed on the gallery walls. At the begging of the

show gallery walls are empty only to be populated with images created with the consent and help of the visitors. Gallery visitors will then be greeted with their own images.

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Summer 2015 Summer 2015

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by and

, curator curator

Blazo Kovacevic addressed and developed. These two approaches informed my early artist years. Traveling is another educational approach that I nurture. Both Italy and France offered a tremendous impact on my art formation and for example allowed me to develop some specific projects as a result. This is the case with my body of work titled Maps and Cuts (http://blazokovacevic.com/MapsAndCuts/Abo ut.html). This exhibition was envisioned while I was staying in Paris. I was intrigued by how little changed throughout history in regards to visual representation of conflict and I thought

It is my pleasure to see my work featured in your magazine. I still think that formal art training is fundamental to an artist’s development. In some sense I believe it is necessary to curb the initial urge to explore everything that interests you, and to focus on building skills and proficiencies. I also think that at the same time the concept in everything that you do needs to be

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Summer 2015

Naim El Hajj

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Blazo Kovacevic

ART Habens

and something that deserves our full attention. My creative activities here are more directed towards questioning and analyzing all the visual aspects of the privacy than pinpointing the culprit. Usually we all know very well who and why, but sometimes it is necessary to see how too.

my maps offered an interesting merger of new technology and timeless representation of space. For example in we see a difference (and advancement, if you will) in range and destruction power, but substantially no huge leap conceptually.

The project Probe I started with an exposure that grew to discomfort and disapproval, then to acceptance and finally to revelation. It began with my Montenegrin (Balkan) background, my being perceived as a potential threat or something like that, anytime I travelled. Coming from a conflict area of the world always granted me special treatment with visas and travel arrangements, but what was most annoying was the constant scrutiny I received from the security officers at border crossings. They would always put me to the side for their random check, where nothing was random. This time spent waiting for my turn at the side gave me a good view of security procedures that were dominated by X-ray images of passengers’ baggage. I noticed that the most interesting image is at the same time revealed (to security officer) and hidden to the rest of us. I appreciated the beautiful compositions and color coding filters that revealed very interesting and new views of common objects found in luggage. All of a sudden I felt privileged to be able to witness this voyeuristic feast. After this recurring experience I welcomed additional screening, and came up with the idea of revealing these drawings and pictures of our time and our transparency hidden from us. I am not sure if this is a matter of chance or

At the beginning of my art career I struggled to find an outlet to show that synergy is a way to express my multiple interests and different media. My agenda was not directed towards blatant contradiction that ultimately emerges from the mixtures of incompatibles but rather to allow for the truth of these different coexistences to emerge. I thought that provocation rather than inspiration was something that moves me and with that conflict was unavoidable. I was very careful to keep open and accepting of these different approaches and to allow for common norms and rules to lead the way. For me this was the only way honest enough to deal with the complex dualities of things. For example conflict can be seen and understood not as something necessarily violent and negative, but a moment of truth and recognition that some opposing sides are present and the fight for dominating voice has begun. Sometimes I tried to show this without easy or concluding moment in which any of these sides in the conflict prevailed. This is the case with my latest body work Probe here I give access to the phenomena of disappearing privacy rather than declaring it negative or positive. I try to accept it as a trend

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ART Habens

Blazo Kovacevic

instinctive reaction to the aesthetic stimuli but at first I felt provoked to do something about this and try to get access to the images of ourselves. Balance is probably never reached in my work. In the video piece PROBE: recorded live streaming video of airport screening I wanted to show what is a routine part of the job of somebody charged with security screening at the airport. I wanted for visitors in the gallery to have the best seats for the show that will reveal personal belongings of a person whose identity remains hidden.

I do believe that personal experience is extremely important and most influential creative impulse. I am sure that the creative process could be seen also as something outside of the personal experience, but in my case it is not. I do see similarities with my and Demand’s work but unlike Thomas Demand’s efforts to replicate or reconstruct a special scene, my personal endeavor is always to involve spectators into the activity I am about to introduce. I want them to share this experience and claim it as their own. In this sense I invite people to experience firsthand something that they are already very familiar

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25”x63”, UV print on Illusion film, 2010

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Blazo Kovacevic

ART Habens

25�x63�, UV print on Illusion film, 2010, detail

with such as going through the checkpoint. But this time everything is different. They are offered a completely different understanding of the process. Being scanned is not the end of it. They get to keep the copy of the exposure as a visual testament of something new about the ordinary. These images are product of creative process but also evocative of the unusual experience.

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ART Habens

Blazo Kovacevic

You are very accurate in perceiving my PROBE interventions as something that is leading to self-discovery. As I mentioned before, my idea is to allow access to the security scanned

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ART Habens

Blazo Kovacecic

image. But a scan itself, especially when we talk about a body-scan, is more than penetrating enough to offer some very painful revelations about our existence. In general people are drawn to various images representing them—from selfies to medical X-ray images. We are fascinated with the way they look or we look in them. But a security image is not giving us any justice or the justice is very brutal and we consider it an injustice. We do not like this version of ourselves. This image is not showing bones as medical imaging does (where nobody really cares about it unless it requires surgery) or skin as in regular photography. The body-scan is showing exactly the middle layer that we are probably not proud of it at all. On these scans we look as Michelangelo’s sculpture would after being tossed around many times and everything that is not significant body feature disappeared. It also reminds me of microscopic images of insects whereby observing them we have the illusion of experiencing something of alien origin. This micro-cosmos that exists in the middle level is exactly the exoskeleton that I am interested in.

, 25”x32”, UV print on Illusion film, 2014

This is excellent question. I do think my work is political -- maybe more than I would like it to be or is possible for somebody who wants to be neutral. I think every work is political in some sense. Neutrality is impossible to

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Blazo Kovacevic

ART Habens

energy from another side, therefore weakening it. Regardless, I think it is important to allow enough room for all interpretations. Of course, I do not wish for just one reading of my work. I think it fails in

maintain especially today when any position that you take, even a neutral one, is nevertheless a position also, and therefore cannot be just neutral. A neutral position inherently benefits some side(s) as it pulls

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ART ART Habens Habens

Blazo Kovacevic

its mission if perceived as one-sided. I am dealing with security inspections in my work by pointing to its negative sides, but I also would never board a plane if we didn’t all go through security inspection. I am notendorsing the security inspection as it is conducted presently, but not having one is not a solution either.

recently, my process requires audience’s participation first, and only then, can I plan the exhibition. For the exhibition in the Brunelli space I am asking the gallery audience to trust me and lend me their personal possessions that they carry with them every day (this includes purses, backpacks, suitcases, etc.) for a day so I can scan them and produce artwork. The idea is to build a relevant exhibition for this particular audience and, for that purpose, I think it is fair to follow the contemporary trends in personalization (where, for example, your music is streamed based on your interests in a few songs and an algorithm knows your taste better then you do). An exhibition featuring images that represent the visitors’ belongings has to provoke interest.

I do see this connection very clearly. It took me many years to evolve and be free of constrains and labels such as those. We all build on tradition and I think as a result it is still visible in the contemporary work. Somehow it finds its voice through new media.

For many years now, but with no success yet, I have been trying to get a hold of a body scanner for an exhibition and for one day only. Unfortunately I am too stubborn to give up on this idea and my chances of getting access to this carefully guarded piece of the equipment are slim. I am stuck. Pushing forward with this plan will probably get me in trouble. The concept is so simple: the exhibition is created only as the audience passes through the checkpoint equipped with the body scanner. These scans will be printed on the spot and placed in the gallery to greet visitors as they enter. This should be my next project. My work evolves in a cyclical pattern, and the ending of the project refers to the very beginning of the thought process, bringing closure and offering a full circle of experience, for me and the audience alike.

I am trying to build an intimate relationship with my audience. For example, I am preparing my next solo show in the Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts gallery in Binghamton, US in August 2015. In order to share my point of view with the audience I am asking them to be integral part of the whole process. More

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Lives and works in Chicago, Illinois, USA

As a life-long artist, I have worked in many mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and mosaic art. Combining my experience in all these mediums I have focused on mosaic art as my primary direction. Mosaics are an ancient and beautiful medium, long used in places of learning and worship. The historic and enduring quality of mosaics challenges and inspires my work while offering vibrant decorativeness and fascinating detail. Taking mosaics from a representational approach to an abstract art form using color, movement and impact is the goal for my recent mosaic work. Recently, I have been working on 3 dimensional human forms, mosaicked in art glass, stones, sea creatures, glass eyes, semi precious stones and brass bullet shells. “The Tribe� are human forms chosen for their inherent beauty and shape and their intriguing presence. The human body as art and body decoration appears in every culture and is used for seduction, ritual, social standing and threat. My body art sculptures are inspired from this cultural phenomenon and the forms and materials that surround me in my studio.

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Francine Gourguechon

ART Habens

video, 2013

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Red Head


An interview by and

, curator curator

After having worked in many mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and mosaic art, artist Francine Gourguechon focused on mosaic art as her primary direction. In her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she effectively challenges the relationship between the viewers' perceptual parameters and their cultural substratum to induce them to elaborate personal associations, offering them a multilayered aesthetic experience. One of the most impressive aspects of Gourguechon's work is the way it accomplishes a successful attempt to create a channel of communication between the perceptual sphere and imagination, to go beyond the dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her multifaceted artistic production. Hello Francine and welcome to LandEscape: before starting to elaborate about your artistic production would you like to tell us something about your background in photography and painting? You have a solid formal training and you attended the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago: how did your studies influence your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

Francine Gourguechon

My studies at the Art Institute of Chicago serves as the foundation of my art making. As a student you are introduced to considering everything you see in terms of line, form, color etc. and then you forever see this way. However, studying art

mediums of all kinds goes on all through life and is an ongoing inspiration. Travel, books, museums, galleries, workshops, family and politics are the research that somehow accumulate in your mind and end up in the art you finally make.

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Shaman


Francine Gourguechon

Einstein

ART Habens

Pensive

Your approach rejects any conventional classification: it is very personal and condenses a variety of viewpoints, that you combine together into coherent balance. Over your career you have worked in many mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and mosaic art: what has lead you to focus on mosaic art as your primary direction?

materials and making all the pieces come together as a whole. It’s my attempt to give some order and harmony to our complicated world. We would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.chicagomosaics.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work. In the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up? In particular, would you tell our readers something about the evolution of your style? In particular, are your works

I’m not sure I can answer the question of what made me concentrate on mosaics. It has something to do with working with my hands, sourcing and using various

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ART Habens

Francine Gourguechon

Brainstorm

Black Madonna

conceived instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose preparatory schemes?

My work is completely organic, inspired by the forms and materials that surround me in my studio. I work on my sculptures and design the piece as I work along. Mosaics are labor intensive so I have time to reconsider my direction and use of materials as I see them evolve.

couple of interesting works that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your captivating investigation about the expressive potential of mosaic art is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: while walking our readers through the genesis of Red Head and Emergence, would you shed light to your main sources of inspiration?

For this special edition of LandEscape we have selected Red Head and Emergence, a

Red Head was my first male figure. He portrays strength as well as vulnerability

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Delilah


Derriere


Francine Gourguechon

ART Habens

particular, do you think that personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Could a creative process be disconnected from direct experience?

just as we humans experience every day. I think of these figures, wither male or female as a tribe of humanity. Emergence is a little different‌here I wanted to convey the tribulations of the female in societies and the power of women to emerge from oppression. The feminine figures are floating to the surface of the stormy water to freedom.

I have always been fascinated in indigenous people, their tribal organizations and connection to the natural world. The body art and physical decorativeness is a visual key to their societal operations and exquisite creativeness. These ideas of body art don’t come from personal experience in any way but from the life long study of art and humanity that accumulate in your mind over time. This is a mysterious process and seems to express itself in creative thinking.

What has at once captured our attention of Brainstorm is the way it captures nonsharpness with an universal kind of language quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and memory. How would you define the relationship between abstraction and representation in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work?

Despite to clear references to perceptual reality, your visual vocabulary, as reveals the interesting Derriere, has a very ambivalent quality. How do you view the concepts of the real and the imagined playing out within your works?

Firstly, the human figure is the representational core of the pieces; they allow the viewer to see the self and to relate to whatever abstraction takes place. While having my own ideas as to the meaning of the abstractions, I want the viewer to have the ability to have their own interpretations and feelings about the work.

Derriere is an early piece. I was beginning to understand how to imagine transforming the known figure into something more creative, more meaningful. I remember using my mosaic skills to cut and break glass to complicate the form and give it a multi faceted appearance. The large glass chunks that crown Derriere where picked up off the floor of a glass foundry.

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, the human body as art and body decoration appears in every culture and is used for seduction, ritual, social standing and threat: how much important is the reference to human element in your process? In

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ART Habens

Francine Gourguechon

We like the way your works accomplish an insightful investigation of the subconscious sphere. We daresay that your art practice also challenges an inner cultural debate between heritage from the past and traditions that carry on to this day: despite the reminders to traditional figurative approach, your works is marked out with a stimulating contemporary sensitiveness. Do you think that there's still a contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness? Or there's an interstitial area where these apparently opposite elements could produce a proficient synergy?

being a large sculpted frog encrusted with glass mosaic for the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. The children in the intensive care unit named her Fiona. It was a very satisfying project. Over these years you have exhibited yor work several occasions around the Chicagoland area and Sonoma County, California. One of the hallmarks of your work is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. 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 is used in a particular context?

There is a contrast between traditional and contemporary but the trick is so meld them together into an art piece that touches those 2 styles and makes the piece a new inclusive vision. The interesting thing is that I’m not aware of doing this melding… it must be subconscious.

Because my work is very intuitive and progresses in an organic way, I don’t spend time wondering if the viewer will accept it. At some point you have to release your mind of those considerations and make art from your soul.

Your work inquires into the interstitial space between personal and public spheres, providing the spectatorship with an immersive experience that forces such a contamination the inner and the outside: how do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space?

Public art is crucial and thankfully is has been given the respect and funding that it deserves. Art is for everyone, everyday wither you see it in a great archectural setting or riding the train to work in the urban centers. I have done some public art projects of a decorative nature one

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An interview by Katherine Williams, curator and Josh Ryder, curator Arthabens@mail.com

Photos by Nic Gourguechon Photography

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VooDoo


Lives and works in Tel Aviv, Israel

(in collaboration with John Wenskovitch and Heather Brand)

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Ram Samocha

ART Habens

video, 2013

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(in collaboration with John Wenskovitch and Heather Brand)


An interview by Melissa C. Hilborn, curator and Josh Ryder, curator arthabens@mail.com

Ram Samocha My main practice divides into two complimentary sections, drawing and performance. Trying to think about my evolution as an artist, I think that Bezalel Academy gave me the first introduction into multi disciplinary practice. Before I started my studies I was very passionate and much focused on painting. The school introduced me to many other means of expression, which widened my artistic language and paved my way into multidisciplinary creation.

1988-92 Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, painting and sculpture. 1991 Parsons School of Design, New York.

Going back to school after fifteen years of practicing art was a great experience; I came

2002 Prize for a young artist, Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport.

Ram Samucha, born 1966, Ramat Gan, Israel. Publications: 1994 Article on design and art in newspaper, ''Shishi'' - Culture and Communications (Globus). Published book ''Kerach'' - joint project of eleven artists. 1995 published book ''Kerach II.''

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ART Habens

Ram Samucha

to this practice much more mature and extremely focused knowing exactly what I am hoping to gain from it. When I picked the MFA program in Waterloo University I knew that I looking for a relatively small, but very professional place; a place that would focus on my personal artistic expression and would allow me to develop it further. In Canada I had the chance to work more on my live performances, to work on a larger scale, to start using colours more freely and to deeply explore abstraction.

I always find myself balancing between different disciplines; it is in my nature. This amalgamation in some strange way balances me. I don’t have black or white, floor or wall, painting or sculpture, I am moving freely between two to three dimensions as I am essentially blind to the boundaries that define them. Combining different disciplines both extends and enriches my point of view. This also happens with materials. Often, the materials I choose to work with are not traditionally related to drawing or painting but to other different skills, hence they always have new and

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Ram Samucha

ART Habens

(in collaboration with John Wenskovitch and Heather Brand)

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Ram Samucha

ART Habens

(in collaboration with John Wenskovitch and Heather Brand)

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Ram Samucha

ART Habens

interesting qualities. The complexity of my work comes from combining all of these elements into one piece.

I do believe that all you experience in life, your personal and general struggles are reflected in an individual’s work, through the creation and in the final result. There are certain shapes and colures that I keep using and repeat again and again without knowing or thinking why. Many times it relates to the body or the arm movements, but sometimes it connects to an instinctive need to deal with something or to realize something that has bothered me in the past, a situation, a thought, or a trauma. Each action or drawing that I start work on, starts with a thought or vision that I build in my head beforehand. Sometimes unexpected things happen on the way to achieve this idea, but the vision is always there in my head as a first layer of expression. This artistic way of investigation is very different, in my opinion, to what was more common in, let’s say, the 70’s where investigation was the target and the process. I feel that in my work today the target is set and the process of investigation is a journey geared towards it.

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ART Habens

Ram Samucha

I always look for new materials to draw with and new ways to work and express myself with these materials. For me, entering an art supply store is like entering a candy store, I want it all, but I have to think carefully before I finally choose what to take with me. I am also well aware of what‘s been created in the past and try to use materials in a different way that will also challenge me. I’m constantly exploring the methodology of both modern art forms – drawing, video and performance - and ancient drawing techniques like metalpoint, to find new ways to combine these processes to produce new forms of expression. That may involve the movement from two dimensions to three dimensions or working on new little known surfaces such as the stone paper.

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Ram Samucha

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ART Habens

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ART Habens

Ram Samucha

(in collaboration with Ian F. Thomas and Alex Derwick)

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Ram Samucha

ART Habens

This drawing began as a vision. I saw it very clearly in my head but it took me a long time to find the material that I should use to create it. The moment I saw in the art supply store these boxes of children’s black crayons, I knew that this was the material I wanted to use to construct this large drawing. I drew in stages for more than six months and at one point it shifted from simply drawing marks and started to become more of a sculptural shape, as the materiality of the wax crayons started to build up. While captured in the process of intense repetitive drawing, I gradually figured out the emotional context and personal experience, which lead me to this specific image.

In my work I deal with very particular topics, I raise questions, I protest and highlight problems. I deal with personal, political and social matters but I try as much as I can to touch the core of these matters and not to be too illustrative. It is important to me that each one of my viewers would be able, at first to connect intuitively with the images, the colors and the movement and interpret it in their own way. The way I guide and direct

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Ram Samucha

the viewers to my original context is through the titles, which I choose very carefully. As for my palette, colour and light are significant elements in my work, maybe because I am a colour blind. Being colour blind has made me extremely sensitive to colour. Funny enough, I am so sensitive to colour that despite being colour bind I was for many years a lecturer on form and colour. Coming from the Israeli tradition of bleak drawing that is strongly tied to a narrative, I felt that the move to Canada gave me freedom to investigate more deeply working with colours and abstraction. It also opened to me the opportunity to work on large- scale pieces and to develop my practice as a live drawing performer.

ART Habens

drawn to collaboration and communication, as the very first urge to perform is the wish to intact with the audience. Obviously it is easier to collaborate with the audience than with fellow artists. You are more secure, you are not in any sort of compactions and you are promised to be the center of attention. This is much more challenging to collaborate with artists where two egos are standing in line but it is ever so fulfilling. I have started to collaborate with other artists fairly late but I absolutely love it. I recently collaborated with artist Nava Waxman who specializes in encaustic (hot wax) paintings. When we started our conversation, Nava described the process of encaustic paintings. I immediately saw the huge performance potential with this technique.

This year the third international symposium of Draw to Perform will take place in London and we have already booked another international event at Fabrica, Brighton for 2017. Workshops are being planned in Japan and other events are in the pipeline for New York, Warsaw, Berlin and more. On a personal level, I am working on my next solo show with a new series of metalpoint drawings and will continue developing the connection between drawing and performance in general and between 2D and 3D pieces of work.

When I started Draw to Perform, in the first symposium I was overwhelmed by the responses I received from artists and their willingness to come from all over the world to commit to this project. I think that what was fueling this commitment is the power in collaboration and in creation of a community. I believe that artists who work with drawing performance are by nature

An interview by and

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, curator , curator

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Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro Lives and works in Gdynia, Poland

E

ven though it is still a bald artistic decision I create very classical art pieces. I am hoping to build a new movement of European art modeling itself after Dutch, Flemish, Spanish and Italian schools. Bringing together and reawakening enthusiasm for the Old Masters work and the urgent need for renewed reverence for reality, by bringing back skills and spirit of the preimpressionist painters. My desire is to remind the audience we carry as human beings emotions, memory and dream. There

are things in life that unite people. Art seems to be universal : feeling, color, our sensory reaction to it. I create visual art of perfect workshop, without falling back on experiment just for exercising experiment. There is so much evil and ugliness nowadays, that I would like everybody looking at my paintings to associate them with feelings of beauty and good only. That is why women are my favorite painting objects. I try to show their beauty and endless mystery by means of chiaroscuro, where light always wins, just like good overcomes evil. Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro


An interview by and

, curator curator

Artist Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro's work draws from Old Master heritage to produce pieces of ar marked with contemporary sensitiveness, highlighting the vital bond between direct experience and visual intepretation. In his recent body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages he speaks of emotions and memory, to trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters, condensing the vital relationship between direct experience and visual intepretation, to walk the viewers through a multilayered aesthetic experience. One of the most impressive aspects of Lesstro's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of urging the viewer to experience an increased awareness or way of seeing: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating and multifaceted artistic production. Hello Leszek and welcome to ART Habens : we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted professional background. You have a solid formal training and You graduated from European Academy of Arts in Warsaw with a master degree in Painting : how did this experience influence the way You currently conceive and produce your works ? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way You relate yourself to the aesthetic problem in general?

Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

there a few outstanding professors : Franciszek Starowieyski , Wiktor Zin , Antoni Fałat . They favored and praised my works, pointing out, that I am very talented , and it strengthened my decision to continue studying and become a painter . Young students of Painting are often exposed to dilemas whether it makes sense to continue , they are also doubtful of their ability to sustain a career as painters at a time when collectors, curators and galleries are seemingly more interested in

Studies at European Academy of Arts were

undoubtedly very important for me. I met

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ART Habens

Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

Ancient Rome Beijing

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Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

ART Habens

other media. At the same time facing critics of the art one produces may result in quitting painting studies. Fortunately it was not my case – professors encouraged me and I am grateful for this. As regards formal training studies have awakened my consciousness relating to light and block. I was very interested in Old Masters technology which unfortunately was not priority subject at my Academy and due to this I was exploring this topic by myself . During technology lectures I have learned a few basic issues , which did not satisfy my curiosity . By coincident I got the book by Munich professor Max Doerner “ Old Masters technology “, which became a great help in answering my questions and developing my painting . During my foreign travels I used to visit famous museums and study Old Masters paintings, watching originals. Some crucial point for me was visit to Vatican Pinakoteka , where I saw Leonardo Da Vinci painting half-done, at the stage of painting ground ( underlayer ) and suddenly I understood everything ! However it also happened during my studies, that I was even pursued to create conceptual art, abstraction – as something “ new “. Nevertheless I continued classical painting , feeling that this is my only way. That is why I can say that Academy neither had any vital influence in creating my style nor created the way I currently conceive and produce my works. I am Polish, raised in European art heritage and I respect very much tradition and beauty. I appreciate and exploit the experiences from the past ages of art history, fortifying them with

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ART Habens

Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

my own feelings and visions. My desire is to remind the audience we carry , as human beings – emotions, memory and dream. One can never get it by means of photo-based works , installations, video, digital work – such works appear and disappear very quickly from our memory much like this stream of massmedia information. The figurative language you convey in your pieces seems to be the result of a constant evolution of your searching for new means to express the ideas you explore in your works : your inquiry into the expressive potential of colors combines together figurative as subtle expressionistic features into a coherent balance. We would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.leszek.piotrowski.netgaleria.eu in order to get a synoptic view of your work : in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about the evolution of your style ? In particular, would you shed light on your usual process and set up ?

I am 32 years old and at this stage of my career it is difficult for me to determine the evolution of my style. I started with painting female nudes. With the passage of time I found, that I feel very good by creating big and very big scale paintings – usually historical genre scenes. However it is not a rule : I like very much painting commissioned portraits, landscapes, seascapes, horses .Generally speaking I enjoy painting a lot. And I am searching for beauty in my painting objects. Women are my favorite painting objects. I try to show

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Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

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ART Habens

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Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

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Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

ART Habens

their beauty and endless mystery by means of chiaroscuro, where light always wins, just like good overcomes evil. Here I can say, that the basing element of my usual process – incentive which makes me paint is light . Deep light and shadow game are indispensable for me to create good painting. Regarding technical questions : my canvas are hand-made. I use raw linen. After stretching it on the loom, the surface is lubricated with rabbit glue. When it is dry it needs to be rubbed until it is completely smooth. Then I apply with a brush a layer of proper prime coat, which is solvent mixture of glue, champagne chalk and linen-seed oil. The process of drying canvas takes up to two months. I paint with the technic of Old Masters, it means, that at first I make underpainting in the form of painting sketch and then I apply many coats of paints in order to get deep color effect. Finally I apply varnish. All this process is time consuming, as the paint coats need to dry properly. I paint gesturally , instinctively . My paintings have nothing in common with popular at present photo-realism . I think , that methodically transposing geometric schemes from paper to canvas can’t be considered as true painting. In my opinion it is rather skill and craft than art. I mix colors on the palette completely instinctively , but as far as glazing goes it is necessary to be acquainted with technics, so in my practice technique supports intuition. For this special edition of ART


ART Habens

Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

Habens we have selected „Dominique” and „ Majorelle Garden, a couple of paintings from your recent production that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. Your paintings communicate a successful attempt to transform tension to harmony and what has at once captured our attention it ‘s their dynamic and autonomous aesthetics : are your works painted gesturally, instinctively ? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes from paper to canvas ? In particular, how would you describe the relationship between intuition and technique in your practice?

I paint gesturally , instinctively . My paintings have nothing in common with popular at present photo-realism . I think , that methodically transposing geometric schemes from paper to canvas can’t be considered as true painting. In my opinion it is rather skill and craft than art. I mix colors on the palette completely instinctively , but as far as glazing goes it is necessary to be acquainted with technics, so in my practice technique supports intuition. The effective combination between both intense and thoughtful nuances of tones sums up the mixture of a variety of feelings that in “ Shocking Red “ and especially in “ Maya” seems to speak of struggle and emotions. How much does your own psychological makeup determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in

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Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

ART Habens


ART Habens

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Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

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Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

ART Habens

particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture ? Moreover, how did you think about your style – your choices of composition and palette?

There is very close relation between my psychological make-up and painting , it has been even medically stated. I had some problems at school and my Mother decided to check what is wrong with me. After series of psychological examinations it was confirmed, that I have dyslexia, dysgraphia, dysortography, which is typical for people extremely gifted artistically. Developing a painting texture I usually focus at right proportions, closed composition, providing “ breath “ – free space from the side where light is dominating. I am using very intense, clean colors. I draw from Old Masters heritage to produce my pieces : Rembrandt/Caravaggio is the pattern for incredible light, Vermeer for colors, Rubens for vigor and Velazquez for free brushstrokes. While your pieces highlight the urgent need for renewed reverence for reality, the brushstrokes that condense your visual vocabulary have a very ethereal quality, that in “ Brown Study “ is capable of drawing the viewers into a dreamlike dimension. How do you view the concepts of the real and the imagined playing out within your works ?

Once I was told , that I had very rare feature ; I can see in my imagination


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Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

the ready painting before I start to paint. True is, that when I am painting it sometimes goes beyond my control , I can even talk and paint at the same time. However there are moments, that I must concentrate completely, I am very tired afterwards and surprised that I was me who did this piece , it is incomprehensible for me and difficult to explain. We like the way your works accomplish an insightful investigation of the subconscious sphere. We daresay that your art practice also challenges an inner cultural debate between heritage from the past and traditions that carry on to this day : despite the reminders to traditional figurative approach, your work is marked out with stimulating contemporary sensitiveness. Do you think that there is still a contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness ? Or there is an interstitial area where these apparently opposite elements could produce a proficient synergy ?

In my opinion classics in art is timeless and from this point of view we can also consider traditional, classical painting as contemporary. So called “ contemporary art “ (here I mean for example video art , performance) became banal and artists are dealing now more with sociology than with art. Others turned towards abstract painting. Realist painting (photorealism) became monkey handiness and human being - as the subject of art – degraded . Such contemporary art became dispassionate, not to say nightmarish banal in its

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Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

21 4 06

ART Habens

Special Issue


Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

ART Habens

the narrative for my works are old movies and photos. Having this base I add and change elements and create my own vision of the scenery.

message content, raggedly produced, deprived of vision. These are not features of traditional art and due to this I think, that proficient synergy is rather impossible. Moreover, people are fed up with so-called pieces of art , they return to classics. The exhibitions of Old Masters attract to museum crowds of art lovers.

There is central idea, that connects all my works : I am searching for beauty in my painting objects. There is so much evil and ugliness nowadays, that I would like everybody looking at my paintings to associate them with feelings of beauty and good only.

I am young and I am not afraid, that my paintings are not “ trendy “, it is a paradox , but sometimes I feel my figurative art like completely new phenomenon, as there is no space for such paintings in the contemporary art galleries . I paint what I feel and create different representations : it may be traditional still life with the abundance of elements ( Still life with mask ) or horse head with some unreal background(Espinozja) and I never consider in terms whether the art I create is traditional or modern, I just paint what is in line with my soul.

You seem to direct your exploration of elements from environment – as the waves of the sea in “ Fala” and the background of “ Camels” – not only as a terrain that can be geographical but also a terrain that can be about memory and human presence, accomplishing an effective investigation about the relationship between perception and memory, to challenge the viewers’ parameters. What is the role of memory in your work ? We are particularly interested in how you consider memory and its evocative role in showing an alternative way to escape and overcome the recurrent reality.

We like Ancient Rome for the way it successfully attempts to capture the physical feature of such wide place and at the same time leaves space for the spectators to replay the scenes in their own intimate lives, letting them become emotionally involved in what you are attempting to communicate. How do you conceive the narrative for your works ? In particular, do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work?

Generally I can describe the role of memory in painting as essential. Physical human presence in certain environment causes summing up the feelings of different senses. Best paintings of land and seascapes are made live, unfortunately it is not always possible – then memories can help a lot ( memory of not only images but also reminiscences of wind, smell, sunshine or cold ).

As I mentioned before I like to paint big historical genre scenes and in this particular case the only base to conceive

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ART Habens

Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

Human being usually finds comfort in the nature, sometimes people are longing to escape from civilization. A certain kind of escape and overcoming the recurrent reality, an element evoking memories may be a painting – made under influence of artist’s personal environment perception, while having viewer’s vivid feedback and associations. We appreciated the way “ Spices of Arabia “ creates a point of convergence between a kind of imagery belonging to universal imagery and direct experience with concrete aesthetics you convey through a personal language. So we 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?

In my opinion and in my case personal experience is not an absolutely indispensable part of creative process, moreover – a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience. When I paint, it is like subconscious is switched on. While painting object ( for example fruit ) I imagine its block, smell, taste . Other words imagination is quite good substitute of direct experience How do you go about naming your work ? In particular, is important for you to tell something that might walk the viewers through their visual experience ?

I do not bother overmuch with naming my work. Usually I have problem with finding names and I follow others advices, it

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23 4 05


Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

21 4 06

ART Habens

Special Issue


Leszek Piotrowski Lesstro

ART Habens

works I feel that the audience is so very important for my work, it simply makes sense to paint. This is more important that classical contemporary painting nowadays, in the era of mass media is not easy accessibly for common audience, as I mentioned before there is no space in contemporary art galleries for this kind of art. Generally the issue of audience reception is not crucial component of my decision-making process, my language is universal and I don’t adjust it in particular context .

happened a few times, that gallery named my paintings , due to the missing title and the name was great ( for example it was “ Shocking Red “ ). For me it is important, that name of my work associate with the image, although I don’t have to explain the meaning of my work , perception of my works is very good and I am happy about it . Over the years your works have been internationally showcased in several occasions and your painting “ Maja” is exhibited within permanent collection of MEAM Museum in Barcelona. One of the hallmarks of your work is the capability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of relationship of your art with your audience. 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 is used in a particular context ?

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

The nearest project is a female nude , painted on the bigger size canvas, with enriched technology comparing to the series of nudes I made a few years ago. It will be a new challenge for me as I will have possibility to see my work evolving . Next summer I am planning to have open-air painting in Balkan countries and I am looking forward to it . These are my nearest future projects . Regarding longterm project my dream is to make really huge historical, genre scene painting .

Referring to this question I have ambivalent feelings. The answer is simultaneously YES and NO. Having in regard, that thanks to my family support ( both financial and moral ) I have never had to care about the sale of my production and I don’t need to satisfy others taste or follow what is trendy in art. I can afford painting what I like. So in this aspect I don’t care about the audience or critics.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts. Leszek, would you like to tell our readers something about your future.

An interview by

On the other hand – when I am facing appreciation and admiration for my

and

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, curator curator

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