ART Habens Art Review // Special Edition // January 2016

Page 48

C o n t e m p o r a r y A r t R e v i e w Obliba 1, mix media collage on canvas, 80x60cm, 2015 a work by Marta Daeuble

The process of making is the main focus in my work, I use mark making, collage from magazines, old photographs, promotional materials and personal letters to evoke my memory.

I aim to let the media take over the planned and prepared and rely on my intuition and spontaneity to create new work. I use accidents as a welcoming occurrence aiming to bring to mind new impulses of imagination.

Through my art I seek to explore how I can capture moments of stability in an otherwise unstable equilibrium. I like to recreate areas of uncertainty and the sense of regions on the verge of collapse. I work in a variety of ways, but typically I create small model pieces or a set of sketches that I digitally scan and then play with and alter. My work process is a mix of old fashioned architectural draughtsmanship, painting and inkjet media, all crafted carefully by hand.

Nican is a digital artist who works in the interconnection between art, design, science and spirituality.

His latest works are focused on sacred geometry, mandalas and the relation between chaos and order.

Since the early years of his career he has also been producing conceptual and ironical works more directly connected with his professional background as a designer and illustrator.

In my visions I get picture of what I would like to show in my works , but while making the actual pieces a lot more comes up and enriches my original intention. I experiment a lot and try to do things that no one else does. There are techniques that I have conceived myself and have not noticed anyone else doing the same although the world is a large place and we can never be sure if there is someone who has actually done before.

Behind the enigmatic guise, the usually bad understood death drive is one of the poles of the second drive theory of Sigmund Freud, in constant tension with Eros: the life drive. While Eros would be able to propel the subject towards the construction, to promote connection, Thanatos, by contrast, would be able to propel him towards destructiveness and disconnection. Freud makes clear, however, that either type of drive is less critical than the other and a drive hardly operates in isolation.

C o n t e m p o r a r y A r t R e v i e w
Verena Zangerle Austria Nican United Kingdom Marta Daeuble United Kingdom Otilia Goodhind United Kingdom/Spain Sebastian Stankiewicz United Kingdom Ilê Sartuzi Brazil

Jun Ogata Japan

Andru Fijalkowski United Kingdom

Tim Waltinger Switzerland

By implementing a dramatic and often metaphorical terminology, Waltinger intents to deepen the astonishment of the viewer.

Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Installation In this issue

Lives and works in Vienna, Austria Mixed media, Installation

Lives and works in Japan Installation, Mixed media

Otilia Goodhind

Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Painting

Andru Fijalkowski

Lives and works in London, UK Painting, Mixed media

Lives and works in London, UK Installation, Mixed media

130 150

Lives and works in Poland Mixed media, Painting

Lives and works in Berlin, Germany Mixed media, Installation

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.

Ilê Sartuzi 48 88 70 108
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Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Installation 4 28
Jun Ogata Verena Zangerle Marta Daeuble Nican Sebastian Stankiewicz Tim Waltinger My aim is to create with passion and freedom, to tell stories from my life and the life of others. I express my ideas through sculpture, mainly figurative, exploring a variety of media. Working in themes, I may spend a few years completing each series. Over time, I have enjoyed exploring a wide selection of materials and techniques, from clay to plaster, mosaic, carving centuries old bog oak also, rapid prototyping and lifecasting. His compositions leave traces by balancing on the edge of recognition and estrangement. In his at times surreal but always intense pictures, fiction and reality meet, well-known allegories merge, meanings shift and past and present fuse. Moment and thought play a crucial role. To create a work is to face to a canvas without a wicked heart. That exactly summed it up my theme of creation for me. The colors on a canvas appear naturally or not is the most important for me. For these few years, I have been exhibit my works in the theme or title of "ZEN GARDEN" especially in foreign countries. My paintings are synchronized with "ZEN GARDEN". Both are not a real nature, but a created natural world. The world of "ZEN GARDEN" synchronizes and expands my creation.
On the cover Obliba 1, 2015, a work by
Marta Daeuble

Marta Daeu Marta Daeu Daeuble b leble ble

My works consist of drawings, paintings and films. The main subject matter in my work is a reflection on memory, personal and collective, and how that shapes our everyday life. It fascinates me how the brain processes information and how it triggers memory by an image, a shape or a sound.

I have been interested to find out more about how the memory process works since I have moved to the UK in 1997. Originally from the Czech Republic, I have been experiencing cultural displacement and was keen to find the boundaries between personal and collective memory. In 2010 I have moved again, to France, and start the process of integration once more. I am founding ways to deal with differentiation by looking into tradition and dissimilar upbringing for a clue, to find why and how it influences our opinions and decisions in€life.

The process of making is the main focus in my work, I use mark making, collage from magazines, old photographs, promotional materials and personal letters to evoke my memory. I aim to let the media take over the planned and prepared and rely on my intuition and spontaneity to create new work. I use accidents as a welcoming occurrence aiming to bring to mind new impulses of imagination.

As for my films same process is followed by working intuitively with drawings, cut outs images, objects and even parts of my body. I create the story as I go, in an instinctive way, photographing image by image with having just very rough story board planed before. I use traditional stop motion animation as its process of making allows me to use low tech material and by doing so to concentrate on the immediacy between an idea and making.

I was born in the Czechoslovakia in 1974. After leaving the country in 1997 to study in the UK, I graduated in 2004 at the Wimbledon School of Art in Fine Art Painting with First Honours. During my study I have received a 1st Prize Award in Drawing in 2003 and was shortlisted for the Idris Pearce Prize in 2004. Most recently my film “Echo” was shortlisted for the Hop Award, in the music video category of the year 2014 , and flm “Insight” had won the public mural 1min animation Grand Award 2015 in Toride, Japan.

My films are regularly shown at the film festivals such as the ‘Très Court International Film Festival’ in Paris, ‘Facade Video Festival’ in Bulgaria, ‘700IS Film Festival’ in Iceland, underground film event ‘Exploding Cinema’ in London or ‘The Annual Film Festival’ in Arizona, USA and many more. My paintings were shown at group exhibitions in the UK, Portugal, Turkey and France.

I live and work in Lyon, France.

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Marta Daeuble Obliba 8, mix media collage on canvas, 120x
Special Issue 2 Marta Daeuble ART Habens
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60cm,
ART Habens Marta Daeuble
Obliba 1, mix media collage on canvas, 80x60cm, 2015

An interview with interview

Multidisciplinary artist Marta Daeuble's work shows how memory and experience, personal and collective, are shaping our everyday life: her approach rejects any conventional classification and crosses the elusive boundary that defines the area of perception from the realm of imagination, to create a multilayered involvement with the viewers, who are urged to investigates about the ubiquitous order that pervades the reality we inhabit. One of the most convincing aspect of Daeuble's practice is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of creating a deep and autonomous synergy between our limbic parameters and our rational categories: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to his 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 after moving from your native country to the United Kingdom, you eventually graduated at the prestigious Wimbledon School of Art in Fine Art Painting with First Honours: moreover, you later nurtured your education joining a PGCE Secondary program on Art & Design at the University of Reading. How have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does your Czechoslovakian cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

I have moved to the UK in 1997, the first decade after the fall of the Berlin wall. In the Czech Republic followed with the Velvet Revolution, as we came to call it to mark the nonviolent political change in our country.

In this decade changes came fast to Eastern Europe, Czechoslovakia led by the former dissident and writer Václav Havel peacefully created two independent countries, Czech Republic and Slovakia and started a new era. However, this also brought, for many people’ unfamiliar feelings of independency and freedom, consequently, creating uncertainty and fear.

Like for a child who grew to be an adult and has to make his own decision, many people who lived such

Marta Daeuble Daeuble

a long time in a constrained regime were overwhelmed with choices. Political structure, economy, education and else had to restart its functions and it reflected on the atmosphere of the country. One of the problems was the closure of the communistic led structure embedded in the past, to obtain a job. Many people become unemployed and post revolution euphoria quickly changed to depression.

This was one of the reason I had move to the UK, hoping to find a job. In 1997 the differences between east and west European countries were still extremely visible. It was in these years when I started to question the way we are brought up differently in each country, in each political structure, in each family, and how it affects our decision in our lives. Above all, what most interested me was folklore and traditions and this

Marta Daeuble
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reflected in my work when I started to attend the Wimbledon School of art. Fundamentally, being in London, and in one of the most cosmopolitan art school, I could experience the variation of works, fresh and full of visions, opinions and free interpretations. The school ethos encouraged experimentation, drawing didn’t mean to use a pencil and performance could be act of painting. This utter freedom was the best start to my artist practice. To overcome the limitation of still image, I quickly found my strongest points were experiment with mix media and film. I started to make animated films and collaged painting which allowed me to use layers in my work to represent changes by making reference to time.

The reality of an artist life however, is that to be free to work, one has to alter working in the studio with a paying job. I had enrol to a PGCE program (teacher training) to be able to teach in secondary schools art and design and hoped to find financial security to be able to continue my art practice. Nevertheless teaching is one of the most demanding jobs I ever did. Becoming a teacher was a life changing experience for me. I had to learn to be not only an educator but also an entertaining public speaker, carer, time manager and a policewoman. Most importantly it brought another point of view to my practice by working with young people which would be later reflected in my work.

The distinctive feature that marks out your multifaceted production is a successful attempt to condense into coherent unity a variety of features related to the elusive notion of memory. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.martadaeuble.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?

Certainly, the multimedia process is a key to work intuitively to produce my work. Changing the way I work is therefore fundamental to my everyday practice. Accordingly, I set my workspace so I can switch between different media quickly. It is not unusual that I start working on my film in the morning and stop in the middle to paint or draw and engage in another project later. This is due to the nature of the way I choose to work. If I spend too long on one task, I have tendency to overanalyse

my work and pay too much attention to the aesthetic of the piece rather than the content, thus loosing the purpose of my work I set myself to produce.

Given these points it is mostly impossible for me to work in singular production. That is why I work

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ART Habens Marta Daeuble still from the film Insight, stop motion animation, 2014

simultaneously on different projects, which some of them are deliberately left unfinished as ongoing pieces to work on for a longer period of time.

We would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Insight, in which you have

accomplished a compelling investigation about the idea of sight: we have appreciated the multilayered feature of this work that gives permanence to the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the notion of sight. So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you

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ART Habens
Marta Daeuble
still from the film Insight, stop motion animation, 2014

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

Definitely, direct experience is only one of the possibilities how to evoke creative process. In fact, the luck of experience can be beneficial to start up creative thinking as filling the missing gaps needs to be filed with imagination.

As a matter of fact, the brain is born with priory knowledge, knowledge independent of experience which according to modern cognitive psychology is responsible for the ability to make sense of incomplete visual scene. Similarly, I want the viewer to watch this complex image to keep his peripheral sensory organs occupied so his ability of processing the experience in connection to something familiar is reduced.

In other words, I am creating indirect experience for the audience to enable their creative thinking to take its part in processing the story.

Your captivating exploration of the ubiquitous relationships between the level of consciousness and subconscious' sphere 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?

Undeniably, in the contemporary age, social media and visual richness of our society widen the use of art today. In other words, an artist has more possibility nowadays to show his work to the wide public than ever before, hence the platform to show art is not anymore restricted to museum, art galleries or a cinema. Additionally, the spectator ability to perceive and analyse visual image, moving or still, advanced notably.

Having this in mind, I create my work for the observer to question its possibility to see, that is to say that one’s perception are not as precise and direct as we think. ‘The brain does not simply take the raw data that it receives trough the senses and reproduce it faithfully. Instead, each sensory system first analyzes and deconstructs, then restructures the raw, incoming information according to its own build-in connections and rules.’

The function of art, for my case, is to study the variability of perceiving in connection to memory in

a creative way. On the contrary to scientific studies how the brain works, art can be much more imaginative to speculate about the sources to analyse an image. Additionally, this can indirectly contribute to raise new type of questions and bring new ideas to be explored on scientific level.

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ART Habens Marta Daeuble
still from the film Insight, stop motion animation, 2014

Your approach allows you to bring a new level of significance to the notion of perception: rather than providing the viewers of a set of accessible, universal elements, you seem to urge us to develop a personal, unconventional way to relate ourselves to our limbic perceptual parameters. To quote Simon Sterling's words, this could force

things to relate that would probably otherwise be unrelated. Do you agree with this interpretation?

I see the audience as someone who easily relates moving images to reality, but forgetting the function of illusion which the film can offer. My purpose of making the film Insight is to make it

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Daeuble ART
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Habens
still from the film Insight, stop motion animation, 2014

still from the film Insight, stop motion animation, 2014

difficult to relate to something conventional, hence the spectator question the nature of the imagery and what its representation could be. As a result he is forced to watch the sequence few times to grasp all the elements, thus each time the viewer watch the film, he gets closer to his subconscious thinking. Consequently as the spectator watches the film he

will start to understand the imagery in a familiar, therefore personal way.

To explain, these visually complex scenes I force the viewer to use his ability to process the meaning of the image in the non-conventional way. My intention is to find in this experience ways to stimulate the complex processing of the brain to create meaningful pattern. For the spectator it

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ART Habens Marta Daeuble

means to reach into his imagination and the creative process of memory recollection.

Another interesting project from your recent production that has particularly impacted on us ad on which we'll be pleased to spend some words is entitled OBLIBA, an interesting series that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. This project

challenges the viewers' perceptual parameters to rethink the elusive relationships between memory and the way it is triggered by sense: when walking our readers through the genesis of this captivating project, would you tell us something about the role of memory in your work and why you have centred a relevant part of your practice on it?

As I mention before, I have been interested to find how much our surrounding and the way we are brought up contribute to our consciousness and decision making in everyday life. Soon I find that one of the main reasons who we are is due to what we remember. Memory guides us to solve problems we face every day, not to mention that provide us with sense of continuity.

For this reason, I have started to search for information how the brain works and its ability to store memories. What is the mechanism of transferring short second lasting memories to the one memory we remember all our life? Moreover, how much of our memories are delusional interpretation of someone else recollection? And most importantly, can it be possible that some of the memories are inherited or shared?

Likewise, I have been troubled by letting the past to occupy my present time all the time. In my research I came across a scientific book called In Search of Memory written by the Nobel Prize winner Eric R. Kandel and starting to find some of the answers how the mechanism of brain works.

Kandel explains how complex memory, the explicit memory, is highly individual. Thus some people can live unconnected to the past memories, other live with them consciously present every day. However he claims that for all of us ...’explicit memory makes it possible to leap across space and time and conjure up events and emotional sates that have vanished into the past yet somehow continue to live in our minds.’

At the same time, he makes clear that recalling the memory episodically is not a simple task. He relates this to the creative process. Claiming that the brain stores just the core memory he clarifies: ‘upon recall, this core memory is then elaborated upon and reconstructed, with subtraction, additions, elaborations and distortions.’

Under those finding, I start to look for a memory I could excises upon these facts. I wanted to be able to utilise my perceiving sense in a way implicit memory works, in a repetitive way, to be able to start of the creative process of explicit memory.

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ART Habens Marta Daeuble

One of the memory which is personal to me but most people can relate to is the way we look like and change due to aging henceforth I have starting to work on the series called Obliba.

For the purpose stimulate the process of recalling I have decided to work using certain methodology. To begin with I have imagined that the process of making could be similar to the mechanism of the brain. Accordingly, the work is divided into stages of making and each stage follows different method of working which I explained in the introduction.

The main idea on which you have centred the narrative of OBLIBA is the desire to look young, vogue and perfect: your works has impressed us also for the way it raises questions about our contemporary societies, often subverting the perceptual parameters that affect our unstable sensibility: many artists from the current scene, as Judy Chicago or more recently Jennifer Linton, use to include socio-political criticism in their works.

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 consider that your works could be political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach? And in particular, what could be in your

ART Habens Marta Daeuble
Obliba 2, mix media collage on canvas, 80x60cm, 2015
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Obliba 5, mix media collage on board, 120x60cm, 2015 Obliba 3, mix media collage on canvas, 80x60cm, 2015
Obliba
4, mix media collage on canvas, 100x80cm, 2015

opinion the role that an artist could play in the contemporary society?

Initially, my work commenced from the search of my own perception of society on a very personal level. Before Obliba, I have focused on personal issues such as my own memories of childhood

evoked by personal photographs in the series called Hidden and Postcards.

However I have learnt that after certain time, I started to repeat the same process and was unable to progress in my work. In fact, the process became so habitual to me, that I have started to revisit

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ART Habens Marta Daeuble
Obliba 6, mix media collage on board, 120x60cm, 2015 Obliba 7, mix media collage on board, 120x60cm, 2015

memory of making work about memory rather the memory itself. These become unproductive to me, and I needed to change the initial stimuli.

For this reason, the Obliba series is different to the other works, as I started to take into consideration what imagery I could use to stimulate my memory

in more objective way. It came to my understanding that one of the problems of working on personal issues is the subjective feedback I can only generate. With this intention, the natural step for me was to address an issue which is personal to me but also easy to connect to by others. Equally, I understood that in this way I could create a work

ART Habens Marta Daeuble
Obliba 8, mix media collage on board, 120x60cm, 2015
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Obliba 9, mix media collage on board, 120x60cm, 2015

which could stimulate search for memory not only on my personal way. As a result I could compare feelings the spectator experience to the one of mine in more generic way. Similarly to Judy Chicago Heads 2012 I see the facial representation as a good communication tool that the viewer easily associates with inner feelings.

The fact you point out the similar approach to work we can find in Jennifer Linton work, particularly in the Gravid 2003-6, could sagest my work to be associate with socio-political criticism. But then again, my intention is to also keep a neutral approach in my work as my first intention is to analyse the way how we construe images. Rather than stating my point of view, I like the spectator find their own interpretations.

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 parts of human body, OBLIBA 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?

The use of non linear narrative in my work is particularly important for me as it allows me to echo the mechanism of the brain and how it collects memory.

Our information channel is forced to make up the order or, once again, look for clues to make a linear sense of the image.

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ART Habens Marta Daeuble
Obliba 6, detail, mix media collage on canvas, 120x60cm, 2015

That is where the symbolic strategies come to place in my work. The symbols are here to help evoke the right sensation I am dealing with. The symbols are generic: parts of the body, vivid colours, a grid, flowers, patterns and birds. They have important role to guide the spectator’s experience.

The parts of abstract layers provokes awareness of self , for that I feel symbolism and metaphors can be utilised as universal visual language that viewers all over the world can relate to, sometime with different meaning, yet it forms an anchor to further analysis

When drawing from the collective imagery to create evocative juxtapositions, you create an unconventional channel of communication between the public sphere and our inner landscape: how do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space?

The public and the public space play important role in the process of progressing my art practice and creating new work.

Following my research, I have been interested to find out more about the fact memory could be inherited or shared. Be that as it may, it could explain the sensation of déjà vu or familiar connection with people. Therefore I want to see how interpretation of symbols and imagery can vary according to the nationality or place the image is shown.

Recently, I have been closely monitoring how people react when observing certain images. As we can predict, different interpretation is received depending of the viewer’s gender and similar group can interpret images with same outcome. For example, mothers will sensate similar feelings when watching part of the baby’s body in the picture then women which have no children.

What interest me more, in fact, is the nuances in feelings which begun apparent within similar group when watching much more complex image. Here, I can see that the memory starts to influence the spectator’s feelings and his creative process of interpretation. When this happen and the viewer starts to look inside his inner landscape, I can say my work has been understood.

Adding to this, public space can also change dramatically the purpose of the observed work. Painting in a gallery is examined differently than street art images or than the amateur paintings at the artist market. What interests me is how the

public is easily influenced by the space and alter their views according to where the image is located.

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ART Habens Marta Daeuble

Over your career you have been awarded several times, and your works have exhibited€internationally, showcasing your work in several occasions, including your recent

participation to the International Short Film Festival Sleepwalkers, Tallinn, Estonia. One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who

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Marta Daeuble ART Habens Obliba 7, detail, mix media collage on canvas, 120x60cm, 2015

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 decisionmaking process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

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ART Habens Marta Daeuble Obliba 9, detail, mix media collage on canvas, 120x60cm, 2015

As has been noted, I do things a lot based on the audience and how my work is seen. Accordingly, I

progress my work in line with feedback of the spectator. My intention is to start a dialogue not only within myself but also between me and the public to channel his inner thoughts.

Recently my film Coffee Creatures was shown as part of the Très Court Film Festival, which also presented my work at the Short Film Festival Sleepwalkers in Tallinn. This festival, unlike the others,is an event without borders, with screenings during 9 days simultaneously in nearly one hundred cities in France and 23 other countries. At the end of the festival in each venue there was a public vote to choose the 3 best short films. What interested me the most was how the result varied significantly, regarding where films were shown and in which part of the world that was. 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?

As you can imagine I am working on numerous projects at the moment. I have started new series following the idea similar to Obliba, but looking deeper into collective and shared memories. At the same time, I have been working for nearly a year on a new stop motion animation, which is linked to the perceived aging process, particularly to examine the way we used to see natural beauty.

Lastly, I have been working on a new type of project I set to myself, called ‘Free of Charge’, which involves direct experience. The project started this year at the Espacio Gallery in London as a part of the Anti Gallery Gallery Show, where I set myself rules to create specific work within certain condition and in certain time. For this one, from the time I left the door at my house (Lyon, France) to the time I reached the space at the gallery, I collected advertising promotional materials I could get for free and used them as a starting point to create a new work at my destination. My aspiration was to examine the fresh experience I just had and translated almost immediately as a visual form of communication with the public. Because of the limitation and pressure of time, I had to work intuitively but also having in mind the instant exposure.

My intention is to repeat this methodology working towards a new destination and compare the experiences to find how place and time alter the way we make sense of what we see around us.

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Verena Z VerenaZVerenaZ Verena Zangerle a ngerleangerle angerle

I am / I have always been fascinated with the power of abstraction. My work is about the possibilities abstraction provides me to go further than reality, to create truth and not copy it.

Media wise I choose/concentrate on drawing, painting and prontmaking. I Draw, etch, print, structure, put white al over and work on. making art is a physical act to me, direct intuitive and that's why I love to work with big formats

Becosause they promise me time and the chance of movement.

I am always working towards energy and tension but still there needs to be the impression of harmony. Going ahead going back, moving over the space, filling, changing the surface, everything develops over the time of making - actionreaction and there is no sure point of finishing.

I love art, it's not like I have to do it - I am in love with it.

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An interview with interview

Vienna based artist Verena Zangerle's works explores the elusive boundary between representation and abstraction to explore the thin line between experience and perception. Her multifaceted investigation about the elusive nature of perceptual process challenges the viewers to unveil an unexpectedly wide variety of association between the realm of perceptual reality and the sphere of imagination. Her works trigger both subconscious and conscious levels to walk us into a liminal area to create a multilayered and sometimes oniric experience. One of the most convincing aspect of Zangerle's approach is the way it condenses the permanent flow of associations in the realm of memory and experience, to create truth and not to copy it: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating artistic production.

Hello Verena and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview we would like to pose you a couple of questions about your background: you have a solid formal training and you studied Visual & Media Arts at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, where you are currently based. How do your studies influenced the way you conceive and produce your work? In particular, does this experience inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetics proble in general?

Hello Art Habens and thank you so much for having me.

The time at the graphics department in the University of Applied Arts gave me the chance to experiment, to get a lot of different and new input… to really explore my work. To me University created a perfect situation to start working freely because I

Verena Zangerle Verena Zangerle

learned I can´t do anything wrong, it´s just about what works and what doesn`t, which can be very surprising and interesting process if you are open to it. A lot of the things I work on today developed over that relatively unstructured time, in particular the whole Art University environment had a big impact on the way I look at Art including my own. I studied visual languages, I learned to really look at art, to think about what I see, what I feel, to fall into it and make my own connections, to find out what

Verena Zangerle
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An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa

it means to me. Now at the end of my studies I feel like exploring is still a very important aspect of my approach, it probably always will be, but I believe my work gained a level, like now I have better tools to work on with.

We would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.verenazangerle.com in order to get a synoptic view of your artistic production, that is marked out with a stimulating cross disciplinary feature and ranges from drawing to painting and printmaking. In particular, we would like to start to focus on your Monolog series, that our readers have already had the chance to admire in the introductory pages of the 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?

Without the right setup I can´t work. I feel like the technical quality that I want to accomplish with my drawings needs to originate from a perfectly clean, pure place. I have to have space and light of course, everything needs to be prepared and ready. Concentration is a very complex thing, it can be very strong, so strong that you would call it obsessive, it can be very fragile so everything can distract you. Such a tidy setup that I love for drawing, keeps me focused, draws me into an obsessive process to the point where I dream about it.

We have appreciated the way your approach conveys both energy and complexity into a coherent, harmonious unity: in particular, the symbiosis between organic forms and abstracted imagery shows how art has always been a vehicle not only to express feelings and concepts, but to also dissect them, grapple with

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ART Habens Verena Zangerle
Special Issue 21 4 06 ART Habens Verena Zangerle
ART Habens Verena Zangerle 2 05 Special Issue

them, and integrate them. Your approach seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to explore this form of expression?

I wanted to draw straight lines, then I noticed the aesthetics of the overlays, a very specific type of abstraction and I immediately thought about the possibilities of creating organic forms, of creating abstract drawings with straight lines which don´t translate as something technical at all. There are no straight lines in nature yet the finished drawings show an organic result. I fell in love with this contrast and that was the start of exploring this form of expression. After the drawing process started, I tried to get behind what really interests me and how I work. Every artist is like a tool and we all work differently, you have to fall into your own work and get really deep, reflect on what you do and why you do it. The concepts of these drawings were not fixed from the beginning, the work itself revealed very important conceptual aspects to me. I felt and still feel extremely connected to the convoluted quality of my line drawings. I look around myself and I see this growing complexity. We live in a world that surpasses our understanding. My form of expression relates to this complexity, which makes me in turn, create complexity.

While your exploration of the expressive potential of abstraction triggers the viewers' limbic parameters, your recurrent use of straight lines to create autonomous structures addresses us to question the dichotomy between a variety of digital and real aspects of our unstable contemporary age. The way you tread the thin line between experience and perception gives a sense of permanence, that allows you to go beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature

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of the concepts you explore: 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?

Today we are able to approximate phenomena of nature with digital means, to the point where it´s impossible to say if a representation is based in reality or simulation. The boarders between the worlds are blurring. My work deals with these aspects. It is an investigation about the thin line between experience and perception.

I use a system, the main rule is the straight line, but, like I said, I am not interested in creating technical drawings. Rather, I am curious of the expressive potential, about the point in time where the perception tips, when it´s not technical but organic, natural and real. In my Art, personal experience is essential to the creative process. But it´s not just about my personal experience in general or about my perception of the time I live in, but also about direct experience and perception while I am producing. They can be a motor that keeps me moving forward. I think that if you create a piece of Art over an extended period of time that work opens up to you. Like you go part of the way together. For me it would be impossible to distance myself or my direct experience from the work during it’s making the same way it´s impossible to distance myself from the time I live in. The decisions I make survive until the next decision is made that goes against it. I guess I can say, my artistic production is an experience, perception and reflection driven process, it is open, allows change and gives space for development.

As you have remarked once, your approach is centered on the chance to create truth

and not to copy it. The way your works represents the unspeakable suggests us an attempt to go beyond a mere interpretative aspect of the reality you refer to. As the late Franz West did in his

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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 process?

This is definitely a very hard question to answer because I myself am not sure about

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the role of memory in my process. Memories are like my line drawings: a completely subjective view. Your memories are all you, they are constructed by you and I guess

the ways we construct our memories are extremely complicated. I can see myself putting many pictures, many associations, many memories in one drawing, constantly

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stacking layers, abstracting and collecting till it is one whole, new picture.

In connection to showing my work, memories are a special possibility of associations,

I´d even say it´s the best kind of possibility, because a memory reaches you on an emotional level. I show something to a viewer and then I want to meet him or her on their side through triggering something, through making them feel, think, and experience something, getting people involved with themselves

When we first happened to admire the pieces from your serie 2 we tried to relate all the visual information and its elusive geometrical symbolism to a single meaning, filling the gaps and searching for a sign that could unveil an order in the intrinsic rigenerative nature of the idea of rigeneration that pervades your work. But we soon realized that we had to fit into its visual unity, forgetting our need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, we can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or rather a systematic process?

Painting is a physical and intuitive process to me. It is very easy in the beginning and gets harder with every decision. In the beginning, I can start with an arbitrary brush stroke and then I react to it. It´s a game of action and reaction, I’m permanently at a new starting point that I respond to, till the work feels finished. I always try to construct the paintings by color choices, but what it turns out to be like, results from the process. There is nothing planned about these pieces, but showing them has an inherent desire for the viewers to connect on a personal level, even though the search for understanding is a very welcome action.

Now we would like to discuss about your painting production: your canvasses are particularly colorful and the vibrancy of the tones you choose provides your works

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of dynamism that establishes a dialogue between the thoughtful nuances you combine together, speaking of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own

psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a texture? Any comments on your

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choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

Usually I use my favorite colors like prussian blue or cobalt purple and several other combinations of color that interest me. A few years ago, before I started painting

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with oil, color wise I worked with pastelles, where I used more shades in-between. That changed, now I work with original colors, pure and strong tones, nothing too exotic.

The mixture happens directly on the canvass and the same goes for the development of the texture. First I use brushes, but then I need the paintings to leave their flat

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state and establish a structured surface, defining highs and lows. I use scrapers and squeegees with which I move the color over the canvass. Every little change in move-

ment or pressure does something to the color and structure…oh I love oil painting, even just talking about it makes my fingers start to itch.

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Texture and color is what painting is to me, both depend on my decisions how to deal with them. I want to be felt in color and texture. One of the most impressive painting

experience I ever had was looking at Rembrandts paintings in the Rjeiksmuseum in Amsterdam a few years back. I wanted to fall on my knees and cry because this col-

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ors and textures are so incredibly beautiful, it is like you can feel the artist. I couldn´t wait to get home and start working.

What we notice most about your paintings is that there is a dichotomy between fluid lines and an elusive hint to figurative representation: then you abstract to tell

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your story. It’s the composition of molding the abstraction with the figurative pieces to lend plane and spatial concept, inviting people into an idea that makes the work so special. You are conveying an inner

vision: this quality marks out a considerable part of your painting production, that is in a certain sense representative of the ubiquitous relationship between perceptual processes

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ART Habens Verena Zangerle

and experience in a truly engaging way. To quote Simon Sterling's words, this could force things to relate that would probably otherwise be unrelated. Do you agree with this interpretation? And in particular, did you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

I very much agree with this interpretation of my pieces. I love to think that I build a room with an invitation to step into it. This room is certainly me, these paintings are created out of an inner vision. They mean to translate a feeling, an emotion, an impression or simply an idea into the visual.

Perception, experience, the relationship and difference between the two are aspects that accompany me through all of my production that I reflect on constantly. Even though my work demands a lot from the viewer, when I work I am alone with the pieces. It is not at all about creating something for someone else, but I love the thought that the processes I am engaged in, reach through and involve the viewer, make them access my work through their experience and perception.

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

Exhibiting was at first important to me for collecting experience in how to present a certain work but also how to deal with the reaction of the audience. In general I think

the only bad reactions to art are no reactions. It always seems very dangerous for me to talk too much about my work. People would pursue what I say, but not what they see. The pure reception from the audience can teach you a lot about the language that you speak, which is a combination of your work and it´s display in an exhibition. Of course this has an influence on your future production and on future exhibitions. The more fluent you are in your language the more you can work with it in a formal way.

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

Right now I’m in a very productive phase of exploring different format choices within new drawings and etchings. I guess it is impossible for me to reliably predict the future, but I hope on a lot of productive phases because they seem to be the most progressive and rewarding.

Special Issue 21 4 06
ART Habens Verena Zangerle An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

Jun Ogat JunOgatJunOgat Jun Ogata aa a

To create a work is to face to a canvas without a wicked heart. That exactly summed it up my theme of creation for me. The colors on a canvas appear naturally or not is the most important for me. For these few years, I have been exhibit my works in the theme or title of "ZEN GARDEN" especially in foreign countries. My paintings are synchronized with "ZEN GARDEN". Both are not a real nature, but a created natural world. The world of "ZEN GARDEN" synchronizes and expands my creation. Which is not only to inspire me, but also able to be the important keyword and tool to comprehend my paintings. My primary emphasis is on the colors. The colors which was produced with mixture of colors on my canvas might be not in the real nature. But you can see the varied natural colors that changes with time and season in the garden. Ancient Japanese people had a delicate sensibility recognized these varied natural colors, withered colors of plants and varied natural scenery as a different color and named them all. Such flexible sensitivity of color is also very important concept for me. That has been realize the technique of how to paint the ground, how to mix the colors and how to superimpose the colors.

In Japan, there are "KARE SANSUI" (zen gardens without water) which express a waterfall, a sea, a flow of river and even a space with only rocks and white sand. Using the motif of rocks and sand as a symbol. It might be the world of "enlightenment" and "mystery". Also "KARE SANSUI" expresses a blank space with rocks. Same as the blank space on the canvas which was produced after draw an one line. Both the paintings and the Japanese gardens give a meaning of "Beauty of Blank Space" to the extra space. In my thought, the minimum and simple expression lead the colors of my painting to more beautiful and attractive. Japanese garden and Bonsai are the straightforward expression of the Japanese aesthetic sense and modeling which use natural phenomena well with natural materials. My paintings which use natural phenomena such as water, air and humidity in the atelier are made in a very Japanese way of thinking unlike the strictly constructed Western paintings. Although sometimes unknown forms and colors appear, I keep creating with unnatural effort while repeating failures to pursue the "more natural".

Using a flow of water and natural phenomena is validity to express the infinite "colors of ZEN" and able to reach the "natural colors and shapes" more than a limited specific description or style of depiction. Although expression of painting is not so easy to create same as a flowing water, soil and air does not have a shape, I keep creating to pursue the "truth of paintings" like a natural scenery which glows strongly. I face to my paintings with such philosophy.

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Jun Ogata Persimmon Garden and ZEN Pond from the solo exhibitio
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video, 2013 n "zen garden - garden for view" at Fei Art Museum Yokohama in 2014

The waterfall in the garden flows while the various changes.Although the waterfall always flows from top to bottom, it changes in the middle. It looks like an abstract but partial is concrete. The scene that only the sound of the waterfall can be heard in the midnight

Detail picture of "YOGOMORINO TAKI / Midnight Japanese Waterfall"400×1200mm×2 Acrylic on canvas 2014

Jun Ogata Jun Ogata An interview with interview

Jun Ogata's work draws from ancient Japanese delicate sensibility to unveil a variety of subtle relationships between rigorous sense of geometry geometry and a freedom of associations that gently invites the viewers into an insightful process of abstraction.

His stimualting approach conveys both representational and abstract elements into a consistent unity, inviting us to explore the liminal territory in which imagination blends with a structured gaze on contemporary art. One of the most convincing aspect of Ogata's approach is the way it condenses the permanent flow of associations in the realm of memory and imagination: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating artistic production.

Hello Jun and a warm welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a very solid formal training and after graduating from the Musashino Art Universit, from the Wako University and from the school of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and music, you later nurtured your education with an internship during which you studied about technique of modern paintings and Art conservation technology: how do these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist and how do they inform the way you currently conceive your works?

I am honored to have this opportunity to introduce my paintings on ART Habens. Although I am not sure whether I am able to answer logically or not, I would like to answer politely.

Before I have a formal training, the existence of my grand father Yoshin Ohatsu (18991979), a chaser of Japanese traditional craft art, was a great significance for my art life. He encouraged me to become a painter and was the first person who bought my pencil drawing. Japanese chasing is to delineate the

beauties of nature on sheet copper while carving from the front and hammering from the reverse side. When I was a child, I got into his workshop and imitated his job often. During that time, a beauty of Japanese traditional scenery and elegance were carved deeply in my heart.

After a while, I have learned western painting at the special professional school and universities. Also I have learned a traditional painting technique of 15th to 17th century of Europe and a technique of art conservation at

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Solo exhibition "KAEI / Shadow of Flower" at Ginza Tokyo in 2011

Colors in the Garden

A checkered beautiful scenery such as complexion of pond and rocks in Japanese garden provide me the varied materials.

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Photo by Jun Ogata

the graduate school. Since my former teacher of the special professional school advised me "You should have a technique for eating" and he forced me into the workshop of art conservation, I started to learn about art conservation. I did not have any interest in art conservation at all.

A few years later, I researched on Van Eyck, Rubens and Rembrandt for studying about the traditional painting technique in the graduate school. As you know, a brown or gray preliminary coating of ground layer was indispensable in traditional technique of traditional western paintings. Paint a grand layer first, and recoating the various colors to express the light and dark under the influence of the color of ground layer. I got the big hint for my present paintings from the concept of influence and effective use of ground layer which I studied in this workshop of the graduate school. My painting is involving both Japanese sensitivity and the traditional western painting's concept of ground layer painting and color painting. Also the experience and the observational technique of art conservation were greatly contributed to my painting. I have acquired the habitual practice to observe a physical structure of painting and consider a method of coloring from art conservation. Also I have got good taste to mix the pigments to create the same color as you see or image from the technique of retouch.

Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would like to ask you how important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work: in particular, would you like to elaborate the notion of truth of paintings for our readers?

It is rather difficult to explain. Although my aesthetic sense has been affected by the various things as the events from childhood, education in the school, the study of various technique of Western paintings and the aesthetic called "Preestablished Harmony", the criterions of aesthetic that I have to engrave deeply are

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just "be natural" and "not to be unnatural". Also it has been affected by the personal sensitivity. I have read the Japanese oldest book about the gardening titled "Sakuteiki" which was written in the Heian-era(794-1185). Although I am not be able to understand deeply because I am not a gardener, the ancient secrets of making the garden like a styles of garden and a techniques of gardening was written in this book. There was also a description like "Curse occurs when you stand the stone which was laying" It is hard to believe but very interesting for me. It might be an influence of Chinese thought. I can recognize the heart of the ancient Japanese people like the "reverence for the nature" and the "respect for the nature as God" from it. And I was strongly attracted to the following sentence. "The stone which a human stood is lesser than the nature. In the nature, one part is interesting but around that is not so interesting. A human stands only interesting stones. Not stands inconsequential stones around it." My view of nature was exactly written in that ancient book. Beautiful materials and expressions alone are not enough to express the "truth of the nature" and not able to create the "view of nature of paintings" which I have been aiming.

We would like to invite our readers to visit http://jun-ogata.com in order to get a wide idea of your artistic production: in particular, we would like to start to focus on your Antique Garden and Dawn Blue, that our readers have already had the chance to admire in the introductory pages of the article. We have appreciated the way your pieces establish an effective combination between Japanese aesthetic sense and lively gaze on contemporary visual language; in particular, the symbiosis between realistic and abstracted imagery shows how art has always been a vehicle not only to express feelings and concepts, but to also dissect them, grapple with them, and integrate them. Your approach seems to stimulate the viewer's psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level.

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YUBAE-SHAKKEI / Borrowed Scenery of Persimmon Yellow 1200×400mm×4 Acrylic on Canvas 2014

It was inspired from the red garden at sundown against daylight.

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Violet Shadow Exhibited in solo exhibition “ZEN GARDEN” at Tobin Ohashi Gallery, Tokyo. 2010

How did you decide to explore this form of expression?

I expressed a garden which had been changed as the time passes in both paintings. Viewers might fall into a visual sensation such as thrown into a big pond by the single colored painting which is denying a depth of space. I expect a viewer to float in the color. "Antique Garden" has meaning of literally Japanese ancient garden called "Kare Sansui (Dry Garden)". I mixed the pigments and left to stand for a while till it gets cloudy by oxidation to express a sunset of old garden. I expressed a rocks of a "Kare Sansui (Dry Garden)" as the motif. The impasto is also from an influence of traditional Japanese crafts.

And I expressed the color of a garden before dawn in "Dawn Blue". Ancient Japanese people named the nature's colors of every moment which are always changing based on the awareness that nothing does not change.

With that awareness, I tried to reproduce the scenery which changes every moment into a painting. By painting a simple motif like a rock or a stone, the color will appear in front than the motif. A concrete description for the impact of color is not needed, I think. Since the scenery in the painting changes infinitely and affects the state of viewer's mind by a phenomenon resulted from the pigment, water and air that was recoated on the deep but bright ground layer painting, the painting is able to be seen as various things. It is exactly the same as a Japanese garden laid out only with rocks evokes the universe or the sea.

As you have remarked once, your paintings are not a real nature, but a created natural world: the way your work resists immediate classification in terms of their subject matter reminds us of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". So I would take this

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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?

Although I am not sure whether this answer is accurate, a creative process is exceedingly made up by my personal experience, trial and error. Sometimes I get into trouble with production problems which are pending to resolve. Some of these problems can be solve during a creating process and some can not. I believe that the expression appeared during a creative process is generated from his own birth, growth, inherited blood, various personal experience and thought.

I have learned the ancient oriental "Budo (martial arts)" since I was young. I learned "how to be natural" and "how to borrow a power of nature" from the master by "Kata (gesture)" and "Kuden (oral)" tradition. Such thinking and view of nature which are flowing in the bottom of my heart and body contribute and affect greatly to my creative process. In another words, I can say that my sensibility is acquired from my own whole life.

On the other hand, I learned academic technique and knowledge or a basis of modeling at school. Although such skills were worked for a observation of condition as a conservator, these were not so useful for me to express my view of nature. After a long study of these traditional technique, I did not use these skills in my paintings and gave up the most of all except the coating technique of ground layer. However, such skills were not so useful for me to express my view of nature, it worked for a observation of condition as a conservator though.

After all, my own original technique to realize my own sensitivity is required more than the common technique and knowledge. Therefore, I have kept pursuing my original method to realize required view of nature and my own sensitivity.

What we notice most about your paintings is

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KOSENSUI / Dry Garden 410x530mm Acrylic on Canvas 2015 GOKUSUI-MIYABI/ Ancient Stream Line 730x610mm Acrylic on Canvas 2014 The form like a calligraphy was inspired from the stream in the old Japanese garden

I use colors like Japanese ancient color but also use a black and gray.Since ancient time, there are many kind of "Nezu-iro" (gray) in Japan.

I make an original color for each paintings such as "Rikyu-nezu" (Gray of Sen no Rikyu) and "Sabi-nezu" (Rusted Gray)

that there is a dichotomy between fluid background and minimal patterns, that you just hint to invite the viewers to elaborate personal associations. It's the composition of molding or joining the abstraction with the figurative pieces to lend plane and spatial concept, urging the spectatorship into an idea that makes the work so special. You are conveying an inner vision: what is your

process for working on your art? We are particularly interested in knowing how a piece takes shape in your mind before you start working on it.

Sometimes an image of painting is based on an impression of specific things or scenery which I saw. Also I sometimes start to paint suddenly by an inspiration at atelier. It is a feeling like completing a painting with putting any one point in a large paper such as "Shodo (calligraphy)". Such sensitivity may come from "Shodo (calligraphy)" which I learned in childhood. If you are struggling to realize strongly some iconography from the influence of your image, you may miss a beautiful phenomenon on the screen during a painting process. On the other hand, if you are painting in the condition of a blank mind, you may meet with a disaster. For that reason, sometimes I intentionally paint a "fluid background" and a "minimal patterns" in this question separately.

"How to draw simply with simple material like water and pigment?"

"How to draw nothing?"

"How to hold the space to a minimum?"

In addition, these are really important factors for painting. "Not to excess" and "Be tied with the nature" are always in my mind. The minimum configuration like floating on color was inspired from the pond of the old Japanese garden. As Mr. Noboru Yoshida an art director of animation movie said "When you approach to the painting, you feel some forms like something appears everywhere in the calm monochromatic canvas and it become more specifically. While you are trying to make clear whether it is a concrete form or a abstract form, you would be thrown into an ambiguous middle area.", that is what I expected, namely viewers have intangible feeling without anything to hold. And fluid background evokes an image of rocks or flowers in the garden, the Japanese ancient letters which can be seen like plant and an old painting which was damaged by aging. These kinds of aesthetic which focuses on the course of history and time might be related with an

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Zen Pond

experience of conservation more or less number. Although there is a various elements, I have some patterns to express. By giving an uniform style or limit on expressive method to some extent, a tension will occur on the screen.

And by repetition of the same expressive method, configuration was sophisticated. Therefore, I am always concentrating my attention on coating of ground layer which is the stage of expression.

While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, your pieces seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations

to the stories you tell through your paintings... this quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and memory. What is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

Exactly, my paintings are neither depicting nor explaining some object. Starting from coating of ground layer and recoating paint layers, and deleting some part of paint layers, then ground layer appears. Painting while taking advantage of the ground layer until the end. Expressing with such my own original

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Dusk Room : "GEKKOKASAN" and "KOSENSUI - Dry Garden” from the solo exhibition "zen garden -garden for view-" at Fei Art Museum Yokohama in 2014

technique. Natural phenomena like drying and surface tension caused by water and pigment are supporting me and painting can be drawn with a power of nature. Fantastic shapes which I have neither seen nor expected appears on the canvas. Although they are unpredictable shape for viewers, I can predict most of them to some degree because of the thousands of experience and trial. Sometimes it goes smoothly, but those things are not even so many. After the massive repetition, I can obtain an image in a "permissible range". The evaluation criteria of a "permissible range" is to find out the shape which is suitable for this place from the huge number of memories like a deep sea and

catch it precisely from the memory. Thereby, the quality of my paintings is always maintained at the constant level. I believe that "the answer is always in my mind". Because of strong energy and stamina are required, I always try to keep a healthy body and mind and a balance of thought.

When we first happened to get to know your stimulating works we tried to relate all the visual information and the reference to simple patterns to a single meaning. But we soon realized that we had to fit into the visual unity suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its content: in your videos,

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Day Time Room : "Persimmon Garden" and "ZEN Pond” from the solo exhibition "zen garden -garden for view-" at Fei Art Museum Yokohama in 2014

rather than a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enable us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

My creating process is both an intuitive and a systematic process. The process have to rely on intuition in each situation. The intuition is the best way to judge, even if there is an unwavering logic or methodology. Flowing water does not wait to dry. But a quality of

painting will improve by the repetition of the work. Since the result is not 100% best every time, I am always in a dilemma that I could do something more. I must be struggling to reach to some other domain by the repetition of an intuitive process. Anyway, I always expect that I would be able to paint somehow as "It had finished in natural" without realizing anything like looking a scenery from a window.

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Mid-Night Room : "Moon light Shadow", "Tobiishi Kasan" and “MUSHIKIKAI" from the solo exhibition "zen garden

The dialogue established by texture and colors is a crucial part of your style and that makes it so compelling: in particular, the effective combination between intense nuances of tones sums up the mixture of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting's texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

In the beginning of my career, my paintings were monochrome or with some limited colors like red or blue. I was choosing the color from a rather abrupt desire at that time. After the process became more flexible and adopted the concept of Japanese beauty, garden and aging, I began to use a delicate mixed color. By recognizing of discoloration and withered colors due to aging or oxidation, I could able to mix a color from cloudy antique-looking color to bright color.

Often I go to a Japanese garden to see color of a pond especially. A mossy pond, a blue sky water surface, a stone, soil, flowers, plants, tinted autumnal leaves and even a dead tree. There are so many clues for production. The color tones of plants are so varied and deep. The transparency from the lower layers which can be adopted by recoating is made the most to express a varied and delicate color tone. In brief, the color tone is materialized by mixture and transparency. The theory of color tone is very simple.

Since I am an artist to exhibit my painting in a gallery, I conceive a suitable configuration of colors for each space of the gallery. I choose colors, paint bright colors on a dark ground layer or dark colors on a bright ground layer repeatedly while delicately adjusting the color tone and control the speed of painting in order that the color tone must be suitable for the exhibition. By doing so, my painting will reach to the placid world with calm color tone.

Over these years your works have been extensively exhibited in several occasions and you had many solo, including the recent show "Quiet Beauty" at Hideharu Fukasaku Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo: more recently, you are focusing on foreign countries, especially USA and Great Britain, with exhibition in London and New York. Your paintings can be considered visual biographies that investigate about the ambiguous relationship with Perception and Experience in the unstable contemporary age and are open to various interpretations: in particular, your hybrid approach is intrinsically connected to

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ART Habens Jun Ogata -garden for view-" at Fei Art Museum Yokohama in 2014

the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

In Japan, there is the word of "All things are in a state of flux". That means all things and events are always changing. I value such a view of nature.

I divided the space into several time zones based on the theme of "There is nothing not to change. Everything are changing by time." at the latest exhibition at Fei Art Museum. The lightings of each room were changed as dawn, daytime, dusk and mid-night in accordance with the concept of "View of the garden at different times.". The dark paintings such as monochrome and almost black paintings were exhibited in the room of mid-night which was not so enough to figure out the color. Even the same painting will be changed by the lighting like a scenery. In the dusk room, the effects of impasto and the surface texture of the paintings were accentuated by the raking light. The various changes and expressions of the painting can be seen by the changing an angle and a brightness of the light. In this exhibition, the lighting was well arranged enough to show these variations to the viewers.

There are so many various shapes in my paintings that I did not perceive some of it. The shape which I expected will not appear, on the other hand, some interesting shape will appear suddenly. I hope a viewer to communicate with your heart and immerse yourself in my calm world only with some keyword from the title of the painting while enjoying the appearance of shapes and colors. My painting may reflect your mind like viewing a garden. However, the viewers need some assistance. There were many abstract

paintings titled "Untitled" in old days. I dare to put the keyword of "Zen Garden" for connecting me, my paintings and viewers. If the painting and the viewer could share the ambiguity part like a scenery of pseudo nature which shall be changed by each person's own amount of experience, the painting will extend more than itself. While expected streaming water, air and pigment to reach to the said world, almost by borrowing the power of nature, I paint with the thought of "nature paints for me" like a method of ZEN. That is my own philosophy of painting finally I have reached.

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

My task is to brush up my own style from now on. I am trying to reduce the shapes to a minimum and to refine the painting rather than changing the style. If necessary, the style will develop naturally. On the other hand, I would like to try an installation with a threedimensional shape and natural material. I hope to continue such solo exhibitions at art galleries.

Also I am focusing on the public art for residences, hotels and offices same as "Rinpa" and "Kano School" supplied the sliding door and folding screen paintings to the temples and mansions in the past.

In Japan, solo exhibitions are mainly held at Tobin Ohashi Gallery. I am expecting to have exhibitions in foreign countries, especially in Great Britain and United States, as ever. Since I studied European paintings when I was young, I hope to have exhibitions in Europe, especially in Great Britain. Because Europe is a tolerance of Japanese art and Japanese beauty which has been well known historically. I hope to find the suitable gallery in London. I am so delighted to have this opportunity. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all staff of ART Habens.

Thank you for your attention on my paintings.

Summer 2015 2 05
ART Habens Jun Ogata

Otilia Goo OtiliaGooOtiliaGooGoodhind d hinddhind dhind

I began my professional life as an architect, and have worked as such in Germany, Sweden, the US, UK and in Catalonia, where I am now mostly based.

I studied combined engineering and architecture, and it was my training at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London that gave rise to an enduring obsession with borders, ambiguity and uncertain and unstable territories.

Through my art I seek to explore how I can capture moments of stability in an otherwise unstable equilibrium. Fabrics, sutures, scaffolding (which often establish borders that are temporary) all feature prominently in my work. I look for balance, but always on the edge. I like to recreate areas of uncertainty and the sense of regions on the verge of collapse. I work in a variety of ways, but typically I create small model pieces or a set of sketches that I digitally scan and then play with and alter. My work process is a mix of old fashioned architectural draughtsmanship, painting and inkjet media, all crafted carefully by hand. The results are mixed media paintings that portray unstable topographies. Some of the work I am doing now is only based on drawing, inking and acrylic painting although the feel is equally architectonic.

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Otilia Goodhind
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video, 2013

An interview with interview

Otilia Goodhind Goodhind

Otilia Goodhind's work explores the elusive dichotomy between balance and uncertainty: her mixed media paintings portray unstable topographies and urge the viewers' perception to unveil an unexpectedly wide variety of association between the realm of perceptual reality and the sphere of imagination. In her recent Piranesi series that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she drws the viewers into a liminal area in which staticity and dinamism find an unexpected point of convergence, crating a compelling aesthetics. One of the most convincing aspect of Goodhind's approach is the way it condenses the permanent flow of associations in the realm of memory and experience: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating artistic production.

Hello Otilia and welcome to ART Habens: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you studied combined engineering and architecture: how have these experiences influenced the way you relate yourself to art making and to aesthetics? In particular, how does the relationship between your Spanish roots and the European cities you live in inform the way you relate yourself with art making?

I express a sense of passion and uncertain landscapes and territories with an iconography I relate to and I love. Limits, balances, voids are all produced with architectonic or semi architectonic devices. I also love to deceive with false perspectives or even trompe l’oeil to produce this sense of unbalanced order. Life is a topology in my view. A territory to go through with more predictable certain points but many many unpredictable and uncertain ones.

My background is one of mediterranean landscapes, hard, techtonic and full of harsh relief. I am passionate about extremes and the feelings that lie within very structured appearance.

Living and working in different places only reflected more my idea of the futile and unstable. I was doing a very stable life in a very unstable life setting. These kinds of contradictions only reflect on my taste for the uncertain and the insecure in false

Otilia Goodhind
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secure settings. I use very flimsy “safety” devices like crumbling scaffoldings and stitches to put together sometimes really heavy elements

We would like to start to focus on your artistic production beginning from the Piranesi series, that our readers have already started to get to now in the introductory pages of this article. In particular, we have found really stimulating your investigation about what you have defined moments of stability in an otherwise unstable equilibrium: while questioning about the ubiquitous but at the same time elusive concept of balance you seem to suggest the necessity of going beyond symbolic strategies to question the

relationship between reality and the way we perceive it. Would you walk our readers through the genesis of this project? In particular, we have appreciated the combination between a severe geometry and a subtle sensuality that pervades the shapes you represent: what importance has for you the aesthetic problem?

I realised that in really severe geometries there were also incredible prospects to study disorder. I am on the look out for that elusive order that maniests itself as total disorder and the other way round. If you look closely at the hatching work of the architectonic draughtmen across the old world history you spot areas in which they

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seem to loose the order. In the case of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1770) it went more apparent as he drew his I carceri etchings, from hatching going uneven purposedly to total nightmare depictions...there were flying buttresses seemingly unsupported, stairs going nowhere, heavy walls unsupported and the result is very laborious architectural worlds depicting a sense of loss, madness even. This idea of the architectural folie has a very romantic and feverish imaginative component. It is very moving, unfinished, unbalanced architectures, ruins.

In my work I always like to underline my heavy geometries of the uncertain by something quite humane and sensual that sort of beats behind

You are a versatile artist and I have highly appreciated the cross-disciplinary feature that marks out your process, that involves both traditional techniques as well as inkjet media: we would suggest our readers to visit http://www.otigart.com in order to get a synoptic view of the variety of your projects. While superimposing concepts and techniques from opposite spheres,

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have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

I am very comfortable moving along different techniques. I like to make a point that as long as you express your emotions, your doubts, your feelings, any tool you feel comfortable with is a good expressive medium

I feel a way to tame my vision of topologies and landscapes of the uncertain is to redefine it as I see fit. Sometimes it is more

of living objects trapped in some way by phisical contraints (see my pods). Sometimes is territories made out of debris or architectural parts coming together and finding a subtle order...

When we first happened to admire your Tryptich Disclosure we tried to relate all the visual information and its geometrical symbolism to a single meaning, filling the gaps and unveiling such a secret order in the idea of regeneration that pervades your work. But we soon realized that we had to fit into its visual rhythm, forgetting our

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ART Habens Otilia Goodhind

need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, we can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or rather a systematic process?

It is very intuitive but I work in quite a systematic way when I unravel the piece I am creating. I have trouble starting the piece from my original idea but I work labouriously to distill what I am trying to express. In this tryptich I see myself as a common narrative in which my 3 friends

participate and interact in a different way but the result is a common tapestry we all share.

The unstable topographies represented by your works accomplish the difficult task of creating a consistent relationship between imagination a rational gaze on the reality from which you draw from: drawing the viewers into an area of uncertainty, your process shows a deep interest in how we interpret and make meaning of what we see, and in particular you seem in search of a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts

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ART Habens Otilia Goodhind

you capture. So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The 2 are valid in my opinion. I like the idea of creating totally outside my own experience or feelings as is the case on the dark piranesis where I just wanted to play further with detail for detail’s sake, pushing my limits to create new topography

I also believe in creating from personal experiences like the issue of feeling alive and trapped in the pods series, where some

of the alive soul of these pieces tends to melt or desintegrate, while it becomes more gravity defiant and harsher in some pockets of the drawings

A particularly impressive feature of your Vortex series is the way it captures both dynamism and staticity: this oxymoron induces the viewers to abandon themselves to personal associations, looking at time in spatial terms and we daresay, rethinking the concept of movement 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?

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ART Habens Otilia Goodhind

In the vortex series I wanted to show freedom of movement with a very static form as a start point, but I wanted also “to stitch” it back to one dark unorderly background topography. As if the forms first liberated from a firm pattern and would like to move and fly but dare not to as they have been sewn down on that background fabric.We all feel like that sometimes. Free but tied down at the same time

Your works are particularly colorful and the vibrancy of the tones you choose provides

your works of dynamism and establishes a dialogue between the thoughtful nuances you combine together, speaking of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a texture? Any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

I feel the need to work with „living entities“, so I like to use blood, and oxidised reds, and earthy tones and grays but sometimes a line

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ART Habens Otilia Goodhind

of indigo appears just as a contradiction as this is a totally constructed colour I use a lot of metal pigments too, they reinforce the materiality of my scaffolds and light armatures. Hard, rough terrain, with very patterned relief is what stays in my retina from an early age. Nothing soft and hilly. That topography is also my soul map. The built environment, with its hard edges and soft shades also has a big impact in my imagery.

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which we would like to spend some words is entitled Sutures. While While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, your investigation about the liminal area between what is secret and what is public seems to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell through your paintings... 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 was your initial inspiration for this stimulating piece? And in particular, did you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

Yes. I am forever preocuppied with the limits and the borders.It is my personal view of life and realtity as a discontinuous topology. I was also trying to express my relationship with my internal world and thoughts and the expression of those that comes out and is public as an exchange that is not totally free. It never is. The sutures come to breach a barrier but also create it by being so evident to the eye

You have started showing your works very recently and early exhibits have included Barcelona in P52 Pujades Gallery andNo Barking expo in London. Your approach is

intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, so, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I don’t particularly, but on visiting the venue and talking to the people I sometimes get an idea I want to explore especifically. I sort of apply myself to discover something else and move my work further. I use exhibitions as a time frame in hich I can develop further ideas.

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

Yes. I am now working on big scale pieces. Like augmented realities from my very detailed and intricate work. I am working with acrylic on canvas and finding more borders and limits I can live with. Trying to reign in my quest for bridgeing the voids but as in the sutures...only getting them to mark the composition harder. It is exciting and very raw work but I feel the organic and lifelike forms within gain terrain, as do my passion for life.

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Otilia Goodhind
Habens

Andru Fijalkowski Andru Fijalkowski Andru Fijalkowski Andru Fijalkowski

My aim is to create with passion and freedom, to tell stories from my life and the life of others.

I express my ideas through sculpture, mainly figurative, exploring a variety of media.

Working in themes, I may spend a few years completing each series. Over time, I have enjoyed exploring a wide selection of materials and techniques, from clay to plaster, mosaic, carving centuries old bog oak (fossilized wood) also, rapid prototyping and life-casting. Working alone, my artwork is produced by hand.

Each sculpture is individual and an edition of one.

video, 2013 Bog oak exhibition from the series Fossilized Wood Viking Queen from the series Headz Collective resin, paint including glow, mirror and tile mosaic

An interview with interview

Conveing freedom and passion, Andru Fijalkowski's work extracts a compelling narrative from an effective combination between references to figurative sculpture practice and a lively gaze on contemporary art making. In his recent body of work entitles Hookers & Lookers that we'll be discussing in the following pages, his unconventional approch draws the viewers into an area in which the perceptual dimension and imagination merges together into coherent unity. One of the most convincing aspects of Fijalkowski's work is the way it creates an area of vivid interplay between memory and perception, inviting the viewers to explore the unstable relationship between human intervention and freedom in the contemporary age. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production.

Hello Andru, and a warm welcome to ART Habens. We would start this interview posing you some questions about your background: over the last twenty years you have been divided between working in the Karoo Desert and the UK. How has this experience informed your evolution as an artist and the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

I first visited the Karoo (South Africa) in the mid 1990’s, after being invited to spend time with an artist I met in Zimbabwe the previous year. Thus began a relationship with my spiritual home, the Karoo Desert. Situated on the outskirts of Prince Albert, I shared a studio with Kevin Hough, who, through the years, became my best friend and worst enemy. His outgoing personality gave me an insight to worlds that I had never experienced before, introducing me to a universe of the sex workers and other associates of the Cape. Feeling invisible, I

Andru Fijalkowski Fijalkowski

was able to observe all these wonderful and sometimes dangerous people. This led to the series, “Hookers and Lookers”, my tribe of the liberated mind. Sex sells and didn’t they know it. Each figure is a character I met through my travels around the Cape. In particular, the Karoo, which, by some magic, seems to attract these colourful souls, having the space to free the mind and where solitude becomes your friend. Returning every couple of years, I would attempt to continue my series, letting it

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evolve, creating new people I came across. Sadly the strain and craziness of my friend’s life came to an end a while ago, in a fire, rendering this part of my world extinguished.

Your practice conveys both metaphoric and descriptive research and we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.andrufijalkowski.com/ in order to get a wider idea of the cross disciplinary

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ART Habens Andru Fijalkowski Fcuk Bunny from the series Hookers and Lookers plaster, mirror mosaic, treated rolled lead, found and altered objects, rhinestones, glow and luminous paint Girl on Tour # 1 from the series Hookers and Lookers plaster, mirror mosaic, treated rolled lead, found and altered objects, rhinestones, glow and luminous paint

nature of your artistic production. In particular, your exploration of a variety of feelings and emotion suppressed by the societies the individual inhabits suggests to us a reflection about the notion of identity

and seems to address the viewers into the liminal area in which perceptual categories are set free from social superstructures, inviting and enabling us to establish direct relations... Did you conceive it in an instinctive way or did you rather structure your process in order to reach such balance? In particular, what is the creative role that chance plays in your approach?

Chance plays a role in all our lives, not just creatively. I feel it determines who I meet, what will happen, how I fare.

Is it all down to chance ? I do have some control, deciding where I want to be, who I wish to speak to, but chance has played a big role in getting me into that position. As for my work and the chance element, to me, it is in every alternative movement or thought (though it could be ordained), that I think or do

----- a parallel line to my inner me.

For this special issue of ART Habens we have selected Hookers & Lookers, a stimulating series that our readers have already stared to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once caught our attention of this work, is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of creating a harmonic mix between a figurative, realistic approach to the evocative reminders conveyed by the materials you combine together: when walking our readers through the genesis of Hookers & Lookers, would you shed a light about the role of metaphors in your process?

As creator of the series “Hookers and Lookers”, I began with a purpose, a question, a vision, a method, but from those beginnings emerged something else. A combination of information about who we are and what we show others, in our quest to be seen. The audiences’ perception of these “Hookers and Lookers”, may depend upon the individual title of each. Perceptible as a sculpture by the name it has been given, a

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ART Habens Andru Fijalkowski Dec (loveconboy) from the series Hookers and Lookers plaster, mirror mosaic, treated rolled lead, found and altered objects, rhinestones, glow and luminous paint

verbo-pictorial metaphor.

We have appreciated the compelling narrative that pervades Hookers & Lookers and that invites the viewers to a multilayered experience. A distinctive mark of the way you convey emotions into your works is the construction of a concrete aesthetic from experience and memories, working 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?

No, for me, it cannot be disconnected. I have to feel something strongly and act upon it, as only I know how and that is to make something which expresses my thoughts and feelings on the matter.

I try to see a particular thing, not in a right or wrong way, but just to observe, aiming to

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Singing for Wolfie #1 from the series Headz Collective resin, paint including glow, fabric, mirror and tile mosaic Our Trace from the series Headz Collective resin, paint including glow in the dark, fabric, mirror and tile mosaic

Goodtimegirl (y not?)

from the series My little people that have come down from the hills found and altered objects, wood, wax, gems, foil and glitter paint

Father from the series My little people that have come down from the hills found and altered objects, wood, wax, gems and paint

Girl on Tour # 2 from the series Hookers and Lookers plaster, mirror mosaic, treated rolled lead, found and altered objects, rhinestones, foil, feathers, glow and luminous paint

find some kind of beauty in the source of what I am experiencing. I do have my beliefs and standards which I set myself, but they are mine, belonging to me. It is not for me to persuade others, but to filter, observe and show beauty wherever it lies, sometimes where we least look for it.

As you have explained once, Hookers & Lookers has been inspired by and

dedicated to the creatures of the night, the sex workers of Cape Town. How important is it to you to create global art which appeals to such diverse cultures?

I care not for what is in fashion, I find it difficult to deal with in the art world in general. I fear it can destroy as well as create and I am not a victim. So, I aim to survive without it, which is possible today, due to technology. My message can get out there, my artwork can find homes, without sacrificing ones freedom to create.

When providing your figures with freedom and passion, you seem to invite the viewers to get free of the constraints that affect contemporary unstable societies. Many artists from the contemporary scene, as Judy Chicago or more recently Jennifer Linton, use to include socio-political criticism in their works. 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 consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach? Do you feel that it’s your responsibility as an artist to teach and raise awareness of certain issues?

For me, art is a very personal journey. One can be taught how to hold a pencil, but it is what one does with it that counts, otherwise it becomes just marks on paper without a narrative. I try to combine both. It must have a meaning and to reflect what I see or feel. I try to pass on my interpretation of what I have de-coded fom life.

Each series or block of work I have created, has helped me through a period of my life. I have regurgitated my experiences and created art, instead of destroying myself. I care little for other art around me, feeling I must not get sidetracked or influenced by how others see and interpret things. This is

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Love Birds from the series Letters to the Dead plaster, found objects, paint and recycled wooden palettes

Young American from the series My little people that have come down from the hills found and altered objects, wood, paint, wax, gems, foil, glitter paint

neither ignorance nor arrogance, but to maintain a purity.

The fruible set of elements you draw from universal imagery trigger the viewers' 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?

Everything has a purpose and the purpose of Art is to entertain, tell a story, hold one’s attention for a moment. The functional aspect of Art, is, as it has always been, secondary to the making ---- therapy for the artist in this volatile and wonderous world.

Your approach a successful attempt to go beyond a merely interpretative aspect of the contexts you refer to and although you draw inspiration from outside reality, your sculptures can be considered as tactile biographies of . As the late Franz West did in his installations, Fossilized Wood shows unconventional aesthetics in the way it deconstructs perceptual images in order to assemble them in a collective imagery, urging the viewers to 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?

Whilst travelling through the Fens, I came across these charred black monoliths lying at the side of fields. So, I decided to rent a disused pub for a year and carve this amazing material.

What I had retrieved, was the fossilized wood Bog Oak, buried in peat bogs and preserved from decay by the surrounding conditions. Once dug up, it might be thousands of years old.

To continue the earlier discussion about

chance, I believe this was an occasion where chance played it’s part. Metaphorically speaking, I sat back and let the scenario play out.

Although I had some control over the subject matter, working with this magical medium, I felt compelled to reveal what appeared to already be there. Feeling as if I was behind the narrative, cutting into the blackness, which additional colour could not improve, my job was to create the persona, mood and story, thus resulting in the series, ‘Fossilized

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ART Habens Andru Fijalkowski Girl in a short skirt from the series My little people that have come down from the hills found and altered objects, wood, paint, wax, bone, feathers, gems, foil, glitter paint

Wood’.After a year, that great urge to carve had left me. I hope one day it will return.

Your work encapsulates both elements from traditional representative heritage and a modern, lively gaze on contemporary age. So we would ask your opinion about the relationship between Tradition and Contemporariness: in particular, can you recognize any contrast between

Tradition and Contemporariness?

Are they so far apart? Does one not become the other over a period of time?

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ART Habens Andru Fijalkowski The Flower Picker from the series Fossilized Wood Bog Oak After Bacon from the series Fossilized Wood Bog Oak Fallen Idol from the series Letters to the Dead plaster, found objects, paint and recycled wooden palettes
Segment of studio

Art should have no barriers or be pigeonholed for the historians to indulge in by considering, ‘who is what and what is who?’.

Tradition is the solid rock on which all things can grow, but it is always evolving, learning and metamorphasising into a greater understanding of what it is to be an artist and one’s acceptance of true freedom within art.

It is very important to look back, when perceiving one is moving forward. For, without our past, our future would look very different.

Earlier I stated, preferring to maintain a purity, I try to avoid artwork created by my comtempories, because they are in the same ‘time-bubble’ as me and have the potential to influence my artistic process. However, art by the dead can be viewed with pleasure!

Over these years you works have been exhibited in several occasions and you will soon showcase “Hookers & Lookers” at Primo Piano Livingallery, in Italy. 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?

I realise we ‘are what we eat’, so to speak and also, to a certain extent, we are a product of our past lives. Even so, I cannot carry the guilt or influence of our forefathers. Therefore, the only emotions I carry, are those I have created and experienced myself, a kind of stripped down version of me. This is why I tend to avoid people. I am

not anti-social, I just prefer ‘to talk’ through my artwork.

During the making of “Letters to the Dead”, I spent a year observing a cemetary and the messages that were left for those so loved. Then, following a great loss, the decay and sadness that are connected to the process of moving on.

Such sensitive personal moments, an exposure of one’s innermost thoughts and feelings. I saw a raw beauty in this.

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

Having recently concentrated on specific pieces of sculpture for the group exhibition, ‘Modern Panic V1’ at Apiary Studios, London E2, I can now continue to focus on my present series, based on those ‘considered untouchable’ in our society and their friends.

“The Untouchables” are individual creatures and once completed, are encased within a sealed glass dome, never to be touched, a reference to objet d’art of the Victorian era. Some of my work can be viewed at ‘Gallery Different’, London W1, being one of their gallery artists.

Next year, I look forward to receiving a brief from the company Guerrilla Zoo, who are organizing a touring exhibition in association with the writer William S. Burrough’s archive.

Much of my art can be explored at www.andrufijalkowski.com

If anything is of interest, please contact me via the website.

Thank you for taking the time to read some of my many thoughts.

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

Sexin’ Up Minnie from the series

My little people that have come down from the hills found and altered objects, wood, paint, wax and feathers

Ilê Sartuzi IlêSartuziIlêSartuzi Ilê

Behind the enigmatic guise, the usually bad understood death drive is one of the poles of the second drive theory of Sigmund Freud, in constant tension with Eros: the life drive. While Eros would be able to propel the subject towards the construction, to promote connection, Thanatos, by contrast, would be able to propel him towards destructiveness and disconnection. Freud makes clear, however, that either type of drive is less critical than the other and a drive hardly operates in isolation. It is evident as some instinctual impulses appear in pairs of opposites, creating a common phenomenon that is the affective ambivalence, sexuality-related aggression (it is clear that this does not justify any kind of aggression, sexual or of whatever origin). Here I venture to relate how these drives operate like the Hegelian idea of ​​denial, that is, the contradiction does not produce an empty object, one does not exclude its opposite altogether (later we will see how this logic works within Bataille’s theories). The life drive also contains the death drive and vice versa.

I think that my research operates within these concepts. Part of an erotic research (and a longstanding interest in the human body), an interest in violence, a central theme of the research that I do with the Research and Mediation Center of the Maria Antonia University Center of the University of São Paulo, and the concepts of death, that cannot be ignored when it comes to the dialectical terms that are Eros and Thanatos.

In the Annunciation (2015) is explicit this dialectic of Eros in relation with the dense compositional weight. This weight that, historically, mainly religious moral put on the pleasure generically and, more forcefully, about the female orgasm. Another central opposition is between the divine (biblical) and the mundane, placed ambiguously at the Annunciation. However, here is the announcement of an orgasm, the miracle is mundane. Ecstasy, at the end, is carnal. The wax is as sweaty meat and its weight is mimicked in the figure displaced in the composition, oppressed. I assume that I don’t need to develop all relations known that the various "annunciations" carry. The virginity myth, pregnant without the pleasure of the relationship, indicating suppression of the woman's pleasure, making it an object to conceive the child - the result of an implicit frightening aggressiveness in the Scripture.

La Petite Mort (2015) comes from the French term for orgasm and to describe the post-orgasm state of “unconsciousness”, or at least of altered consciousness. This experience is also somehow a spiritual experience that comes from orgasm and transcendence period followed by a certain melancholy coming from the release of a vital force. George Bataille on The Erotism poetically describes this term saying "Death is always humanly, the symbol of withdrawal of water following the violent shaking.". It indicates that it does not take much strength to realize the connection of the promise of life, which is the sense of eroticism, with the luxurious aspect of death.

Like Freud, Bataille establishes a duality: Prohibition and Transgression. And just as the dualistic Freudian, transgression operates suspending the prohibition, without suppressing it, in order to approach again the Hegelian dialectic which ends in the German term “aufheben”.

What is at issue in eroticism, according to Bataille, it is always to replace the isolation of the being, its discontinuity, by a deep sense of continuity - of which religion, and why not the art, are conductive.

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An interview with interview

In the light of Freud's theory, over the past century many artists had attempted to explore the liminal area in which physicality and trascendence converge into an elusive, but ubiquitous bond: São Paulo based artist Ilê Sartuzi accomplishes the difficult task of unveiling the multifaceted nature of the notions of pleasure and violence. One of the most convincing aspect of Sartuzi's work is the way it questions 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 his stimulating artistic production.

Hello Ilê and a warm welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You are currently pursuing a Bachelor in Art with major in Painting at the Unitersity of São Paulo, where you focus your research around the themes of eroticism and violence. How do these experiences influence your evolution as an artist and how does it inform the way you relate youself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general?

Hello ART Habens and thanks for the invitation. More formally, at fourteen I began to study oil painting frequenting artists’ studios, where I could already establish a strong relationship with the oil painting technique and rigor in the figure drawing. In 2013 I had the opportunity to study for a brief period in the Russian Academy of Art in Florence

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(Italy) going deep into the Figure Drawing and Portrait Costumed courses. Now I’m at the University of São Paulo (USP), working at the Maria Antonia University Center of the USP, which is a very important cultural agent in São Paulo, and attending to a study group, where we mostly debate philosophical ideas around the problems of contemporary art. We’ve studied Guy Debord’s critique of the spectacle and the notion of negative in Freud, Hegel and Bataille.

I guess that the erotic was always part of

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my work. Since I’ve started, the human body and anatomical studies were a major interest of mine. But the dense theoretical studies about the erotic are something that I’ve started just a couple of years ago, using mainly Sigmund Freud and George Bataille ideas around sexual desires. As you start to understand what is eroticism, you realize that you can’t talk about Eros without thinking in Thanatos, but these ideas I’ll develop along this interview. So the violence appeared as a natural relation with the erotic. And just happens that this year our research group at the Maria Antonia University Center developed some studies around the “Critique of Violence and Contemporary Art”. This gave me a solid base to think about violence, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Susan Sontag and of course Freud (among others) are some of the important figures to me when comes to this theme. But I think violence and death comes into my work manly in dialogue with the erotic.

Art making is itself a problem. I don’t like the romantic ideas around the gifted artist, and I try to deconstruct this idea. Art making for me is a struggle and comes with a lot of study. But I can’t deny the erotic part of art making (and this might seem like a contradiction), the death, the dissipation of living energy that defines the erotic experience. Is something like an unproductive economy as Bataille says (although we have a super productive art market nowadays), unproductive consummation, the very thing that delimit feast times, the erotic period (or the sacred period in opposition to the profane).

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We would like to suggest to our readers to visit http://ilesartuzi.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production, which resists to immediate classification in terms of its subject matter and shows that Art is a vehicle not only to express feelings and concepts, but to also dissect them, grapple with them, and integrate them. Your approach seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to explore this

form of expression? In particular, we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The word psyche I think that really fit my previous works. In several shows people come to me to say that these works really touched them. For me the important thing is that they find (or put)

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something of themselves in my work, there is a projection, and I like how these terms are very Freudian. I think that this projection shows that even if is a personal experience, it is valid if someone else feel the same way, or can bring this experience to their own personal experiences. The most powerful thing is this sense of recognition. The experience of art is sometimes like a session of psychoanalyses.

I think that the stimulation comes in

different levels, just as some of my works are made with several layers of wax or charcoal. Sartre in “Why Write?” show the importance of the reader, but I like to bring his ideas into art, putting the viewer as Sartre defines the importance of the reader. Sartre says “Thus, for the reader, all is to do and all is already done; the work exists only at the exact level of his capacities; while he reads and creates, he knows that he can always go further in his reading, can

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always create more profoundly, and thus the work seems to hum as inexhaustible and opaque as things.”

So ours readers here (and viewers) are essential to give meaning. The creation can find its fulfillment only in the perception of the viewer or reader, since the artist must entrust to another the job of carrying out what he has begun, since it is only through the consciousness of the viewer that he can regard himself as essential to his work, all art work is an appeal. Sartre put as a “directed creation” as an absolute beginning, it is therefore brought about by the freedom of the reader, and by what is purest in that freedom. Thus, the writer appeals to the reader’s freedom to collaborate in the production of his work. I could keep going deep into Sartre’s ideas, so I highly recommend this text. Confirms the importance and the different layers that one can reach in your work.

About creative process I have an ambivalent feeling: it can be an interesting thing and might say a lot about the work itself, on the other hand, creative process is a cliché, or a fetish. The conceptions don’t have a script. It works in fact, in a subconscious levelthe idea is a product of several distinct elements that connects in a new way (even though the new is bullshit). I don’t want to sound like a surly old man, all that I’m saying is that if I had a perfect creative process I would be a much successful artist, but unfortunately I don’t have a secret formula.

For this special issue of ART Habens we have selected Anunciação (Annunciation), that our readers have

already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. What has at soon caught our eyes of this stimulating work is the way your investigation about the relationship between the abstract feature of religion and a stimulating reference to the physical sphere, accomplishing the difficult task of creating an autonomous aesthetics. Did you conceive it on an instinctive way or did you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

Annunciation was actually the very first experience that I had with the encaustic. So technically it was instinctive, I was discovering how to manage the wax, and find out that the temperature is a key point to the encaustic. I was using only the non-refined bee wax, without pigment, but my pan had some black pigment, so the first two sessions that I worked, the color ended up being kind of greenish, but as I cleaned the pan the true color of the wax started to appear. Encaustic allows a set of textures and transparencies, to put the matter and remove matter, melt the wax with a heat gun, which extends the search field and enables a rich exploration of language. Most paintings are better when you don’t have a strict idea. When you get one right the worst thing is that you will try to imitate your own style, or do the exactly same thing that you did before, and this just doesn’t work.

The very first time that we happened to see Anunciação we received the same sensations as the ones we got from The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa in Rome: we have highly appreciated your compelling exploration of the elusive but ubiq-

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uitous relationship between Eros and Thanatos, and we have found particularly interesting the way you bring to a new level of significance to the instinctual, almost limbic impulses. We can even feel the sensations you conveyed on the canvas, and that's incredibly beautiful.

In the Annunciation is explicit this dialectic of Eros in relation with the dense compositional weight. This weight that historically, mainly religious institutions and moral put on the pleasure and, more forcefully, about the female orgasm. Another central opposition is between the divine (biblical) and the mundane, placed ambiguously in this work. However, here is the announcement of an orgasm, the miracle is mundane. Ecstasy, at the end, is carnal. The wax is as sweaty meat and its weight is mimicked in the figure displaced in the composition, oppressed. The various "annunciations" in art history carry great history and ideological baggage. The virginity myth, Mary pregnant without the pleasure of sex, indicating suppression of the woman's pleasure, making it an object to conceive the child - the result of an implicit frightening aggressiveness in the Scripture. The verb is imperative – “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.”

Bernini’s Ectasy of Saint Teresa is, of course, one of the most beautiful things on earth, and a super inspiration. Its incredible how Bernini manage to put highly erotic sculptures in the major churches in Rome (certainly the most important place to the catholic church at the time). Blessed Ludovica Albertoni is

also a masterpiece, how the whole body seems suspended in the climax of the orgasm, one second before the withdraw of water that follows the violent shaking. Although the erotic and the sacred seems to be two entirely diferent things, if we look through Bataille’s point of view, the erotic experience is a sacred experience of transgression. What is in question in eroticism, according to Bataille, it is always to replace the isolation of the being, its discontinuity, by a deep sense of continuity - of which religion, and why not the art, are conductive.

When investigating about the dynamic dialectic between the mundane and the divine, you seem to point out the issue of dignity around the notion of pleasure, as well as your insightful and unconventional investigation about the concept of violence: it's not an easy task and you have successfully established a self-reliant condition of equilibrium between opposite categories. Highlighting the conflictual symbiosis between the life drive and the death drive, your work reveals a subtle socio political criticism that makes it particularly captivating. Many artists from the contemporary scene, ranging from Michael Light and Ai Weiwei to more recently more recently Jennifer Linton and David Černý, use to include socio-political criticism in their works. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach? And in particular, what could be in your opinion the role that an artist could play in the contemporary society?

I don’t know what defines an “artist”, and what is his role in the contemporary society; but to “maintain a neutral ap-

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proach” apart from being impossible, is bullshit. One can never deny the impacts of his works or assume a neutral position. Every work is political in a way, my work might not be as pamphleteer as

others, but it’s certainly not a “neutral” one. To talk about sexuality, sex, erotic fantasy, violence and aggression is a political position; these topics are very hot nowadays, and are super fragile argu-

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ments that we have to be careful and sensible to talk about.

Now, as I said, to bring these dialectic elements together as mundane (profane) and divine, or life drive and death drive,

is a natural process. You can’t think about life without thinking about death, the definitions may even come as negatives – the negativity has an important role in this. Maybe is not a conflictual

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relation, but one is a part of the other. The contradiction does not produce an empty object; one does not exclude its opposite altogether. Like Freud, Bataille establishes a duality: Prohibition and Transgression. And just as the Freudian dualistic, transgression operates suspending the prohibition, without suppressing it, in order to approach again the Hegelian dialectic which ends in the German term “aufheben”.

Dealing with your influences, Freud's and Bataille's theory seem to have had a considerable infleunce on the development of your cultural substratum: how would you describe the impact that these extraordinarily important personalities of the past century had on the development of your personal aesthetics?

Maybe is an academic issue, but I usualy like to have a philosophical solid base to start thinking and making connections about something. I’m not the kind of artist that paint something out of nowhere, so is important to me have these arguments to structure my work. As you start reading different things about the same topic, you start to synthesize all these ideas and relate them. How Bataille read Freud or Sade, and how Plato’s Symposium is important to understand Eros. Of course that besides these theoretical influences, to think about aesthetics I have a personal digital “Atlas Mnemosine” as suggested by Aby Warburg with paintings references, photography, movies scenes etc.

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impressed us and on which we would like to spend some

words is entitled La Petit Morte. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, the way you deal with the concept of affective ambivalence 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. Would you walk our readers through the genesis of La Petit Morte? in particular, did you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings when conceiving it?

I think that “spiritual sphere” in this case is more like the sacred period that Bataille talks about. Bataille besides using transgression as an important term of his ideas, he often violates the common sense of the words. Sacred period has nothing to do with a catholic idea of god, but is a period of transgression, where you do things that are normally prohibited in a form of transgression. The transgression exceeds without destroying a profane world that it is the complement .The prohibition does not necessarily mean abstaining, but the practice in the form of transgression. It subjects them to limits and regulates its forms - the transgression is forecasted in the prohibition. So the idea of spiritual can be used in this key, more than in a religious way.

La Petite Mort comes from the French term for orgasm, it illustrates the postorgasmic state of unconsciousness, or at least of altered consciousness. This experience is somehow a transcendence

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period followed by a certain melancholy from the release of a vital force. George Bataille indicates that it does not take much effort to realize the connection of the promise of life, which is the sense of eroticism, with the luxurious aspect of death. There is something surgical about these paintings, the way that the fine layers of encaustic draw the lines of the body and the anatomical shape. These two paintings followed the Annunciation and again there was a interest in the material and a curious way to use the wax. This time a solved with turpentine to have an even more thin layer of encaustic and work more softly, although the images are also kind of disturbing.

The dialogue established by colors and texture is a crucial part of your style: in particular, the effective combination between intense nuances of tones sums up the mixture of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

When I moved to São Paulo my “palette” got much more heavier, dense and a interest in many blacks came – and the product of that are my large-scale drawings with different charcoals, pencil, spray and China ink. I love the textures and the many deepness of those blacks. It was also a psychological dense period and the start of the studies on Freud. I think that much more than colors I try to explore the texture and the nuances of tones. The textures gives a sensual experience that is important to me, a friend

of mine once said that painting gives you two things: the urge to stole and to lick.

Your works could be also considered an challenging interrogation of traditional portraiture: as Philippe Dagen once established in his Le Silence des peintres, the coming of a straight realism has caused a progressive retenchment of painting from the mere representetive role of reality. With exception of Hyperrealism movement, Painting is nowadays more and more marked out with a symbolic feature. Do you think that the dichotomy between Representation and Pictorialism is by now irremediable?

There is this idea that photography pushed the painting into a different way, but at first, painting learned a lot from photography, and of course, photography was born into a painting aesthetics, with a huge history and weight. If you look to early modern painters like Degas, you realize how photography gave a new perspective, or a different way to look at things. Now the image is everywhere. I think in the problem of image, the way that photography sees image, the way the television does, or cinema or comic books, these are all different ways to think about image that we have available today, and painting can use these different ways to approach image as part of the poetics. Gerhard Richter is an important reference to me, the huge research he does and the way he sees the problem of image is fascinating. I would try to go in this way rather than the dichotomy between Representation and Pictorialism.

When investigating about the ambiguous relationship with Experience and

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Perception and are open to a wide variety of interpretations: in particular, your approach is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a 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 the issue of audience reception is crucial as I said earlier, but I don’t think that is a crucial component of my decision-making process in terms of what type of language I’m going to use. The use of different materials comes from what kind of image I’m creating; sometimes the language comes first tho. Like I said, I don’t have a strict “creative process”, when you get a notion of different techniques, you start to think what is the best way or which is the best technique to achieve this image that you got, or this idea.

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

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts. Right now I’m working with different things. I have some photography projects that are starting to become something that I like, and I have a videoinstallation that I’m working on for a

show now in December here in São Paulo. Is a loop of an eleven minutes video projection of a man sensually stripping, all in red. Sometimes the image is engulfed by smoke (produced from a smoke machine), sometimes becomes more defined in the black background. Makes use of artifice, the sensual movement of smoke, and the film that follows the hand of him who undresses, mimicking the look of the viewer-voyeur. In this exhibition is installed in a small room, low ceiling, semi-closed doors, designing a more intimate eroticism, voyeurism and fetishism.

I’m still working with erotic ideas, however, I’m thinking more about different kind of images. Work with different languages is incredible, when you think about video or photography, you are also thinking about painting, color relation and composition. In this way, although I’m not producing many paintings, I’m thinking more deeply about the problems of painting and art.

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

Nican

Nican is a digital artist who works in the interconnection between art, design, science and spirituality. His latest works are focused on sacred geometry, mandalas and the relation between chaos and order.

Since the early years of his career he has also been producing conceptual and ironical works more directly connected with his professional background as a designer and illustrator. His works have been showcased in both collective and personal exhibitions in Italy, and lately in a collective exhibition in the UK.

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An interview with interview

Nican (Niccolò Angeli) work is a successful attempt to explore the across-the-board nature of the notion of beauty: his recent work is centered on sacred geometry and his mandalas reveal an organic investigation about the ephemeral nature of Beauty, giving it a sense of permanence that challenges the viewers' perceptual parameters bot on an intellectual level and on a limbic one. One of the most impressive aspect of Nican’s approach is the way he accomplishes the difficult task of highlight the elusive but ubiquitous relationship between Chaos and Order, creating an unconventional aesthetics: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

Hello Nican 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 your studies at the prestigious Florence Fine Arts Academy, you started your career as a freelance art director, graphic designer and illustrator. How have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does your rich cultural background as an Italian artist inform the way you nowadays relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem?

Thank you, I am really happy for this opportunity to talk about the “artist”. This artist has been fighting for years with my others personalities, and for years I have lived several lives trying to give space to everyone inside myself.

It has been a very intense process, and only recently I have understood that the role of this artist is to somewhat contain every other self, and orchestrate all the tools that I have to play a really, really fun and joyful game.

I have explored many fields and many ways to use creativity, from the luminous utility of design to the sparkling chiaroscuro of art, and from works lead by intellect, to ones lead by emotion.

Like I use to say, being more an omelette than a skyscraper (in other words never being able to super-specialize in something) caused me some pain but in the end I am starting to realize that this is my most true nature, and when I really embrace it, the magic happens. Italy and most of all Tuscany has cuddled me since I was a child with its warm culture and aesthetic. I was a very shy type and leaving in this beautiful countryside has given me the blessing

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to have Beauty by the reach of my hands without having to go too far.

At the same time, this protective environment is so full of history ad classical art that if you are longing to find new perspectives you necessarily need to move away from the nest, if only with your imagination.

You are a versatile artist and we have particularly been impressed with the cross disciplinary feature that marks out your approach to visual arts: your multifaceted production ranges from installation to mixed media, from sound to video and I would suggest our readers to visit http://www.nican.me in

Nican
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order to get a synoptic view of the variety of your projects. As you have remarked once, your wildest passion is to combine things again and again: While superimposing techniques and concepts from different spheres, as Art and Science, and consequently crossing the borders of different artistic fields, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

Absolutely, especially in this time we are learning again to integrate more than avoid, and I am sure we will soon abandon the “competition” model of society for a more mature and creative one. Everytime we do more steps in that direction the rate at which we learn and evolve accelerates, and eventually we’ll start to share and merge viewpoints so fast that any group of viewpoints will start forming new unities (new “bigger” viewpoints), and we’ll grow in a fractal way to a new level of consciousness and spiritual technology. The reason why Art, Science, Spirituality are still not meeting with each other in many contexts, is due to the fact that each one believes to be the best one, to have the best viewpoint. All of them are their own gods, and it’s a closed circuit.

I think art has a privileged place in this structure, it’s like the “fool” in the tarots: it has no bounds by definitions, it doesn’t have to stick to a set of rules. For this reason it has also a huge responsibility: that of bringing integration and marriage between all the others structures of our culture, that of bringing joy, reflection, humour and flexibility.

We would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from The Gift, an interactive installation that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. This project could be considered as a successful attempt to provide of a sense of permanence to the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the energy you convey in this work, treading the thin line between experience and perception: 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?

I think that direct experience is essential to reality itself. There cannot be a reality without experience. The quantum physics has recently demonstrated this.

Particles act as waves as soon as scientists stop observing them, and when they observe and try to measure them, they act again as particles. In other words, our “reality” exist just as a scheme

of waves until we observe and experience it. That being said obviously there are endless levels of perception and experience. You can experience a piece of art from the pages of a website and you can experience it in a gallery, and you can experience it in the artist’s studio and you can experience it in your imagination.

I don’t think that there is a right way to experience something: experience is an infinite field of possibilities, and especially us of the “omelette’s club” are really grateful for that.

In The Gift, I gave away to the audience hundreds of sealed packages: each one with a certain future date on the seal. Hundreds of different dates. The only rule to play the game was to accept to open the package on the date printed on the seal. The packages were not empty, you could hear the sound of a little object rolling into them, but the real content I was trying to create was a virtual one: a content made of wait, expectation, patience, curiosity and memory. It was also a subtle marketing move because those people would have remembered my name for months and years having the still sealed packages in their houses!

People have experienced this work in the most different ways. Only one has opened the package immediately, violating the rule: he was not satisfied with what he found. Others have searched for packages with their birthday date on them, others have probably enjoyed the vernissage and then forgot the packages at the bottom of a drawer.

A girl waited a year and a half, and then she opened the package on the right date, she was delighted and wrote me a wonderful letter.

This was not an easy work to experience in full, but as ever happens if you accepted to give yourself fully to the artwork, to play the game until the very end, you couldn’t be disappointed, because inside the package you would have found a piece of yourself.

A crucial aspect of your practice is concerned with the investigation about the notion of sacred geometry, that unveils the elusive but ubiquitous bond between the spiritual sphere and our everyday perceptual dimension. In particular, your Infinite Mandala series accomplishes the difficult task of creating a visual metaphor of complexity, highlighting the chaotic feature of order and viceversa: what at a first glance could seem a rational geometry reveals its unconventional harmony, that suggest how informations & ideas could be even considered "encrypted" in the environment

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we inhabit, so we are urged to decipher them. When addressing us to snatch a kind of universal gaze out of a restricted variety of perceptual categories you seem to suggest that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature: what's your point about this?

I think that Art is sacred because it has no bounds to respect. It can work with Science, it can work with Technology, it can work with Philosophy but in the end it can “betray” them all and take all of them to the next level of ambiguity. For me art it’s like the pump that pushes everything from exactness to ambiguity, to exactness again in and endless sinusoidal wave. It’s a question mark that morph itself into an exclamation marks continuously.

It’s probably impossible to give a static definition of

art and artist because the art’s nature is always dynamic.

Art is a bridge between worlds, but so is Science, the only difference is that because artists have much more freedom of behaving they can move faster through these worlds. They don’t have to give clear answers to our society, they act more as messengers that sometimes don’t understand what’s written in the message.

That being said, because artists are merging more and more with other figures, this definition is not stable. But even if an artist becomes half scientist, that mercurial attitude will always be its nature.

Of Trees and Stars shows a stimulating symbiosis between references to reality and abstracted imagery shows how art has always been a vehicle not only to express feelings and concepts, but to also dissect them, grapple with them, and integrate

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them. Your exploration of sacred geometry seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to explore this form of expression?

Of Trees and Stars is one of many experiments with circular structures, reflection and fractals. The branches of a tree are a very visible fractal, a structure that repeats itself in a smaller size with little or no variation, in perfect balance. Stars and planets are regulated by the golden mean in their behaviour, following similar sacred geometry principles.

Because trees are raising towards the sky and they

have an antenna-like structure, I would say that they act as antennas between our planet and the outer space, exchanging information continuously. I don’t think there is scientific research on this theme yet, but I would bet that something like this is going on.

Sacred Geometry is a place of rest for me, and at the same time is the most breath-taking adventure. I reached a point in my career where I needed to embrace a more “objective” art, something that didn’t rely anymore only on my subjective taste and fantasies, something that could embrace a broader perspective.

Sacred geometry is the visual representation of the structure of the universe. How life forms itself, how energy flows, how DNA comes to life. It’s not just a metaphor: sacred geometry principles are literally regulating everything, from galaxies to subatomic particles.

We know this, and we are also starting to understand how we can use these principles to evolve our technology and the quality of our lifes exponentially faster.

There are already many independent scientists who are obtaining incredible results studying new ways to create clean and cheap energy, not to talk about the studies on antigravity and new medical solutions.

Sacred geometry it’s certainly something that exists on a subconscious level (our cells are very aware of sacred geometry principles, but our rational minds not always are), but is also beginning to emerge on a conscious level.

This is why a fractal of branches or the golden curve of a shell are always fascinating structures, no matter how many times we look at them. There is something that we just don’t grab yet with our minds, and it’s intriguing. The effort we make to grab that meaning make us evolve and expand.

While reflecting on the relation between conscious and unconscious I have enjoyed myself creating the series of prints How Many. It’s based on the old game to find hidden images in an apparent chaos. Like finding dragons and knights in a sky full of white clouds.

In How Many there are several hidden images, but I couldn’t say “how many” because it’s a very subjective number.

When you order the apparent chaos finding new hidden meaningful images, you are creating new pieces of reality, new meanings, but those meanings are still enough to close to the apparent chaos that you can build a bridge between those 2 worlds, and explore a new state of consciousness.

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Nican
ART Habens

For this same reason, one of my wildest dreams is to create works that never stay the same, that are dynamic in a neverending process. Images that come from an apparent chaos become meaningful for a moment and then move on to another state. Living art, conscious art. It’s still a fantasy for now, but it’s stimulating.

Focussing on the expressive potential of abstraction, Everything is Pure Beauty triggers the viewers' limbic parameters: raising questions about the across-the-board nature of beauty of Art in relation to Science, it allows you to go beyond a merely interpretative aspect of the contexts you refer to. In particular, it has reminded us the idea of fractal elaborated by Benoît Mandelbrot and seems to capture non-sharpness with an universal

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language, establishing direct relations with the viewers. Language is our dominant mode of communication. Is challenging this kind of hierarchy in communication processes important to you?

Artists are always challenging all kind of hierarchies: it’s just how Art behaves. Hierarchies are the structure, and they are

important, but Art keeps the structure flexible and adaptive by constantly playing with those hierarchies. It’s a wonderful symbiosis, don’t you think?

When I try to deconstruct a hierarchy or a cultural structure, I try to stay in a perspective where I still perceive its utility, and I try to feel that I am helping it to generate a new more harmonic structure, rather than destroying the structure itself.

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In Everything is Pure Beauty I wanted to create something objectively beautiful using hate symbols like the Nazi Swastika or the Neo-Nazi Skin Fist. I wanted to be provocative but not in a hard way. I don’t want to teach something to people, and I certainly don’t have answers. But I have lived and experienced a lot, and I want to offer a different perspective on things with the best abilities I have,

for no reason than because I enjoy it incredibly much.

By the way, 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 materiality of an artwork itself, since just few years ago it was a tactile

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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 absolutely agree with you. But I also dare say that technology will become less and less separate from

the human consciousness. Our emotions and our thoughts will become the tools which fire our technologies, and eventually we will be able to create a conscious technology. I am not talking about artificial intelligence but about a technology capable of using the field of infinite intelligence that regulates everything in our universe.

What a piece of art will be at that point? Well, I can

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ART Habens Nican

see many things, but there are certainly infinite others. I see pieces of art that interact with the viewer consciousness and reflect back to him his emotions. I see technological artifacts that are also beautiful art, and their artistic nature it’s also the engine of their technology.

I can see dynamical and intelligent art, which is able

to change its appearance to always show a new point of view. I see entire holographic landscapes, where the audience can dive into to experience the emotions of an artist immersed in his creation.

Your works show the epiphanic nature of the ephemeral qualities of the concepts you investigate

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about, and as you have underlined in your artist's statement, you think of your works as temporary frames of an endless drawing. What is the role of memory in your process?

Memory is very important for consciousness. When you have a memory of something you can reproduce it again, you can feel again the same emotions, and you can recall the same thoughts and concepts. But I don’t believe that memory is inside our brains, and I don’t believe that consciousness is either. Memory is part of the field of intelligence of Nature: our brains are just connecting to it to recall something and store it temporarily in the brain cells. Many microcephalus persons, which have such a small brain they shouldn’t even be able to talk, are graduating in college with high marks. That’s because our brain is just a storage drive, and if it’s not functioning well some are able to learn to connect themselves directly to the source of the information.

I also think that memory it’s a very powerful trigger of mass consciousness, especially when emotions are involved. For example when we recall a sad day in our human history, and we do it by recalling the fear, the anger and the sense of injustice, we literally nurture the structure of that past event so that it can happen again in our future. Instead of transforming it into something brighter, we build the momentum that will trigger it again, as painful as it had been.

If this sounds like pseudo-science to some, they should probably pay more attention to the many studies on consciousness that are running out there at the moment.

Princeton University, for example, has disseminated the world with computers generating random numbers. When something big happens in the world (like the 9/11 attack or Lady Diana’s death), the numbers generated are clearly less random. Why? Because our consciousness it’s a creative part of the reality we experience. And our memory has a big part in this cosmic game.

Coming back to my process of art, whenever I use memory it’s always to try to explore new ways to recall something.

For example Everything Is Pure Beauty is a new way to recall Nazi and hate symbols, not by reproducing the pain the generated in the past, but by using them to create something new and, why not, beautiful.

So, to go back on topic, memory is a very powerful tool, but as many tools it can help society to evolve

faster or it can keep it chained to past fears… sometimes you have to forget something and then create a new memory to move on, we shouldn’t use this tool as something we need to worship, but as something that serves us, something that we can adjust to our real needs.

Being flexible is always the key in any evolutive process.For example, because I know that the way I work, using digital media and geometrical concepts, can make me become rigid, I like to scribble enjoying the freedom of tracing lines that start randomly and naturally end up forming an image. In the last year, this has become a quite therapeutic practice for me, and I have produced hundreds of scribbles. It’s always interesting to find new ways to explore a threshold: be it abstract/figurative, unconscious/conscious, random/ordered… my series of Scribbles is still growing and will probably accompany me for a while.

Over these years your works have been showcased€in several occasions both in Italy and lately in the UK: the hallmark of your works is the capability to delete any conventional barrier between the idea you explore and who receipt and consequently elaborate them. 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?

As an artist, I know I probably shouldn’t. You can’t try to adjust the way you do art to satisfy the audience. First of all, because you can never know what really satisfies your audience, and second of all because when you adjust yourself, you lose contact with real creativity.

It may sound pretentious, but I think a true artist should believe so much in the things he does that his audience is the one to adapt itself to the art, and not the other way around. Or, better said, that artist is so strongly connected to real creativity that he attracts the perfect audience for his work.

That being said, I am far from being so pure. The marketer inside myself is always trying to understand the moment trend and build a strategy. Whenever I let him do that until the end, I always find a great unsatisfaction. Because that way of trying to control the process comes from the anxiety of not being understood, and can lead only to more anxiety.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your

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

Sacred geometry will be my place forever if you ask me now, but it will be and endless exploration

because sacred geometry ranges from the simplicity of a circle to the impossible complexity of life in all its expressions. I will certainly stay on the bridge between art, science and spirituality for a very, very long while.

I want to start animating my works and continue my

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ART Habens

research on the interaction between images and brainwaves generated by an audience.

Even if the technology is still a bit young for this, creating art that can adjust itself to the audience state of consciousness will be something possible to

experience in the next 10-20 years. I certainly want to surf on top of that wave.

Thank you for this interview and the space you have given to my works. It’s been a real pleasure to express myself regarding so many topics!

ART Habens Nican 2 05 Special Issue

Sebastian Stankiewicz Sebastian Stankiewicz

Sebastian Sebastian

video, 2013

An interview with interview

Sebastian Stankiewicz's work reveals an incessant search of harmony between imagination and representation: his unique approach to abstract painting inveites the viewers to an unconventional journey into the realm of perception and associations, providing them with a multilayered experience that speaks of emotions, struggle as well as of a rigorous gaze on contemporary art. We are really pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

Hello Sebastian and welcome to ART Habens: We are always interested in the stories behind how an artist became an artist: so, to start this interview, would you like to tell our readers something about your background? In particular, are there any experiences that influenced the way you relate yourself to art making? Howdoes your cultural substratum inform the way you conceive your works?

Hello to you and all Art Habens readers. Painting?- I used to like colouringwith pencils, but although my works were displayed already at the age of five i never thought I would pursue this career, inmy dreamsI was a polise officer ,a fire-fighter or, alternatively, a racing driver, just like all other kids.In high school, my arts teacher noticed I had atalent and my works were displayed at exhibitions, but I still know what I was to doin the future. Thefore , my interest in painting kept transformating along whit all the other interests that I had. It was only when I grew up thati cameto the conclusion that the best choice would be to do what I liked and

loved the most. For me painting is a form of escaping reality to another world.

Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, can you talk about the development of your distinctive painting style?

Sebastian Stankiewicz Sebastian Stankiewicz Sebastian Stankiewicz
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An interview by Barbara Scott, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator arthabens@mail.com

At the beginning, in making my works I was based on still life, landscapes, study of the human being, but them i concluded it was not what fascinated me. Noe it is 21 century and you can take a great photo and forming it using your computer.Abstraction is something that

you are unable to compare to anything else.By rotating a picture you will always find something interesting that, most importantly, will stay youy mind and affter your imagination.

With regard to your more substantial paintings, why have you chosen

ART
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Habens Sebastian Stankiewicz

abstraction? In particular, might it be argued that abstraction in its purist sense is a lesser art than good representation? Or alternatively are for you ‘the figure’ and ‘the object’ just distractions from pure expression?

I have used many different techniques, but with time I have realised acrylic paints work best for me.In my visions I get picture of what I would like to show in my works, but while making the actual pieces a lot more comes up and enriches my original intention. I experiment a lot and try to do things that no one else does.

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Sebastian Stankiewicz

Of course, I am interested in other people s work, I am courious to see how they percive reality we live in. There are techniques that I have conceived myself and have not noticed anyone else doing the same although the world is a large

place and we can never be sure if there is someone who has actually done before.

An artist often chooses a particular medium for reasons important to their work, outside of sheer preference: what has lead you to focus on your current media? And in particular what first

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Sebastian Stankiewicz ART Habens

attracted you to work in the medium you currently use?

I love vivid colours , but the world around ma appears to be so grey, I see a greatscarcity of smile joy.

Evrything is speeding ahead so much that not all of us can catch up, so I decided to add some colours, tothe world. I would like evryone to be happy, colorfull. The works that i are composed of manylayers.When gazing at them you get the immpression that texture matches that of the human skin. By discovering one layer after naother

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Sebastian Stankiewicz ART Habens

you notice more and more elements .it is very fascinating

Your abstract approach accomplishes the difficult task of creating a coherent unity between imagination a rational gaze on the reality in which we find ourselves: your process of deconstruction reveals a deep interest in how we interpret and make meaning of what we see, and in particular you seem in search of a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I think you cannot disconnect the creative process from your direct experience , because only our whole experience combined with our imagination will give us the possibility of showing the final result , or the finished work.

Dealing with your influences, are there any artists from the contemporary scene that have infleunced the way you relate yourself to the aesthetic problem?

Certainly, there have been artists who have influenced me .Some of them are our contemporaries, some are historical figures .Their influence has been rather subcoscious and I expect it to continue somehow in the future .

Your canvasses are particularly colorful and the vibrancy of the tones you choose provides your works of dynamism,and establishes a dialogue between the thoughtful nuances you combine together, speaking of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own

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ART Habens Sebastian Stankiewicz

psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a texture? Any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

It is hard for me to explain the things you are asking about. Generally, it all depends on the moment, the inspiration, the way I feel , but also on the type od paints, their quality, how they bind together, or the way show motion and how things penetrate each other. My favourite colours are vivid ones and, of course, I keep experimenting with them. I wish my perception of the work around me to be lively and more colorful.

The multilayered experience provided by your pieces seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. Do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance? Moroever, how important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

My works are largely laborious. Oboviously, sometimes I just let myself run and I find that exciting because I know that after I have expressed something in my work there will be no return, nothing will stay the same . Oftentimes I struggle with the dilemma whether to finish now or keep moving on. It is very hard to find the borderline, not to exaggerate in reception, not to spoil what some people call the soul.

One of the aspects of your approch we found captivating is the connection between a personal kind of abstraction and contemporary traditions: Traditions have indeed a historic frame to them, yet

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Sebastian Stankiewicz

they are deeply grounded in the contemporary moment. What is the nature of the relationship between Contemporary and Tradition in your approach? Do you think that there's an irremediable dichotomy between these aspects?

I have the impression that every kind od art lives its own life .What I am doing now and will do in the future is influenced by what I have done in the past. Personally, I believe that my works contain some cohesion, too. Not only dichotomy.

Your approach is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, so, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Certainly not, otherwise I could not stay myself. The sensations that I share with my audience do not affect the entirety of my work . The claim made in your question could perhaps only apply to one single work od mine. All of my works are different, each carries a different message. In fact, I try to listen to peoples opinions, but as I said before I create under the influence od the moment, of what is happening at the particular time.

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

As I mentioned earlier, I like experimenting with colours, with the form. I do not know which direction I will take .I am trying to keep developing, my art is a form of constant struggle with myself.

ART Habens Charles Ligocky
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ART Habens Sebastian Stankiewicz

Tim Walti TimWaltiTimWaltiWaltinger n gernger nger

Tim Waltinger (1976, Regensburg, Germany) makes paintings, drawings, mixed media collages and assemblages, new media art and sculptures.

By implementing a dramatic and often metaphorical terminology, Waltinger intents to deepen the astonishment of the viewer. His compositions leave traces by balancing on the edge of recognition and estrangement. In his at times surreal but always intense pictures, fiction and reality meet, well-known allegories merge, meanings shift and past and present fuse. Moment and thought play a crucial role.

By using a visual terminology that approaches disparate and contrasting social and political matters, he consolidates ostensibly incompatible concepts into a renewed and different universe. His precise attitude analyzes the blurred border between experience and imagination. His engaging research regarding the fusion between language and image establishes a thorough involvement with the spectator, both in emotional as well as intellectual terms. Tim Waltinger lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland and Berlin, Germany.

http://timwaltinger.com

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Tim Waltinger fick mich in my rosa kunt (Danika 20141018 V)
Special Issue 2 Tim Waltinger ART Habens
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video, 2013

An interview with interview

Zurich and Berlin based artist Tim Waltinger explores the elusive boundary between representation and abstraction to tell stories of desire and human relationship, incorporating insightful social criticism. His multifaceted work challenges the viewer’s perceptions to unveil an unexpectedly wide variety of association between the realm of perceptual reality and the sphere of imagination. Investigating the dichotomy between perceptual reality and the oniric dimension, he unveils a variety of unexpected points of convergence between tradition and abstraction to create a truly compelling aesthetic. One of the most convincing aspects of Waltinger's approach is the way it condenses the permanent flow of associations in the realm of memory and experience: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating artistic production. €€

Hello Tim and welcome to ART Habens: we’ll start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Are there any particular experiences that have especially influenced the way you currently conceive and produce your works? (In particular, how does living in vibrant and multicultural cities such as Zurich and Berlin inform the way you relate yourself with art making and aesthetics?)

Hello Melissa and Dario, I would like say thank you for including my work in this special Edition. Thank you also for this interview.

To start off: I have been creative since childhood. I was (and still am) a good

Tim Waltinger Waltinger

classical pianist. In high school my major was Art and part of the Abitur. My thesis at that time dealt with the Dadaist movement. After high school and having worked with handicapped people during my civilian service in Montréal, Canada, I registered for medical school in Dresden to become a doctor. The motivation was to help people (this might sound like a cliché but it’s just a fact) and to make a contribution to society that made sense to me. The medical profession seemed to be most useful in

Photo of Tim Waltinger
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achieving that goal. I was keen on learning about the human body (at the beginning) and the mind (later on). Life sciences and especially neuroscience were and still are fascinating, thought-provoking and a personal challenge; in my opinion, they have some things in common with art. The prerequisite to work with discipline and

precision on the one hand; the obligation to “think outside the box” and “push the limits” on the other.

Parallel to medical studies I couldn’t resist a compelling urge to being creative. I spent half of my time buried under books and dissecting corpses, half of the time drawing,

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naechste spirale
edelweiss ehedelweiss
don't
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painting, photographing and sculpting. I was very much conflicted between medical school and a possible career at an art school. To find out, I assembled a few drawings, collages and paintings on paper and cardboard and applied with this portfolio to the fine art school Hochschule für Bildende Künste HfBK Dresden in Germany. After a three day assessment test and an interview I was admitted into the school. I was happy, “one step further”, but decided at that time to finish up medical studies and made an arrangement with the art school to enter afterwards.

Time passed quickly: During my last year as a student, I obtained a position at a University Hospital in Switzerland. I subsequently started to work as M.D. in a

large psychiatric hospital. I worked on my doctoral thesis in neuroscience for two years. During the following years, I continued research and clinical work in neuroanatomy and neuropathology and taught medical students at university in Zurich. Intermittently I took time out for several months up to a year to work solely as an artist; that was in 2005 and 2006 (when I had my first solo shows in Zurich) and 2009 to 2010. In 2011 I worked as an artist more than before and subsequently quit the medical profession to concentrate on art.

I was deeply impressed by the Dadaists’ and the Avantgarde’s impact on the development of modern art in high school. In later years, I was subsequently fascinated by related movements like Neo-Dada, Fluxus and

ART Habens Tim Waltinger Special Issue 21 4 06
man frontend titten aus stahl/die ausgangslage war schwierig (Anne 20150327 V)

Beuys’ extended concept of art in terms of the so-called “social sculpture”. German artists of later movements like the neoexpressionists and the “Neue Wilde” that still have a deep impact on me are Kippenberger, Penck, Baselitz, Polke and especially Kiefer, to mention a few.

I do not regret not having studied art. In retrospect, I don’t think art schools are necessary. In my opinion, they take away more from the student than they give to him or her, in terms of a certain authenticity and simplicity. Maybe one also could call it innocence. Art cannot be taught at a school; in my opinion the best teacher is life experience with all its ups and downs. Art might not ultimately constitute a specialized profession but rather a humanitarian attitude, a way of conducting one’s life in the realm of daily activity.

My studios are in both cities - Zurich and Berlin - and I commute regularly. I use more time in Zurich for conceptual work and drawing, the Berlin studio is reserved for focused heavy duty and dirt work. The cities are different in size. In Zurich, the art scene is much smaller than in Berlin. The city is surrounded by nature and it’s easy to “escape to the countryside” in a small amount of time. Berlin on the other hand offers an overwhelming number of opportunities for art and culture, this inestimable source of inspiration is very stimulating for an art professional. I selectively visit shows and openings - mostly of friends that I know or outstanding events. Otherwise, I spend a lot of time in my studio, actually most of my time.

During the past years everything around my artistic work has become much more professional: I keep a routine in my studio,

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Tim
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hidden pleasure II hidden pleasure
landscape at luebars I
landscape at luebars II

working with discipline every day from morning till night during rather fixed times. Before that I followed a kind of impulsive way of being creative. I don’t really have to wait for inspiration (or alter my consciousness with any means, as so many artists do).

I make use of the spur of the moment and spontaneous suggestions. Routine and discipline are the two most important aspects of my work. To be able to pause is a mandatory part of this routine. Sometimes, I just sit for two hours, doing nothing, but being concentrated and fully alert. After this time, I then start or finish or rework or sketch for maybe just a couple of minutes. Only then am I satisfied and can move on. To be able to pause is a very important part of the creative process.

We have found particularly stimulating your investigation into the notion of the human body as a static structure, that you have accomplished in fick mich in my rosa kunt danika and in friss dreck, that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. While questioning the disconnection between physical experience and abstract concepts, you seem to suggest the necessity of going beyond symbolic strategies to question the relationship between reality and the way we perceive it. Would you walk our readers through the genesis of these works?

I have worked with nudes since my early twenties, visiting the life drawing courses at Hochschule für Bildende Künste (HfBK) Dresden. I was irritated at that time: my colleagues and fellow artists tried make copies of the model that were as accurate as possible. In contrast, my drawings in graphite and charcoal looked different to the others. And, honestly, I didn’t know why.

Since last year, I’ve had models coming to my studio. It is a very personal one-on-one situation. The context is different than at a school with ten or more people participating.

I usually don’t know the model beforehand and have never seen her before nor spoken to her on the phone. After a get-to-know talk of fifteen to twenty minutes or so, we start the creative process that I would describe as a “common” performance. It is 100 percent up to the model to think of movements and poses, I just adapt to it, making quick sketches and drawings. The fixed parameters are the choice of material and time. The session usually lasts one and a half to two hours and I am very exhausted afterwards. With each model I modify the choice of material.

I usually rework the sketches at a later time, as I added myself (the man on the right) to Danika and cut out Marcia and added the grey cardboard which was being used as the doormat of my studio for some months.

While I paint and draw I experience a flow of associations but am guided by thoughts and associations that a nude body implies, i.e. desire, passion, gender, sexuality, suffering, also brainstorms about the transience of life and the awaiting death, integrating flashes or sudden inspirations.

When reworking some days or months afterwards, the momentum of associations expands and comprises religion, weltanschauung, belief, metaphysics and spirituality.

In particular, we have appreciated the combination between a rigorous geometry and a subtle sensuality that pervades the shapes and the way they are animated: what importance does the aesthetic problem have for you?

An assessment of aesthetics is not for the artist but the viewer. Perception by the spectator is influenced by his personal emotional, psychological, social make-up and attitude. Some work might shock one, and please another.

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When working, I do not pay attention to how my work might affect the audience. Mostly I find out afterwards, and even then, I am not very interested. Maybe, if I would be forced to answer, I’d prefer a work of art to rather question, trouble and bother the audience; the viewer as a person, his expectations, his being and mindset. Art in that sense should not be comfortable and not pleasing. Art should not adhere to traditional standards of normalcy and proper conduct (this may sound somewhat old-fashioned). Art should have a thorough impact on the viewer’s mind and soul.

Art should not be nice or beautiful or appealing. These attributes would refer to something else that I would not call art.

When we first happened to admire naechste spirale we tried to relate all the visual information and its elusive geometrical symbolism to a single meaning, filling the gaps and searching for a sign that could unveil an order in the idea of regeneration that pervades your work. But we soon realized that we had to fit into its visual unity, forgetting our need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather than a conceptual interiority, we can recognize the desire to enable us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or rather a systematic process?

I think it is both: a systematic process with intuitive elements. I have a certain concept in mind that needs to incubate; for years, days, hours, minutes or seconds, or milliseconds, or nanoseconds. The concept is there, intrinsic, sticks to mind and soul. The following execution is strongly influenced by the unconscious…

The unconscious acts in this second stage of the creation process in terms of a reciprocal effect. Metaphysics and subsequent spirituality play a role when trying to understand the theme or leitmotif. Altogether

I would characterize the process as an interplay between different levels of consciousness.

nächste spirale contains a graphite sketch depicting friends, blurred due to raindrops; it was raining on the roof terrace of my apartment and I forgot to take the sketches inside. The protagonist in the back drawing a circle with a compass has no head, just a liver and heart.

The genesis is very simple: I had the concept in mind, the execution took a few minutes. Or ten years, seen from a different angle.

What we notice most about your paintings is that there is a dichotomy between fluid lines and figurative representation and then you use abstraction to tell your story. It’s the composition of molding or joining the abstraction with the figurative pieces to lend plane and spatial concept, inviting people into an idea that makes the work so special. You are conveying an inner vision: what is your process for working on your art? We are particularly interested in knowing how a piece takes shape in your mind before you start working on it.

I usually keep track of thoughts and ideas throughout the day, in the studio, at home, on the road, I write them down, make notes and sketches. Sometimes at night before going to sleep I have clear images or visions in between being awake and asleep. When time has come, I finish up the work on paper or canvas. “Conversation between two random strangers” interrelates two gouachesketches with oil; at my studio at Amalienpark I just had purchased a bucket of black and white oil colour and took advantage of this reduced palette.

Your works are particularly colorful and the vibrancy of the tones you choose provides your works with dynamism, as in weiblicher akt and establishes a dialogue between the thoughtful nuances you combine together, speaking of thoughts and emotions. How

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weiblicher akt (Julia 20140617 III)

conversation between two random strangers

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

you develop a texture? Any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

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ART Habens Tim Waltinger

At high school and the years afterwards, my drawings were quite realistic, naturalistically

drawn and what one could call “purely” representative. In fact, I tried to copy the template or model as accurately and

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krikel krakel

precisely as possible. I did a good job of portraying people, elaborating copies of still lifes of tableware or stuffed animals or copied whatever. This changed over the years and my work developed to be more abstract. I now prefer not to copy but interpret what I see.

In terms of my psychological make-up: My impression is that my mindset is what you could call different to that of most people. I feel my life to be oscillating between two extremes in terms of quickened and more finely tuned senses and diversity of thought on the one hand. My emotional experience seems more intense, associational processes seem more rapid than those of others.

Hmmm. €

In contrast, I experience feelings of slowness, sadness and melancholia on the other. Most times both states intermingle or alternate rapidly or are present at the same time. Some say new thoughts and ideas are born in one, the refinement of these and “putting into perspective” would happen in the other. To handle both states rapidly changing within minutes or seconds is quite a challenge. This mindset reflecting the world through my eyes is gradually or abruptly recorded on paper or whatever.

Weiblicher akt depicts a nude model, Julia, a German lady, with a background with oilish omenta majora. I have been using the Rohen/Yokochi photographic anatomical atlas as a student, teacher and, well, artist.

Adolf Hitler was in the center beforehand, but I think there are too many Adolf Hitlers in contemporary art.

Apropos Adolf Hitler: I think the trauma of the Second World War has been transferred onto the next, then onto the next, that is, my generation. In 2015, the trauma of World Wars I and II is still part of German society. Maybe it’s part of the so called German angst

that is intrinsic to German society and culture, and intrinsic to my work as well.

Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which we'll be pleased to write some words is entitled mein traum und ich: it creates a consistent relationship between imagination from the oniric sphere and a rational gaze on the reality from which you draw from: your process shows a deep interest in how we interpret and make meaning out of what we see, and in particular you seem in search of a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Direct experience influences the creative process. Mein traum und ich, amongst others, consists of sketches I had started ten years ago and finished last year. € During the artistic process I can enter the interface between dream and reality that often is not clear. Dream and reality can function as an allegory of altered states of consciousness.

Man frontend can be also considered an interrogation of traditional portraiture. As Philippe Dagen once established in his Le Silence des peintres, the coming of a straight realism has caused a progressive retrenchment of painting from the mere representative role of reality. With exception of Hyperrealism movement, Painting is nowadays more and more marked out with a symbolic feature. Do you think that the dichotomy between Representation and Pictorialism is by now irremediable?

Both approaches are legitimized – they complement each other. Without representation there would be no symbolic meaning; in my opinion, even a purely

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representative approach has symbolic content. As the depiction of an object is not the object itself (as Magritte fairly demonstrated in “La trahison des images”). When is a work symbolic or when not? Even a so called “purely” representative work or image (if there is such thing) can be crammed with overdetermination, being supercharged with allegorical or emblematic content by the viewer. €In my opinion, it’s up him or her or it to assess this distinction.

It took me minutes to push Man frontend, a collage with gouache to paper. I like working with gouache once in a while. I do prefer it much more than acrylic paint. It’s what I would call “vulnerable” or “fragile”, much more human in that sense.

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which we would like to take some time is the diptych hidden pleasure. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, this work seems to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell through your paintings... 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 was your initial inspiration for this stimulating piece? And in particular, did you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

In 2008 in my studio in Zurich I experimented with different materials, among others rustproofing paint, varnishes and spray paint. Portraits originating from that time serve as a point of departure for the hidden pleasure series. At that time, I seriously tried to learn Swiss German; but when trying in public I was told not to do so– it would insult the Swiss-German people.

It was considered to be inappropriate –especially for German natives. “Do not talk Swiss German” refers to that continuously

intimidating experience in everyday situations. I finally resigned and sticked to hochdeutsch. This experience was different in Romandie and Ticino, where one gets along with French and/or Italian very well and no one complains.

The Arlecchino-il giocoliere sono io is a personal work, since I can identify with the main character: Harlequin is restlessly wandering and jumping between levels, roles and opposite poles. He is able to play, with everything: with fiction and reality, with good and evil, with right and wrong, heaven and hell. Through this game he opens doors for himself and keeps the creative power of the spaces alive.

Your approach is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, so, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a 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 you use for a particular context?

I stick to Oscar Wilde: “A true artist takes no notice whatever of the public. The public are to him non-existent”. The concept of consideration of the effect of my work on the public hinders the creative process. It takes innocence, it takes spontaneousness; the creative process is somewhat restricted. I do appreciate feedback from friends and colleagues about my work since I keep developing and refine certain momenta.

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

As always, I am trying to be less intuitive, but more conceptual and reflective. Whether this

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will work out, I don’t know. I probably have as many ideas as I have cells in mind. Some of the things I hope to do are: to explore working on a larger scale, on wood and aluminium; to include more photography within my collages. To reflect on the role of

art in the second decade of the 21st century where wars and terror influence, if not control our lives. And to further prepare three solo and a few more group shows coming up next year.

http://timwaltinger.com

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