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Study after Velรกzquez, Francis Bacon & Sergej Eisenstein. Pope Innocent X a work by Pepjin Simon


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

A r t

R e v i e w

Miki Aurora

Astrid Bryder

Bojana Knezevic

Deca Torres

Pepijn Simon

Chang Yang

Canada

Germany

Serbia

Brazil

The Netherlands

United Kingdom

I try to create an interaction between my photographic work and the viewer. At the same time I want to challenge the figurative/documen tary photography, through the incomprehension generated at an unrecognizable motive and thereby questioning how society perceive photography.

I started this “artistic ritual” of merging human with animal when I made the first shot of the man who is incredibly reminded me of the Jaguar. I've decided to do a series of close-up shots of the people who emulate wild cats.

My works are performed in quiet and alone environment. Where can I speak freely. All my works are performed without prior appointment and the result flows naturally. This is the point that I most identify with Surrealism. The vibrancy of colors and harmony, freedom of mixtures, techniques and colors. My inspiration is always a color vibration and stimulate always, any viewer from the leading expert on Arts to the unknown and started Admire the Arts.

There is ultimately a combination between realism and abstraction that is needed to portray an emotion. We are all programmed to see faces and to recognize emotion in them. Simon paints without the use of any brushes. In fact, he is using old twisted credit cards. He begins with a black painted canvas and paints while it’s still wet. He applies the white paint without any sketching or use of photographs.

I am obsessed with SPACE. My study based on Dadaism, Cubism and Structuralism,whi ch benefits me to seek out what the space is and how it works on paintings.I utilize collage with fish net stockings and tights as a combination to create ‘the space’ . These things present an abstract sense of nature and life. I consider to abstract the figures which were known by people and rebuild ‘the space’ though different materials.

I find the general understanding of photography as something realityrelated and recognizable, very interesting.

Using the new technology, I've manipulated facial features and the photography transformation led me to mythical, surreal “CATPEOPLE” vision.


In this issue

Chang Yang Lives and works in Breda, The Netherlands Mixed media, Installation

Miki Aurora Lives and works in Vancouver, Canada Mixed media, Installation, Video

Pepijn Simon Lives and works in the Netherlands Mixed media, Painting

Dominic Negus Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Video, Photography

Deca Torres Lives and works in Belo Horizonte, Brasil Mixed media, Painting

Irina Corduban Lives and works in London, UK Painting, Mixed media Irina Corduban

Dominic Negus

Ricardo Lopes

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Portugal

I start to paint my chickadees series as a decision of founding myself, a moment of looking for me and find some answers. This way I choose to subject birds and women. Starting my art-work immediately my chickadees have become part of this celebration of every single subject and the whole process has been systematic by repeating the chickadees in every single image, just changing the background images. For this reason very soon the painting become more intuitive.

For Dying to Breathe, once the idea and sequence was locked down I worked on the performance. I choreograph the piece very precisely knowing it it needed to be in one take and could not be edited or it would loose that 'live' feel that is so important in engaging the audience. In the end it took seven takes to get a seamless shoot.

My work is a constant attempt to create relationship between human (industry) and nature. The slightest show of nature, serves as an escape to human vanity, even if only as a counterpoint. Sometimes serves to denounce the disregard of human beings to nature, after all that "She" gave him. Directly or indirectly my job search or attempt to find this counterpoint. The human being is nature, but not everything that it also creates is.

The viewer had to think it was real, not just a performance, so I kept on filming until I nearly passed out

Astrid Bryder Lives and works in Aarhus, Denmark Photography, Mixed media

Bojana Knezevic Lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia Mixed media, Painting

Ricardo Lopes Lives and works in Portugal Mixed media, Sculpture, Installation

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Special thanks to: Charlotte Seeges, 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.

Study after Velรกzquez, Francis Bacon & Sergej Eisenstein. Pope Innocent X


Chang Yang Yang I am obsessed with SPACE. My study based on Dadaism, Cubism and Structuralism,which benefits me to seek out what the space is and how it works on paintings.I utilize collage with fish net stockings and tights as a combination to create ‘the space’ . These things present an abstract sense of nature and life. I consider to abstract the figures which were known by people and rebuild ‘the space’ though different materials. I also cut some images from film magazine or old album and painted with free brush stroke. Everything in the painting looks like from isolated space and absurd dream. I explore various materials to expand my works, basically, the process of painting is a sort of playing, I utilized some articles for daily use, for example, fish net stockings or colourful tights. When these materials being distorted, it will be visually like three dimensional images of geography. However, the effect looks very impressive. FAMILY series Family is signifiant to every individual, which is a bond of many people. I selected two different family photo from victorian time and Qing dynasty that present the history, nationality, culture. I combined two irrelevant family images together violently and created a overlapped space by brushstroke. My work ' Family' series illustrate a absurd and surreal space which conveys the boundary of races and various culture becoming blurred gradually. Chang Yang

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video, 2013

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

Marked with an incessant investigation about the notion of space, Chang Yang's work is a successful attempt to capture the multifaceted nature of the abstract, unveiling a wide variety of interconnections between our perceptual sphere and the way we relate ourselves to the outside world. Yang's works speak us of nature, life and draws from universal imagery to challenge its subtle meanings: the multifaceted nature of his approach rejects any conventional classification and goes beyond the usual dichotomy between representation and abstraction. One of the most convincing aspect of Yang's approach is the way its inquiry about the concept of space materializes 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 Chang and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after having earned a MA of Painting from the Hubei Institute of Fine Arts (HIFA), you moved to London to nurture your education with a MA of Fine Art that you received from the prestigious Chelsea college of Art and Design: how have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does the relationship between your Chinese roots and living ina multicutural city as London inform the way you relate yourself with art making?

Chang Yang

expected. I started to be involved in new areas and explored various materials to create my works. Fortunately, museums and galleries provided me with everlasting inspiration. My experience in London taught me how to think independently and pushed me to find the way to improve myself.

Art is the best way to express thought. When I was a boy, I couldn’t write any characters but I could draw; I couldn’t speak language but I could paint what I wanted. Art was born with me, like a soul, and brings me hope and love. When I studied in an art college in China, the tutors trained us to draw or paint objects authentically, and during that time I thought painting was all of my life because I spent a huge amount of time to improve my skills and techniques. For me, art is an important part of my life; it makes me happy and satisfied. However, while I was studying in London, my way of thinking has been changed gradually. To be an excellent artist but not just a painter became what I truly

I had a good training when I studied in HIFA. It was helpful that I could convey my idea much easier through my techniques. But the disadvantage was that art education in China is very conservative and restrictive; I was unable to be free to make works. London seems quite different; there are various artists and fabulous works. It supplies potential artists with many opportunities. Two experiences urge me to seek

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out my unique art language. Indeed, London is a better choice. As an artist in China, spent 26 years in this big country. Traditional Confucianism has influenced me since I was a little boy. But I have both Chinese’s selfrestrict and western Hippie mind. When I walked on those unfamiliar streets in London, seeing the Big Ben, strolling in crowed Oxford Circus, having a coffee in Piccadilly Square, the contrast between the two sorts of power drives me crazy. But, my blood still belongs to China, and as the result, my Chinese way of thinking is still guiding my creation. For this special issue of ART Habens we have selected Unreadable Space, an extremely stimulating installation that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. When we first happened to get to know it we tried to relate all the visual information that come from the meaningful juxtaposition such wide variety of materials to a single meaning. But we soon realized that Unreadable Space ask us to fit into its visual rhythm, forgetting our need for a univocal understanding of its content: in this installation, 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 a systematic process?

Before I answer your question, I have to explain to readers how the "UNREADABLE" comes from. This exhibition was a new art experiment event. 10 artists from different countries decided to make a playful way to exhibit works. Every single artist needed to make a brand-new work and relied on his or her thought to express the theme. After discussion, we determined to name it ‘unreadable’. And this was also my first time to composite various materials in a space to make installation. In my opinion, every material has its own character that fits in the corresponding space. For example, if I cut a piece of leather from a vintage sofa, no matter the texture, color, shape or style of this leather is, it tells some stories or information to viewers. Any material that has been chosen is always metaphoric, and none has been used in a meaningless way. I entitled my works “Unreadable space” because I wanted to combine different objects together in this particular space to create a mysterious atmosphere.

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Chang Y ang

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Unreadable Space, 2015

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International robots, 2015

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In the first stage, instinct played an important role; it led me to make a quick decision how the space would be arranged. The second stage was very systematic. The process was based on my personal interest and research in an ancient Chinese book called ‘Master Sun’s Art of War’. Master Sun was one of the famous strategists in ancient China; his perspective influenced my idea deeply. In his book, he suggests that someone who knows how to take advantage of natural power as an extremely vital factor would be the winner of war. As a result, I treated the space like nature because it also had advantages and disadvantages. The advantages can be used directly, whereas the disadvantages can also be transformed into better condition to fit ideas. At that moment, to find out all of characters the space had were what I need to do. Basically, my creation stands on both sides of instinct and reason. What particularly appeals to us of your works is the way you explore the aesthetic problem in such compelling way. Your investigation about the notion of space seems to invite us to question the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension. 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?

To the notion of space, I think there are two important aspects. First, the space exists as a substance. As you may say, the outside world is the objective world; every thing in the same space will have direct or indirect contact to each other. For instance, in a room with big windows, as the season changes, the temperature, light, dust and humidity will alter both indoor and outdoor. The objects in the room would give particular impressions to audience, which present the change of the objective world. This impression is from the outside space. Second, viewer’s emotion can be influenced by space. That is the power from the outside to the inside. When viewer comes to a particularly designed space, the visionary or the auditory sensations might be the first thing that pops up into viewer’s sight, because people react to the environment naturally. For me this instinctive reaction is a tricky medium. I found that utilizing the instinct of people to convey the notions by

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Chang Yang

changing the characters of the space around the audience could be a proper method to impress people.

wish viewers could read my concept by themselves. If the approach is too direct or straightforward, it will lose its playfulness.

To a certain degree, the Confucianism affects my creation a lot. For me, personal experience is always indispensable, because in the process, inspiration often builds on artist’s own structure of knowledge. Personally, my experience has an inevitable connection with my creative process, but I cannot say it is the only way or an absolute approach. The process should be diversified.

The multilayered experience provided by International Robots piece 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?

We would like to take this occasion to introduce our readers to a work from your recent production entitled International Robots: your approach is marked with a unique multidisciplinary feature and we have highly appreciated the way you are capable of conveying different techniques to create a consistent translation of the ideas your explore: we would like to suggest to our readers to visit http://cargocollective.com/yangchang_art in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production, which resists to immediate classification in terms of its subject matter. While superimposing concepts and images, crossing the borders of different artistic fields, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints and practices is the only way to achieve the results you pursue and to express specific concepts?

“International robots” as the last work in Chelsea condensed all of my efforts. When audiences encounter this piece of work, they may be astonished by the absurd performance or impressed by the interesting atmosphere. But, I never consider what effects I will present when I was making them. Inspiration is like instinct, and you never know what kind of thing can stimulate your heart. The ordinary becomes your muse, a book, a sentence of poetry, a funky music or children's toys. As an artist, I do not concern if I design my works through an instinctive way or not. What I want to do is to show my works in the ideal way. To analyse the function of the artworks and how they stimulate the viewer are not the responsibility of artists. Audiences have their concepts to interpret artworks. That is why art is so attractive to us.

The inspiration of “International Robots” comes from my two life experiences in China and United Kingdom. Even though the culture and the lifestyles are immensely different, we are confronted with the same issues of high technology. Maybe in the future, the relationship between human and technology will be incisive. “International Robots” questioned people what effects will be brought by technology to human civilization.

In my opinion, aesthetic problems seem to be the hardest diplomatic issue in the world because there is no right answer at all. Artists convey their ideas to express what they think and what they feel to the outside world through the work of art. As an artist, to keep being acute is the most crucial thing. Artists are more like question-makers but not problem-solvers. Art is different from science–it is not entirely logical or provable. Any Utopian idea can be achieve in art.

For this installation, I put on performance and sound effect with it. The three robots are made by woodcraft and the sound was edited by noise on the street. The performer keeps playing her smart phone, wearing industrial glasses painted with black colour. I wrap the performer with the robots together by rope again and again… Multi-dimensional presentation added the installation with new meaning behind it. I don’t like specific theme or explain my idea to audiences. I

What has mostly impressed us about your paintings is the way you extract a point of convergence between Cubism and Structuralism, providing to your works of autonomous aesthetics as in the interesting ones from your Tangible space series. The recurrent reference to an emotional but at the same time universal imagery seems to remove any historic reference from the reality you refer to, and I daresay that this aspect allows you to go beyond any dichotomy between

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tangible space


Chang Y ang

ART Habens

explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the feelings that you convey into 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?

Tradition and Contemporariness, and that establishes a stimulating dialogue between references from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

Cubism and Structuralism were very crucial to me when I started my research. Those artists are geniuses in managing space. I absorbed the concepts from both of them and tried to combine them with my idea in a contemporary circumstance. Tangible space series are the consequence of my research. I chose fabrics, sand papers and thumbtack etc. as materials. The female fishnet was a main factor in this series–I abstracted the shape of the fabric into my collage. From a new position, I illustrated what I understand of Cubism and Structuralism.

Memory is the content of my drawings and paintings. You can see many fragments of images in my works, such as exotic buildings, passers in the street, movie scene, daily objects, etc.. Actually, they all come from my memory. I draw or paint them unconsciously. I like doing some mediation or listening trip-hop music before I work to help me drenched in an imaginary field. When I started my work, some images poped up discontinuously in my mind like montage; I grasped some fragments from my imagination and composited them on canvas. That’s why my images always show a dreamy emotion without any specific meaning.

If we talk about the question of tradition and contemporiness, I would say that I stand on tradition to explore the contemporary problem. I may quote the perspective of Buddhism: everything has cause and effect; the former influences the latter. From the art history, it can be noticed that tradition is more like a root of big tree (cause), when it becomes strong and tall as time goes by, the tree grows lots of branches, and contemporariness is similar to the branches (effect). Tradition nourishes and influences the contemporariness, while contemporary artists inherit from tradition to recreate and to rebuild new discipline in art. Tangible Space series are not only mixed media but more like combination of traditional aesthetics.

Basically, my paintings do not have any narrative contents. They are always created from random fragments of memory. I combine them through various perspectives of image to build a surrealism composition, which mirrors a multi-dimensional thinking of the world. I hope to translate a blurred emotion but not merely faithful feelings. Another interesting work from yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which we would like to spend some words is entitled Mixed Family. What has at soon caught our eyes of this stimulating work is the way your investigation about the relationship between perception and imagination accomplishes the difficult task of creating an autonomous aesthetics. The dialogue established by colors and texture is a crucial part of your style: 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?

There are contrasts exist between the old and the new. It seems that the contrasts are very tricky. There is a gap between the both. However, they are connected closely. In my case, I am keen on exploring both space and time. The Cubism and Structuralism supply me with many inspirations, which help me move further. I accept the thoughts from the previous artists, but their thoughts and idea can be recreated or remixed in contemporary art. We have brand-new concept and technique, and we meet different social problems that the traditional artists never had. Everything could be given a new definition in this world.

Mixed family is a collage with oil painting on board. The tones of my work always depend on what I want to express. Mixed family illustrates that two irrelative families from different history be forced to stand together. It reflects that London as a multi-culture

While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, the pieces from your Tangible space series seem to reject an

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tangible space

and multi-race city seems very peaceful while many problems that come from the complicated and diversified social civilization formation exist behind. I choose the vintage colour as main tone with the old photograph, hoping to express a nostalgic emotion to audience.

turned to like vintage colors when I become mature. The preference of colour is also relevant to my personal taste and experience. I think darktoned colours present a quieter and more enjoyable feeling. Over these years you have had the chance to exhibit your works in several occasions and you have recently had the solo ‘‘UNREADABLE’’ experimental art in Warehouse gallery, London.

The choice of my ‘palette’ always depends on my affection. My works used to be multicolored, possibly related to my young age and mind, but I

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tangible space

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 a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making

process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

My installation Unreadable Space was the first big project in London. In the process, I did not consider the reception of audience because the tittle meant something couldn’t be understood. This topic supported me to challenge myself. In my opinion, the installation is not only a still object. It is a living creature, just like human

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tangible space

being that can breath, talk, listen and watch. I wish to bridge a conversation that links the viewer and installation. Every single object was found

from its surrounding, and was then composited by my instinct. However, the wind, the light, the sound, the smog, and the temperature, those

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Mixed Family, 2015 mixed media, 80cm x 55cm


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Mixed Family, 2015

elements were carefully designed and controlled. The fan behind the chair blew forward the cling film, which echoed with the light from ceiling; the trombone was as a metaphor of sound, and the smog machine transformed the whole space into a mysterious field.

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Once everything worked together, the installation became vivid. The atmosphere was like a religious ceremony. 'Unreadable' turned out to be someone's murmur. It was Delphic, the language could belong to the God.

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tangible space

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

appreciate my works and have such nice interview with me. Dear readers can follow my website http://cargocollective.com/yangchang_art to see my new works. Thank you very much.

I would like to stay in China for a while to make new works and join in some competitions and exhibitions. I have gained many experiences and inspiration in London. It is important that I can translate my idea into more works. In the future, I wish to have more communications with western artists and collaborate with galleries around the world. At last, I am grateful that Art Habens

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

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Miki Aurora My works, comprised of postconceptual objects, paintings, and videos, traverse the boundaries of the micro and the macrocosm. This process occurs through an application of the contemporary tropes associated with womanhood (in the tradition of confessional art), which transform various female archetypes into totems for the dark psychological undercurrents pervading modern Western society. Video documentation of ritualistic processes, further divulge these societal undercurrents, concurrently posing investigations on the philosophical and spiritual truths intrinsically part of the revelation of these societal ailments. A modern application of the found materials in my object art, as well as aesthetics heavily associated with the cultural mythology of wasted youth, operate within their modernity, as a mode for reformatting ancient philosophical truths for understanding within our current social climate.

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video, 2013

Objectified Corporeality 4.6″ x 2.2″ 022 4

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An interview with

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

Highly refined and moving in its symbolic and at the same time communicative concreteness, Hollow/Static by Vancouver based multidisciplinary artist Miki Aurora walks us through an unconventional investigation about the elusive boundary between micro and microcosm. The balance between aesthetics and subtle but effective socio-political criticism, allows her to create an area in which perceptual parameters are subverted: one of the most convincing aspect of Aurora's work is the way she establishes direct relations with the viewers going beyond any artificial dichotomy between the materialization of a work and the moment we relate to the ideas behind it. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted production. Hello Miki and welcome to ART Habens: your practice is marked with a deep multidisciplinary feature: ranging from photography and painting to video and post-conceptual objects, your approach shows a successful attempt to go beyond any dichotomy between conceptualism and a nonnarrative approach, and we would suggest to our readers to visit http://mikiaurora.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. While crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Yes, existence in multiple mediums has been a crucial part of my creative identity. This probably is the result of my creative process continually stemming from an internal drive to instigate social change or to engage in some form of social sculputure—resulting in a clarity of exactly the kind of opinion, or narrative I would like to present in my work. Therefor the physical vessel for housing these narratives is something that generally comes much later on in the process of creation, far from the moment of a projects conception. It is rare that materiality or medium is the starting point for the

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we soon realized that your investigation about female archetypes requests us to fit into the visual unity suggested by its effective non linear narrative, forgetting our need for a univocal understanding of its content. In Hollow/Static, rather that a conceptual interiority, we can recognize an attempt to enabling us to establish direct relations: would you say that it's more of

creation of one of my works. For this special edition of ART Habens we have selected Hollow/Static that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: when we first happened to get to know it we tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. But

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involved in the occult and lived on the street, in shelters and in social housing in downtown Vancouver. We used to always hang around Granville street and congregate in certain homeless shelters and covered areas. One day, I was out of the blue given the opportunity to attend art school in Barcelona by my family, and when I came back to Vancouver after that I immediately went back to hanging out on the street with this my old band of crust punk occultists, except this time I began spontaneously documenting them as well on camera.I ended up falling in love with one of them, a chaos magician named Scott who lived in a cockroach infested SRO. One day he was cooking up a batch of weed oil and ended up burning the soles of his feet with hot oil, and couldn’t walk. This is who the man with the wounded feet in the video is, and all of the scenes of the derelict apartment are of that SRO. Obviously the injury was a really painful experience for us, and as I was reviewing the footage I captured later, I felt like it just made such a beautiful metaphor for the kind of tonic immobility that the whole lifestyle so represented. The ascetism, the disregard for the body as a means for tapping into a kind of spirituality, the attempts to distance ourselves from the horrors of the contemporary capitalist, patriarchal society. All of these people within that community were, like me, actively working to be as free from the mainstream society as possible. But the process of keeping ourselves seperate from it kept us frozen in time, unable to do anything for a deeper purpose, because all energy was spent on survival, and running from the world which had hurt us all in unique ways. That is what the imagery of the injured feet depicts, running and running and never being able to go anywhere. And then of course this connects perfectly with one of those dark undercurrents of female existence which is the constant objectification and self-objectification resulting from existing as a woman in patrairchal society.

an intuitive or a systematic process? And in particular, how did you conceive the narrative for this interesting video?

Which was one of the things I was avoiding by deciding to live that way in the first place. When I was in that world, the world of chaos magick, wandering the alleys of downtown and existing with others who had sworn to reject society, there was a bit of an escape from the kind of patriarchal oppression that you can experience in

The production process for Hollow/Static was definitely a balance between the intuitive vs systematic modes of operation. I used to be part of this loosely knit band of urchins who were

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the more conventional arenas of life, because these people were all trying to actively distance themselves from that culture of mindless objectification of women, they were spiritualists trying to seek things that were beyond all of the stuff of the material body, some in more direct ways, others in masochistic ways. I have found that these horrific psychological traits like the conditioning of beauty culture, and the way it impedes the mind, was very similar to the kind of immobility caused by those broken feet. How long can you look into a mirror? Physical beauty, like ascetism, is another form of escape from the true darkness that lurks in the psyche. Both of these ideas are based in using something physical, something exteral – living in squalor and stuggling to survive, beauty and the distraction of selfies—to keep away from the true darkness lurking within the subconscious. Of course, this is not always the case with such things, but it was the essence of the work in question and of that time in my life. By definition video is rhythm and movement, gesture and continuity. In your videos you create time-based works that induce the viewers to abandon therselves to free associations, looking at time in spatial terms and I daresay, rethinking the concept of time in such a static way: this seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?

The production of my video works is certainly a very rhythm based practice, the movements and shifts produced are done so automatically, like a heartbeat. In many of your works, as in the interesting Paradise/Matrix and in the video performance Call to Arms you investigate about you once defined the dark psychological undercurrents pervading modern Western society, you often subvert the perceptual parameters that affect the unstable contemporary sensibility: 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

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Ocean 3.6″ x 1″ tears (artist’s), glass phial 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? And in particular, what could be in your opinion the role that an artist could

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Paradise/Matrix 14″ x 14″ acrylic, found objects, on canvas

play in the contemporary society?

buzz questions that are often debated within popular discourse. The opinions presented in my works usually present an angle of examining the psychological factors that contribute to a circumstance, social phenominon or archetypal

I don’t think that my works could be called neutral, though I guess it is not often that my art pieces present a clear yes or no answer to binary

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Pure Psychic Automatism 6.7″ x 6.6″ x 3″ glycerin, cement, plastic

trait, and I hope that by sharing these psychological insights, viewers can tap into deeper states of empathy and awareness towards the subjects referenced in the works.

that are actively shaping the structure of the world we live in. We have appreciated the deconstructive exploration of the dichotomies between inside and outside that emerge in your post-conceptual objects Shoulder to Cry On and Objectified Corporality highlights the elusive but ubiquitous connection between conscious and subconscious levels and urges the viewers to get involved in the variety of feelings and ideas you convey in your pieces in a personal way. While addressing the viewers to relate themselves with your work in such an atemporal way, your work shows an effective combination between experience and imagination. German sculptor and photographer Thomas Demand once stated that: "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic

Social sculpture is such a valuable practice for artists, it so often that the mainstream world undermines the ability for art to influence the constructs of our civillization. They are so unaware of the fact that they are heavily influenced by the aesthetic of their surroundings, and the effect that the imagery their minds are saturated with has on their subconscious. It’s for this reason that artists are in such a prime position to utilize their various mediums to influence peoples perceptions. It is the perceptions of reality that our society is holding

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Miki Aurora

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Shoulder to Cry On 32″ x 22″ tears, mascara, cotton t-shirt


Genesis 9.4″ x 6.5″ x 6″ blades, resin, acrylic, ash on hymn book


Bending Spoon 7.7 ” x 2″ rhinestones, found objects

strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinioin about this? And in particular, I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

your practice and brigns to a new level of significance to the creative potential of aleatory process in the construction of meaning. While walking our readers in performative aspect of this work, would you like to shed a light about the role of randomness in your approach in general? In particular, do you think that chance could play a creative role?

I believe that it is possible for one to experience their practice as disconnected from direct experience, but that even then, the creative production is being influenced by the effect that one’s experiences have had on their subconscious. My works, however, refect a consciously confessional practice, very much based on my lived experience.

Sometimes I think that the process of collecting found could result from the chance encounters of those objects, but the fact that I have chosen to pick up one found object as opposed to another consistantly brings the realm of chance back into the realm of choice. It is an oscilliating dichotomy, even though I feel so in control just like in life, as in the art practice, chance will also play a role in whatever we seek to accomplish,

A wise use of found object plays a crucial role in

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Miki Aurora

there will always be a factor of universal chaos at play. Over these years your works have been exhibited in many occasions and you have also recently curated C+nverg=nc- in Vancouver: one of the hallmarks of your works is the capability to establish direct relation with the audience, deleting any conventional barrier between the idea you explore and who receipt and cosequently elaborate them. So before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

C+nverg=nc- was curated with my partner Raghunath Khe, in conjunction our wedding. I think it did definitely tap into that immersive space, that, as you mentioned, transcends the conventional barriers between the work and the viewer, particularly with this project is a perfect example of that. For instance, a performance piece included at C+nverg=nc-, featuring local artists Ciara and Zox Svetorovich, centered around the relationship between the technological / industrial and mammalian aspects of the human experience, and possesed a great deal of physical tension—almost violent. So it was interesting to see the way the guests some of the guests reacted to it in the middle of the cocktail reception. We also included the work of Genevieve Belleveau, an ascetic performance artist from LA, whose piece titled Intimate Ikebana involved these one on one rituals during which she presented guests with a sacred mushroom tea, which had been christened with the petals of my actual bouquet. So during the curatorial process it was of course important for me to consider the way these works would interact with the people and environment, and I personally feel that it is something that is integral part of the art making process. The perception of the work is an inextricable part of the work itself, and whether that perception involves an open reception of the piece or a more obvuscated understanding-neither is more valid—either way it needs to be taken into account.

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Dystopia Dreaming I, video still (model: Lindsay Starbird)

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

Thank you! I am most excited about my upcoming curatorial project, Dystopia Dreaming, which will be a multidisciplinary experience

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happening on Dec 5 at Red Gate Arts Society in Vancouver. I will be exhibiting interactive work, in particular I’m excited about a happening-style performance ritual I have designed which will center on a collective catharsis from the internalized misogyny that is currently plaguing contemporary

ART Habens

society. There are a limited number of places available to attend the ritual, so any one who is in Vancouver that would like reserve a place in the happening can do so by contacting dystopiadreaming@gmail.com. Thank you so much for the stimulating conversation.

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Pepijn Simon Simon There is ultimately a combination between realism and abstraction that is needed to portray an emotion. We are all programmed to see faces and to recognize emotion in them. Pepijn Simon pushes the boundaries of this challenge. A friend in art school noticed a face in a painting and this inspired the work. He had what Simon describes as “a certain look in his eyes.” He says, “I didn’t pay much attention to it. Years later, I painted this series of portraits, and I finally understand that look.” It is clear that these are human figures, but everybody is going to see the characters differently. Simon paints without the use of any brushes. In fact, he is using old twisted credit cards. He begins with a black painted canvas and paints while it’s still wet. He applies the white paint without any sketching or use of photographs. “I try to catch the person who reveals himself in the paint at that moment. This goes very fast. Shortly afterwards, I decide, while the paint is still wet, if it can stay or not. If not, then I start the process again... Pepijn Simon Special Issue

Saint Jerome Writing 2015 (remastered)

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

Pepjin Simon 's work challenges the viewers' perceptual process urging us to unveil an unexpectedly wide variety of association between the realm of reality and the sphere of abstraction. In his recent series that we'll be discussing in the following pages, he "catch the moments", accomplishing the difficult task of going beyond the elusive dichotomy between representation and our limbic, perceptual parameters, revealing unexpected points of convergence between Tradition and Abstraction and creating a compelling aesthetics. One of the most convincing aspect of Simon'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 Pepijn and a welcome to ART Habens: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having studied photography at the Amsterdam Fotoacademie, you studied at the Academie st Joost, Breda: how have these different experiences influenced the way you relate yourself to art making and to aesthetics? In particular, what has lead you to realize that Painting was the most powerful language that would have allowed you to express yourself?

Pepijn Simon Pepijn Simon, born 1967 in the Netherlands. Was five years old when his teacher had his class listen to music while painting, and he distinctly remembers thinking it was the most important lesson of his life. The rest of school, he says, wasn’t as inspiring. Naturally, he pursued art, and most recently, paint has served as his weapon of choice. Simon grew up in the Netherlands without a father, and with a mother who was somewhat aloof. He turned to art in order to foster his own safe haven. At a young age, he got the hell out of Dodge to pursue photography and attend Fotoacademie Amsterdam. Soon, however, photography started to feel limiting, so he began to paint.

Hello, and thank you for your interest in my artwork Through my various experiences with photography I ran into its limitations. You are almost always dependent on existing objects and people. Or worse, a computer and Photoshop. Paint gives the opportunity to create something truly itself and offers endless possibilities to find the right expression. Photography remains somewhere still a form of copy.

Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and

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Pepijn Simon

set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

The black and white paintings, i paint them without the use of any brushes. In fact, i use old twisted credit cards.I begin with a black painted canvas and paint while it’s still wet. I apply the white paint without any sketching or use of photographs, trying to catch the person who reveals himself in the paint at that moment. This goes very fast. Shortly afterwards, i decide, while the paint is still wet, if it can stay or not. If not, then i start the process again. The other paintings are very traditional in structure and setup. They start with an underpainting and then will be built up in several layers. These paintings start, in contrast to the black and white paintings, always with an idea. We would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Saint Jerome Writing and Study after Velåzquez, Francis Bacon & Sergej Eisenstein. Pope Innocent X that a couple of extremely stimulating works that our readers have started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. While you walk us around the genesis of these piece I would like to recommend to visit http://www.saatchiart.com/pepijnsimon in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. What was your initial inspiration for these interesting pieces?

My first inspiration was the fact that a large part of figurative contemporary art still relies on the old masters. I wanted to give it a try to turn it around and did a research on the choices that the old masters made in their time. How would these paintings be as they were manufactured in this time? What is the influence of the present on these paintings? And why are we not updating the old masters to our time. The recurrent reference to an emotional but at the same time universal imagery dued to

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Het Joodse Bruidje 2015 (remastered)

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Pepijn Simon

The Anatomy Lesson of the painting

the fruitful juxtaposition between the reference to elements from history of Art and a unique, personal approach, as in the

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interesting The Anatomy Lesson of the painting seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the

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ART Habens

The Anatomy Lesson of the painting, detail

viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, I daresay that the semantic juxtaposition between sign and matter that marks out your art, allows you to go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, as in the interesting Inextricable, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

notice in the hand with the primary colours of Piet Mondriaan.This painting is titled The Anatomy Lesson of the Painting and is meant this way. The painting asks the viewer to continue. The stanley knife attached to the painting, invites us to continue with the lesson, but confonteerd the spectator with his thoughts about this. Contrast is thus created between a contemporary way and the traditional way.

Yes, i do recognize contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness. I refer to historic gaze from the reality en added contemporary elements to it. it also refers to the time in between as you can

Your work appeals to us for the way you structure figurative painting and an abstract gaze on reality into a multilayered but as the same time coherent unity, in such a compelling way. We would consider your

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Pepijn Simon

The Anatomy Lesson of the painting, detail

paintings as visual biographies in which your investigate about the ambiguous relation with Perception and Experience: in particular, in The Anatomy Lesson of the

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painting, you seem to challenge the nature of our perceptual processes, giving to the abstract process of art making a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral

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

In case of the black and white pictures, it is a need to eliminate subjective experiences. They are the result of a totall surrender of the individual to the creative process. The other paintings just ask for a personal experience, a sense of historical perspective and a deeper understanding of human emotions. Also, it is necessary to control the correct technique and apply it when needed. All this put together into a cohesive unity is an important part of my creative process As most of the pieces from your portraits, as The doctor, The psychiatrist and The patient are open to various interpretations, that communicate a process of deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage. These works are always pervaded with a subtle but ubiquitous narrative that seem to show the empathy you have established with your subjects, the deeper understanding of how that person thinks and feels: I can even see their will, and that's incredibly beautiful. Your approach seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to focus on this form of expression?

I haven't much decided. These works are often based on a mere coincidence. It is the paint that generates the expression, deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage. I am the creator and spectator at that moment and have to accept that and letting the paint do its work. Al what I need to do is to create the right conditions to come to this work. The only decision I make is afterwards. Or the artwork may exist or not. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, some of your pieces, and we think especially to Barflies, seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell through your portraits... this quality marks

nature of the emotions you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process...

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Pepijn Simon

The doctor

The patient

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

As you have remarked once, you apply the white paint on the wet canvas without any sketching or use of photographs: the experimental nature of your practice is as important as its implementation and the technique you use to materialize your ideas create unpredictable effects: how important is the role of chance in your process?

No i did not try to achieve a faithful visual translation of my feelings. The role of memory in my process is not obliterate. In fact, she is often distracting. To reach new works one would have to be free of any limiting thoughts and remembrances whatsoever.

The role of chance in the process is very important. To express real emotion, you have to leave the ratio itself.

This is in my opinion why a lot of children are great artists. They are somehow blanco, and are often very well able to express emotion in their drawings and paintings. To achieve that, requires a lot of an artist

Predictable effects are very disturbing in the process of creating these paintings. Once predictable effects are used it has an immediate effect on an expression, however minimal.

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The psychiatrist


Barflies


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Pepijn Simon

Last visit grandpa

So I try as much as possible to omit any distracting elements in these paintings, such as color, though that of course is an excellent medium to bring express emotion, but during

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the creation of these paintings very disturbing. Your works could be also considered an challenging interrogation of traditional

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The conversation

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?

They are meant to be considered to be a

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Pepijn Simon

challenging interrogation of traditional portraits and contemporary ways of portraits. The question is what is needed for a good portrait, realism, emotion, symbolism, or the extracted version of all. It is remarkable that one sees in photography in a way that hyperrealism is flattened by using pictorialism. Over the past summer you are sharing your paintings for the first time: so before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a couple question about the nature of the relation with your audience. Your approach is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers: do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context? An in particular, how would you define your relation with the viewer?

I would define my relation with the viewer as "open" I am only the creator of the artwork.Once the work is finished, and left the studio and is published, it will lead its own life. I am basically a spectator of what happens next. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Pepijn. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Thank you, it was my pleasure. My future plans are to create some very large black and white pieces and move on with the investigations into the relationships between the old masters and the current painting of our time. I will also continue to search for the boundaries between abstraction and realism in figurative painting with the black and white paintings. And everything that the paint will lead me ...

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The spectators

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Dominic Negus Not content to pursue one direction of investigation, I cross pollinate between different subjects & themes using paint, print, photography, sculpture & video.

Dominic Negus

Deca Torres

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

Dominic Negus works in a variety of disciplines, ranging from from Painting and Sculpture to Video and Photography: his manifold artistic production accomplishes the difficult task of an unveiling a variety of ubiquitous still elusive connections between personal perceptual processes and collective imagery, to explore the themes of death and human fragility. In the video My Son & Death that we'll be discussing in the following pages he urges the viewers to rethink abut the ephemeral nature of human experience, Negus creates a compelling narrative that wisely mixes symbolic elements and autonomous aesthetics. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to his multifaceted artistic production. Hello Dominic and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, we would like to pose you a question about your background. You have a solid formal training and you have studied at the London College of Printing: how does this experience impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works? We know you lived in London but you moved down to Brighton some years ago, do you miss the€vivacious and multicultural nature of London and it's artistic influences?

Dominic Negus

During my 4 years studying graphic design at The London College of Printing I would find any opportunity to sneak off to the 3D workshops. Seduced by all the different materials and processes I produced a number of pieces that didn't have a brief set by the tutors. One project was a double sided clear perspex maze that contained mercury.

essential to the initial idea/concept. I'm against just applying a current style or following a fad, it has to fit seamlessly, I want the viewer to think this is the only way it could be. The disciplines learnt during this period has contributed to a working method that I find invaluable for my art practice.

Graphics has taught me to come up with a number of different ideas and approaches to every problem along with a particular visual aesthetic, simplicity is key in any of my works. I remove any elements that are not

I have been very fortunate to have lived in London and now Brighton, both cities have thriving artistic communities. However, I do miss London's galleries and I go up at least

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once a month for a fix. Three mesmerising works, Pierre Huyghe’s The Human Mask, Bruce Conner’s Crossroads and Ryoji Ikeda's supersymmetry, would ever have come to Brighton.

ART Habens

To me artistic fields don't have any boundaries, my only concern is that I use the most appropriate medium or technique for that particular idea or view point I want to convey. I have a capricious mind and I get bored easily, so working across different artistic fields keeps the challenges fresh and interesting for me.

London has a wonderful energy and a frenetic pace that is intoxicating and addictive but it can wear you down and after a time I pined the more natural setting that the sea offers.

We would like to focus on your artistic production beginning from My Son & Death: an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and we would suggest to visit https://vimeo.com/115795710 in order to get a wider idea of it. We have found really stimulating how you invite the viewers to the inevitability of death, in such compelling and unconventional way. For this work you have asked your young son to express his own ideas about death and this takes to an intimate level of significance your exploration of the notion of ephemerality: how did you developed the initial idea of My Son & Death? What was your initial inspiration?

I see both London and Brighton as my homes, but I cherish Brighton for the mediative pace and the lovely blank seascape horizons. Simply, London is where I go to get inspired and Brighton is where I work and chill out. You are a versatile artist and we have particularly appreciated the interdisciplinary feature that marks out your multifaceted production, that ranges from Painting and Sculpture to Video and Photography: we would suggest our readers to visit http://dominicnegus.com in order to get a synoptic view of the variety of your projects. While superimposing techniques and concepts from different spheres and consequently crossing the borders of different artistic fields, have you ever happened to realise that a symbiosis between different viewpoints is the only way to convey the ideas you explore and to express specific concepts?

I had been working on a couple of video confessional pieces, shortly after a work that dealt directly with death (Dying to Live https://vimeo.com/44717369). Running along side these works was a time lapse video of a dying lily, (making it die and bloom at the same time). The lily imagery was powerful but lacked a strong audio track to compliment it. For all my video projects I like to work on audio that is integral to the work.

My early education was a progressive boarding school, it only had academic work in the mornings, the afternoons were left for other activities. A small school of 60 pupils, we were encouraged to take responsibility for and to enjoy all learning. From the age of 10 I was doing metal work, forging, wood and stone carving and pottery along with painting and drawing. By 14 I had been given the keys to the pottery room so I could go in and work whenever I wanted to. All this encouraged me to see at an early age that these activities are one. The joy of making things.

I swim daily for around 20 minutes, underwater with darkened googles and ear plugs, this produces a mediative state which helps thoughts and ideas to surface. There are similarities to this and a floatation tank but I think the physical action of swimming enables another part of mind to work, a connection to the unconscious. It was on one of these swims that the two ideas came together as one in act of synchronicity.

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I didn't coach my son in anyway, his brief was just to talk about death and I used the 1st audio take and didn't edit it but looped the video to fit it.

Research has shown that if you walk and try and count down numbers you are considerably slower than if you are stationary, the brain has a problem doing both. I believe something like this happens with swimming and somehow the unconscious is accessed more easily, a free association of sorts.

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By definition video is rhythm and movement, gesture and continuity. In your videos you create time-based works that induce the viewers to abandon themselves to free associations, looking at time in

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timings, lighting and using stills to make sequences. It was exciting to be using time when all my graphic work was static. It quickly became apparent you had to get the 'flow' just right for it to work, every piece has its own correct rhythm, you just need to find it. At the time I didn't see this as anything more than just playing around with a new process. Years of experimentation provided me with an intuitive approach to rhythm which is now instinctive and I have come to trust implicitly. When we first happened to get to know Dying to Breathe https://vimeo.com/56553847, an interesting video that accomplishes an insightful exploration of the notions of self destruction and self preservation, we tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. But we soon realised that we had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting our needs for univocal understandings of its content: in your videos, rather that a conceptual interiority, we can recognise the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process? In particular, how did you develop your visual imagery?

As I just mentioned it is intuitive, you know when it's not working, equally you know when it is right. If I could find a system or structure that worked each time I'm sure I would dump it as anything formulaic and repetitive bores me. spatial terms and we daresay, rethinking the concept of time in such a static way: this seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?

I have been influenced by early Bill Viola work notable Nantes Triptych 1992, Another influence was Chris Cunningham's Flex 2000. These works along with many of Francis Bacon's paintings have a visceral imagery that has continued to resonate with me.

I have been playing with video for over 15 years, experimenting with changing frame

Your captivating investigation about the ubiquitous but still elusive concepts of

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Dominic Negus

death, unveils the connection between conscious and subconscious level. While addressing the viewers to relate themselves with your work in personal way, your work shows an effective combination between experience and imagination. Thomas Demand once stated that: "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about this? And in particular, I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Yes. One of my favourite works I have produced is Innocence, a silkscreen print that uses only a very light pink ink, the image is of a child that disappears (like innocence does) when you tilt your head, this is due to the hue used. This work is not derived from any personal experience but a desire to find ways of producing silk screen prints that could not have been produced by any other method or process e.g. photography. Wire birds printed in metallic inks are part of this series. However, three of the most exhibited works are all directly from personal experience. So perhaps the answer should be yes and no. Your works are marked out with a performative feature: the surface of the screen become a concrete, almost physical boundary for you: in every moment the viewers can feel the presence of the performer's body. How did you develop this unique performative approach to video?

seven takes to get a seamless shoot. The viewer had to think it was real, not just a performance, so I kept on filming until I nearly passed out (the bag was taped tight around my neck). I knew the lighting would be as important as the action, by lighting only part of my face and keeping everything

For Dying to Breathe, once the idea and sequence was locked down I worked on the performance. I choreograph the piece very precisely knowing it it needed to be in one take and could not be edited or it would loose that 'live' feel that is so important in engaging the audience. In the end it took

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else black it would help draw the viewer to

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reconcile my wife or son coming back to find me on the floor suffocated.

the action.

Your work also faces the sociopolitical aspect of the fragility of human condition: in particular, Strange Fruit https://vimeo.com/72882972 has the same title of the well known Abel Meeropol's

My wife keep an eye on me during the shoot incase I passed out. Next day I wanted to do another take but she wasn't there, I thought I could manage it on my own but couldn't

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song. Many artists from the contemporary scene, ranging from Michael Light and Ai Weiwei to more recently more recently Jennifer Linton and David ÄŒrnĂ˝, 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? And in particular, what could be in your opinion the role that an artist could play in the contemporary society?

ART Habens

excite me first and foremost. Before I can start a piece I have to answer a number of questions, is it a good idea? Is it the best it could be? Does it interest me? Have I deleted everything that is ephemeral? Is the process overshadowing the idea? It might be that the idea/concept is more interesting using video, silkscreen print or sculpture. When I'm certain I have distilled the idea to it's essence, the end result usually has appeal because it has a simplicity that is, hopefully universally attractive. I'm usually so wrapped up in the process of making it perfect I don't want to think of anything else, especially an audience's reaction.

"Society is the Artist's enemy" Is a wonderful quote and politics is obviously part of that battle. But I don't want to tell anyone what to think about anything, so in this instance neutral is fine for me. I do however, want people to engage with my pieces even if it is as simple as "I hate it". Politics is too restricting for me as I flit from one idea to another with no particular agenda. Dipping into politics for this piece was rewarding, however, I don't have the stamina to do battle with politics as the main agenda of my practice.

We saw that you have collaborated with your daughter Laura on a project called, Negus & Negus https://vimeo.com/99452338, can you outline how the the project came about and what you both did for it. We are curious to know how you found the experience of working with a family member and if there were any conflicts.

Laura belongs to a collective called the Makers Dozen who are formed from graduates of her year at Manchester Metropolitan University. The Dozen were approached by the Manchester Craft and Design Centre to host a 3 month exhibition, their brief was to find another dozen artists to collaborate with under the title The

Over these three years you have exhibited your works both on the London scene and abroad: one of the hallmarks of your approach is the capability to establish direct relation with the audience, deleting any conventional barrier between the ideas you communicate and who receipt and consequently elaborate them. So before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Makers Dozen Collaborate.

Laura and I started by posting items to each other that we had either found or made, then developed them and sent them back to each other for more refinement. When we were finally given the dimensions of the exhibiting space we were disappointed to see that each of the Dozen and their collaborators would only be provided a shelf and perhaps a plinth or small part of wall. Disillusioned we began thinking of ways to overcome this, one simple solution was to

The audience reaction is important but never a starting point. It must engage and

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Dominic Negus

just have a set of headphones and provide an audio work, fun for us but a tad boring for visitors. We then came up with making a 3D model of the entire exhibition space which we could put all our work in (in some cases miniaturising much larger works), this had in part, its roots in Marcel Duchamp's The Box in a Valise 2046, his miniaturised traveling exhibition.

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collaborators. The whole exhibition would be Negus & Negus! We agreed on a title which appeared in the exact place where our existing one was in the space, it said There is nothing in the pieces really. This is in direct response to what we both think is the over elaborate blurb many of us artists now use to describe our work and practice. We recorded a conversation we had over the phone talking through this idea and used the first take, unedited for an audio piece.

This was our way of taking over the whole exhibition space with out any of the The Makers Dozen Collaborate and their

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Dominic Negus

The collaboration was exasperating, confrontational and extremely funny as you can hear from the Negus & Negus video. It was a special and proud moment in my life, as an artist, a collaborator but especially as a father. We also had a very touching review from the Manchester and Liverpool's cultural magazine. "Another highlight, aside from the Dozen, is that of Negus & Negus, a father & daughter experiment that has proved challenging in its triumph. Their powerful constructions show the strength of family bonds". Jessica Campbell - The Skinny The artist family connection isn't just confined to my daughter, my son Jem was the youngest artist (aged 10 at the time, he's now 13) to be shown at The National Open. My wife has exhibited twice at The RA Summer Show and this year all four of us exhibited at a Hoxton gallery in London and my son being asked back for another show in 2016. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Dominic. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I will still be looking for new challenges in processes, materials and subject matter to keep my work moving forward and me interested. Following on from my investigations into death and self preservation I have started to explore fear and in particular nightmares.

Nightmares, dreams and fears, like death and self preservation, are universal. Fear of being chased, suddenly being in the middle of the high street in the nude, trapped in a very small space driving out of control in a car and even being killed.

Over 20 years ago I was in therapy for 3 years, the Jungian psychiatrist I saw used hypnosis for 20 minutes of each session. Every visit I would be asked if I had had any dreams since our last time together. When I was hypnotised he took symbols and themes from the dreams to talk through with me. On awaking we would discuss symbolism and their context with my past and present.

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I am working on a series of paintings and have just finished "GET OUT" which is the first painting in the series. I can see how I can link these themes to video pieces and paintings or maybe a screen print...

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Deca Torres

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Deca Torres Deca Torres

ART Habens

Influenced primarily by The taste of Surrealism, Deca Torres researched and studied various Techniques and Experiments by using different production processes. He attended School of Arts , Media and Design (EAMD) and The Washington Animation. Today has its work in several Countries , BRAZIL , EUROPE and USA

video, 2013

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Deca Torres

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

Deca Torres' art highlights a variety of subtle relationships between a rigorous geometry and a freedom of associations that walks the viewers into an insightful process of abstraction. His stimualting approach conveys both surrealistic and symbolic surrealist 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 Torres' 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 Deca and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview would you like to tell our readers something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you attended both the School of Arts, Media and Design (EAMD) and The Washington Animation: how do these experiences influence the way you relate yourself to art making?

Deca Torres facebook contact Deca Torres City Belo Horizonte-MG / Brazil decatorres7art@gmail.com

Hello all well. Since child interested me the Arts, Drawing and Painting. And sometimes carved as well. I liked to read and see about the artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dali, Mir贸, Ren茅 Magritte and others. Over the time I was improving myself and starting to sell some work. As I had the opportunity to attend the Arts(EAMD) and Animation Schools (Washington Animation). Where I learned various techniques and perfected my work. Adapting various forms, which are present in my works.

readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, as you have remarked once, you have been influenced primarily by The taste of Surrealism: how does it inform the way you conceive your works?

My works are performed in quiet and alone environment. Where can I speak freely. All my works are performed without prior appointment and the result flows naturally. This is the point that I most identify with

Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our

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Deca Torres

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Deca Torres

ART Habens

Surrealism. The vibrancy of colors and harmony, freedom of mixtures, techniques and colors. We would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from #1 and #2: that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, these 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 painting... this quality marks out a relevant 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 these stimulating pieces? And in particular, did you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

My inspiration is always a color vibration and stimulate always, any viewer from the leading expert on Arts to the unknown and started Admire the Arts, it is engaging. Yes I end up having to Art work my best feelings. Many positive and stimulating vibrations. Timeless moments of creation and satisfaction. 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 makeup 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?

When I start a work, I never know what the outcome will be. I have no outline and no appointment. The execution times I have an idea in mind, but during the process, I need

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Deca Torres

to add new elements and textures. The same goes for the colors I will use as the vibration of the moment and the result is always spontaneous. I always liked to experiment in this way changes happen naturally with the evolution of the works. Another interesting couple of works from your artistic production that have particularly impressed us are #4 and #5: your approach is creates an insightful convergence between abstract and descriptive and accomplishes the difficult task of establishing a consistent unity between imagination a rational gaze on reality: 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?

Yes my personal experiences, situations who live, society, nature all around, is part of the creative process. I caught it, and then try to filter to inspire me to carry out the works. --- I do not think direct experience for me is directly linked to my creative process. All I observe and live or related me, the world. It's all part of creation and therefore is in my direct experience. What particularly appeals to us of your paintings is the way you explore the aesthetic problem in such compelling way. We would go as far as to state that your pieces provide the viewers of the capability of unveiling ambiguous aspects of the relation between Perception and Experience. A recurrent feature of your approach that urges us to question the

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common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

I also think . Our people inside as Artist, eventually influenced my works. You transport for the art inside that moment, and that sometimes is there waiting to come out in the form of running your art. The dynamism that pervades your pieces stimulates the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. Do you conceive such composition on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

One is connected to the other, the conscious and the subconscious. So let flow. Sometimes beginning with an awareness of what I do in the painting, and then come some naturally influences the subconscious. Smaved some time inside the subconscious. Experiences, moments, souvenirs and everything. Over your career you have researched and studied various techniques and experiments by using different production processes: while exploring diverse artistic fields, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints ad disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

I think the technical help more and different experiences with the artist is attached to each specific. Suddenly I use some

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Deca Torres

techniques and mixing with other'll even find a single moment. So I finish that work. A recurrent feature of your pieces is the way you juxtapose a rigorous sense of geometry with a sense of freedom suggested by the abstract background, that urges the viewers to elaborate personal associations: at the same time, you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively combination between conceptualism and beauty. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

I look for an aesthetic in the work when I'm working. I try to move on to the viewer a dynamic, stimulating and engaging painting. Something that makes reflect, seek new paths and admire, be enchanted. Over these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions and one of the marks of your painting is the successful attempt to create 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?

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

Well my future projects, I have some exhibitions scheduled for Brazil, USA and other trading to Europe. The evolution of my work is also part of my future projects. Always try new experiences, new learning, and other artists information. The interpersonal relationships also inspire me. I am in learning ever and it's great brings me challenges and inspirations. I take the most of everything ever. Many thanks to ART habens and all the readers and viewers. I leave all my sentence: "TRAITS AND LINES, VARIOUS WAYS."

Yes the public is our reflection work. I always want the public to be satisfied stimulated, fascinated and involved with art. I use various languages ​forever. Because for me it is a pursuit of attraction to work, a satisfaction. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Deca. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about

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

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Irina Corduban Corduban I start to paint my chickadees series as a decision of founding myself, a moment of looking for me and find some answers. This way I choose to subject birds and women. Bird as chickadees because chica in the translation is mean girl and women because I always have been fascinated by the women eyes and body shapes. Starting my artwork immediately my chickadees have become part of this celebration of every single subject and the whole process has been systematic by repeating the chickadees in every single image, just changing the background images. For this reason very soon the painting become more intuitive, a day by day satisfaction of embellishing of a canvas, a selfish satisfaction of certain sets of rules. After months of work and starting to research for the feed back on my artwork it make me to break the rules by making the chickadees to transform into travellers and also to make me realise that I am trapped into a physical maze, with out no way out. To reconstruct the rhythm of my work it always has been a happy moment or a tragic one. The more I had been trying to catch it, the more it eludes and it becomes a process, a continuous actions.The chickadees give a sense and a motivation, provide an identity and demonstrate that we always have a choice in the arena of artwork, where there are no rules, no politics or distractions. I am offering to the viewers an enormous chance of experiences, to reconstruct and report their self into relation to the images. Paintings come before exhibitions; there is my day by day show, my time and principle into a piece of canvas and not last there is my way to freedom. This freedom space, my canvas it is and it always will be a timebased, a moment caught, and a beautiful stillness of eternal ideas. The art work is a critical framework that can make me a failing miserable outside to my own world. My palette, changes and always could change, according with my general feeling of life and what could happen day by day.My technique could be influenced by the subject, mood and colours. In my paintings I used different techniques as: stumbling, dry brush, stippling, knife painting, optical blending, wet in wet , so many way to approach for my chickadees series .The colour are created on the day I am working and I am instinctively matching the colours. My chickadees series offer an experience of space and time and they are related to the day’s aspects. Now days are true that the paintings are symbolic feature but my paintings are as a story teller, offering an experience of space and time that is related to the each individual image. I represent and illustrate my analysis forms using my chickadees as a tool. This way I can report myself in relation to daily life images and I consider working in particular with certain materials and various implications of all this including mood, individual experience, memories, beliefs and affinities. My paintings have inner meanings which the viewer needs to study and find out the hidden concept in them. The chickadees become a screen, a repetitive element in every different piece of artwork, so far over 60 paintings, which encourage the viewer to complete the imagination of memories and visual pleasure. The audience is not my concern; I pay close attention to the movements, space and daily practice. My big concern is to don’t leave the canvas empty, to complete my objective and keep my battery charged to the level of emotions and freedom. I paint what I feel and I don’t get inspired by a particular famous artist for a subject or style. I get motivated by the techniques and images around me. My ordinary and day by day objectives are the inner and outer life of the person not because they are inherited formal aspects but because they are human in forms of different expression.

Brown World, 2015 Acrylic and oil, 16x 16 inch

Irina Corduban

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Droplets 2015 acrylic painting Special chickadees, Issue

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Irina Corduban

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

Using 15th Century, wet in wet technique, London based artist Irina Corduban's work explores the notion of freedom and challenges 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 Chickadees series that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she investigates about the elusive dichotomies between staticity and dinamism, geometry and freedom of shapes, revealing unexpected points of convergence between Tradition and Abstraction, that create a compelling aesthetics. One of the most convincing aspect of Corduban'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 Irina and a warm welcome to ART Habens: I would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned a BA of Fine Art from the "George Enescu" Academy of Fine Arts you nurhtured your education with a MA of Art and Media Practice, that you received from the prestigious University of Westminster London: how have these experiences influenced the way you relate yourself to art making and to aesthetics? In particular, how does the relationship between your Romanian roots and living in a multicultural city as London inform the way you relate yourself with art making?

Irina Corduban

If I will talk about my study I believe somehow the BA of Fine in Romanian university, then my apprenticeship for 5 years studying traditional fresco, in orthodox churches and MA at Westminster London, definitely all 3 together had connections in order to get on with my developing artwork. My traditional training in Romanian schools has been created dramatic roots into techniques and traditions, but London University make me understand my past as a world can never be

Personally I have always thought that I am a part of the reflection into my artwork, with my disappointments, experiences, colours and different ideas than everyone else.

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Irina Corduban

Yellow World, 2015 Acrylic and oil, 16x 16 inch

seen objectively and help me to make the difference between the social, cultural, linguistic and historical and to interpret my past artwork by allowing myself a free rein developing into the chickadees series, of

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scary, frustrating and uncertainty of this life in cultural city as London. We have found particularly stimulating your investigation about the notion of the

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Irina Corduban

ART Habens

Brown World, 2015 Acrylic and oil, 16x 16 inch

human body as static structure, that you have accomplished in Chickadees series, that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. While questioning about the

disconnect 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.

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Irina Corduban

Different worlds, 2015 Acrylic and oil, canvas, 76x 76cm

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 and the way they

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are animated: what importance has for you the aesthetic problem?

Chickadees series developed into a critical framework by getting different forms and

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Irina Corduban

points and also are part of my working process. My chickadees are a period of open research, with no defined outcome.

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free element, an installation, an informal space, where everything is getting uncertainty and insecure. The peoples around me don’t have faces and identity there are chickadees, the small shapes of birds, with no details, there are almost the same as flow around my context. The severe geometry is my memories, my beliefs, my reasons, my specific spaces related to my personal life.

The realization had started by sketching different movement of the chickadees on water colour paper with black felt tip and then using Photoshop to reorganized, connected and turn my drawings into a potential subject, a precious part of my life, as freedom, movement and identify practice.

Land and droplets chickadees They are two different types of artwork in one way but very connected by the passenger’s chickadees as performers into the water. The chickadees look like dancers under the water by trying to create an interpretation of perspective and gravity. The Droplets Chickadees the human nature transform into drops of pleasure, creativity and concepts. In Land the relation between chickadees and wave are merged by the white extreme empty aspects of the canvas.

First series (1-7) of the Velvet Chickadees explore elegance and the anatomy of the female body as a static shape. The art works are connected by the same flock of birds but there are varying degrees of disintegration, visible as overlapping images. From series 8 the chickadees didn’t follow the same rules, they become, free, they are not in the same place and sometimes they are just trying to keep hidden from the view. Series 13- went back to draw by linking the drawings with chickadees Series 14-15 everything becomes a mess and damaged Series 16 try to go back to my previous sources but I didn’t survive Series 17 been inspired by the war and children in war, my chickadees become my thoughts Series 18 using the targets, my chickadees are an appropriate context and are part of behind the targets Series 20-21 the whole concept change, been influence the Japanese culture and wave.

When we first happened to admire your Chickadees series we tried to relate all the visual information and its geometrical symbolism to a single meaning, filling the gaps and searching for an Ariadne's thread 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 rhythm, 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?

From series 18, I have been started to combine acrylic painting and oil painting. The oil has been used to create the movement of the wave, as heavy impasto texture. The waves are my thought, my intentions, my unbreakable interest and approach to the subject and the chickadees are the peoples, this world around me. This world become a

I start to paint my chickadees series as a decision of founding myself, a moment of looking for me and find some answers. This way I choose to subject birds and women. Bird as chickadees because chicka in the translation is mean girl and women because

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ART Habens

Irina Corduban

I always have been fascinated by the women eyes and body shapes. Starting my artwork immediately my chickadees have become part of this celebration of every single subject and the whole process has been systematic by repeating the chickadees in every single image, just changing the background images. For this reason very soon the painting become more intuitive, a day by day satisfaction of embellishing of a canvas, a selfish satisfaction of certain sets of rules. After months of work and starting to research for the feed back on my artwork it make me to break the rules by making the chickadees to transform into travellers and also to make me realise that I am trapped into a physical maze, with out no way out. As you have remarked once, the Chickadees have no rules, no politics, no tension or distraction: in this sense, you work induces the viewers to abandon themselves to personal associations, looking at time in spatial terms and I daresay, rethinking the concept of space 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?

Orange wold, 2015 Acrylic and oil painting, canvas, 63x93cm

To reconstruct the rhythm of my work it always has been a happy moment or a tragic one. The more I had been trying to catch it, the more it eludes and it becomes a process, a continuous actions. The chickadees give a sense and a motivation, provide an identity and demonstrate that we always have a choice in the arena of artwork, where there are no rules, no politics or distractions. I am offering to the viewers an enormous chance of experiences, to reconstruct and report their self into relation to the images.

imagination a rational gaze on the reality from which you draw from: 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 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?

Your representation of the freedom from the every day life achieves to create a consistent relationship between

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Paintings come before exhibitions; there is my day by day show, my time and principle

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Irina Corduban

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Irina Corduban

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into a piece of canvas and not last there is my way to freedom. This freedom space, my canvas it is and it always will be a time based, a moment caught, and a beautiful stillness of eternal ideas. The art work is a critical framework that can make me a failing miserable outside to my own world.

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traditional portraitureAs 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?

Your works are particularly colorful and the vibrancy of the tones you choose provides your works of dynamism, as in Target tryptic 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?

My chickadees series offer an experience of space and time and they are related to the day’s aspects. Now days are true that the paintings are symbolic feature but my paintings are as a story teller, offering an experience of space and time that is related to the each individual image. I represent and illustrate my analysis forms using my chickadees as a tool. This way I can report myself in relation to daily life images and I consider working in particular with certain materials and various implications of all this including mood, individual experience, memories, beliefs and affinities. My paintings have inner meanings which the viewer needs to study and find out the hidden concept in them.

My palette, changes and always could change, according with my general feeling of life and what could happen day by day. The chickadees series has started into blue tones and very fine glaze, inspired by the Van Eyes but on this stage has changed dramatically. I said dramatically because now I have been inspired by the Japanese art, Chrysanthemum and also by the waves. The Japanese art inspired me for the very bright colour, in connection of the symbol of longevity, dignity and nobility.

Another interesting piece of yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which we would like to spend some words is entitled Sad or happy While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, this piece 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

My technique could be influenced by the subject, mood and colours. In my paintings I used different techniques as: stumbling, dry brush, stippling, knife painting, optical blending, wet in wet, so many way to approach for my chickadees series .The colour are created on the day I am working and I am instinctively matching the colours. Your Chickadees series can be also considered an interrogation of

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Target 1, 2015 acrylic painting, canvas, 76x76 cm


ART Habens

Irina Corduban

Sunset, 2015 Acrylic and oil on canvs, 76x76 cm

in particular, did you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

the same period of the other artwork as, Land, Old Red, Different World and Sunset. All these paintings are related to my technique, acrylic background, with small chick-

Sad and Happy it is a recent art work, around mid October and it was created in

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Target 1, 2015 Acrylic painting, canvas, 76x76 cm

adees flying around, but been limited by the circles, triangle and heavy texture. The waves have been in oil painting, all in the same style.

Sad and happy painting has only 3 chickadees and lots of sad or happy faces into very limited spaces, almost symmetric spac-

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Irina Corduban

Target 3, 2015 acrylic painting, canvas, 76x76 cm

es. The faces this time are the transformation of the chickadees into a sad or happy person, this world, peoples around me. The peoples that always been smiling but never

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said what is right or wrong, the people that are connected to each other or been part to the same club, knowing and following the same routine.

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Target 1, 2015 acrylic painting, canvas, 76x76 cm

The wave symbolises myself in space and are displayed into 3 circles, past, present and future, but the most important become the small body of one single chickadee in-

side to the circle. If this single chickadee could be the same like other people maybe one day I could be the same like everyone else, but I am not, as I have been using the

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Irina Corduban

chickadees as representation of people. The two other chickadees approaching the circle are and will be the important presence of the viewer.

The public become part on my painting as a flock of chickadees moving around the unbreakable wave. Generally speaking, the same audience will appreciate the polished chickadees by the multi-coloured complicated pieces of puzzles unveiling by the history, art critics and publications.

Looking back to this work and to provide a clear statement of the aim of my practice I can relate this piece of work to the fresco artwork. The feather that has been placed over the head and eyes has the reference to the rules and elements of the cannon church paintings. The feathers are part of the chickadees, but this time very powerful birds that interfere into your space and personal life. The neckless are the memories that related to the images that give reasons for decisions that I have made or I will make. The construction of my piece has to do with memory and movement in my life.

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

In this time my plans are trapped into my series. On this stage my chickadees are starting to travel to different locations and subjects. I am going to paint every day possible and to describe the faces, places of those I meet, enjoy and describe into my chickadees way. My chickadees has give me the chance to break the wall and rules, which has been around me by practicing fresco into the church, too many rules, cannon, into colours, space, compositions and thinking. As an artist on this stage I desire to find a galley that will embrace my artwork and accept as being so original and not in fashion with the trend. I paint what I feel and I don’t get inspired by a particular famous artist for a subject or style. I get motivated by the techniques and images around me. My ordinary and day by day objectives are the inner and outer life of the person not because they are inherited formal aspects but because they are human in forms of different expression.

Over these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions, and you recently had a solo at the Harrow District Masonic Centre, Northwick Circle. 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?

The chickadees become a screen, a repetitive element in every different piece of artwork, so far over 60 paintings, which encourage the viewer to complete the imagination of memories and visual pleasure. The audience is not my concern; I pay close attention to the movements, space and daily practice. My big concern is to don’t leave the canvas empty, to complete my objective and keep my battery charged to the level of emotions and freedom.

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Astrid Bryder Bryder I try to create an interaction between my photographic work and the viewer. At the same time I want to challenge the figurative/documentary photography, through the incomprehension generated at an unrecognizable motive and thereby questioning how society perceive photography. I find the general understanding of photography as something realityrelated and recognizable, very interesting. Based on this, i try to balance a border of something real, becoming abstract and unreal. I create abstract compositions, with and without camera. The photographic process really captivates me. I'm trying to redefine photography by working from ‘level zero’. This encompasses excluding base elements such as the camera. The center of the works lies largely in the creation process and the chemical process during the genesis of the photo. I find the post-war abstract expressionists inspirational, especially in terms of their ways of working vigorous with the canvas. I’m interested in trying to transfer these different processes, into a photographic context. A transfer from media to media - combined with an examination of the comprehension of photography. Astrid Bryder

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Astrid Bryder

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

An unconventional symbiosis between Photography and Painting allows Astrid Bryder to conceive stimulating works in which she challenges the ideas behind figurative/documentary photography. Highlightling the role of memory in our perceptual process, the multilayered experience provided by her works urges the viewers to questions their standard perceptual parameters, walking them into an area of intellectual interplay between universal imagery and perception. One of the most convincing aspect of Bryder's work is the way she probes the expressive potential of the medium, to explorate the liminal area in which reality and imagination find an unexpected and consistentpoint of convergence. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Astrid and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, before beginning to elaborate about your artistic production I would like something about your background: in particular, how do your studies in Photography informs the way you relate yourself to art making and to aesthetics?

Astrid Bryder

I refer my works to the abstract expressionists by centering them around their methods and aesthetics. All the works I make basically comes from studying the technical origin of photography and using this knowledge to create a symbiosis with painting. €

Thank you very much, it is a pleasure!€ I have through photography found myself in an intersection between photography and painting. I have always been photographing but my main interest regarding The History of Art lies in the abstract expressionist, but when it comes to making art myself it’s photography that I can express myself through.€

Your approach is marked out with a stimulating and unconventional symbiosis painting to photography,

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whose methods that are combined to provide your works of dynamism and autonomous life. While superimposing concepts from opposite techniques from visual art have you ever happened to realize such synergy is the only way to express the ideas you explore?

I have lots of ideas and I work intuitive, but up to now this is they way I’ve come up with to realize them. The techniques develop natural through time by gaining knowledge of the medium and the process, which automatically pushes me to find new ways of working. It’s kind of a process built out of layers and often a new layer is added along with the development of the project. Looking from a general perspective - a combination of all these factors - I would say it somehow is the only way to express these particular concepts, at least for now. One of the hallmarks of your approach is an insightful investigation about the boundaries of the medium in photography that reveals an incessant search of an organic symbiosis between different viewpoints, in such a compelling way that challenges the usual idea behind figurative/documentary photography. Your works are open to various interpretations and often communicate a process of deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage. What is it specifically about working in the liminal area on which real and abstract converge into a coherent unity which fascinates you and make you want to center your artistic style around it?

is a difference between looking at a photograph, a painting or a sculpture. Subconsciously the brain and consciousness adjusts to the medium, so what happens when you recontextualize the visual parameters and thereby challenge the way of perceiving a certain medium? It creates an interaction requiring a different approach to the work and that’s what fascinates me. Just

I think an important factor regarding perception of a piece of art is which medium you’re looking at. I assume there

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Astrid Bryder

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level and what has at soon caught my eyes of the works that our readers can admire in these pages is the way you have highlighted the elusive but ubiquitous connection between perceptual process and objective reality, suggesting the idea that informations are hidden, or even "encrypted" as microscopic grains of sand in our environment, so we need to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Well, the things I photograph is rather common objects from the everyday life, so I will allow myself to say that they do show reality in an unexpected way. So, portraying reality this way leads to a differ from our natural view on reality. For me it’s important that the actual photographed object is kept subordinate, as my interest lies in perceiving a fusion of abstract reality. As you have remarked once, you start from "level zero": and such absolute starting point 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 develope 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?

like Ad Reinhardt did, I demand a different approach from the viewer, a more intensive investigation of the specific piece. An investigation that addresses to two aspects; the confusion associated with the medium - being somewhat indefinable, and the confusion generated by the unity of real and abstract, the knowledge that the motive is as much a documentation of reality as any other given photograph.

I agree very much with his words! Regarding my own work it interferes with different mediums, but it’s very important for me to maintain the basic technical principles of analogue

Your approach seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious

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While your style is centered on the equilibrium between real and unrea, you have undelined that you find the general understanding of photography as something reality-related and recognizable. German photographer and sculptor Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". While the conception of Art could be considered an abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a sense of permanence, going beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the

photography while exploring painting and relating these to each other. The starting point will always consist of the basics from photography - light hitting a surface and leaving a mark. It forces me to rethink painting into a photographic context and reverse, and by that create a delicate symbiosis between the two, without interfering with basic principles of photography. Blending the two mediums allows me to explore the process oriented boundaries of photography, but even more to examine reaction, reception and relation between unrelated things.

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Astrid Bryder

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

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talked about earlier they probably lies in my subconsciousness. When inducing the viewers to abandon theirselves to associations, rethinking the concept of space and time in such a static way you seem to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. How do you conceive the visual rhythm of your works?

I think everything we do is somehow related to experience, including the creative process. I don’t intentionally connect a specific experience to a specific piece and I’m not aware of which exact experiences links to my works in general. I know that I’ve had satisfying and inspirational experiences when walking into exhibitions that visually intrigues me and that these effects the way I work because the shaped my aesthetic style, but I can’t seem to connect my work directly with personal experiences, even though they probably are in some ways.

I’m not actually sure. I find it somehow hard to experience works that I make myself, because I’m aware of the reality behind the floating abstract surfaces, the whole process and the whole idea of what I want to achieve from the viewers experience. When I look at Mark Rothkos paintings i feel a kind of serenity. His ways of working with the layers and colors is just euphoric. So I hope that my works have just a little bit of this colorful rhythm that surrounds his beautiful works.

Experiences become a part of you and forms you into who you are. I think for my work, experience is something that lies in my subconsciousness and therefore it can’t really be disconnected from my creative process.

Most of the time, the hallmark of a good photographer is the capability to highlight or even to see there where ordinary people can't. Anyone looking at your works can recognize that you are an artist with lots of messages to share and that Art for you is a vehicle not only to express feelings and concepts, but to also dissect them, grapple with them, and integrate them. Now, I would like you to go beyond what you have highlighted in your statement: would you tell our readers more about what is on your mind and how you plan to continue using photography to share your messages?

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

I’m not sure I in particular identify my works with my own memories. Regarding remembrance I believe our way of perceiving in general is influenced by previous experiences and thereby connectable to memories, which in this context is what I find most interesting. It’s more an examination of other peoples reactions and what links them to the work. I will naturally have another relation to my works, I guess with a more conceptual and process oriented aspect, so they don’t directly link to my memories, but as I

I want to keep examine perception and relations, by using my knowledge from previous works as a base.

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Astrid Bryder

Relating space between two components intrigues me. Up to now this has been the space between the work and the viewer and two unrelated mediums (photography and painting) but I’m very occupied with bringing a third component into the context, to further develop a new space and relation. Your approach is strictly connected to the chance of creating an interaction between your photographic work and the viewers, who are called to evolve from a mere spectatorship to conscious participants on an intellectual level, so before taking leave from this interview 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 decisionmaking process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

In many ways I do. Of course it’s always nice to have a positive reaction to your work but other than that, one of my main focus points lies within audience reception, so during the process I reevaluate several times how the viewers are going to perceive the work.

photograph with the common denominator being similar execution and methods during the creation. I’m very enthralled by Bernard Aubertin and his fire paintings, so right now the tool I use to mark the surface of the sculpture and the photograph is fire.

The reception although is not the most crucial component, that is that I myself is satisfied with the totality of the work. Thanks a lot for this stimulating conversation, Astrid. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Bringing a third component into the work as I talked about earlier. As for now it involves three stages; sculpture, photograph and painting, so to summarize it’s a coalescence of these into one work.

I’ve started working on plaster sculptures whose purpose is to underpin the

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Bojana Knezevic Knezevic The ancient Greeks believed the lynx could see through mountains and American Indians tell many stories about the hypnotic eyes of the lynx with their captivating power of seduction.Leopards are featured throughout ancient myth stories, they multicolored hide and behaviors serving as the basis for allegorical tales. In art and legend, a beautiful and courageous woman is often symbolized by the black panther. “Cat Goddess”, Bastet, was one of the most popular Goddesses of ancient Egypt. She personified the playfulness, grace, affection, and cunning of a cat as well as the fierce power of a lioness. In Egyptian mythology Seshata, who invented writing, is shown clothed in leopard hide. The spots on the skin were thought to represent stars. The stars in the night sky symbolized eternity. In classical mythology, Dionysus, the God of wine, wears a leopard skin and is accompanied by leopards as he travels the earth, teaching the art of wine-making. In China there were five mythic cats. There Leopards hibernate and so their cyclical disappearance and reemergence was associated with the rhythms of nature. Also In China, a pretty but aggressive or dangerous lady is called a “brightly colored panther”. Native Americans regard the panther as the Protector of the universe. The Miwoks believed him to be the ideal hunter, while the Apaches and Hualapais thought her wailing was the omen of death. To the Tucano Indians of the Amazon, the roar of the jaguar was the roar of thunder. Thus the Black Panther was the God of darkness and could cause eclipses by swallowing the Sun. To The Arawak Indians, becoming the man-jaguar was the ultimate shapeshifting ritual. The Olmecs created monuments to the jaguar, and the Aztecs and Mayans spoke and taught about the power in becoming half-human and half-jaguar. The Indian shamans would perform rituals to borrow the power from the jaguar. One who can become a jaguar is shorn of all cultural restrictions. The alter ego is free of desires and fears. I started this “artistic ritual” of merging human with animal when I made the first shot of the man who is incredibly reminded me of the Jaguar. I've decided to do a series of close-up shots of the people who emulate wild cats .I was choosing models by my own instinct for identifying people with the totems of cats. Models are from Serbia and Brazil, where I lived while I was working on this project. Using the new technology, I've manipulated facial features and the photography transformation led me to mythical, surreal “CATPEOPLE” vision. Eyes, ears, and snouts of wild cats are integrated in the male and female human faces, creating oddly mixture of two beings, and even a classically harmonious portraits.

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video, 2013

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Sanakes in the moonlight, detail mixed media, 50 x 50cm

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Water world, Special Issuedrawing 40 x 30cm

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Bojana Knezevic

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

Serbian artist Bojana Knezevic's work is a successful attempt to capture the subtle but ubiquitous relationship between imagination and experience: highlighting elusive quality of our perceptual processes, the multifaceted nature of her approach rejects any conventional classification and goes beyond the usual dichotomy between representation and abstraction. In her Catpeople series that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she unveils the point of convergence between human nature and "animal" sphere, inviting us to materialize the permanent flow of unconscious associations that pervade our perceptual dimension: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating artistic production. Hello Bojana and a warm welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and in 2009 you graduated from the Belgrade University of Fine Arts: how has this experience influenced your evolution as an artist and how does it influence the way you currently conceive your works? By the way, how does the relationship between your Serbian roots and having lived in a multicultural place as Sao Paulo informed the way you relate youself to produce your recent works?

Bojana Knezevic

and I was waiting eagerly for the moment when I'll be part of that world. My first teachers were the old masters whom I have always admired immensely. Enrolling the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade, was my plan. Although it has been developed as a traditional fine arts academy, it's also open for research new artistic and theoretical practices. Five-year study had a practice of painting, sculpture and graphic art, the traditional drawing of human figure from observation of a live

Hello, thanks for the nice welcome. There is no way to describe that very raw intense love of painting, paint and brushes I had early in childhood, and I feel my artistic life was predestined. My parents were always very enabling and supportive of my love of art. As a kid I felt the magic in the galleries and museums,

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Lemurs, Oil on Canvas, 70 x 50cm


Bojana Knezevic

The World Under The World, drawing, 35 x 25cm

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Savannah, holds me!, Oil on canvas, 100 x 70cm

model in the form of nude, theoretical fields etc. and It certainly gave me a huge experience. On the other hand I get precious experience in collaboration with my colleagues, who are young, visionary people whose creative spirit impatiently wanted to spill ideas beyond the conventional academic frameworks. It does not mean anything, but I just have to mention that the world's most famous performance artist have passed through this school. I like to research and learn and I'm currently

attending one-year program of specialization in the field of multimedia and design. But there are so many experiences affect my work that I hope to have, I don't believe I need a degree for. Well, I love Brazil, it is enough to look at my paintings to see that. Despite that Sao Paulo has three times more inhabitants than my country, when I'm there I do not feel like a stranger. It's hard to explain, but Sao Paulo and Belgrade have

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Black Panther, from the Catpeople series

Jaguar, from the Catpeople series

something in common, other than area code 011. But probably this is just a subjective feeling. When you speak of Sao Paulo, the first association is Street Art. And of course artistic possibilities are infinite. Endless “concrete jungle” in contrast with large parks with tropical vegetation is perfect environment for Street art. I've always been the big fan. And that's what I did. The last series I've worked in this year in Brazil is series of mixed media portraits named “CatPeople”. Besides the models are mainly from Brazil, the concept was inspired by some shapeshifting ritual of Amazonian Indians. I have installed largescale “water-paste images” in the streets of Sao Paulo. Besides the well-known locations for Street Art such as the “Beco do

Batman” I installed these “hibrid guards” in the hardly accessible walls of tunnels and notorious neighborhoods, all with the assistance of wonderful people who have helped me to fulfill my mission.

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We we would like to suggest to to visit http://www.saatchiart.com/bojanaknezevic in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production, which ranges from painting and drawing to photography, street-art, sculpture, and video. While superimposing concepts and images, crossing the borders of different artistic fields as painting and installation, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

The freedom of every artist is essential. I

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Lion, from the Catpeople series

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Malayan Tiger, from the Catpeople series

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Cheetah, from the Catpeople series

Jaguatirica, from the Catpeople series

freely mix media and forms, making the choices that best serve my concepts and purposes. As always, new technologies provide new opportunities and challenges. Today's Artists are in a position to express themselves in a way that artists of the past were not able to. However, artists of all eras are products of their relative cultures and time periods. I know that such a "movement" through the artistic fields in oeuvre, sometimes can be characterized as a “wandering”. But like you said, I'm using this symbiosis with different points of view, to expresses specific concept, not to test myself. It is important to have recognizable style in every field you find yourself. And it’s a challenge. It is important not to lose the thread, not to lose yourself.

For this special issue of ART Habens we have selected the CatPeople series, an interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at soon caught our eyes of it is the way your investigation about the elusive dichotomy between Man and Animal, challenging the viewers to rethink abut the relationship between perception and imagination accomplishes the difficult task of creating an autonomous aesthetics. Did you conceive it in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

The idea came when I made evocative photography, the portrait of the “man-

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Onca pintada, from the Catpeople series

Bengal Tiger, from the Catpeople series

jaguar�. Although, I'd previously thought that he reminds me of the jaguar, at the moment I made a snapshot I was sure I caught exactly that spirit. So my other models passed through a "treatment" of awakening wild cats inside themselves and preparation before shooting. After that I had the drawing task to raise wild cat on the surface of the face of model. My goal was to make such a blend of between Man and Animal, that the one does not suppress the other. It was very important to preserve the personal characteristics of the model. After all, the model is the one who had the cat inside, I just pulled out.

both the representaiv problem and the aesthetic one in such compelling way. Your approach seems to urge us to question the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Here I have to quote the editorial of art criticism written just for "CatPeople" which you can read in its entirety in my web site: www.bojanaknezevic.com “Modern age proclaimed new types of

What particularly appeals to us of your trans-manipulative process of facial features is the way it allows you question

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Puma, from the Catpeople series

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Leopards, Oil on Canvas , 200 x 60cm

identity. Modern philosophy, psychology, literature and visual art unmasked what was known as man. It became clear that under the surface of everyday life we have much more in common with our far relatives from primitive societies than we think we do. It became apparent that mod-

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ern cities in their complex physiognomy are very like the jungles or forests of symbols as Baudelaire put it in one of his sonnets.� I use my art to scratch the surface of everyday life. It's much harder to uncover and decipher the hidden codes, symbols

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and messages in the environment we live in (this sounds much like John Carpenter “They Live”), than the symbolism of any artwork. I placed myself in the role of “the shaman” and I was looking for the people with “totem of the cat”. Unbridled nature of Feline species, do not accidentally led

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me to people who come from punk, metal ,reggae culture scene, to the fighters, skateboarder etc. Their distinctive look, aesthetic rituals, independence, integrity, individualism, disobedience are what connect them with wild-cat nature. These large-scale portraits

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Elephands, Oil on Canvas, 50 x 40cm


Bojana Knezevic

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visual translation of the ideas you explore?

I connect Man and Animal, both physically and metaphorically. I was able to recall The Ancient myths, the image of “cat goddess” Bastet, Tucano Indians story of black panther who cause eclipse, or photos of the modern age Catwoman, but my “Cat People” don’t project these memories, they are existing here and now, in front of you, ready to attack. We all know that art accesses some of the most advanced processes of human intuitive analysis and expressivity. The relationship between audience and work sustains the life of the created object. I think the artist need to places the viewer in a position of discovery. My art can be a mirror where people can see their own reflection, in the same time it can be some kind of introspection through the lens of others. Birds, Oil on canvas 60 x 50cm

The reference to universal imagery that comes from the reference to animals seems to aim to remove any historic reference from the reality you refer to, allows you to go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, and that establishes a stimulating dialogue between references from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

enable the viewer to experience a true “face-to-face” with inner nature, which is usually hidden. When pursuing an harmonious combination between opposite features, your portraits seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: you rather seem to offer to the viewers a key to find personal interpretations... this quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that is in a certain sense representative of the unstable relationship between collective imagery and personal memory. So we would like to ask you: what is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you try to achieve a faithful

Multiple layers of animals in paintings such as “Elephants” or “Slow flight” give an often realistic level of detail and the same time meant to symbolize their irrelevance in modern world as their identities blend into surreal forms. Complex forms and variety of colors of animals and tropical plants glorify the richness the natural world in my paintings or serves as a

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Bojana Knezevic

reminder for the modern society where the natural world exists only in the imagination. It is obvious that modern human trying to breaks away from what it really is. In the artwork "Hidden World" beautiful landscape with a girl is shown like a mirage in contemporary surrounding. She symbolically touches the viewer's subconscious, where is hidden his natural state of instinct. I mixed hyperrealist details and surreal elements engaging different techniques and methods. My art try to reflect and comment on global environment that is culturally diverse and technologically advanced and creating new insights and avenues for contemplation.

In “Catpeople” I turned the camera on myself to make portraits in which I am both “actor and director”. It is interesting but I've never thought about... this question made me to remember Wanda Wulz. I'm always interested in portraiture, which offers something more than a tastefully composed and skillfully executed representation of someone. I use photography to representing the vision, or the essence, rather than reality. I like the big contrast in both color and monochrome photography.Black and white is a medium which in the start gives you a step away from reality with effect of mystique, nostalgic, dramatic, sense of timelessness... Pictorialism, as an idealistic instance to re-create beauty, never ended.

Your work could be also considered a 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?

You work resists to immediate classification in terms of its subject matter: in particular, it seems to communicate the idea 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?

In some works I focused on exotic portrait in the environments that look wild and dangerous. If we think that we look in someones face on the my paintings, there is almost nothing real on it. It was artificialized. I visualized and by that brought it to life a subjective world from mind. Beside those “strangers” I often project myself and became something like an “agent” in the surreal scene of my artwork, although this fact is not in the foreground, because self-portrait usually was camouflaged. An example is "Somewhere here on Earth" where I showed myself as a black woman.

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I create worlds that feel otherworldly, combinating science and dreams. Some my works are reflection of the natural world and human sensation. “The World under The World” features fantastical hybrid form based on Deep-Sea bizarre creatures. My interest for unusual and rare

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species of animals began at university. I continued this research in series of painting "New Species" where I show a morbid and cruel relationship between Human and Animals. Later this relation has evolved where they don't fight for the prominence, they are in the constant fluctuation and morphing. Heightened intuition, perception, sociability, imagination etc. can compensate for the lack of some direct experience. I don’t know, the first who came to my mind are Emily Dickinson who’d never seen the ocean and Henri Rousseau who'd never been in jungle.

contemporary art in localities around the globe. Simultaneously the increased movement of artists across borders and oceans has added to the intermixing of influences and artistic vocabularies. The internet has taken street art and graffiti works that were local and made them global. Some exhibitions I had because the curators saw my works on the internet. In particular, this site that you mentioned in one of the previous questions. I try to follow the art scene in all parts of the world in one way or another, as well as my art has reached people from different parts of globe. I get mails from Africa, Japan, Mexico, Peru... Once I received a beautiful poem from Africa inspired by my painting.

Over these years you have had the chance to exhibit your works in several occasions both in Serbia and abroad, 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 a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

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

Thank you. It was a pleasure. I am working on new project that I am going to realize in Brazil at the beginning of the year that comes. Before that, I will present “CatPeople” in the already scheduled shows in Serbia. The exhibitions will contain video work, which is my recent work associated with the “CatPeople” concept. In this video work I cooperated with an athlete who practiced Indian martial art, in which the fighter imitates the movements of animals. In this case it is a tiger.

Yes, I had the opportunity to exhibit my artwork and cooperate with artists and curators from the different countries such as USA, Brazil, Great Britain, Hungary, Spain... I always answer every call for exhibition, and maintain a balance between local, physical audience and a worldwide digital audience. These two audiences do not experience art in the same way, but both are equally relevant. That connection is very important and precious for me. Today anyone with access to the internet can follow developments of

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

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Ricardo Lopes My work is a constant attempt to create relationship between human (industry) and nature. The slightest show of nature, serves as an escape to human vanity, even if only as a counterpoint. Sometimes serves to denounce the disregard of human beings to nature, after all that "She" gave him. Directly or indirectly my job search or attempt to find this counterpoint. The human being is nature, but not everything that it also creates is. And through this trial / error, using the most diverse means, but based on the sculpture, try to give way to different facets of this relationship. We can call human countercreation, this creation that tends increasingly to neglect the natural.

Deca Torres

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Ricardo Lopes

An interview with

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

Ricardo Lopes is a cross disciplinary sculptor whose work reveals an incessant search of an organic balance between aesthetics and communication. When exploring the mulifaceted and sometimes conflictual relationship between progress and Nature that affects contemporary society, he unveils the elusive but persisting bond that connect ourseleves as mankind to the environment we inhabit. One of the most convincing aspect of Lopes' practice is the way he finds a point of convergence between several concepts that engage the viewers, and that invites us to unveil the messages that are hidden behind the world we perceive, discovering unsuspected but ubiquitous connections. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to his artistic production. Hello Ricardo and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal Deca Torres training in Sculpture and you degreed at FBAUL: you also spent your erasmus year at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule, in Kiel. How did these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist? In particular do you think that formal training did inform the way you currently conceive your works?

As background, I can not say I have a so solid one. Since my childhood that I draw and paint. When I started my Sculpture bachelor, a bit lost, I started with

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Ricardo Lopes

modeling the human body on clay and with the figurative. Only in the end of the second year, I really began working with contemporary sculpture. Without any doubt, the Erasmus, was the best thing I have done. It helped me a lot to progress as an artist, where I had the opportunity to learn another ways to make art. Indeed, was in Kiel where I had experimented video art. There, I had a

ART Habens

lot more time, space and freedom to explore my art. Even so, undoubtedly formal training informed me the way I currently conceive my works. 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, what technical aspects do

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ART Habens

Special Issue

Ricardo Lopes

4 23 0 5


Ricardo Lopes

ART Habens

you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

My process depends from work to work. Sometimes I just spontaneously draw whatever I have in mind, and try to conceive it somehow, and sometimes I end up with a completely different thing. Other works, are just a reaction to something that really bothers me and I want to show it the clearest way for people to understand. But all starts with a sketch. Technically I try always to make my works the less figurative possible with the maximum of recycled and organic materials. Preparation and time depend a lot as well, but usually I take a couple of hours to sketch up, between a day and three weeks to gather all the materials needed, and from a week to a year to conceive it - all this depending on amount of material, size and transportation, of course. We would begin to focus on your work starting from Projektraum, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article and that experiments sound between inside and outside with a cellphone. This work offers to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the concepts you communicate through your works: Would you like to walk our readers through your process when conceiving this stimulating piece? In particular, what was your initial inspiration?

21 06 4

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ART Habens

Ricardo Lopes

It was proposed to me to present a work, with just a week to conceive it and an empty room with a large window at my disposal. I wanted to bring oxygen, trees, plants and all the confusion that I could see from the street. That emptiness, disturbed me. I wanted to run away, leave. And on the other hand, make the outside, that bit of street I could see out the window, as my comfort zone, the place where I could entertain myself and abstract. So, I used the window as "entry" (Eingang) to this place. Your approach is a wise combination between abstraction and concreteness: bringing new messages and inviting the viewer to elaborate personal interpretations, you do not reject a gaze on a special kind of aesthetics, creating a lively combination between conceptual and beauty. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

In my opinion, aesthetics are one of the most important aspects of visual arts. Aesthetics are the first impression the public as towards an artwork, and it is what makes the audience decide whether to try to understand it or not. Aesthetics can bring back old memories, have capacity of creating new ones, have the ability to make audience laugh, cry, or just smile. Yet the aesthetics of an artwork most of the times does not explain it. But too much aesthetics usually distracts people from the real message.

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4 23 0 5


Ricardo Lopes

21 06 4

ART Habens

Special Issue


ART Habens

Special Issue

Ricardo Lopes

4 23 0 5


Ricardo Lopes

ART Habens

When we first happened to get to know A dish that wanted to be a part of a tree, a recent project that can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/119798186 we tried to relate all the visual and sound information to a single meaning. But we soon realized that we had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its content: in your performative videos, 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 a systematic process? In particular, would you like to walk our readers through the genesis of this work?

I would say it’s more of an intuitive process. With this work I wanted to take in something of our daily lives, worthless, and make it into something else that could be part of a living being, and show that for more attempts that may be is practically impossible to falsify nature or imitate it. It's clear that you draw a lot from the reality we inhabit: and we have highly appreciated the subtle but effective socio political criticism about the multifaceted and often conflictual relationship between hyper technologic progress and our inner nature: many interesting contemporary artists, as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to include socio-political criticism and sometimes even explicit messages in their works, that often goes beyond a mere descriptive point of view on the issues they face: do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach? In particular, what cold be in

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ART Habens

Special Issue

Charles Ligocky

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Ricardo Lopes

your opinion the role of an artist in the unstable contemporary societies?

ART Habens

For example, with ’experiment from Athens’, I filmed in a said and grey rainy day, but between so much concrete and tubes of iron, as counterpoint you could hear the deafening sound of raindrops. A juxtaposition of nature on human vanity.

My work isn’t as explicit as Thomas Hirschhorn or Michael Light’s works, my works are mostly political but only more subtle as you say. I do not really believe that a work of an artist can be neutral, it is every time critical however subtle it may be.

And juxtaposed to that I put my RI/LO signature, taking that moment as mine.

In the unstable contemporary societies, in my opinion, the role of an artist should be always critical, of denunciation and whenever possible showing a solution to the problem.

Your successful attempt to highlight relationship between human dimension and nature 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. In particular, the way you present unusual for the reality objects has reminded me of the ideas behind German sculptor and photographer 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". While conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which we would like to spend some words is entitled experiment from Athens: the ambience has reminded us the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault and what has mostly impacted on us is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to the sign of absence, which is a recurrent feature of your approach. As you have remarked once, your works could be also considered as a moment to unveil the counterpount between Nature and human vanity: one of the mos recurrent ideas of the unstable contemporary age is that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Yes, it is. I think personal experience dictates your creative process, even if it’s just to do something completely different or only to be contrary. As example I have A dish that wanted to be

I am not sure if it could be called as role, but I think an artist in the most of his works reveals part of his inner nature.

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ART Habens

Ricardo Lopes

a part of a tree, where I simply break a dish and say that it’s tree bark. Personally, I can’t disconnect my creative process from direct experience, and I don’t think anyone else can as well. Making art is always too personal to be disconnected from anything which surrounds you. My personal experience is most of the times the beginning of my creative process. My ideals and points of view are the basis of my work. The hallmark of you work is a successful attempt to establish a direct involvement with your audience, deleting any barrier between the ideas you question and the way we perceive them. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context? something about your future projects?

Most of my time, I’m alone in my studio, so I generally do whatever I want. In my exhibitions I rarely have a direct contact with audience, so I try to establish a connection through the work itself, and when it’s possible through synopses. I don’t think audience as being a crucial component my decision-making process, I’m just glad when public can understand and shows interest in my final work and gladder when they try to find another meanings to my work. And thanks a lot for your feedback.

How do you see your work evolving?

Currently, I’m working in a big project, and already planning the next one. I have “Cicle” in an exhibition right now in Oeiras(Portugal), and preparing the next ones, so keep following my work. Next year, I’m planning be doing a master in Fine Arts in Denmark.

Ri/Lo - Ricardo Lopes https://www.facebook.com/arterilo http://arterilo.wix.com/rilo

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

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Naim El Hajj

21 06 4

ART Habens

Special Issue

ART Habens Art Review // Special Edition // November 2015  
ART Habens Art Review // Special Edition // November 2015  
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