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

A r t

R e v i e w

Untold Stories, multimedia installation a work by Meritxell Aumedes Molinero


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

A r t

R e v i e w

Meritxell A. Molinero

Marta Djourina

Carles Pàmies

Natalie L

Shu-Jung CHAO

Darcia Labrosse

Spain / United Kingdom

United Kingdom

United Kingdom/Spain

USA

France

USA

My artistic focus lies within natural traces of light and their reminiscence captured with each exposure. My experimentations with this theme have led to different ways of dealing with the approach of “painting” with light. By questioning the characteristics of light and using traces in order to express them, I’ve discovered photography to be the optimum medium. One of my most recent projects deals with filtering of light through such objects.

I would not define me as a Creator, as an intentional generator of a reality and a language. Omnia Vertuntur. The dizziness of reality and the fleeting step of time takes me in the air. I am unable to assimilate it completely and the only solution, my own reaction, is to drop my poetical ballast, in the shape of words, images, or actions without transcendency. But "verba volant, scripta manent ", that's why this anxiety for elaborating milestones in this brief vital path.

Natalie L. fascination with the Impressionists led her to create her first paintings under their influence. As her tastes evolved towards contemporary art, she has gradually moved away from figurative painting to a style between realism and abs-traction. Her form of abstraction is not disconnected from nature but reflects its imperfect beauty. Her inspiration co-mes from the organic world. After several years of experimentation, she now focuses her creative energy on exploring the abstract patterns.

A person with simultaneity and multi-culture, a foreigner, a stateless person, or a traveler… How does she sharpen her points of view on the world and question her situation in this world, at a given moment. I grew up in Taiwan, the country which I left five years ago. When I first arrived in France, I had a huge culture shock, which originated from the unfamiliar language, habit, and history. I experienced relationship and self break-through during these years.

In this era of transhumance and deterritorialization, my work is a trace left by a performance in a factory setting, far from the habitual painting studio space. In contrast to an actual ritualistic praxis, I use a highly sophisticated medium: electrostatic paint, also known as powdercoating, on sheets of aluminum, copper or Corten steel. The process is fast and conducive method that facilitates immediacy of thought and feeling, challenging a fine line between figure and abstraction.


In this issue

M. Aumedes Molinero Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Installation

Melissa Spiccia Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Installation

Carles Pàmies Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Installation

Darcia Labrosse Lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil Mixed media, Painting

Natalie L Lives and works in London, UK Painting, Installation

Danhua Ma Lives and works in Chicago, IL, USA Installation, Mixed media Sercan Gundogar

Danhua Ma

Melissa Spiccia

Turkey

USA

United Kingdom

Main focus of my intended approach is human supremacy on nature and I call this the domestication of nature. The approach also refers to holocene and its successor anthropocene. Domesticated or reshaped landscapes depicted in my photographs represent human supremacy towards nature in other words subjectivity of human and objectivity of nature. This documentation also aims at highlighting egocentric approaches of humans by showing the human made in other words unnatural landscapes.

I have been struggling with clarifying “working” and “not working” by myself for a long time before I jumped into the contemporary art world. I went through the process of avoiding “not working” artworks to accepting them. I was a painter and the effort I put into my creation process was far beyond my final visual effect. Then I turned to an unconventional art medium. I am happy about those “not working” projects. In this personal analysis, I will discuss my main focus: sound.

Marta Djourina Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Installation

Shu-Jung Chao Lives and works in Paris, France Mixed media, Installation

Sercan Gundocar Lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey Mixed media, Installation

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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.

On the cover Obliba 1, 2015, a work by Marta Daeuble


Meritxell Aumedes Aumedes Molinero rûaḥ (female Hebrew onomatopoetic expression that mimics the sound of the wind or a breath). In an oscillation of waves between tension and release, Aumedes portrays the moment of letting go after an intense experience, exploring the state of calmness after the storm. She uses a bed as a metaphoric space of encounter for birth and death, pain and pleasure, a place where life can often start and end. This "silent space" works in juxtaposition to the memories and sounds it is connected to. In a cycle without a beginning or an end, rûaḥ reflects upon primal feelings of the human condition. Aumedes has been working in the field of performing arts over the past 15 years. Her artistic work has been presented on as well as off stage, taking part on exhibitions, screenings and performances around Europe, in collaboration with other artists, festivals and artistic institutions. Meritxell Aumedes Molinero

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An interview with

Meritxell Meritxell Aumedes Molinero

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

Meritxell Aumedes Molinero is a versatile artist whose work brings to a new level of significance the combination between dance, performance and visual arts, to explore the notions of time, reality and experience. In her audiovisual installation rÝaḼ that we'll be discussing in the next pages, she unveils the twofold nature of human limbic parameters, inviting the viewers to rethink about their perceptual categories and drawing them into the liminal area in which opposite ideas and sensations find an unexpected point of convergence. One of the most convincing aspects of Aumedes Molinero's work is the way she subverts the relationships between elements belonging to universal imagery to create a concrete aesthetic from experience and memories: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Meritxell, and a warm welcome to ART Habens. We would start this interview posing you some questions about your rich background: after your studies of Classical and contemporary dance you nurtured your education in the field of Multimedia and you are currently pursuing your Master€in Contemporary Performative Arts, Gothenburg University. How have these experiences informed your evolution as an artist? In particular, how has the convergence between formal training and your early practice as a dancer informed the way you conceive and produce your current works?

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tic vision and message. I enjoy as well all the possibilities this contains; from creating a visual artwork for a stage production, to exhibit an installation in an art gallery, to conceive a site-specific performance or to produce a dance film. There are as well other factors that contribute to the way I see the world and how I create art, this refers to identity related issues like cultural background and gender. I was born in Barcelona in 1978, but have been living and working half of my life abroad, in different cities in Germany and Sweden.

I think all the steps in my background as an artist, from my education to my professional career, have shaped the way I work today. Having knowledge in the fields of dance, visual- and performance art allows me to use different tools to communicate an artis-

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As a dancer, I have spent many years of my life engaged with the task of communicating to and with an audience. To make them feel sad, angry, happy, curious, to make them laugh, to make them cry, to create a reflection. To touch them in one way or another. I performed in small and large stages, in big cities and in small towns; in galleries, museums and on the streets. I worked with international established renowned artists as well as more experimental newcomers. But my search for that something that would give sense to what I was doing never stopped. And that's still the driving force that carries all my artistic work. Ultimately, what is most rewarding as a performer has nothing to do with executing perfection or getting acknowledgment and recognition, but knowing that you are able to deeply touch someone, to make a difference for a particular person in some way. To feel that those tears of joy or sadness, those afterthoughts and reflections, take place because you have been able to bridge the distance across the orchestra pit (or elsewhere) and take that particular audience member with you into a trip somewhere else; maybe into their inner world; into their past, into their future, into their dreams or to encounter regular hopes and fears of the humankind. The most beautiful experiences dance has given me were the moments, both on stage and in the studio, when I was able to emotionally connect to what I was doing. When as a performer, you manage to transcend all the practical aspects to surrender to what is happening for real in that very moment, going beyond the execution of movements or actions and letting the energy and purpose of the work take over you, leaving you open and at risk.

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I think presence and energy awareness are essential to achieve that kind of investment. If you are able to canalize the energy of your body and your mind with a clear inten-

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tion, to focus in a particular way, that energy travels across the forth wall direct into people.

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want to work with, but which is the most suitable to way and instrument to communicate an idea. Is it mainly through the body?

When I create an artistic work, I don’t necessarily start by thinking which art form I

Or through visual elements? In the combi-

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nation of both, in which way should they be integrated? Independently of the degree in which the different art forms converge into another in each of my art works, I have the feeling all

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that knowledge is always present in my artistic practice. For example, in the audiovisual installation rÝaḼ there is a strong sense of performativity and presence, although the body only appears as a video

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would like to invite our readers to visit http://eye-motional.com/ in order to get a wider idea of the cross disciplinary nature of your artistic production. In particular, your exploration of the physicality of the body allows you to go beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of gestures and suggests us a reflection about the notion of time. Addressing us into the liminal area in which performative dance and conceptual videomaking blends together into a consistent unity, you seem to invite us to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process? And in particular, what is the creative role that chance plays in your approach?

I see intuition as the previous step that gives body to a thought or an idea. Often there is an impulse to take a certain artistic decision, and only later it’s possible to rationalize and understand the reasons for that choice. I think it's important to give space to intuitive creative processes, as they are connected to a deeper knowledge in us. But then, it is equally fundamental to question yourself and reflect about the work in order to refine and improve your own artistic development. I love chance as a creative force, as a generator of possibilities. When working with life performance, one always has to be open and ready for things to go other as planned, and be reactive, on a similar way as when working with improvisation. To learn to take those "accidents" as potential triggers of inspiration is the key for keeping performance alive and real. And this applies as well when filming or editing, which are not bound to ephemerality on the same way as performance. Although I have a clear idea of how I want things to come across, if a mistake occurs and it brings a new direction that I see as a poten-

projection. That creates a bridge between performance and visual art. Your practice conveys both metaphoric approach and performative research: we

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tial improvement for the result, I welcome all those missteps and even allow them to become a core part of the work. For example, in my dance film mindsight most of the footage is shot in a quarry. After the filming session there was over, and I was looking at the footage, I realized one of the performers had mixed up all the moments when he should be closing or opening his eyes, which was a key element for the understanding of the piece. As we didn't have the possibility to repeat the entire shooting on the location, I had to find a solution during the post-production process. The editing became a challenge that forced me to think of new ways to explain the idea I was trying to communicate by using the footage I had. So we could say that incident became vital for what the film turned out to be. For this special issue of ART Habens we have selected rûaḥ, a stimulating audiovisual installation that our readers have already stared to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. As you have explained once, the word rûaḥ refers to female Hebrew onomatopoetic expression that mimics the sound of the wind or a breath. What has at once caught our attention of this work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of condensing opposite ideas into a coherent unity: when walking our readers through the genesis of rûaḥ, would you shed a light about the role of metaphors in your process?

This audiovisual installation was presented for the first time at the exhibition center for contemporary art and culture Röda Sten, in the frame of the sound installation opera Prospero's Castle, based on the Shakespearean play The Tempest. rûaḥ occupied Miranda's room, and besides the direct connection with this female role it was representing the idea of calmness after the storm.

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rûaḥ is full of metaphors, they are the artistic method that shapes the work. The most clear example is the choice of using a bed as a projection surface, as a way of framing and representing the origins of

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life and death. This opens the possibility to portray opposite ideas such as pain and pleasure by using a common shared physical space. It is the simplicity of the object in juxtaposition to the many associations that it contains, and the chain of thoughts it

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triggers, that gives the actions in the visual work its complexity. I am looking for and intrigued by works that with very simple means or simple ideas can generate rich emotions and reflections in the viewers. I think rÝaḼ has this potential.

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The soundscape, which is mainly created by modifying the real sound of the metallic bed grid, becomes a metaphor of antagonist screams that resonates with the mentioned idea of juxtaposing pain and pleasure.

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Another level of playing with the metaphorical concept is reality and fiction. The projection of my own body on the bed is real size, and depending on the angle you look at it from, it really looks three-dimensional. This creates the illusion of a real

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pleasure hints the necessity of going beyond any symbolic strategy to examinate the relationship between a variety of states of mind: it rather constructs a concrete aesthetic from experience and memories. and works on both subconscious and conscious level. So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

What inspired me to create rûaḥ was the idea of portraying the moment of letting go after an intense experience, that corporeal sensation of peace and calmness after going through physical pain. In this case the body of the work is connected to a very personal relation to the female cycle, but I am not intending to create that association for the audience, that was only my starting point in the creative process. I don’t think art must be always strictly connected to personal experience, but it is certainly a quality that gives credibility and creates a particular bond between the work and the maker. Nevertheless I am as well interested in themes that, because of their nature, are not so clearly related to my experience. And that interest already creates a connection and the possibility to gain inspiration out of it. It is probably the same process we go through as audience. Sometimes we see, hear or experience an artwork that resonates within us, and it might not be the explicit content of it, but the associations and connections we make through our individual experiences. presence in the bed. I have seen viewers on a rûaḥ exhibition that had the need to touch it to make sure I wasn’t there!

Another stimulating work of yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which we would be pleased to spend some words is entitled Come see the world, that shows the plurality that shapes the dance company and the city. By definition dance is

The way rûaḥ invites us to tread the elusive, fine line that forks between pain and

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rhythm and movement, gesture and continuity: your time-based works induce the viewers to abandon theirselves to associations, rethinking the concept of space and time in such a static way: this seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?

Video and film give the possibility to break the rigidity of time and space in a way is not possible in life performance. Come see the world disrupts the natural flow and continuity of the movement, but at the same time plays with a non-really-existing simultaneity of things. Like creating relations between disconnected actions in the city that somehow affect each other. The music was specially composed for the film, and it is the rhythmical and repetitive structure of the composition that gives the drive to it. I like to edit on a very musical way, allowing image and sound to support each other. This may be related to my background and training as a dancer, but in my opinion, videos always profit from a good understanding of rhythm, speed, tension, flow and all the elements connected to timing and dynamics. And we couldn't do without mentioning Mind Your Mind, an insightful investigation about the twofold notion of reality. What we find particularly interesting is the fact that you urge the viewers to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension, suggests the idea that informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" as microscopic grains of sand in the way we transform concepts in language, so we need to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our

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inner Nature... what's your point about this?

mind your mind reflects upon the processes that take place in our heads, looking at how

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do we interpret and process reality. How sometimes our own thoughts can take us into inner journeys where we trap ourselves, where we can’t find the way out, until we discover that we forgot to look into

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that direction where the door has always been open and waiting for us to go through. It's questioning reality and perception. Is it the world only constructed by our thoughts?

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Can we trust the information we receive through our senses?

something that we perceive as reality, and interested about the new perspectives science brings with its evolution. Years after mind your mind I produced mindsight, the dance film I mentioned pre-

I am fascinated by the capacity of the brain and the power of the mind for constructing

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Mind Your Mind us has impressed us also for its successful attempt to go beyond a mere interpretative aspect of the reality you refer to. As the late Franz West did in his installations, this work seems to reveal unconventional aesthetics in the way you deconstruct and assemble memories in a collective imagery, to draw the viewer into a process of self-reflection. What is the role of memory in your approach? Memory is not something static, keeps changing as we recall it every time we share it with others. For example very vivid personal memories from our childhood can be composed from memories from our parents, but we feel them as if they were ours. I would say imagination, reality perception and mental states play a bigger role in mind your mind than memory does. But in general I find memory a very interesting subject. My last performance work Untold Stories is based and inspired in prenatal experiences, and those are mostly documented from memories that very young children can still recollect from their foetal state. So my approach to this subject when developing this performance was to give the participating audience an experience that they could relay to in a very personal manner, initiating a process of self-reflection about own sensorial and physical memories related to pre-birth phases. Your performative works trigger primordial parameters concerning our relation with physicality: as Gerhard Richter once remarked, "my concern is never art, but always what art can be used for": what is your opinion about the functional aspect of Art in the contemporary age?

viously, which further reflects upon reality from the perspective of quantum physics, touching upon concepts such as non-locality and entanglement.

I think contemporary art plays a big role in our society. Artists are filters of what is going on in the world, and many people works

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with issues that are very political and relevant, operating on a very time specific modus. I believe we can change and improve society through art. But I don’t think all art needs to have this functional approach. Art has value in itself, regardless if what it communicates has activist or other differing intentions. Art is there to inspire you, to give you an insight, and it is as valid if you associate it to migration issues as if it talks about something considered more mundane. What evokes change in us can’t be foreseen. As an artist I can create a platform for others to connect to and resonate with, but I can not control the way this will happen for every person that gets to experience it. I already consider myself successful if it triggers something in the viewer. Over these years you collaborated with diverse art institutions, festivals, artists and companies in the creative industries: it's no doubt that interdisciplinary collaboration today is an ever growing force in Contemporary Art and that the most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project... could you tell us something about this effective synergy? By the way, Peter Tabor once stated that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between several artists?

Collaborating is not always an easy way to create work, because it implies an understanding between the artists, but when that works out, it brings other possibilities, new "colours", new ideas and knowledge that the result profits from. It stops as well my tendency to want to take care of everything, it's good to practice giving up control.

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I have created several video art works for dance stage productions in collaboration with different international contemporary choreographers. The final result is always the product of an intense communication and understanding of the way the two art forms come together on stage. For example, in the case of the production Pix.Els, we looked for different ways to develop an interaction between the image and the dancers on stage, so both elements coexist and create the performance together, rather than just stand as separate unities sharing a common space. For one of the scenes, I created patterns that moved in space coordinated to the movement of the dancers, so the video projection behaved like part of the group. In this case my knowledge in the dance field was used to create a visual artwork based on the coordination of image, time and space. Another example are collaborations with photographers, where I profited from their expertise to embed it on my film work. But a more clear illustration of a synthesis of two practices in a collaboration that is more distant from my own competences could be when I worked together with a German sculptor, and we looked for a way to combine two different qualities of materials and movement. He designed a metallic structure with joins specially fitted to my upper body, in which I could move in a rigid and rather mechanical manner, in juxtaposition to a delicate surface of black thread I was softly dancing on simultaneously. Your work is strictly connected to the chance of establishing a direct involvement with the viewers, who are called to evolve from a mere spectatorship to conscious participants on an intellectual level, so before leaving this conversation I 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

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component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

I believe audience relations a very important element to consider when creating artistic work. My recent performance work, not only challenges the audience to become participants of the work on an intellectual level, but to physically be part of it. I became more and more interested in giving the viewers an experience of sensorial nature, something they can think about what it meant for them but as well how it felt for them. We live in a very individualistic society, and this can be an approach to connect with each other and learn about trust and vulnerability. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Meritxell. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. How do you see your work evolving?

My work is evolving towards a stronger combination of cross-disciplinary elements, and inspired from a human specific performance art direction. I just premiered Untold Stories as part of the Gothenburg International Biennial for Contemporary Art extended program. This site-specific performance has been developed for the sauna complex build by the German architect collective Raumlabor Berlin, which is embedded in the spectacular port environment in Gothenburg. Untold Stories is an immersive experience, which takes place in a very intimate and exclusive format: only one audience member at the time. An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

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Melissa Spiccia Spiccia Melissa Spiccia has a deep interest in the detailed physicality and organisation of the body stemming from a career as a contemporary dance artist. Drawing from past experiences in dance choreography and improvisation, her processes are non linear and in constant transition, allowing ideas to shift, respond and materialise in their most suited form, unconstrained to one practice. Intrigued by identity and experience, configuration and disassociation and the play between our visual and physical perceptions, has resulted in Melissa creating works in a more sustained outcome.

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An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Barbara Scott, curator arthabens@mail.com

Hello Melissa and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, I would like to pose you a couple of questions about your background: you have a solid formal education and after completed your training in Australia, you nurtured your education with a scholarship at the Academie de danse Classique in Monte Carlo. You later graduated from the Laban Centre in London with a first class degree: how have these different experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does living in a multicultural and vivacious place as London informs the way you relate yourself to art making and to aesthetics?

Hello, and thank you for inviting me to take part in this issue. My early training in classical ballet installed in the body a solid technical foundation and an appreciation for line and form. After a number of years working as a ballerina however, I personally found ballet’s codified structure and ideals restricting and closed off from outside influences. There was a deep need in me to understand dance as an art form and movement at a deeper level. Studying Movement analysis and Bartenieff fundamentals at the Laban centre in London gave me a greater understanding of the moving body – particularly it's organisation and relationship to time and space. Throughout my dance career thereafter, I continued to work with improvisational techniques and discovered so much more of the body’s possibilities, exploring a more authentic way of moving and expressing.

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moment of becoming the act. As compelling as this can be, there came a time when I also felt I wanted to be able to hold onto to these transient moments, to document, examine and perhaps recognise them. This has gradually led me to shift my focus, allowing my visual and physical perceptions to arrive in a state that feels less impermanent.

In dance we use our body as the instrument to communicate our internal and external worlds. It is a very direct art form through which the dancer inhabits or is in the

I enjoy being in a place such as London where things mix, collide and form anew.

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The city, like the body, is not a fixed entity and I find myself a spectator at times, curious to the little nuances in others. I am visually drawn to unintentional composition and form within the environment and I am curious to find through more sustained forms of art the ‘movement’ or ‘moment’ within these structures. Ranging from performance to photography, from written texts to drawing, your approach reveals a deep multidisciplinary synergy between several viewpoints that you often combine together into a coherent unity, that allows you to accomplish an effective exploration about the ideas you investigate about. I would suggest our readers to visit http://www.melissaspiccia.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. While superimposing concepts and images, crossing the borders of different artistic fields, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints and practices is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

Sometimes, for instance an image may feel like it needs words to communicate a sense of movement or to add another perspective. The process is always about immersion, working intimately with the idea by engaging all the senses. Naturally then I find that the concept finds it’s own outlet for expression, crossing over into multiple areas as I explore its component parts. For this special issue of ART Habens we have selected For Tomorrow, an interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. When I first happened to get to know this project I tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning: but I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual unity suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its content: would you

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captured this but these were my thoughts at the time. The way you explore the physicality of the body is strictly connected to your background as contemporary dance artist. However, your current approach goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of gestures and movement, bringing to a new level of significance the notion of improvisation: it suggests me a reflection about the notion of time. While walking the viewers through the liminal area in which configuration and disassociation blends together into a consistent unity, you seem to invite us to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process? And in particular, what is the creative role that chance plays in your process?

My creation process functions like an experiment. It oscillates between intuition, chance and control. Initially for instance, there is a thought or image in my mind that I am curious to see whether it can be explored further. Can it be embodied or choreographed into something tangible or does it fit coherently with something else. Sometimes the expression begins in the physical and I want to see if I can distil it into an image to become conscious of it’s meaning or perhaps for the image take me into a new direction. In these instances, it is a play between experience and cognition.

like to walk our readers through the genesis of this recent project? What was your initial inspiration?

When moving through the unknown and reacting to the surroundings, chance occurrences do play a role in creating works. However, I see ‘chance’ more as a sense of being fully present in a way that is both sensory alert and a combination of working with the conscious and subconscious.

At the time I was thinking about isolation and social disconnection. In particular I explored feelings of living without a sense of purpose as though you were becoming absent within your body as it moved forward with time. This sense of the inner self fading from existence, detached and devoid of desire felt as though the day were expanding along an infinite time line while the walls of our private spaces - our bodies and homes were folding inwards. I’m not sure if the images or text for the project fully

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled ENMESH: when rethinking abut memory as a physical manifestations of our

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pasts, you stimulate the viewer’s psyche to perceive in such an a temporal way, on both a subconscious and a conscious level. This quality marks out a considerable part of your production and as the late Franz West did in his installations, ENMESH seems to reveal unconventional aesthetics in the way you deconstruct and assemble memories in a collective imagery, to draw the viewer into a process of self-reflection. What is the role of memory in your process?

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your opinion about the functional aspect of Art in the contemporary age?

I guess, from my viewpoint it really depends on the context and what function the artist and viewer place on the work, whether it be something deeply personal or social for instance. I feel, perhaps naively, that whatever the work, it has the capacity to touch the individual and/or collective in someway be that emotionally, intellectually, physically or as an aesthetic function. And these in my view are a deep necessity in life to reflect humanity, express diversity and construct new perspectives.

In relation to Enmesh I was interested in trying to archive experiences and impressions where as individuals we had emotionally been before. One of the ideas that I explored was the thought that memories travel through the body like a foreigner. Forgotten by our minds but by our bodies are still remembered.

I have appreciated the way you often play with the opposites, establishing an unconventional symbiosis between staticity and dynamism, as well as between human body and elements from the environment, as you did in 85 North. To quote Simon Sterling's words, I daresay that you force things to relate that would probably otherwise be unrelated. Do you agree with this interpretation? And in particular, how do you select the materials and the images that convey the ideas you question?

Maybe these memories are triggered into the foreground of our consciousness while at other times remain dormant but still in someway have played a part in constructing our identities. By sequentially moving the body across the scanner through the duration of a single scan, I was curious to see if I could in someway discover where these fragments of the past were stored and if we could come to recognize them in ourselves and others.

In response to your first question, I wouldn’t say I force things to relate but I am curious to see if they do. In terms of materials, the body was my initial tool for expression and in some instances still is, but I also find myself reacting to what is around me, the everyday and what seems approachable and tactile. I pick selected images on the basis of which ones are technically the strongest and those that express the idea most truthfully.

The intrinsic evocative nature of the intimate features of She is, Body Dysmorphic shows a stimulating -and successful- attempt to exploit the notion of physicality itself: when using the doby both as subject and as medium you give the viewers the chance to challenge the common way we perceive not only body dysmorphic issues, but our primordial parameters concerning our relation with physicality: as Gerhard Richter once remarked, "my concern is never art, but always what art can be used for": what is

I couldn't do without mentioning In Ego, a stimulating transdisciplinary project in which you show the twofold nature of the concept of identity, unveiling the dichotomy between its physicality and the impact of our perceptual parameters. What I find particularly interesting is the fact that you urge the viewers to an

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Melissa Spiccia

unconventional process of recontextualization and subversion, challenging the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... your reflection about the multilayered nature of language suggests the idea that informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" as microscopic grains of sand in the way we transform

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

Our understandings of the world are subjective to our experiences but we can identify collectively in emotions that are

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universal. There is a multilayered dimension to my work as I try to bring what is being actually present into it, whether that is known or hidden from consciousness. I can’t avoid the vulnerability of the body and have to work with its truths. I think our nature’s can find themselves into works but I guess it’s a choice whether an artist chooses to reveal their unexpected and hidden sides.

ART Habens

Your work is strictly connected to the chance of establishing a direct involvement with the viewers, who are called to evolve from a mere spectatorship to conscious participants on an intellectual level, so before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your

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ART Habens

Melissa Spiccia

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?

Initially it was seen more as a documentation of processes. What is it that I am seeing or where am I in this moment? I was also exploring new disciplines that I knew very little about but instinctively found myself working in. I’m not sure, therefore, if the audience’s reception was in my mind at the outset of my decision processes. But on some level I was and still am trying to reach out to others in ways that go deeper then skin level. When writing thoughts down I suppose they are for someone, something, I’m not sure. I see it as being similar to when I use my body in photographs. They are not self-portraits, but a body, and a part of me is at a distance, removed, observing in. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Melissa. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

My pleasure. At the moment I have a couple of projects in progress and would very much like to continue developing and pushing my work to connect with a wider audience. There’s an urgency to keep going and a need to dig deeper to challenge the outcomes. I would like to at some point test the scale of the work, work with new materials and collaborate with like-minded individuals.

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

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Carles PĂ mies PĂ mies I would not define me as a Creator, as an intentional generator of a reality and a language. It would be conceited. Omnia Vertuntur. The dizziness of reality and the fleeting step of time takes me in the air. I am unable to assimilate it completely and the only solution, my own reaction, is to drop my poetical ballast, in the shape of words, images, or actions without transcendency. But " verba volant, scripta manent ", that's why this anxiety for elaborating milestones in this brief vital path. An effort that is already known uselessly, sterile, but that is very human. Licensed in Sciences of Information. He alternates the most insipid literature with the accomplishment of the most sordid television programs in all the spanish Networks during the last 25 years. He obtains some Literary minor Awards. In 1996 he publishes Cruel World, that the critique estimates but that turns out to be a commercial success. He edits also his next poem book, and later dedicates his works to the future unknown generations. His other multidisciplinary activities remain in hidden desks or have been punished by the law. Carles PĂ mies Special Issue

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video, 2013

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An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Hello Carles and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, we would like to pose you a couple question about your background. In particular, after your studies in the field of Science of Information you started a multifaceted career that involves both video and poetry: are there any particular experiences that has influenced the way you currently conceive and produce your works? In particular, does your Spanish cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

The fact is that basically I have been producing Television programs of all kind and genres, for decades, sometimes in huge, industrial quantities ... And in this world of Professional Broadcast, inside the Industry, the Machine Production, I have always found people who face their work from a poetic side: Producers of Sports programs, Producers of Music … Producers that use the images in a poetic way, regardless of the high standards required of them ... A bit like the Middle Age Sculptors of carvings, that despite the strictness of the religious assignments, took the €freedom to place their art and allow little licences here and there … so I try to place some visual poetry in my daily broadcast job, too.

Carles Pàmies

cided to directly visualize a poem and compel/force the viewer to read it €(‘I Can Say’, 2005), playing with the rhythms and tempo. I think the Visual poetry can be read or written in the pieces, but I prefer not to influence much on the viewer, so I chose the written shape and everyone reads it with its inner voice. Obviously, the influence of the poor quality of Spanish television has influenced my aesthetic sense ... I have been always viewing foreign high quality productions ... and envying it.

On the other hand, my poetic production has always been produced while I was working in the image world, I mean, the written work. Finally, in a few small visual pieces that I produced (‘Inquisition’, 1992; ‘Still Things’, 2003), surfaced poetic verses and some brushstrokes ... .Then I de-

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ART Habens

Carles Pàmies

For this special edition of ART Habens we have selected WHERE ART LIES that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. While walking our readers through the genesis of this interesting project, would you like to shed a light on your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work?

For this new series of works €-'Art Paths', I call them- €I'm developing new forms of treatment for Stop Motion Through the Action Cameras. The intention is to capture physical paths seen in first person, about journeys in space/time, journeys that in the future, will become the witness of our Present, and specifically in some especial Places. The work that inspired me to carry it out was an early Spanish film work, 'A Tram ride' (1908), shot in Barcelona in the early twentieth century. It is a marvellous Travelling shoot that captured the place, the people and even the atmosphere and mood that reigned in the city in that time. The 'Art Paths' seek a playful reflection about the Permanence/Absence €in Space/Distance, our Permanence and, at the same time, it represents the translation into First Person view (POV), from changes in the Spatial and Social geography of an environment to the approach that leads to certain Areas,' Temples of Art 'or ‘Repositories of Knowledge’ ... the Museums as priceless artworks stores; as Core/Destiny ... It is an exercise I’m beginning to explore recently and I don’t know where it will lead me...

impressive the way you explore the relationships between urban elements avoiding metaphoric structure: how did you develop your editing style?

WHERE ART LIES reveals a meticulous use of montage techniques and we find

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Carles PĂ mies

While the result seems a continuous take, it is actually made with several routes, repetitions of some sections, dropped frames .... The frames are individually and meticulously viewed eliminating defective

ART Habens

ones, excessive kinetic or moved, and those that prevent, slow or alter the continuous viewing,. The result is that, if desired, the journey can be recreated €s-l-o-w-l-y, frame by frame, discovering a

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Carles PĂ mies

thousand new facets, details, people ... details that you couldn’t notice at first. If it is viewed slowly, the effect of advancing and discovering things is almost hypnotic, fascinating. I am improving the fluency

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technically, through the help of gimbal stabilizers and other tools. By definition video is rhythm and movement, gesture and continuity. In your

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ART Habens

cept of space in such a dynamic way: this seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more extemporal form. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?

While my first video, ‘Tits’ (1991) explored a rhythmic universe based in sounds, converting them into music, afterwards I have been combining sounds and silences with very heterogeneous musical applications. Now I am recently interested in the contradiction between our hectic, noisy and fast €world, and the rescue of the forgotten ‘Tempo of Lied’, that parenthesis of calm that Lied suggests. I love the contrast and perception in the coexistence of different-centuries: s.XVIII and s.XXI beats, and the relative parity of the topics covered by this music: the sadness and the dark sides of life, the loneliness, the basic and honest feelings ... it serves to Build/Generate relationships between Sound/Music and the images, relationships that have an interesting influence upon the viewer. When stretching the perception of time you seem to address the viewers to relate themselves with your work in such an extemporal way, your work shows an effective combination between experience and imagination. German sculptor and photographer Thomas Demand once stated that: "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and €has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about this? And in particular, I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

videos you create time-based works with a suggestive sound that doesn't play the role of mere background and that induce the viewers to abandon theirselves to free associations, looking at time in spatial terms and I daresay, rethinking the con-

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Carles Pàmies

One of the premises in the creative world is the persistence, the obsession that some of ourselves endure and survive when we are gone, the persistence of the individual soul after life ends ... It is a concern that also pursues me as stone Chipper, as Stelae or Cairns Sculptor, like traces left on the road. My personal experience is intrinsically linked to everything I do. In fact, I have been developing a novel for a few years now and the writing has become an experience itself, a process of creation. To Write it, to produce it, word by word, is almost more interesting in itself that the finished work. The road becomes the target … the same as the exploration through the poetry and the images that I keep doing. About my Direct experience, it is not just a part of my Creations, it dictates the activity and paths that run my Art flow: Can’t be separated. As you have remarked once, artworks are waiting for the glimpse of a few human genius: we could subvert this assumption and state that once an artwork has been created it waits for the glimpse of humans who can snatch the spirit held inside a sequence of images as well as on the surface of a canvas. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to delete any barrier between the viewers and the idea encapsulated in a piece of art. revealing unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

spirit will hit 'him', capture the viewer, maybe a child or a casual observer. It happens in a similar way as when a book writer reaches the spirit of the soul of his reader, beyond the time it was written. In this sense, the creators of ‘Land Art’, as

The idea is that, indeed, every work of Art leads encapsulated the spirit that the author has coded into it and which, unexpectedly, and in a way absolutely personal, an observer perceives it. That

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Carles Pàmies

Andy Goldsworthy, seek some permanence, the survival of the ephemeral, of a moment in the life of the Planet, of Nature, to chart a path, stones ... €a glimpse of life, Art, that time eliminates at a stroke. I expect my work to connect with

ART Habens

other sensitivities, places and at any future. My daughter, by example, or maybe grandchildren… anyone in the tomorrow. In many of your works, as in the interesting WHERE SHE LIES, you explore a variety of psychological undercurrents that

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Carles PĂ mies

affect contemporary societies. In particular, this stimulating work is a reflection about the female sphere through a journey around the artistic production that ranges from Renaissance to Contemporary age and we have highly appreciated the way it suggests a multilayered inves-

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tigation to that, to quote Simon Sterling's words, seems to force relations between things that would probably otherwise be unrelated. What draws you to a particular subject? And in particular, how do you achieve the balance between

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Carles PĂ mies

ART Habens

tances between things of the past and our present, we as the observers. My work in progress upon Gothic wood carvings in the Choirs of the Spanish Cathedrals, in the Middle Age, which I started in 1987, is mainly based on this, the hidden messages left by the Carvers in the fourteenth century and how we interpret them, how we read them nowadays. The female component particularly interests me because it contains insights that are completely alien to me, which are not like mine, it contains an enormous sensitivity and a distinct look that I envy. A Project -also in Progress-, brewing, for some years, is with some Multimedia visual devices, and focuses on the Death and the Perception of it through the Female Point of View, a much deeper and complex look, with much greater understanding than we the males have. WHERE SHE LIES is a first approach to this feminine sensitivity and to the feminine inside the Art, through the ‘Art Path’ that takes us to some Art Masterworks where Women have the leading role, the main subject. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, you seem to avoid an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell through your portraits... this quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and memory in a truly engaging way. What is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

your storytelling and the message you want to convey in your works?

As the Sterling's interests - the journeys made by people and objects-, my interests converge in the Temporary and Time dis-

What I would like to achieve one day is a global visualization of a complete poetry book of mine, all the entire audiovisual

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Carles Pàmies

poetry pieces, linked one to each other ... and obtain success with €those personal visions of them, in a similar way to the reading experience. My poems are something very intimate, visceral, and everyone feels them in a personal way, so the visual transcription of the poetry should be like shreds of myself, pieces of my memory and experiences, my worldview. The Poem Display is a project that fascinates and absorbs me. I will keep working in this Project. Over these years your works have been screened in many occasions and one of the hallmarks of your videos is the capability to establish direct relation with the audience, deleting any conventional barrier between the idea you explore and who receipt and consequently elaborate them. So before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I do not do works thinking that it will have an audience. When developing an idea, a concept, I can not imagine the receiver, the viewer of it. Maybe that’s a mistake, I do not focus on who will see that, who will read it. I once produced a work in a Mockumentary way, a Fake Documentary, and I could never screen it publicly. It was all very, very ... illegal ... and slept the sleep of the righteous in the drawer. I couldn’t not even sign it, leave my authorship. In this sense, many of my poems rest in the drawer. The drawer now has become a digital publishing platform .... some of

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them have not ever been printed. It's really a work constructed for myself ... If someone discovers the performance or gets the message, it would be sublime ... a direct, intimate and communication vis-

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ART Habens

ing your thoughts, Carles. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

cera to viscera, soul to soul. But there is no intention to address to an audience, to a receiver. Thanks a lot for your time and for shar-

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Carles PĂ mies

Project ideas accumulate in thin layers,

main as dregs, accumulated layers of pastry ... The Project of Spanish Gothic Stalls, maybe is the one I've been developing for longer, evolving in parallel with technical

and it gets tough €sometimes to rescue one under the lower layers, and complete it .... They get tarnish with dust and re-

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Carles Pàmies

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turning the Choirs of Cathedrals into virtual exhibition in space... In any place, you could feel the sensation of being inside a Cathedral of the fourteenth or fifteenth century, without having to travel there ... and in an instant, view all the hidden details, the most heterogeneous themes and ... Flash! instantly switch to another of the 13 Gothic Cathedrals. The hidden world that the sculptures narrate build the portrait of that time, it is a completely new way to explore Art, and it is worth doing it . It’s hard to find who may be interested in this €presentation, but I'm there, insisting and working. Another project that fascinates me, but I can not continue, due to lack of resources, is creating ‘A Photographer / A Poem’. With This I try to build something unique, a new and original relationship between image and text. It's what I started with ‘I Can Say‘ (2005), with the photography work of Robert Mapplethorpe and the poem of Mongane Serote. The project invites me to work with the work of Helmut Newton, Sebastiao Salgado, Frank Capa ... and poets such as Dylan Thomas, Raymond Carver and García Lorca... And besides the advances of €the ‘Art Paths’, which I'm trying to improve technically, and which I want to develop to another cities and countries, I am also planning to hold a series of ‘Visual Recreations’ in High-Resolution Photographs of the Deadly Sins, in some multiple and heterogeneous fields. It will €Recreate with some particular scenes the Deadly Sins and, simultaneously, the creative process itself, the Making Of all this, will show both the work and how it is constructed. A kind of Photography within the Video, like those movies that show movie shootings.

progress. It began as a Catalogue of all the sculptures and Gothic carvings of Cathedrals in Spain in order to be published, and to show the nooks and hidden details, and has evolved to the current idea of ​

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Darcia Labrosse Labrosse In this era of transhumance and deterritorialization, my work is a trace left by a performance in a factory setting, far from the habitual painting studio space. In contrast to an actual ritualistic praxis, I use a highly sophisticated medium: electrostatic paint, also known as powdercoating, on sheets of aluminum, copper or Cor-ten steel. The process is fast and conducive method that facilitates immediacy of thought and feeling, challenging a fine line between figure and abstraction, traveling from the unconscious to the conscious. Electromagnetic fields as a phenomenon, a life force and a binding agent, have become a unique and essential partner in my creative activity. On a technical level, my strong interests in architecture, my welding apprenticeship followed by years of aimless roaming through heavy industries, building sites, ports, shipyards and foundries, led me to recognize metal as the appropriate medium for what I want to express. The end product is an art impervious to the elements: the paintings can be displayed both on standard walls or safely exposed in the outside world, in situ, where they can easily morph into sculptures, adding a rich architectural dimension to an otherwise intimate and delicate Fine Art. My paintings are essentially intuitive, gestural, vitalist actionpainting executed at the confluence of Fine Arts, alchemy and the rough, cool detachment of the industrial world. With its figurative undertones, my work is an oscillation between two worlds with the abstract constantly feeding the tension figure/ground. In the last decade, the Metal Language corpus I have labelled Existential Expressionism, is willfully branching out from the Abstract Expressionist tradition, primarily because of “its fierce attachment to psychic self-expression…less a style than an attitude”*. Overcoming the gravity of representation, automatism and acquired reflexes, I mix brute force and translucid emotions to paint an ontological, disquieting, enigmatic human figure free from artifice, universal in its expression. Fascination with the distorted human body is primordial to my art, resounding the catastrophic events of Minamata with its indirect repercussions on Butoh, the mummies of the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, the five-thousand-year-old Iceman, and more recently, the apocalyptic appearance of Rick Genest’s entirely tattooed body as he represents himself as both art and skeleton. It brings to mind Ensor, Soutine, Bacon’s fascination with teratology, De Kooning, Dubuffet and the CoBrA movement, Basquiat, Freud and so many other artists who have tried to push the human body’s envelope without completely losing perspective of its humanity. *ART Speaks, Robert Atkins, Abbeville Press, 1990, p.34 Darcia Labrosse

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video, 2013 Anodized Sepia No.27

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Darcia Labrosse

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator

influenced by French surrealist poet AndrĂŠ Breton's streamof-consciousness style extolling the creative force of the subconscious) from which important artists like Jean-Paul Riopelle emerged. These images gave me a sense of the forbidden, the dangerous, of new ways of looking. They were also many Inuit soapstone sculptures collections in the house connecting me with what we call primitive art, but they were to me overpowering talismans made of rock and bones: animals disguised themselves as humans, whales frowned showing huge shark-like teeth, bears wore knives, bow and arrows. I was fascinated by them and thought they were magical. I was also surrounded by paintings from The Group of Seven (Lauwren Harris, Tom Thompson _ who has been an influence on Peter Doig _ and the likes of Emily Carr and A.Y. Jackson) and though I was a little city girl, I was able to feel at a distance and through them, the immense, overwhelming beauty of Canadian nature, in which I live in today. There was no question for me as a child: I would become an artist. And all those artists were my early influences.

and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Darcia Labrosse's work shows an organic point of convergence between Fine Arts and Technology: condensing the ephemeral quality of her vitalist action-painting, her pieces convey the immediacy of the ideas she explores and urges the viewers to elaborate personal association, walking them into a liminal area in which subconscious and conscious level find an unexpected kind of consistence, to create a multilayered and sometimes oniric experience. One of the most convincing aspect of Labrosse's practice is the way she creates an area of intellectual interplay between perception and memory, that invites the viewers to explore unstable relationship between natural forces and human intervention : we are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Darcia and a warm welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You had the chance to raise up surrounded by paintings by Riopelle, Borduas, Cosgrove and you have a solid formal training: after graduating from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts in film and photography you produced short films that received critical acclaim. You later nurtured your education joining the Visual Arts Program at Concordia University. How did these experiences influence your evolution as an artist and inform the way you currently relate yourself to aesthetics?

Looking back, many totally different things have created tensions, frustrations in my life as an artist leading me to some resolutions to the way I paint today and have strongly impacted my work ever since. Firstly, my early studies in film animation gave me a great sense of time and movement in space that I think you can still find in any of my paintings. Life is movement and graphically I think these notions have been integrated in my art ontologically. Then the practice of lithography in university, feeling of the stone’s telluric mysteries was a precursor, my first

Raised in an innocuous American suburb in the sixties in Quebec but living with an iconoclastic eccentric mother, the atmosphere at home was one of rebellion. Every week-end, the walls of our Montreal downtown apartment were transformed into a gallery showing the works of the Quebec painters of the Refus Global movement, (an anti-establishment movement The Total Refusal was

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Darcia Labrosse

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steps into my current shamanic practice of painting.

the constraints of storytelling, to clarity and compressed information in such a small formats have by contrast, made me appreciate the space allowed by painting. Like being jailed and released into a wide-open field. Joy! Through that experience, I have felt space, surface and textures differently from other painters. I have a great sense of unequalled freedom when I work on a large canvas.

Though I had a secret life as a painter for over twenty-five years, in parallel I had a literary career (as a translator, an editor, a writer and an illustrator where I published over forty children’s books) that spanned over thirty years. So being confined to the small formats of illustration for so long, like an eight by ten inches illustration board, to

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Darcia Labrosse

keeps one’s eye engaged with its visual ambience: did you conceive these composition on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance? And in particular, would you like to elaborate the concept of Existential Expressionism for our readers?

My constant struggle while painting, amongst many things, is to blend, merge or erase the limits of the figure/ground dilemmas which diffuses, in return, the figurative/abstract fronts. A very difficult task because the conversation, like you have mentioned, the tensions between those two spaces are what makes for me an image interesting, or not. I am not an abstract painter per se and I am never worried about representation. I don’t think about what I am doing before, while painting, actually very little. My work is completely intuitive created in a state of abandonment. I come to the studio with no preconceived ideas, no sketches, and no plan. As soon as I can sort of conceptualize what I am doing while painting, I systematically erase and start over. I paint in a trance regulated by a certain absence. I loose touch with everything to enter a state, the state of painting. Because of the volatility of the pigments and of the intervention of random electrical currents passing through the metal support I solely use when I least expect it, there is an impossibility to control what I am doing. And this is what I thrive on. But I think that having drawn for forty years everyday has given me that invisible inner ability to structure an image, instinctually.

Untitled No. 44

I would like to suggest our readers to visit http://labrosseart.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. Your work is marked with a stimulating combination between figurative approach and an unconventional kind of abstraction, capable of walking the viewers into a liminal area in which representation and imagination find an unexpected point of convergence. Such asymmetry creates a tension that activates the whole picture and

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Existential Expressionism is a somewhat of a pleonasm, or even a double entendre as I am bringing philosophical notions into play and I have used these two terms together to describe my work deliberately. ‘Art is the distance that time gives to suffering.’ wrote Albert Camus in his notebooks in 1943. I think this quote, this deep observation sums up my quest as an artist. I constantly and repeatedly try to translate into images this

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very thought. Existentialism is addressed in my work. The Metal Language corpus as seen on my website is also labelled Abstract wilfully branching out from the Abstract Expressionist tradition, primarily because of “its fierce attachment to psychic self expression…less a style than an attitude”*. The term Existentialism also refers to my affinities with Butoh, the Japanese cultural movement, as a way to overcome the distance between the painter and a wounded body, and between a wounded body and the universe. When you look at the work, I could also be considered a neo-expressionist painter but I do not embrace postmodernism, or deconstructivism of the new millennium because of its historical short-sightedness, and because exploration, design are not necessarily the art I want to achieve. While most of the works from your recent production are untitled, your pieces show an incessant and organic attempt to establish a special channel of communication with the spectatorship: exhibiting a captivating vibrancy and at the same time rejecting an explicit explanatory strategy, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell... this quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and memory in a truly engaging way. How do you conceive the narrative for your works? And in particular, do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

I have had an interesting debate with French philosopher Pierre Lévy about why most my work remains untitled. He has tried to convince me many times to name the works, to give them a literary connotation by titling them, in order to give the viewer a trail, a path, keys for interpretations. I have resisted this and still do. Having been a writer, I don’t want words to interfere with the purity, with the unique life of the visuals. I don’t want to

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Darcia Labrosse

hear the voice of the titles to distract intellectually the altered state, or the existential state the viewer might be able to reach in his viewing experience. Once a painting is finished I consider it solely belongs to the viewer’s psyche and it is the viewer’s task to find alone, within his own references, if there is or not, any meaning to them. I want the viewer to go into a subjective space where he has never been before; I do want him to discover something there. I think the end product is a translation of feelings and emotions but none of the work starts this way. I don’t try to express emotions or to evoque memories. It is just intrinsic to the technical process. Strangely, it is the very difficult nature of the technical process that allows me to extract feelings and to fix them on the metal. I think in my case, imagination resides in the fact that my curiosity led me to use an unconventional industrial paint as a medium. Like I often say, the paintings paint themselves with very little intervention from myself. An interesting aspect of your work that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would ike to elaborate a bit is the way you distort human body: when subverting our primordial, almost limbic perceptual categories, like Alexander Calder's installations, your work raises a question on the role of the viewers' perception, inviting us to force the common way we relate ourselves not only with the outside world but with our inner sphere. In particular, the faded bodies we can admire in your canvasses encapsulate a freedom of form with abstract features that reminds an oniric dimension. This way, your approach stimulates the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to focus on this form of expression?

I never did decide to focus on this particular form of expression; it is fate that has led me

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Darcia Labrosse

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to use such an unusual medium. But as long as I can remember, I have always had the desire to paint something meaningful, something deep and dark, something essential and primordial echoing the Lascaux or the Altamira Caves for instance, no less. Some-

thing unintellectual, but existential. Something difficult, hard, unpleasant sometimes but terribly human. The body is an amazing interface because every sentient being has one. The distortion invites towards our own acceptance and to reflect on our own imper-

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dialogue with the work during exhibitions, where an actual connection from subconscious to subconscious happens like you say. If I am present, they sometimes naively want to know if I have created what they see especially for them. I am always flabbergasted to see how much the work seems to talk to them, in such a personal way. I have noticed that an unrestricted narrative comes from viewers, which alleviated my task of storytelling. Actually, in my mind there is no narrative that is truly mine, but a posteriori, when the work has ceased to evolve and that it is finished if there is a sort of narrative, I wish it to be universal. In contradiction, if there is a narrative («€There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.€» said Mark Rothko) I secretly hope for a very intimate, a very secret, a deeply hidden, psychoanalytical, Rorschach test kind of narrative in my paintings. Something that happens between the viewer and myself and no one else. What I want is for the viewer to be compromised, ruffled, and pushed into a corner. As if I am forcing the viewer of my painting to feel their innermost, painful secrets. The viewer reveals itself, tells a story out loud or in silence. I want the work to dominate, to intimidate the viewer’s gaze. I think that’s what a good painting is: it imposes its presence, its strength, so you can’t just walk away. You want to stay with it long enough to let it reveal itself. Now I would focus on a more technical aspect of your practice. Your work is essentially intuitive and gestural: your skillful use of electrostatic paint, an industrial medium usually applied on architectural siding, marks your approach as a successful combination between Art and Technology: despite artists as Ernesto Neto or Carsten Höller who often use -to quote McLuhanthe medium as a message itself, you seem to take advantage of technology to create a coherent variety of enigmatic emotions that go beyond the nature of the medium that

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fections. And we all have huge secret inner distortions or torments because of the ethereal aspect of the soul. So my work echoes everyone’s secret silent, unanswered questions, incomprehension of the other, of the world. I have noticed that people have a real

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Darcia Labrosse

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convey them. How would you describe the nature of the relationship between the technique you adopt to produce your pieces and the ideas you communicate?

ART Habens

travels from any original ideas I might have had vaguely in the beginning. The electricity and its currents coming from the electrostatic guns I use tend to mess everything up. Lastly, the compressed air I use to remove pigments is hard to control. In my case, The Medium is (also) The Massage, as McLuhan originally intended. Everything, the machinery, my subconscious, my body all participate in a conscious way to the work, but resulting in a big sabotage that I thoroughly embrace. My ideas, passions, my desires to please my own ego are usually shattered so I have learned along the years to abandon myself completely to the medium.

Ernesto Neto and Carsten Holler’s works have been well thought and well executed, with great precision. In all our cases, yes, the medium is the message. I couldn’t produce the images you see if it wasn’t for the medium I use, and I only use this electrostatic paint and nothing else. In the past, my attempts to paint with oils or acrylics were all pretty disastrous. Not terrible paintings but not what I wanted. I needed a medium that was quick enough to express the immediacy of my thoughts, feelings, of the mood of the moment since I do not pre-conceive the work but expect it to paint itself. I stumbled upon this medium when my brother bought a small industrial painting factory years ago. Luckily, he let me experiment with the machinery and all the expensive gear needed to paint with powdercoating. I gained experience technically as an industrial painter and what struck me was that these completely inert boxes of pigment held clues to my quest. This medium had a mediumnic quality itself once I touched it, like a Pandora’s box. It was like magic and I started right away to create images that spoke to me. All my work, powdercoated on raw or anodized aluminium, is created under constant stress that only very tough humans, mostly men, can endure: temperatures often climb between 50 to 55 degrees Celsius close to the oven where the paintings are baked afterwards like enamels. The ambient noise is deafening, the air is rare and the dust stifling. My studio space, my atelier resemble more an operating room with its stainless steel walls and floors than a sun baked, infused teas atmosphere of other people’s. The vibrations from the various machines in the metalwork factory directly affect the fine pigments that I use on the metal surface plane. Therefore, the image moves, shakes,

If I have been asked to sum in few word the first impressions I received from your work, I would say that it communicates me the idea of a reverberation of memory: your pieces could be considered as visual biographies of the time, I daresay they are footprints that highlight the ambiguous relation with Perception and Experience and that give to the abstract process of art making a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature. What is the role of memory in your process?

Memories stemming from early childhood like the viewing of the black and white films depicting World War II and its atrocities play an important role in my work. My paintings are trying to resolve the impressions those images have left on me somehow. I must have been seven years old, on late night TV, when I saw the infamous piling up of emaciated bodies being casually thrown in mass graves. These images are definitely still alive inside me, and alive in my paintings today. They have made an amazing imprint on my whole being the same way Francis Bacon recollects how images from World War I impacted his work throughout his life. I wish they would just faded away and that I could tackle landscapes for instance but these iconic frames rule my inner movie, over and over. To me these bodies won’t be forgotten

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Darcia Labrosse

in the history books, I want to give them back some life, even for an instant. And this not something I have decided, it just happens as if I am a witness of their being in limbo. Butoh also seem to address similar issues in a universal conversation after the events on Minamata for example.

elements within the medium instead". What's your opinion about this? In particular, I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I think several artists have had similar traumatic experiences and then succeed in transcending these traumas in creating worlds; glimpses into their psyches where we can actually see how these things have been resolved.

In my earlier answers I have stressed the non-conceptual nature of my art though I have to follow a tight protocol, to be able to produce it. The equipment I use is highly sophisticated and nothing can be left to chance, nothing is arbitrary. It has to be a well-oiled machine where precision, order and discipline prevail. My workspace is like a Swiss watch. But once all is in place and working, I can paint. The prepping is extensive, and the cleaning-up just as much. When ready, I feel eager and terrified at the same time. I tend to agree with Thomas Demand’s quote and in his case his medium, the photographic process holds mysteries, magic but also a ubiquitous, household-like quality, a familiarity that helps him to connect. Artists have to feel very connected to their medium otherwise it results is mostly imposture. But personally, I am not disconnected from direct experience. An experience is always direct and this pleonasm takes us further in thinking that art is a result of something. I tend to look at art as a process resulting in a death. I cannot involve myself further than in the process, where sometimes a piece of artwork is born. Everything is then reanimated when light is shed on it, when rooms are painted for the occasion and where the viewers infuse breath, animation, and thoughts into the art alive.

My work is often seen as a form of X-rays and I think that they are just that, unintentionally. They are incarnations of affects. I always say that I paint what I see, what I feel. I have seen evil, abuse. I have seen hatred, mental illnesses in my own family for instance that I think it gets processed in my work. My partner of twenty years is autistic and his sense of isolation is sometimes reified in my work. I don’t mean it to be all dark, full of angst, but this is where I uncontrollably connect with some of the original existential painters like Schiele, or Munch. There is no real choice in painting what I paint: it comes out; it expresses itself like something outside of myself. I feel a great detachment from the work once it is done because it has come out, like an exorcism. But as inner pain is not easily dispersed, it remains dormant, and comes back alive in each and every painting. The immediacy that marks your pieces allows to the viewers to absorb emotions both on a conscious and a subconscious level, and we don't need to wait cultural substratum to mediate between the ideas you investigate about and the sensations we receive from your images: German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative

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The dialogue established by delicate, thoughtful nuances of tones is a very important aspect of your style, that is capable of summing up a combination of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a

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ART Habens

Darcia Labrosse

piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

paint (setting up the paint shop, prepping up the metal, dealing with sophisticated equipment, following a strict regiment that most painters have to follow anyway whether they are using heavy equipment or just watercolours and Arches paper.) There is no indirect or direct dialogue between me and the audience, I never think of the audience though you are right, de facto, the audience does communicates with me but after the facts. I do enjoy when people connect at an exhibition for instance about the work. I am always amazed at what they see things that I have never planned in any way.

The choice of€palette I use is hardly a personal choice or an echo of my psychological mood. In the factory I work in, because of the extreme expense of the pigments, I usually grab what is available, generally what has been left over from another job; I tend to steal the pigments, or gently, politely beg the foreman for them. On top of the physical stress and difficulties of working in these factories, this brings one more constraint to the work pushing me towards one more challenge that is to forget about any preconceived idea. It is sometimes closer to a performance that to the act of painting quietly in a nice sunlit studio, it is a sort of battle. Painting is always a battle for me anyway.

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

I have just finished building my own electrostatic paint shop in the middle of the woods where I live, a completely mad endeavour. It means I am no longer dependent on the kindness of powdercoating factory managers who have let me use their precious equipment on nightshifts, when everything slows down. Presently, because of this new freedom, I am very interested in the works and structures of Gustave Eiffel, his architect Charles Sauvestre and the Swiss engineer Maurice Koechlin of the 1850’s. I tend to want to produce more sculptures with knots and bolt, rivets, with steel bridge aesthetics. As with painting, the fact that I will now purchase my own pigments will definitely greatly impact the images I will produce.

Over these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions: your approach is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers and one of the goals of your art is to let people get closer to their emotions. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I think that if I had to take in consideration the audience I wouldn’t be able to paint. And I don’t mean this disrespectfully. It is such an intimate act for me to paint that no presence, thought or goal can interfere or get involve in my interior dialogue, with the act of painting. Considering that the conceptual aspects of my work only touches the technical protocol, I need concentrate on and follow religiously if I want to be able to

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Thank you for this opportunity to express myself in this interview; it has forced me to delve deeper into my daily painting practice.

*ART Speaks, Robert Atkins, Abbeville Press, 1990, p.34

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Natalie L Natalie L. fascination with the Impressionists led her to create her first paintings under their influence. As her tastes evolved towards contemporary art, she has gradually moved away from figurative painting to a style between realism and abstraction. Her form of abstraction is not disconnected from nature but reflects its imperfect beauty. Her inspiration comes from the organic world. After several years of experimentation, she now focuses her creative energy on exploring the abstract patterns of nature theme and the use of mixed media like textures and unconventional medium. Already present in the series "Ecorces", such artistic mode will further affect her creations in preparation. Following a successful career as a project manager in the tourism industry, Natalie, a Parisian born artist, left the city life in 1999 to embark on a somewhat "bohemian life style". Traveling the South Pacific gave her the time and inspiration to fulfill her dream of becoming a fulltime artist. One of the consequential experiences of her life was sailing around the world on a 33' wooden sloop, ensued by living a decade in Florida. In 2015 she set up her studio in the medieval village of Cordes sur Ciel in the South West of France and temporarily returns to a more figurative form of painting. Natalie Labord Special Issue

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Natalie L

ART Habens

video, 2013

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Ä–corces #1 Special Issue

Nathalie L

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Natalie L

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Natalie L's work exhibits a stimulating kind of combination between figurative an abstract approach, to create a multilayered experience in which the viewers are addressed to extract personal associations. Her approach rejects any conventional classification and crosses the elusive boundary that defines the area of perception from the realm of imagination and urges us to investigates about the ubiquitous order that pervades the reality we inhabit. One of the most convincing aspect of Natalie L's work is the way it triggers our perceptual parameters in order to materialize the permanent flow of associations in the realm of experience and memory: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating artistic production. Hello Nathalie and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you hold a diploma in Decorative Painting and after a successful career as a project manager in the tourism industry you embarked on a "bohemian life style" that lead you to travel around the world, and in particular in the South Pacific. How has this experience influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does your French cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

Natalie L

I am a self taught artist; It’s only last year that I had the opportunity to go back to school and get my degree in decorative painting. Leaving the city life and taking the time to observe nature made me more aware of my environment, which deeply influenced my choice of theme; In my sailing years for instance, my favorite subject matter was seascapes. Painting the organic world led me to enjoy to hike, and the more I explored, the more I got inspired and it totally transformed my way of seeing nature until I become a part of it; As I paint, I do sometimes

Before 1999, the year I left Paris to travel overseas, being a full time artist was just an aspiration. Traveling intensively definitely gave me the inspiration and the time to achieve my dream. It has been a slow process of transformation and self discovery from which I emerged into a fulfilled artist.

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Nathalie L

experience of visualizing myself in my painting, such as in “The Rain Forest. My french cultural heritage used to be expressed by my fascination for the Impressionists. It did definitely influenced my early style of painting. With maturity, I got interested in different forms of arts and so my painting evolved and still is. “In the city� series has definitely a French flair although those were painted in Key West Florida where I anchored for a few months. I do not believe my cultural substratum inform the viewer of me being French in my most recent work. The distinctive feature that marks out your multifaceted production is a successful attempt to achieve a balance between Impressionism and a refined kind of contemporary sensibility, you merge together into coherent unity. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.nataliel.org 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, have you ever happened to realize that such synergy is the only way to snatch the spirit of the ideas you explore?

I was hiking in Australia the first time I observed the bark of an Eucalyptus tree and that literally opened my eyes to a world that was completely unknown to me. It was a revelation and I wanted to create something with it since then. It took me 13 years to have the perfect opportunity to incorporate tree barks in my compositions; With locals artists, we organized a Pop Up Art event and had to create a one of a kind Christmas tree. At the times, I had never approached any 3 dimensional medium so it was a real challenge. I conceived a concept of mobile tree. The base representing the trunk imitates the Florida slash Pine, with the

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Natalie L

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The Rain Forest

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Natalie L

Last Train to Paradise

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Natalie L

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texture. I loved so much working with texture and imitating barks that I made it the focused point of the series “Ecorces” and “Lichens”. That was the beginning of my exploration of the abstract patterns of nature theme and the use of mixed media. When walking around in countryside, I take pictures of tree barks I find interesting for their colors, patterns and aesthetic in general. Later in my studio when ready to paint, I browse through my pictures and select the barks that best combine together. For this special issue of ART Habens we have selected Deep forest, in which you have accomplished a compelling investigation about the relationship between abstract patterns and reference to the beauty of the leafless trees of winter. What has at once caught our eyes of this stimulating project is the way your exploration about the nature of elements from universal imagery accomplishes the difficult task of creating an autonomous aesthetics. While walking our readers through the genesis of this project, would you tell us if you conceived it on an instinctive way or did you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

Moving back to France after 14 years in the tropics, I was awakened by the beauty of the leafless trees of winter and got inspired by the embroidered like abstract patterns of the branches. For the first time I noticed the beauty rather than the sign of a coming long winter. So I returned to a more figurative form of painting by creating the “Promiscuité” series. I choose the title ‘Promiscuité” (promiscuity) because of the crowdedness of the tree branches. I would say that I conceive my work in both instinctive and structured process depending on the stage of the conception. When I start a new body of work, I usually do not try to anticipate or control too much, but rather let my brush to flow to best express my feeling on the canvas.

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Natalie L

Ä–corces # 14

However, for the 9 and 16 panels painting format of the Ecorces series, I have to structure my process to achieve harmony and balance as my concern is always aesthetic.

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When unveiling the connection between imperfection and beauty, you stimulate both the conscious level and the unconscious sphere, with a process that

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Coccoloba


ART Habens

Natalie L

Cayo Hueso

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Natalie L

ART Habens

triggers the viewers' perceptual categories, Deep forest allows you to bring a new level of significance to the notion of perception and seems to address the viewers to relate themselves with your work in personal way, your work shows an effective combination between experience and imagination and triggers our limbic parameters concerning our relation with physicality: as Gerhard Richter once remarked, "my concern is never art, but always what art can be used for": what is your opinion about the functional aspect of Art in the contemporary age?

I don’t think I can say anything without falling into controversy and contradictions. As an attempt to answer, I will quote Gerhard Richter as well: “ One has to believe in what one is doing, one has to commit oneself inwardly, in order to do painting. Once obsessed, one ultimately carries it to the point of believing that one might change human beings through painting. But if one lacks this passionate commitment, there is nothing left to do.� We definitely love the way you question the abstract feature of images, unveiling the visual feature of information you developed through an effective non linear narrative. In particular, playing with the evocative power of symbols, Deep forest establishes direct relations with the viewers: German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? And in particular how do you conceive the narrative for your works?

I choose to provide just enough information to make my line of thought graspable but keep it subtle to give to the audience a chance to create their own story; The moment a viewer is surprised is the moment you have captured their interest and opened their imagination.

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Natalie L

Unfortunately I do not have innate skills for writing statements, nevertheless I do find the task challenging as it is thought provoking and in consequence expends my mind. Dealing with your influences, Impressionism has had a considerable impact on the development of your style: how would you describe the impact that the extraordinarily important personalities of the past century had on the development of your personal aesthetics?

The long hours spent in the Orsay museum, which housed the largest collection of impressionists, are very likely correlated to this early influence. For a long times, I did paint in the style of Vincent Van Gogh. I used to be totally passionate about his work and life. When I was living in Polynesia I naturally became inspired from Paul Gauguin’s work. Then I got interesting in the early cubism and had my cubist period. Those were my learning years... Gradually I detached myself from other people styles to invent my own. Impressionism and cubism, with even a touch of surrealism are present and mixed In the series that I called “In The city�. My intention is to mix different types of art and aesthetic in one place. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, you sometimes seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the feelings that you convey into this captivating project... such quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between the spiritual sphere and the emotional dimension. Do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings when conceiving it?

I usually have a clear vision of what I want to paint, but sometimes the original idea get lost in the process. When conceiving the

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Natalie L

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Latitude Attitude

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Coccoloba


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Natalie L

Promiscuité #3

“Promiscuité” series, I aim to convey an

I need to be in an almost obsessed mood to paint, and like to work slowly to enjoy the process of experimentation.

impression of winter.

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Natalie L

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Ecorces #12

The dialogue established by colors and texture is a crucial part of your style: in particular, the effective combination between a variety of nuances of tones and

patterns sums up a mixture of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a

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Natalie L

Lichens # 1

piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

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Inspired by the natural colors and relief of the organic world, I use the imperfections of nature to keep it interesting. To create

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Natalie L

ART Habens

Ä–corces # 5

texture, I use mostly modeling paste, layers

pealing bark effect, I use paper coated with resin. Then I paint over.

of them, that I sculpt with a palette knife until I am happy with the result. To create

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ART Habens

Natalie L

I am an emotional sponge and use my empathy to develop my artistic vision; So yes, my environment has an major impact on my palette, as my choice of colors became almost black and white in the Promiscuité series after my return to France in the dim light of winter. Over your career you have showcased your work in several occasions, including your recent participation to the Etape du Château. One of the hallmarks of your practice 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 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?

Nice feedbacks are always encouraging but they do not influence my production, at least not at a conscious level. Viewers have said that my painting make them looking at nature and especially tree barks in a way they never did before. I think that it is not vain to admire a representational painting; By admiring the representation of something that we ignore, we can find candor again, and interest in the original. By realizing the beauty that surrounds us, we can elevate our consciences. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Nathalie. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

large composition. I also intend to decline this theme over some 3D supports. I have so many ideas, I wish I could work faster. Moreover I try to control myself to

Presently I am still exploring the abstract patterns of nature theme, and merging the “Ecorces” and “Promiscuité” series into one

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Natalie L

work on one series at the time to avoid dissipation. I have wanted to develop my mobile tree concept (cf. Coccoloba) and make some

ART Habens

Wine Art for a long time, so now that I have recently moved in the heart of the Gaillac vineyard would be the perfect timing.

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Danhua Ma I have been struggling with clarifying “working” and “not working” by myself for a long time before I jumped into the contemporary art world. I went through the process of avoiding “not working” artworks to accepting them. I was a painter and the effort I put into my creation process was far beyond my final visual effect. Then I turned to an unconventional art medium. I am happy about those “not working” projects. In this personal analysis, I will discuss my main focus: sound. I have a united conception of my own art creation. Under the large conception category, I have different concepts for each project. Referring to conception, I want my projects to arouse not only my listeners’ auditory sense but also their own memories, which can lead them to have their own interpretations. Something I leave within my work is nothing, which requires my listener to work on it. Personally, I prefer to use the word “project” to describe the fruit of my art rather than “artwork.” Two individual words “art” and “work” constitute the word “artwork”. I am wondering why we always work to make art? My answer is we are not. For me, I am just gathering things and manipulating them as my content. Drawing upon what John Cage said in lecture on nothing: “I am here, and there is nothing to say. If among you are those who wish to get somewhere, let them leave at any moment.” This is really impressive and innovative for me as a sound artist. It may seem he did not say anything meaningful or with any content, but he actually reinforced the word “here.” Here stands for the present, this specific moment, a very important element in the lecture. Cage gave us his interpretation of “nothing to say.” I imagined his way of speaking while reading the text, and found there are countless possibilities. This is the beauty of nothing. The interpretation of my dream journal is one of the most conspicuous projects to prove my definition about the beauty of nothing. I recorded every dream last semester and finally come up with a fairly long journal. Those fragmented dreams became the sources of my sound project. I tried to interpret my dream by using sound effects and music. I remember one of my peer’s opinions during the final critique. He said, “Your piece is private but accessible.” Even my professor said my project is an enigma. I achieved what I wanted to express through my project. I mentioned that white as well as blank is one extremely important element in Chinese painting. A painter likes adding colors layer by layer. In contrast to that, I am concerned more with what I can leave out. Since white and blank are nothing, these elements of nothing that relate to sound are nebulous silence. I am working when I’m editing my source. My projects always feel like “not working.” Those blanks I leave are what I want my listeners to interpret. When they are interpreting what I try to convey, they are actually working! Their work makes my project complete. I do not care if what they say is true or not. This is the most beautiful part of white and blank, it can spur various fires. I have to mention Cage again that refers back to blank and white as to his theory of silence. There is no absolute silence at any moment. In his 4’33’’ piece, its three movements have different content, although there are no musicians playing a single note. In fact, listeners sitting in front of the stage create a unique soundscape. Maybe some of them are coughing; some of them are discussing what’s going on; even though some of them are laughing. So there is no absolute white or blank either. What is happening at the moment holds tight the white and the actual content. I’m not working but my listener is working when there is nothing. Nothing is working. What the artist leaves is what the audiences are going to work on. Hearing is working too. Not only music is abstract, but also sound is non-representative. I love field recording, which means recording in the specific place at specific moment. This makes another question appear because of field recording is actually recording what is happening during that time and it represents the moment. What do I mean by sound is nonrepresentative? Sound is different from documentary and my field recording is a method that I try to use which sound people are familiar with to evoke some new thoughts. The moment I recorded is not important, but the moment I present it is important. It is not about the past; it is about at present.

Captions

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Danhua Ma

video,

Once I made a project about the anti joke “why did the chicken cross the road?” When I am considering the answer “To get to the other side,” it is common sense. My intention to do this project is a retrospective of tape recording and focusing on body image. Then I keep asking myself what this can bring to the listener. I did not put much work in this project since the sentence asks a range of questions; I want my listeners to interpret. Women are more willing to express their own beauty. More and more women are pursuing the beauty they want, which helps the development of artificial beauty like cosmetic surgery. The body itself is getting to the other side rather than the body a person is born with. This also indicates the notion of beauty is getting to the other side, like the process of my sound piece, 2013 from vague to articulate. I chose a specific girl’s voice with her speaking tone at the end lifted up. It feels like she was not sure and questioning something. The overall project is a looping sound from very blurred to one single sentence “to get to the other side.” When I presented the work in class, some of

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my peers laughed because this joke is too well known. Some of my peers started to think what is getting to the other side. I am satisfied with what I intended to bring to my listeners. This sound seems like nothing except for the looping sentence and my listeners work it out for me.

Merleau-Ponty said, “The body is our general medium for having a world.” I would love to invite my listeners to engage with my project. I believe those blank or white in my project can bring something to my listeners that not only stimulate their auditory experience, but also arouse their fragmented memories. Nothing is my core conception of my own art in creation. This is the uncertainty I leave while it needs to be interpreted by my listeners that makes my projects complete.

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Danhua Ma

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Chicago artist Danhua Ma creates timebased pieces that offer to the viewers an unconventional and multilayered experience that urges to rethink the ambiguous dichotomy between the perception of time and space. Her suggestive approach creates an unexplored area of interplay where we are invited to investigate about the unexpected relationships about reality and the way we perceive it. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her compelling artistic production. Hello Danhua and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after having degreed from Shanghai Institute of Visual Art you moved to the United States to join your B.F.A. Studio program, that you are currently pursuing at the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago: how do these experiences influenceyour evolution as an artist? And in particular, does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

Danhua Ma

crossroad rather than do something like a mixture of Eastern and Western.

I transferred to School of the Art Institute of Chicago after I finished my sophomore year in Shanghai. After I got to know what contemporary art is, I had an urge to know what other parts of the world was doing with art. In general, I found myself is more sensitive about getting insights of noticing the nuances between cultures after I decided my emphasis on Sound. I consider my role of making art is creating an accessible cultural

Your approach sums up into a coherent unity a variety of viewpoints and is capable of establishing a channel of communication between different levels of significance, revealing an incessant search of an organic research you convey into a coherent harmony. Before starting to elaborate about your

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production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.madanhua.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, have you ever happened to realize that such synergy is the only way to snatch the spirit of the ideas you explore?

I always have hard time to reconcile different projects simultaneously because I can come up ideas quickly. I hand-typed my personal website’s code two years ago, so it seems clunky. My strategy of making decision is “subtraction.” In traditional Chinese ink art, artists always take “white” into account, which means they think about how to leave blanks before they draw a single stroke on rice paper. That I think it becomes more explicit I derive “subtraction” from my Chinese tradition. We would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Navigating Anti-Jokes, an interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. This project accomplishes an insightful, multilayered investigation about the notion of nonrepresentativeness: in particular, when we first happened to get to know Navigating Anti-Jokes we tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. But we soon realized that we had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the ideas behind your project, forgetting our need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish

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direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

Yeah! I am not a native English speaker, so that sometimes I can’t get the point why people laugh. At first, I would say it is an intuitive thing to do because I heard a funny recording from a phone call between mother and son. The son kept asking his mom “Why did the chicken cross the road?” This totally made no sense for me at that moment. Then I interviewed fifty people randomly in my school cafe. I noticed it surprisingly that most of native speakers gave me the answer “to get to the other side.” I did see the anti-joke was a cultural thing. So I consciously did a systematic process by collecting series of laughable words. In Navigating Anti-Jokes you have accomplished the difficult task of creating a balance between direct communication and speaking about the controversial practice of female genital mutilation: your works are always pervaded with a subtle but effective narrative that allows you to establish direct relations with the viewers, passing over hierarchy constraint that affect our usual perceptual parameters. Is challenging this kind of hierarchy in communication processes important to you?

I agree! I don’t believe High art or Low art because anything can be art as long as with the artist’s fully developed intention. The whole hierarchy thing can diminish my viewers’ education background. Although most of people in the States have some educational knowledge of art history, contemporary art especially time-based art is even

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Danhua Ma

more difficult to get viewers’ attentions. I need my art to be accessible. I’d be open to hear anyone’s feed. As you have remarked once, the interpretation of your dream journal is one of the most conspicuous projects to prove your definition about the beauty of nothing: drawing from the oniric dimension you trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters to challenge the unstable relationship between the unconscious sphere and the conscious level: how does this aspect of your approach relates with your investigation about the notion of beauty?

Human beings are visual driven creatures. Sound is non-representational even though it is a field recording. I will the notion of beauty if anything or anyone does not circumscribe in one particular venue. My job was creating an unconscious soundscape for my listeners. I need my listeners to do the other half of the job for me by activelistening, in terms of using their consciousness. I am not doing a mind control things in my piece because people are from different background, they have various life events. These kind of thing may trigger new ideas or remind them of their past in some way. I draw strong insights upon my listeners’ feedback. In your works, as in Coma that our readers can get to know at https://soundcloud.com/danhuama/coma you create an unconventional juxtaposition between sound texture and accessible melodic pattern. Media of any kind is about communication, which is comprised of a sender and a receiver: to highlight the ever-changing

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quality of communication in art production, German Thomas Demand once pointed out that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has necessarily to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your opinion about this? In particular, what is your point about the strategy to provoke a certain kind of reaction in the spectatorship?

Oh wow! Thanks for the amazing quotes! I will definitely stand for German Thomas Demand! I believe art is not hermeneutics. We need “erotics of art!” I love Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation,” because of her powerful use of language. In real world, not in an academic institute, people have no need to do academic research or Freudian psychoanalysis when they appreciate an artwork. In terms of provoking a certain kind of reaction in the spectatorship, I have to bring “white” back again. The blankness I add in my projects always evoke a sense of vagueness. People may raise questions, they may compliment or even they may criticize. Your time-based projects induce the viewers to abandon themselves to personal associations, recontextualizing the nature of the cinematic sound, which in your pieces never plays as a mere background. Do you conceive these composition on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

I would say my instinct always leads the way. But I do consider a structural process to support my compositions in a formal way.

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The impetuous way modern technology has nowadays came out on the top has dramatically revolutionized the idea of Art itself: in a certain sense, we are forced to rethink about the intimate aspect of constructed realities and especially about the materiality of an artwork itself, since just few years ago it was a tactile materialization of an idea. I'm sort of convinced that new media will definitely fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology and I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?

I do consider my audience’s reception as crucial component and I mean it. But it does not affect my decision-making because I am in control with my piece, the good or bad thing they say will be extremely important resource for my preparation of my future projects. My projects are rooted in my cultural background, but I do not want them to be a mixture or purely Eastern thing in order to fulfill others’ taste. I am still learning of creating “Esperanto”, a universal language in my projects. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Danhua. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Electronics’ everywhere, I cannot even live without it right now. If we can’t discard something completely why not embrace it. I think technology is good in someway because it provides more potential for artists to manipulate. On the other hand, excess technology can overtake the art and it will blurs the boundary of art. Artists have the authority to even out the struggling relationship between art and technology, and they have to make it!

I am working a larger project about urbanization and wilderness. You can find my fixed video on vimeo. https://vimeo.com/143210587 William Cronon’s “Troubles of Wilderness” inspired me a lot and I do find some coincidence. I am kind of getting more sense of how to find the equilibrium between “white” and communication. I need my spectators to decipher my message much easier. You can hear my latest live mixing on Soundcloud, which is a conversation between a man and a tree. https://soundcloud.com/danhuama/treemannoise-reduction

One of the hallmarks of your practice 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 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?

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An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

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Marta Djourina

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Marta Djourina Marta Djourina

video, 2013

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My artistic focus lies within natural traces of light and their reminiscence captured with each exposure. My experimentations with this theme have led to different ways of dealing with the approach of “painting” with light. By questioning the characteristics of light and using traces in order to express them, I’ve discovered photography to be the optimum medium. A reoccurring subject matter has always been the examination of natural objects and finding out more about them through zooming into their surface. One of my most recent projects deals with filtering of light through such objects and raises questions about the presence and absence of it.

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Marta Djourina

An interview with An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Marta Djourina centers her practice on analogue photography with a strong focus on the photo paper: her experimental approach leads her to accomplish an insightful investigation about the characteristics of light to bring to a new level of significance the notion of trace. In The Dematerialization of Everyday Life that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she questions the ephemeral nature of an object after having purified it from its tactile nature, inviting the viewers to cross the liminal area between perception and abstraction. One of the most convincing aspect of Djourina's practice is the way it challenges the hierarchies of significance, drawing the viewers into a multilayered experiece, to explore the notions of identity and memory: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her multifaceted artistic production. Hello Marta and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and few years after having earned a B.A. of Art History and Culture Studies, you eventually received a M.A. of Art Theory from the Technische Universität Berlin. You also had the chance to study at the Glasgow School of Art: how have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, does your cultural substratum as a Bulgarian artist inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

Marta Djourina

Being at the Glasgow School of Art was one of the most productive times I’ve had. The atmosphere in the city and the art school are very inspiring and the time spent in Glasgow helped me to come out of my comfort zone. A big difference between Berlin and Glasgow was the course I was undertaking there, which was Fine Art Photography, so it was a lot more defined.

Yes, I started my art education with theory and after that continued with a degree in Fine Art which I am still pursuing. The training in art theory definitely opened my eyes up a lot, and living in Berlin allows me to access an incredibly diverse art scene.

The most concrete part of my skill training was during private lessons in Bulgaria as a teenager. There was a concentrated focus on traditional learning methods such as

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portraiture and still life, so naturally I started developing through the medium of pencil drawing. Your preferred medium is analogue photography without a camera: the way you put into practice the notion of painting with light reveals a systematic research around the themes of memory and identity, that you combine together into a consistent harmony. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://martadjourina.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, what has lead you to centre your practice on this kind of technique?

My interest led me to the subject matter of light and from there organically moved to analogue photography. Lately I’ve been working with videos but in a similar way as I do with photography. I don’t use a camera because I’m not trying to capture a moment, but rather a process or an experience. One project I undertook involved placing a pinhole camera in my studio every day which ultimately acted as a make-shift CCTV-camera. I feel the artistic medium should reflect the subject matter and by that I mean work in harmony. I am mostly interested in the analogue process and the physical qualities of the photo paper. The transition between drawing and photography started with ‘drawing’ directly on to the photo paper by using different light sources (flash light, laser pen etc.). This is also the moment I started to describe the work as painting with light. Some of my projects have the aesthetic qualities of a painting and are often perceived like such.

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For this special edition of ART Habens we have selected The Dematerialization of Everyday Life, that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at soon caught our attention of this series is the way you have subverted the perceptual categories related to the tactile physicality of the objects you used to filter light through: as you have remarked once, your primary aim is to raise the question of how an image can be created by using light itself as a medium. But it goes without saying that the starting point of your process is an existing object that goes through a process of transfiguration: how would you define the relationship between the initial information that lies in the objects and the final results?

I am very interested in the relationship between the artist and the artwork. The physical connection between an object and the artist - it being through the gaze while drawing an object or through the hands while forming one - is being questioned. To what extend am I present in my own artwork? I take a step back as an artist and question my own presence. The sense of touch is erased because there is no immediate contact between the object and the photo paper. The physicality of the object is delivered through the light reflecting and breaking onto and through it’s surface. Thus we are left with an imprint of an object. We also don’t know anymore if we’re dealing with a soft or a hard, a small or a big, a heavy or a light object. The way I chose the objects was very intuitive. They are all form my immediate surrounding and also are very conventional everyday commodities: lunch boxes, plastic bags, rolls of toilet paper. They might not seem to be exciting but rather banal but their translation into an image makes them look even more beautiful. In a nutshell I would say that the core of the relationship

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between the initial information and the final result lies within the process of transformation: while some of it gets lost, other parts come into being or are being highlighted. This can be seen as a sort of x-ray of the object. The process of dematerialization could be also considered as a translation, in which the inner nature of the object is purified from its tactile feature: in this sense, your works condense the bare minimum that still belongs to the history of the object itself and are the arrival point of a process of multilayered deconstruction between different levels of significances. Is challenging this kind of hierarchy important to you?

A big part of my practice involves experimenting with different light sources, materials and objects. Thus, me being surrounded by many objects while working in the photo lab is a normal thing. There is no hierarchy but the opposite because they are all undergoing the same process. The process of transformation is what is important and not the order to which they supposedly belong. Certain features are being translated into new ones and the inner nature of the object is been made visible. I like the idea of a condensed bare minimum because it illustrates very well the notion of decoding a lot of information and at the same time flattening it onto the surface of one image. Contrary to usual trends in contemporary Photography, in an age deeply marked with a pervasive serialization of images, the notion of uniqueness and not repeatability plays a crucial role in your approach, and seems to address us to rethink the nature of mechanical reproduction, not only in the field of Photography. Why is so important for you to bring to the level of uniqueness a wide variety of anonymous everyday

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objects, to provide them with a precise and complex identity?

Platforms like Instagram process over hundreds of thousands of photos per minute. We live in an age where everybody has access to a camera and being able to

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mechanically reproduce an image happens on the tip of a finger. It is not my intention though to comment on the reproduction of images or the overload of visual stimuli.

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photo lab without a concrete plan leads to one thing that I can never repeat again. I see my actual process of production of an image almost as a performance sometimes. Another aspect of the uniqueness comes from my background in drawing. Also not using a camera means that there are no

I am interested in the process and the experience. Sometimes working in the

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negatives from which you can make hundreds of copies. As soon as the objects come into my realm they're just as significant as any other tool. A brush or a simple straw from a 1-Euroshop are equally important to me. I gather

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hundreds of commodities and store them for years. My aim in The Dematerialization of Everyday Life is not to provide the objects with identity but to take their materiality away. By stripping them of their physicality I

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condenses a sense of permanence to the intrinsic ephemeral nature of light. Moreover, the natural traces of light can lead us to consider your works as maps, as attempt to decipher the elusive nature of objects: in this sense, you seem to suggest that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal hidden sides of the environment we inhabit, urging us to a process of introspection: do you agree with this analysis?

Working as an artist naturally means reflecting on your surroundings and also often commenting on it. The way we all see is modified depending on what we have seen before and what we can use as a comparison. We only know that we know something if we can put it into context which makes us blind for the unseen and the unknown. Especially in The Dematerialization of Everyday Life the viewer has a lot to decipher. As an artist one observes more in depth the own surrounding which makes seeing hidden details or the urge to unveil them even bigger. Another interesting project from your recent production is entitled Sol and we found particularly compelling the symbiosis between the idea of nature in relation with its destructive force. While walking our readers through the genesis of this work, would you like to shed light about the aspects related to the creative potential of chance in your process? How do your ideas change in the while you conceive your works and you finally get the final results?

give them a new life. They get a bigger meaning.

Happy mistakes can be good! As I already mentioned the work happens mostly directly in the photo lab. This is one of the reasons why I often surprise myself or aim for one thing but end up somewhere else. In The Dematerialization of Everyday Life the concept gave the project a solid frame. Sol

We find really fascinating your use of photo paper's sensitivity to unveil such a secret story of an object, enriching it with your own presence in the creative process: this is particularly captivating since it

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on the other hand was difficult to control although I was the one who holds the magnifying glass and decides how long the photo paper should burn under the force of sunlight. Isn’t everything as much a chance as it is subconsciously decided? If I would be a painter and by mistake push a bottle of paint on the canvas, is it a chance and do we use it? In my work there is a certain amount of playfulness and pushing the medium to it’s limit, as it is the case with Sol. And we couldn't do without mentioning o.T. (Doppelbelichtung): this piece has reminded us the concept of non-lieu elaborate by French anthropologist Marc Augé: as the late Franz West did in his installations, your approach seems to reveal unconventional aesthetics in the way you deconstruct and assemble memories, to draw the viewer into a process of selfreflection. What is the role of memory in your process?

Augé’s non-lieu refer to urban places that lack of identity or history which is not the case in o.T. (Doppelbelichtung). If you mean memory in the sense of a trace left behind, than I can say this is what photography means for me. When I say trace, I don’t mean an immediate one (like a brushstroke) but more an abstract interaction between light and paper which is what this projects documents.

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?

Over your career you have exhibited€internationally, showcasing your work in several occasions, including your recent show: Heimspiel at Kommunale Galerie Berlin. One of the hallmarks of your practice 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 the relationship of your art with your audience.

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I am a type of person who buries herself in work and in a way I sometimes surprise myself with the directions I take or the results I get. It’s only after very intense sessions of work that I take a step back and analyse, and attempt to look at the work through the eyes of an outsider.

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looking at one of the pieces from The Dematerialization of Everyday Life are different based on the own experience of the viewer. By leaving the work open, I like to also start a dialogue. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Marta. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

My newest video ’12 o’clock’ is based on 12 photo films for which I took a panorama of my surroundings everyday at 12 p.m. for 12 days. In a way this video works like the mentioned pinhole observation project. It is focusing on the theme of time and capturing events in a abstract way. I am very interested in the passing of time and trying to catch a moment. I’ve also started working a lot more with my own identity and my feeling of nostalgia which started with my project “From: me / to: me”. I recently completed it by sending pinhole cameras from myself to myself and working with the idea of having two homes and two letter boxes in the world with my name on them: my parent’s house in Bulgaria and my new home in Germany.

My interest in involving the audience is of a subtle kind. I don’t often seek an intervention from the viewer, although I worked on a project with a colleague of mine (Marie Rief) recently that required the physical presence of the viewer who was asked to control a life size pinhole camera with a roll of paper inside.

Over the past two years I’ve been working primarily with photography and my time in Glasgow has inadvertently pushed me out of my comfort zone and has drawn my interest in the direction of moving image, which makes me continue my constant experimentation and exploration. I do however apply the same principles on the different mediums, pushing the medium to their limits and testing their possibilities. I imagine being faithful to the analogue photo paper in the future and continuing to challenge it’s physicality.

One of my tutors put it very clearly once when he said that he sees a combination of different ‘principles of seeing’ in my work. I expect the audience to look for something deeper that the formal surface of a piece. The associations everybody has while

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Shu-Jung CHAO

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Shu-Jung CHAO A person with simultaneity and multi-culture, a foreigner, a stateless person, or a traveler… How does she sharpen her points of view on the world and question her situation in this world, at a given moment. I grew up in Taiwan, the country which I left five years ago. When I first arrived in France, I had a huge culture shock, which originated from the unfamiliar language, habit, and history. I experienced relationship and self break-through during these years. Several years after having left my hometown in Taiwan, I felt like a foreigner when I returned to my native land. I characterize it as my “Double strangenesses”. (Double Uncanny) The barrier between me and my country of origin and these “Double strangenesses”, strengthened and contributed to my artistic course deeply. For several years, I have developed a personal and significant work on the theme of the exile, the voyage, and the “voyages in my memory”. Many voyages of mine helped me develop my sensitive faculties. All of these made me closer to the answer of my identity - floating, between two worlds, the nomadism of my situation, the deep uprooting which conditions me. The video and photography helped me to save my footprint in time, to fix every possible moment, memories and situations. My work is often full of dialogues, murmurings, confessions or a series of sounds. The words are like a channel to preserve time. The series of sounds are the mixture between the sounds in the daily life and the personal interior. The sound prolongs the vision and enlarges the field of the video. The sounds in the video and the atmosphere of the video extended the depth of it, and further bring the audience into an unsettling environment, of an “Uncanny” experience[1].

video, 2013

[1] . The Uncanny (Ger. Das Unheimliche – literally, “unhome-ly”, but ideomatically, “scary”, “creepy”) is a Freudian concept of an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange. 022 4

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An interview with

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Shu-Jung CHAO An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Paris based multidisciplinary artist ShuJung Chao explores the notions of time, culture in the realm of contemporary ever changing societies: her unconventional approach involves the viewer into a walk on the fine line that tracks the elusive dichotomy between consciousness and the subconscious sphere, to provide them with a multilayered experience. In her recent series entitled Sculpting in Time that we'll be discusing in the following pages Chao dissects the elusive nature of the notion of time addressing us to rethink our perceptual categories and constructs a concrete aesthetic from experience and memories: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Shu-Jung, and a warm welcome to ART Habens. We would start this interview posing you some questions about your rich background: after moving from Taiwan to France, you joined the prestigious Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Bourges, Deca Torres from where you graduated with a Master in Fine Arts and you later had the chance to participate to the Post-graduate programme from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratif de Paris. How has this experience influenced your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does the relationship between your cultural asian substratum and your current life in Paris informs the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem?

I think I made the good choice. I chose to study abroad in a western country. My mind completely change ! The way how I think

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and how I deal with all stuffs is really different than before. My French professor, they talk a lots about ''protocole''. As my understanding, it's about ''savoir-faire'' and the manner how you reach your goal and approach your idea/ concept. I'm influence a lot by the french philosophy Gilles Deleuze in the essay « Qu’est-ce que l’acte de création ?» http://www.lepeuplequimanque.org/acte-decreation-gilles-deleuze.html He talk about « What is the act of creation ? ». The way how they think and make art in such a rational way ! I became more rational and know how to find the good way to keep balance between my sensibility and rationality. I come from Taiwan. My asian culture origin think we should humble and modest. I find the western culture is really different ! The western people, they know how to show off themselves and talk a lot their points of view. I appreciate this. Although I can speak good french, I feel I always a outsider when I in France. I think this is good for making art. I can always keep my eye and my mind fresh. You are a versatile artist and your practice conveys both cross disciplinary research in the field of visual arts and performative approach: we would like to invite our readers to visit http://shujung.tumblr.com in order to get a wider idea of the multifaceted nature of your artistic production. While crossing the borders of different artistic techniques have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between opposite viewpoints as well as different disciplines is the only way to express and convey the idea you explore?

I always think the context (ideal and concept ) is the most important thing. When I got some ideals, I just think how to concrete the ideal and how to execution. Most of the times, I find the same ideals that I could express in very different kind of materials. This

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enrich my creation and make my work more completely. Of course, sometime I have confliction and contradiction. But, I think this is good. This make my work more open and have lots of things to express. I think each spectator has their own point of view. This is make art so interesting and have such fun ! For this special issue of ART Habens we have selected Sculpting in Time, a stimulating series from your recent production that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. In particular, your exploration of elusive nature of the notion of time addresses us to rethink our perceptual categories and constructs a concrete aesthetic from experience and memories, working on both subconscious and conscious level. What is the role of memory in your process? We are particularly interested if you try to achieve a faithful translation of your previous experiences or if you rather use memory as starting point to create.

Actually, this series of work '' Sculpting in Time “ is inspired by my personal hero ''Andrei Tarkovsky”. I use the title of his book. This book take lots of influence on me. He talk about his philosophy and point of view about the cinema, especially about the theory of time. My work are all related to the time and space. Not only I often use memory as my starting point to create, but also the process of my creation are all have the strong connection about the time, space and memory. This series of work '' Sculpting in Time “ inspired by the very special experience. When I did the artist-in-residency in Boston in 2013, I was lived in a forest. A little bite of isolated and very far away from the city. My name Shu-Jung CHAO, the ''Jung ( )'' in Mandarin Chinese's character is about banyan tree. When I look around the environment, there are so much trees around me. I think

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about the natural elements in the films of Tarkovsky : the wind blow, the leaves move, the light change.... This all about nature ! I have very traditional training in Taiwan. I studies Chinese painting and Chinese calligraphy in Taiwan's University. Speaking of Chinese Painting, the artist are have the strong connection with nature also! I want to take advantage of this forest, so that are the work '' Sculpting in Time “ come. I think it's very interesting not only the work can feel the time passing through, but also the process of creation : how I create this work. It all about the time and '' Sculpting in Time “ also. You often play with evokative elements from the universal imagery, as in iTree, to create a direct, fruible but at the same time multilayered experience. German photographer and sculptor Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". While the conception of Art could be considered an abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a sense of permanence, going beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

For myself, Yes!! I think my life and my personal experience are all related to my work. The act of creation is inseparable to the experience. For example, my work ''iTree'' is base on my personal experience and my personal knowledge. Nowadays we face on a huge digital information world, a Big Data information world ! Everything comes so quickly, goes so quickly also. Everyday we turn on the computer and face so many

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informations. I ask myself : What I leave behind when I turn off the computer ? I become interested in public sphere and globalization. I collect lots of ''international symblic'', especially about the ''computer virtual work icons : MSN, Firefox, Safari, Apple logo, QR Code...and international logo : Mcdonald, Caca Cala...This are all about ''visual world''. We are 21th century now. I would like to put all this icons into a chronology are history. So I put lots of remarkable symbolic also : Lascaux (premiere image painting in the art history), Daguerre (invention of photography), Nam June Paik (invention of video art)....etc. The title was inspired by the apple company : like iphone, iwatch...everything related to ''i''. For me, ''i'' could be think of information, icon, digital things... So my work ''iTree'' is like the '' information tree''. A tree full of chronology information. My creative process are all connected from my direct and indirect experiences and knowledge. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which we would be pleased to spend some words is entitled Floating Cities, in which once again you investigated about the implications of this urbanised world connected by networks. But unlike most of contemporary artworks concerned with this theme, Floating Cities doesn't seem to communicate anguish or sense displacement: despite the hectic quality of global reality, it seems to highlight that people continue to want to move, to differentiate themselves as unique individuals who belongs not to a particular place, but to a global reality. Do you agree with this analysis? In particular, how do you expect our multicultural society will evolve?

Actually, my work are all related to what you analysis. I always think different people can

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Shu-Jung CHAO

have so much different points of view about the same work. That make the work successful and enriched. For me, the work '' Floating Cities'' is about the two influential places in my life : SaintDenis in France, where I studied, and the Taipei City in Taiwan, where I was born and raised, and lived for many years before leaving for France. As time passes by, memories of the two cities become indelible. A deserted train station in Saint-Denis, in particular, seems to have overlapped with the new and old train stations in Taipei. The two territories meet, push against, and merge with one another through strong continental movements, all of which accentuate the passing of time. As geographical boundaries are blurred, I also look deeper into the inner and virtual worlds. Eventually, I develop multiple perspectives on things. Then, I as a long-time outsider in France start to look for traces of my homeland on a foreign land and reflect upon it. Through sights and sounds, I hope to bring viewers’ attention to various different subjects, such as nostalgia, identity, dissociation, context, displacement, pursuit after one’s utopia, climate change, etc. Besides, by talking about multi-cultural society. I think everything has its positive and negative sides. I was in Singapore for my Artist-in-Residency. I just came back from Singapore. I have the strong feelings about multi-cultural society ! Generally speaking, I think multi-cultural society have much more international view. Its became a worldwide trend now. I'm very interested in multi-culture and multi-language. This enrich my work. For my self, my work will envolve in '' World without strangers''.

relationships between the individual's inner dimension and the public sphere: how would you describe the nature of the cohexistence of such often conflictual and

When inquiring into the concept of voyages in one's memory you accomplish the difficult task of unveiling the ambiguous

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ambiguous aspects? In particular, German pioneer of visual art Gerhard Richter once stated, "my concern is never art, but always what art can be used for": what is

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your opinion about the functional aspect of Art in the contemporary age?

Well, I think about what french philosophy

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Charles Ligocky

Gilles Deleuze said : A creator, it is not a being who works for fun. A creator does that it absolutely needs. (Un créateur, ce n’est pas un être qui travaille pour le plaisir. Un

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créateur ne fait que ce dont il a absolument besoin. I am totally agree this. To be an artist, I think it's a gift and talent . I have something special that no one have. The

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what Deleuze said '' needs''(besoin). I dream a lot. I think when I sleep, my brain and my mind still working. I means still have creative process and still have act of creation. I can't remember all dreams. But, sometime I even can remember the dream long time ago. Every since I was a little girl, I was very sensitive to everything! The beautiful shadow, the leaves move, the sound of environment...We live in this planet. We live in the earth. I think to be an artist must to sensitive to everything and care about everything! For me, the functional aspect of Art could be about art therapy. It related to mental psychology, physical, society...The art could be used for healing, showing different kinds of points of views, crtiticing the world... A crucial aspect of your work is the exploration of the consequences of globalization: you have highlighted the transient essence of contemporary in the video entitled In Transit and you have effectively summed up in the concept of Double Uncanny the barrier between yourself and your native country: what has at once appealled to us of your analysis is the way your investigation about the hybrid nature of immigration raises questions about the notion of identity in the ever changing contemporary scenario. As we have been once told from an artist that we had the chance to interview, individual’s identity is based on a dynamic condition between migration and assimilation: while walking our readers through the genesis of this project, would you elaborate the importance of the notion of identity in your process?

Yes! Of coures!! I'm always very interested in culture/language and aspects of consciousness, This all about the ideas behind fundamental human experiences such as memory, time travel, as well as “globalization” issues€ in the public sphere. This

environment influences me a lots. I do my work is to show my point of view, to express my emotions, to critic society...I need to do my work to express something. I think than's

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work was inspired by the immigration in

''outsiders''. Although I can speak good french, I feel myself always like a outsider. The notion of my identity become very important. I became very interested in the

Paris. As the big city, Paris has lots of immigrations. As a foreigner in Paris, I feel I have something in common with all this

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identity of all this immigrations. I'm thinking

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conditions us. These the ideas what my work ''In Transit'' come from.

something about the identity: floating, between two/several worlds, the nomadism

You works are pervaded with a subtle but effective narrative and in particular In

of the situation, the deep uprooting which

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Charles Ligocky

Transit could be considered as a visual biography that recontextualize the concept of language in order to capture nonsharpness: language is our dominant mode of communication. Is challenging this kind

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of hierarchy in communication processes important to you?

It's very interesting that you think of the kind of hierarchy. For me, this work is about

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When I take the metro in Paris, I can feel so much different kind of peoples / races and languages around me. The sound of the different kind of language capture my attention especially. The melody, the rhythm of language and the aound of environment are like playing orchestra ! I was '' transit'' in another place, transit in another planet. So I desided to do something about this. I ask all my friend from different kinds of country to collect a song or a poetry of rain or water. The rain or the water is the element we human being all experienced. I collected totally 10 poetries and songs. The title " In Transit " which means like a walk as a stroll on the inside of ourselves ( intimate space) , a round trip between sounds coupled with a poly-sensorial area; a territory neither here, nor elsewhere, evoked a distancing and a suspension time. All the spectator like the traveler. The participate in a journey. A journey about the movement of displacement, tourism , exoticism,multiculturalism ...etc. Over these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions and you recently had the solo Island! Islands!! Your work is strictly connected to the chance of establishing a direct involvement with the viewers, who are called to evolve from a mere spectatorship to conscious participants on an intellectual level, so before leaving this conversation I 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?

My recently series work : « Sculpting in Time » and « Island! Islands!! » are all the big series of mixed media work. There are several work combine together for a big work. I use photography, objet, video,

the voyage and memory. It's more related to psychology and poetic aspects. Living in the big city, the phenomenon of multi-culture and multi-language become very obvious.

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installation...as my materials. All the small pieces works get together as a big timespace. I considered all the small pieces get together as a complete work and as a '' playground''. The spectator and the viewers can wander around and into my work. When they find something interesting and they stop to think about the work. It's depend on each one's knowledge and their personal experience. Each spectator has different imagination. I think about the book of french philosophy Jacques Rancière : « spectateur émancipé ». Take my recently solo exhibition in Singapore for example, the sound-space installation work '' World without Strangers'' (see the photo also) is about several perceptions : Sight, Hearing, Touch. Before the spectator enter the space (exhibition), they will hear the sound first. These are the sound from the city. The sound about the public space( traffic light, car...) and intimate space(murmuring, chanting...). These related to the multiculture and multi-language also. I think the sound already catch the curiosity of the spectator. The sound already give the spectator different kinds of thinking. When the spectator enter the space (exhibition), they will see a big covering space spider web at the first sight. They can wander and move under this big spider web. Thery can lie down on the pilow, even sleep under this atmosphere. This work '' World without Strangers'' give the spectator lots of freedom and show several different kinds of points of views. This work has the direct involvement and action interactive with the spectator. I think maybe I show not say ''spectator ''. I can say ''participant'' instead of spectator.

I'll try to find the other artist-in-residency. My dream is to do artist-in-residency all over the world !! I think all my art work like part of my biography. I'm more like a traveler. I listen, I feel, then I think, it's like joint into a river and become part of them. My next projets are about muti-channel new media video and installation art. Identity, nostalgia, the hearts of Utopia, the sudden climate change of the global village...are all subjects of my work.€ I would like to further develop work using the€ various phenomena and symbols€ of "globalization" I have encountered. Video, sound and photography have helped me to fix my footprint in time, the many possible moments, memories and situations I experience living in so many parts of the world.€ My work is often full of dialogues, murmurings, confessions or a series of sounds. The words are like a channel to preserve time. The series of sounds are the mixture between the sounds in the daily life and the personal interior. The sound prolongs the vision and enlarges the field of the video. The sounds in the video and the atmosphere of the video extended the depth of it, and further bring the audience into an unsettling environment, of an “Uncanny” experience.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

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

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Sercan Gundogar Gundogar I am an Istanbul based artist. I only use medium of photography to express my point of view and my primary aim is to question the notions of transformation and instability. Manipulation of surfaces, patterns and landscapes are depicted in the photographs as visual elements of different alteration processes that give some clues about present epoch. And another important point is my works are not site specific‚ it is plenary. I began creating visual documentations of different transformation practices when I was 19 years old. My early photographic works were related to the instability of cityscape and the representation of permanent relationship between the organic and the inorganic. And my subject matter was transformed architectural surfaces. When I was documenting human made, abandoned spaces for my previous project, I noticed a different relationship. It was the persistent division between the humanmade and the nature. Traces that depicted in the “Living Traces” project were collected to establish this relationship. Such effects of nature is a work in progress which rubs out the traces of past activities from man-made structures. This is the tension embodied in abandoned buildings since nature's desire for destruction simultaneously recreates new spaces. Main focus of my intended approach is human supremacy on nature and I call this the domestication of nature. The approach also refers to holocene and its successor anthropocene. Domesticated or reshaped landscapes depicted in my photographs represent human supremacy towards nature in other words subjectivity of human and objectivity of nature. This documentation also aims at highlighting egocentric approaches of humans by showing the human made in other words unnatural landscapes. Obviously we live in a planet that is shaped and transformed only by us and our desires. As Brunowski says “Human is not a figure in the landscape‚ he is a shaper of the landscape.” In our daily lives this strict hierarchy motivated my works and perspective. And my works are a series of documentation of endless domestication practices. Jun Ogata

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video, 2013

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An interview with An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Barbara Scott, curator arthabens@mail.com

Sercan Gundogar accomplishes the difficult task of extracting a compelling narrative from an investigation about the continuation of memories within abandoned structures: in his work Living Traces that we'll be discussing in the following pages, his versatile style draws the viewers into an area in which perceptual dimension and an engaging abstract gaze on the reality we inhabit blends into an unexpectedly consistent unity. One of the most convincing aspects of Gamache's practice is the way he questions the notions of instability and transformation, inviting the viewers to investigate about the concept that he defines as domestication of nature, in the contemporary age. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Sercan and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, I would like to to pose a couple of questions about your background: after earning a BFA from the Bahcesehir University you kept on with nurturing your education with a MFA program that you are currently attending at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Arts. How do these experiences influence the way you conceive and produce your works? And in particular, how does the cultural substratum of the rich Turkish heritage informs the way you relate yourself to art making?

Sercan Gundogar

gave me a suitable ground to use my knowledge and produce my artworks. Moreover I have met so many influential artist and curators in Trondheim Art Academy. Also multicultural identity and environmental transformation practices of Turkey strongly affected my current perspective. What has at soon caught our attention about the concept of domestication of nature is the way you highlight the contrasting relationship between subjectivity of human and objectivity of nature: while referring to a convergence between reminders to universal imagery, as environmental elements, you seem to force conceptual gaze on the elusive concept of space. Such compelling combination reminds us of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he states that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". While the conception of Art

Hello first of all thank you very much for this interview. My photography and video practice in Bahcesehir University helped me to have a closer look at to today’s art world and influential history of art. Moreover, I learned fundamentals of digital media that changed our world view also importance of photography in today’s world. And also my history courses gave me basic ideas about instability and influential ideas about my ongoing focus. As I had taken courses from different departments my interdisciplinary focus had emerged. My MFA practice also

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could be considered an abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a sense of permanence, going beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of those concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I think personal experience is totally indispensable. When I moved to Norway I started to observe a different relationship with nature. In Norway natural areas are very well integrated to urban settlements and inhabitants love to spend their spare time in the woods unlike people in Istanbul. My very first days in Norway I started to think about concept of nature because natural areas which are integrated to urban areas had unnatural sense. All single pieces of nature were products of human imagination and all areas were specially arranged because of the human needs. And according to my observations I documented different domestication forms that depicted in the photographs. Everyone knows human as part of nature and like any other species use nature for its own benefits purposes. But actually human has different relationship than the other species. It acts as the central figure of the landscape. It is also clearly visible in aerial and satellite images. My closer relationship with nature showed me objectivity of nature clearly, and I started to think about human supremacy in nature. Today, our surroundings are always product of our imagination and needs. So there is no equal relationship between human and nature. Following my observations, I started to read the term of Anthropocene. It explains anthropogenic revolution and claims everything has its own human intervention. It was sad to read and observe about human footsteps because we easily ignore subjectivity of nature and other food chains and assume nature is our consumption material. Basically, human interventions are much more serious then our assumption. It is the main force of transformation. In today’s

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world wilderness seems not exist as Rachel Carson says; ‘‘There is no big world out there, there is just a great inside.’’ The term of nature is not existing anymore. I guess because today’s plants are human based introductions and genetically transformed and shaped so how we can call these unnaturally growing species as natural. I think it is impossible. For this special issue we have selected The Great Inside (Domestic Nature) that has been featured in the introductory pages of this article, and we would like to suggest our readers to visit http://sercangundogar.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production: In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

Speciesism was the key. We as humans do not give any chance to wilderness. We are intolerant towards it. We modify trees, plants that live in our surroundings. We plant forests to cut, raise animals to kill, we modify and generate everything for just our own desires and needs. I mean thinking of the domestication concept was not too hard for me. Also 3 years ago, I created a similar project -Living Traces- which also links to human and nature based acts. At the very beginning of this practice my visual clues were shaped: planted trees, human carved caves, fields, plant pots, and greenhouses etc. All of these remind me human dominance but I avoided to document strict environmental devastations. I highlight a kind of coalition and togetherness between cultural and natural spheres and elusive boundaries. The aim of my project is to create a visual narrative of this physical and tangible relationship. Human is still part of nature but the point is that it has irresponsible consumption act. McNeil’s Something New Under the Sun and Crutzen’s term of anthropocene played major role to specify my perspective. Moreover, K. V.

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Mensvoort interrogates differences between born and made. This is also inspirational. We have highly appreciated the way your investigation about the elusive boundaries between nature and human invites the viewers to rethink human interventions urging our perception in order to challenge the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension as well. Your exploration of the liminal area in which childhood dimension blends with a surrealistic gaze on our perceptual process brings a new level of significance to the concept of memory. This way you seem to provide the viewer of an Ariadne's thread that, to quote Simon Sterling's words, force things to relate that would probably otherwise be unrelated. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Exactly, inner nature is another dimension of my work. We, also as individuals, always shape our inner nature. We always limit ourselves by using different social patterns. It reminds me of Freud’s concepts of id, ego and superego. Consciously or unconsciously everyone manages their inner nature to become part of the society. It is like domestication of landscape. I think it is the same thing. Human does not tolerate wilderness that’s why everyone and everything is going to be domestic. While exhibiting an explanatory strategy that comes from the way you show the relationship between environmental geometries - straight lines suggested by the trees that fill the background - and human presence, domestic playground is open to various interpretations: in particular, when exploring the ubiquitous interaction between Nature and cultural sphere, it communicates me a process of deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage both on a semantic and on a formal aspect. What is it specifically about this process that fascinates you and make you want to center your style around it?

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Marc AugĂŠ. Many interesting contemporary artists, such as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to include socio-political criticism and sometimes even explicit messages in their works, that often goes beyond a mere descriptive point of view on the issues they face: it is not unusual that an artist, rather than urging the viewer to take a personal position on a subject, tries to convey his personal take about the major issues that affect contemporary age. Do you think that considering your work as political in this sense is to stretch a bit the point? Do you seek to maintain a more neutral approach?

It fascinates me because of the evolution and dynamics of the planet. Earth is the most fascinating subject for me. My investigations help me to be more familiar with natural history of earth also I feel myself responsible to explain about dynamics of earth by using my visual narrative. In this series I conceptualize word of playground. It refers to landscape. I think of the landscape as playground of humanbeing. It makes sense, I guess, because the landscape has a different harmony with its own components unlike human made inorganic spheres. But its human dimension is getting visualize with geometrical elements such as straight lines and circular shapes. This practice is to highlight unnaturality and human dimension of the landscape. It interrupts point of view of the audience to evoke elusive boundaries. I took these photographs in a small Norwegian town. And that day my ideas about domestication emerged for the first time. Also geometric forms on Nazca desert was inspirational to ponder human acts.

I do not identify my works as political. My works are mostly independent from my political stance. My approach is more emotional I guess. On the other hand Living Traces is a criticism to urban development strategies. In my opinion the photographs question urban policies and their consequences. Deserted and neglected structures that I documented in this project remind me of wasteful consumption of resources. We should think deeply about consumption habits.

Many of your works show the epiphanic nature of the ephemeral qualities of the concepts you investigate about. What is the role of memory in your process?

Your investigation about the the continuation of memories within abandoned structures reveals a successful attempt to go beyond a merely interpretative aspect of the contexts you refer to: as the late Franz West did in his installations, living traces shows unconventional aesthetics in the way it deconstructs perceptual images in order to assemble them in a collective imagery, offering to the viewer such an Ariadne's thread that draws us into a process of selfreflection. Artists are always interested in probing to see what is beneath the surface: maybe one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your view about this?

I think my investigation includes both memorialization and (de)memorialization practices. Human dimension erases natural textures and creates a different geometrical reality. This is a tension embodied in the landscape. Contrastly nature’s destructive power erases human dimension and causes (de)memorialization. It reminds me complexed power relations in the same unity. Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled living traces: when unveiling an unexpectedly wide traces that evoke a silent past, this stimulating series pervaded with a subtle but effective socio-environmental criticism: in particular, it reminds us of the concept of non-lieu elaborated by French anthropologist

This is totally true but humans see what they already know, so perspective and understanding changes from person to person. I think it is a good thing and magical side of the image. A single image can express

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thousands of meanings. For example a fountain image represents controlling of nature for me but another person can see its historical background, political meaning or its design mentality. Your captivating animation style is connected to the chance of establishing a direct involvement with the viewer and we would go as far as to state that one of your aim is to delete any frontier sinir between the spectatorship and the eyes of your camera. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I always trust my inner voice when I develop a project so I do not consider it as a crucial component of my decision making. Besides, I always identify my photograph’s names which give some clear hints about my investigation but in my photographs I do not want to give a so strict, I mean direct message to the audience. My works represent a visual narrative about processes. That is, my photographs need little bit longer gaze to comprehend the whole story. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Sercan. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

It was my pleasure. I would like to continue my education as a Phd candidate next year. I will develop parallel projects about transformative events in the future. For instance a few days ago I started a new project ‘alien plants’. It is about introduction of plant species and unnaturality of them and I am very excited to work with this interesting topic. I would like to develop more of this project in the future.

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ART Habens Art Review // Special Issue