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Special Issue

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

Blood, detail a work by Yintzu Huang

A r t

R e v i e w


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

A r t

R e v i e w

Krzysztof Slachciak Lukas Adolphi

Yintzu Huang

Wanbli Gamache

Germany

United Kingdom

USA

My work tend to focus on my critical views of cultural issue and express my feeling by daily life objects. While visualizing these topics into photos and vi-deos, I usually try to create a theatrical- like of look to express thought. I like deconstruct how objects “suppose” to be looked like from people’s mind and juxtaposed them with an uncanny, weird feeling when I set up the tone for every new project.

I am interested in the continuation of memories within abandoned structures and the narrative that follows in the space as new observers manifest their own personal history and interpretations within the discovered and explored locations.Using stop motion video, I am able to construct a new observation that I animate based upon my own personal representation of the found space.

Austeja Laurinaviciute

Yanir Shani Israel

Lithuania

My photos are limitless experiments. There is everything you would or would not expect: multiple exposures, light leaks, cross processing or liquor stains on the film, which create outstanding and unpredictable effects. The magnitude of the mountains, the sparkle of the snow, the shifting colours of the sky and all the other powers of nature creates magic in my pictures.

Poland

Black Days is part of an ongoing photographic series started in 2014. It is a visual research, based on personal sources, and looking at the relations between Deadpan photography, the urban space, & the political and spirutal presence. All the images were taken intuitive between 2012- 2014 in Tel Aviv, and were made by a 35 mm, black & white negetives.

My works during couple of years has gone throught some evolution. I started with stilised portraits and geometric architecture, gone throught technics of multiexposure and photosinthesis, and now, however unelegant it sounds, I make some abstract figurations. My favorite aspect of photography is observing how viewers react to photos. I never try to make people think exactly what I meant - it sounds dull to me.


In this issue

Alexandra Vainshtein

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Lives and works in New York City, USA Fine Art Photography

Hiko Uemura Lives and works in the Netherlands Fine Art Photography, Installation

Felicity Tchorlian Lives and works in Sydney, Australia Mixed Media, Photography, Performance

Yanir Shani Lives and works in Tel-Aviv, Israel Mixed Media, Fine Art Photography

Lukas Adolphi Lives and works in Bremen, Germany Mixed Media

Krzysztof Slachciak Hiko Uemura

Felicity Tchorlian

Lives and works in Poland Mixed Media, Fine Art Photography

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The Netherlands Australia

Alexandra Vainshtein

Felicity is a creative at heart working as a professional photographer shooting portraits, fashion, landscapes and travel around Australia and internationally from original and emotive new angles. Well versed in the art of performance Felicity has been expanded her music singing live in her theatre performances and worked in a duo, ‘Flick & Goldy’ singing originals and covers of jazz, blues and soul for live audiences.

USA

Traveling the world, I am blessed with the chances to add even more to the variety of colors in my camera’s palette. Each person and each pebble has its own story and each day these stories will be different. As a photographer, I feel it is my calling to relay these stories to my viewers so that they can experience the wonderful things that I get to see and feel firsthand.

One can never forget what one has learned and experienced. My acquired applied skills like in illustration and graphic design gave me chances to create works in theatre and costume design, to make accessories or insitu projections all with a strong visual component. The more autonomous side of my works start off, I would say, instinctively, or automatically. I listen to my emotion during preparation but ‘work’ as I shoot.

Yintzu Huang

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Lives and works in London, United Kingdom Video, Installation, Mixed media

Wanbli Gamache

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Lives and works in Fayetteville, Arkansas USA

Mixed media, Installation

Austeja Laurinaviciute Lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania Analogue photography

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Special thanks to: Charlotte Seeges, Martin Gantman, Krzysztof Kaczmar, Tracey Snelling, Nicolas Vionnet, Genevieve Favre Petroff, Lukas Adolphi, Yajing Liu, Marilyn Wylder, Marya Vyrra, Yanir Shani, Maria Osuna, Hannah Hiaseen and Scarlett Bowman, Yelena York Tonoyan, Edgar Askelovic, Allie Litherland and Robert Gschwantner.

On the cover: A still from Nothing, 2012 a film by Tracey Snelling


Alexandra Vainshtein Death is inevitable. We instinctively know that from the moment we are born. I often found, If one continues to drive along one Consequently, our you biggest that offield with particular road, can fear find is another the seizingtree of the Self,middle. the antonym of will repeat another in the The scene the universal belief in some kind of again and again. continuity, at the moment death.They simply exist in These individuals are notofalone. a different field where they stand alone. But these However, we seemare to forget that solitary figures kindred to in the other solitary mystifying instances of attraction trees in the other fields, and so and it is with man, fields eroticism. From spiritual to bodily, are simply the counties in which people stand alone. these instances extended on a individualism can In our society,are past and present, vertical axis of fascination. be unwelcomed and treated harshly. Society often perceives individualism as a threat. Some societies When fascinated we experience a state insist on rigid conformity and frown on the where “there is nothing more than a individual. gigantic object in a desert world� and we just are not that thing; a fascinating object is one which is, to the point where we are not, and we therefore need to be, demand to be, desire to be. We are violently ripped from existence and develop a perpetual desire for being. The process of creation is one where fascination is a trigger and an end result: It begins with an intuitive thought that captures our attention without at the same time submitting entirely to our understanding. The inability to accurately articulate it results in both a recurrent desire and repetitive attempts to do so. This leads to the creation of an autonomous offshoot, communicating the initial object of fascination. Breathe Forrest, Breathe!

Sophie Iremonger

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An interview with

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

New York based artist Alexandra Vainshtein accomplishes an effective investigation about the way we relate our inner landscape to the outside world: her series explore the variety of the environments we inhabit, highlighting particular aspects that blend their unexpected functionality to an autonomous aesthetics. Her evocative and direct approach urges the viewer to investigate about the relationship between reality and the way we perceive it. One of the most convincing aspects of Vainshtein's practice is the way she walks us into a liminal area in which memory and perceptual processes find an unexpected point of convergenceto. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Alexandra and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does the relationship between your cultural substratum as a New York City artist and your recurrent travels around Europe inform the way you conceive your works?

As a child growing up in St. Petersburg, it was a favorite pass time of mine to go to the Hermitage Museum and observe the reactions of the people viewing all of the artwork. I always imagined what it would be like to capture their emotions at that very moment. In addition, I attended an Art school and was particularly inspired by a class which was focused on Black and White images. At that same school I was also forced to hold on to my inner artist as in that time creativity and unconventionalism was unwelcome. One particular experience was of particular influence in my life. I had

Photography by Evgenia Basyrova

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painted a picture of a small town alleyway with tall buildings, each to individual character. In front of these houses were simple stick shapes in different colors, but without any facial features, symbolizing a crowd. This painting was called “Demonstration.” According to my teachers, the painting was an insult as I had disregarded the faces of each person and my mother had to take me out of the school. What they did not see was that I was accenting the individuality and importance of architecture. This is why coming to New York had felt like I had come home. In this wonderful melting pot of a city, every face is culturally unique and every stone has its own meaning. Here I was able to express my experiences through my lens without the oppression of the closed minded schools of the past. Traveling the world, I am blessed with the chances to add even more to the variety of colors in my camera’s palette. Each person and each pebble has its own story and each day these stories will be different. As a photographer, I feel it is my calling to relay these stories to my viewers so that they can experience the wonderful things that I get to see and feel firsthand. What has mostly impacted on me of your approach is the way you are capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to recontextualize the concept of the environment we inhabit in, especially on a functional aspect, as you remarked about the lonely trees in Tuscany's ploughed field. This is a recurrent feature of your approach, that provides the viewers of an Ariadne's Thread, inviting them to challenge the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a

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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?

Well, as you can see I am definitely interested in the hidden details of the nature given to us. I believe there are no extras or unimportant features in nature. The only difference is that some reach our eye and hence touch our soul, while others pass us by through our peripheral vision. When a photo is taken, I do not plan what it will look like in the end. I am simply trying to capture what I see at that moment. It may not be the most conventional image and some may even think it was an accident. Nonetheless, after it is viewed on paper, my family, friends and others viewing the photo begin to ask questions. These questions tell me that they also see something there and thus my eyes were able to relay their experiences to others. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from your Lessons learnt from a trip to rural... series, an interesting body of work featured in the introductory pages of this article. The way you explore the liminal area in which our inner landscape blends with outside reality to create an hybrid visual language reminds me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he states that "Nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". I like the way you give to the ephemeral nature of human feeling a sense of permanence, capturing the essence of human experience. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a

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creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Absolutely not. My creative process fully incorporates all experiences and emotions which go through me when I am with my camera. Without emotions, it is simply the work of heartless and lifeless glass, metals, plastics and mirrors. These cannot possibly relay feelings and emotion. I would compare this to a musical instrument. Without emotions a violin is just a chunk of wood with 4 strings and some combinations of sounds, but when emotions are placed into this it is as if the breath of life is put in and a whole new being is created. Urging us to interprete your images on an allegorical level, you stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to focus on this form of photography? And in particular, do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

I most definitely conceive this in an instinctive way. If you were to ask my friends or family, they would tell you that I even speak and joke in an allegorical manner. Perhaps this is why my photos relay my very own allegorical personality, so to speak. The recurrent reference to an emotional, fruible but at the same time universal imagery to whom environmental elements belongs, 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. In this sense, your works go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

As a direct form of art, yes there is most certainly a difference between contemporary

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and traditional. Nonetheless, as an artist I tend to blend the two together, both intentionally and unintentionally. There are times when I see a completely contemporary image, such as a little girl sitting on the Spanish Steppes, eating ice cream. One may see this as just a girl eating ice cream. In reality the image blends contemporary with traditional. The historical Spanish Steppes are the ones my mother always said she dreamt of eating ice cream on as we all once saw Audrey Hepburn do in Roman Holiday. Just as the free Audrey, my little girl sat and enjoyed her ice cream on those grand steppes. When I saw this image, it was in my eyes as though their dreams had come true through the body of this little girl. I would suggest to our reader to visit http://alechkov.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production: anyone looking at your work can recognize that your pieces have a lot of messages to share and that Art for you is an effective way to speak to the world. While bringing new messages and inviting the viewer to elaborate personal interpretations, you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively combination between conceptual and beauty, as in the extremely stimulating The Little Girl series. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

Although it is important to me, beauty is secondary in all of my photographs. I will not select a photo based on whether it is aesthetically pleasing. As a matter of fact, I strongly encourage not discarding any photographs until they are viewed after the session is finished and viewed as a whole. This is because sometimes the conceptual qualities of a photo will compensate for whatever is aesthetically lacking. It goes without saying that your photographs are the result of a lot of

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planning and thought, but at the same time they convey a sense of spontaneity that is a hallmark of your style. What I have mostly appreciated of Faces of NYC is that you seem to be wanting to move beyond standard representation, but not too much beyond it. I like the direction you are taking, in fact: creating what at first appears to be a typical photographic portrait but subvert its compositional elements, making the viewer realize that your work has a different message. what has influenced your style?

As I had mentioned before, this had begun at a young age when I was fascinated by the many faces I saw viewing art work. The Faces of New York series captures the many emotions of New York and not just their physical features. Your investigation about the relationship between individuals and our “Big World” accomplishes a subtle but insightful sociopolitical analysis: it can be also considered as an allegory of tension between the two very distinct identities that shares our multifaceted reality: many contemporary artists, such as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to include sociopolitical criticism and sometimes even convey explicit messages in their works. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

I honestly feel like a beauty pageant model when it comes to politics. I only ask for “world peace.” Politics have no place in my mind. Over these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions, including five solos: your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience: so, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation

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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?

world of visions and emotions. I hope that it was just as enjoyable for you. Until next time.

I most definitely appreciate the reactions and opinions of my audiences. This is not to say that I will change my approach or ideas based on one clients likes and dislikes. Nonetheless, it the audience through whom my art work can live. Thus, their opinions are of value. David Barenboim once said about music that it is “an art that only exists only while it is being performed.” Likewise, I feel that photography is an art that exists only while it is being viewed and perceived. One very memorable experience was at one of my exhibits. A woman who was intently viewing and analyzing my photos had approached me, not knowing that I am the artist that she was analyzing. She had come up to me, quite frustrated, and shared that she was forced to think a lot when viewing these photos. Smiling to myself, I was glad to hear that my photos were living through yet another person. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Alexandra. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

As I have become a mother, time frames have changed quite significantly. As a result, I have begun to see things in shorter “snapshots” with faster paces and quick changing emotions. Children can bring the tone of a session from ecstatic to sad and back to ecstatic in a time span of 3 minutes. This short time frame does not mean that he images captured are any less filled with the emotion that I always have and always will continue to seek and enjoy. I plan to apply this new pace to a series called Fatherhood, which I hope to be able to share with you in the near future. Thank you for taking the time to allow me to welcome you into my small

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Hiko Uemura An interview by Martin Hill, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

Rotterdam based artists Hiko Uemura accomplishes the difficult task to capture the essence of human experience in relation with a variety of social environments. Her staged photography unveils a careful process that can be considered an investigation about the liminal area in which perceptual reality find an unexpected point of convergence with a dream-like dimension, that, as in the interesting insideout that we'll be discussing in the following pages, coexist in a coherent unity. One of the most convincing aspects of Uemura's approach is the way she creates an area of intellectual interplay that urges the viewers to explore the unstable relationship between perception and memory in the contemporary age. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Hiko and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you hold a Bachelor of Art that you have received from the Design Academy Eindhoven: how has this experience influenced on your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does the relationship between your Japanese roots and your current experience in Europe influence the way you relate yourself to art production?

Hello ART Habens and thanks you for your introduction

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Before I came to the Netherlands, I was attending basic art class in Japan. After a couple of jobs, when I felt the urge to start all over, to do new, to find freedom and work, I got the chance to study at the Design Academy Eindhoven, a prestigious institution in the Netherlands. Man&Identity, a broad and busy field of study where the intuition, the imaginary, the sensory were explored using skills like photography, video, animation, graphic and product design. I learned mental persistency, trusting that there will always be a result. whatsoever. During my study and internships I found that I was less interested in the materials themselves but more into creating scenes and atmospheres, sharpening my view of composition and color. It is hard to describe what I am … artist… designer… Feel though I’m much more an imager then a wordist. My Japanese upbringing, living on an island with many people around, might show in a tendency to focus on small detailed things. Since I live in Europe I look at a bigger scale, travelling, meeting people, nature. Hope to slide freely between these scales. I learned to never forget to be playful & relaxed but also to adapt, to put aside my person. What has at soon caught my eyes of your approach is the way it rejects a conventional classification into the canonic fields of fine art, illustrative and graphical, appropriating of the expressive potential of each of these disciplines. I would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.studiko.com in order to get a wider idea of this particular feature of your work, that reveals a search of an equilibrium between an

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emotional approach and concrete formalism: do you conceive it on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

One can never forget what one has learned and experienced. My acquired applied skills like in illustration and graphic design gave me chances to create works in theatre and costume design, to make accessories or in-situ projections all with a strong visual component. The more autonomous side of my works start off, I would say, instinctively, or automatically. I listen to my emotion during preparation but ‘work’ as I shoot. When emotion meets formalism at the right timing, then the image can fly freely. Also, depending on the technique being used, digital or analogue film, or wether there is human interaction, you need to always concentrate on the image you have in mind, listen to the scene. That being said, never underestimate the power of instinct … I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from "amor like salt", an interesting series from your recent production featured in the introductory pages of this article. The effective way you combine environmental elements with human figures highlights the inner bond between Man and Nature, walking the viewer into a liminal area in which outside reality and our perceptual process find an unexpected point of convergence. In particular, I like the way you give to the ephemeral nature of human experience a sense of permanence: so I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I feel I’m very visually orientated, both as a consumer as well as a producer.

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One of my all-time favourite paintings is Kokoschka’s “Mandrill”. These dynamics and the search for freedom have, in hindsight, probably led to my “Coloratura” series. Personal experience is in my opinion undoubtedly part of any creative process. You build onto yourself. But then again, aren’t we all grains in time? The joy of working in rough nature is that I can literary feel the situation. Observe and fantasise . It makes to incorporate all senses in the images, including a bit of fear to walk the dark woods in the night… …that ephemeral moment. “amor like salt” seems to get the soul of that bond between the men and women and their habitat. "Amor like salt" can be considered as a refined investigation that unveils that nature holds a map of the knowledge of our own nature, providing the viewers of an Ariadne's Thread, inviting them to challenge the common way we relate ourselves with the outside world... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Maybe this is why I like to know about tales, mythology, generations explaining the unknown. Visions, fantasies from harsh worlds. Some of my works might touch an indigenous balance but it’s not really a leading motivation for me. It’s up to the viewer to find the unexpected… It goes without saying that your photographs are the result of a lot of planning and thought, but at the same time they convey a sense of spontaneity that is a hallmark of

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your style. One of the things that I have mostly appreciated of your approach is that you seem to be wanting to move beyond standard representation: I like the direction you are taking. Creating what at first appears to be a photographic image but subverting its compositional elements, making the viewer realize that your work has a different message. What has influenced your style?

I’m not sure I have such a specific style. Different situations create different hooks. Important is to be flexible !! Where for instance with “eastpole”, which was made in a small studio setting, I could work with objects in more theatric scenes using natural light. “along the twinkling inlet” is much more documentary, real but poetic. “cha.fla.dder” was collaborate performance where a dancer interacted with my live animated objects supported by an also live sound design. Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled "insideout" and I have to admit that it is one of my favourite series from your recent production. I have highly appreciated the ambience you created by a suggestive juxtaposition between rigorous geometry and an emotional exploration of social environments, that reminds me the concept of non-lieu elaborated by French anthropologist Marc Augé: would you like to walk our readers in the genesis of this extremely stimulating series? What was your initial inspiration?

“inside out” was conceived during my study at Design Academy. It might though mark a moment which set my view to scenes more then to material. No relation I’m afraid with dismissal, it was a sketch and maquette

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for an installation to merge the elements of fire and water, intuitive, playful, experimenting. I definitively love the way you recontextualize the idea of the environment we live in. Many contemporary artists, such as the photographers Edward Burtynsky and Michael Light, include some form of environmental or even political message in their works. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

I don’t relate much to geopolitics. I believe in the smaller social structures, negotiating nature.. Although each of your projects shows an autonomous aesthetics, your work is pervaded with a subtle but ubiquitous and recurrent sense of narrative. But sometimes, as in "go around the highest anthills", an interesting series that you created during a residency in Mustarinda, Finland you seem to avoid an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you do not intervene in the perceptual process of the viewer, providing a key to find personal interpretations that unveil the inner connection between present and eternity. German photographer Thomas Demand stated once that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

I think the narrative component distills itself during the process. I visit my locations as a volunteer, doing the jobs needed. This approach makes me immerse myself into local societies, however small may be, as well as the ability to walk the endless rough nature. From the first moment arriving on a location, meeting people and their circumstances,

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my wanderings through the forests till the sometimes laborious aftermath of developing, selecting and printing, finding a coherent title. I trust the images will find their way themselves, create an open story. And although my works usually come in series I find that every individual ‘character’ should be able to communicate. Anyone and anything can be a protagonist in it’s own environment. And of course the viewer has his or her own responsibility. Your artistic production is based on the chance to create a thought-provoking involvement with the viewers: so, before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

I never pre-think an audiences view when I work. Certainly I want my images to be seen, art needs eyes. I had a few shows, group as well as solo, but I can also enjoy when my images are used to illustrate magazine articles. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Hiko: finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

One never knows where a path brings you. I really love the synergy between documentary and autonomous work, meeting the world around… that will be a base of further projects. I will definitely expand series like “shima radius” which are like ongoing projects.

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Felicity Tchorlian is a nuanced artist, bringing a strong skills base and experience to her work over photography, film and stage. Felicity is a photographer, actress and singer devoting her passion to the creative industries. She takes a hands on, experiential role in her craft collaborating with Bodysnatchers Vacant Room at PACT in 2011, Butterflies at Underbelly Arts Festival in 2012 and was a performer for shopfront’s Civic Life Residency in 2013 and 2014. Felicity loves the glow of the theatre’s stage lamps, feeding from the responses of her audience playing leading and supporting roles across theatres in NSW such as IPAC Theatre, Performance Space and PACT Theatre amongst others. Moving to the big screen in 2012 Felicity has acted in feature and short films with Hitchhiker, True Face, Sellouts and Careless Love and on American television series Deadly Women and Behind Mansion Walls. Felicity is a creative at heart working as a professional photographer shooting portraits, fashion, landscapes and travel around Australia and internationally from original and emotive new angles. Well versed in the art of performance Felicity has been expanded her music singing live in her theatre performances and worked in a duo, ‘Flick & Goldy’ singing originals and covers of Breathe Forrest, Breathe! jazz, blues and soul for live audiences. So confident she’s known for joining in the Installation(4mx4mx4m), 2013 performances of others on stage!


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

Felicity Tchorlian is a young and versatile artist whose work ranges in a variety of disciplines and accomplishes the difficult task of create a lively combination between refined aesthetics and an insightful gaze on perceptual processes. Felicity has recently moved from Australia to the UK to continue working as an Actor and Photographer. She plays with the creative potential of chance to create an area in which emotional dimension and perception of the real coexist as a coherent, consistent unity. One of the most convincing aspects of Tchorlian's practice is the way she creates an area of intellectual interplay that urges the viewers to explore the unstable relationship between the memory and perceptual dimension: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Felicity and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly influenced your evolution as an artist and that inform the way you conceive your works?

Thank you for offering this opportunity to feature and share my work with people from all different communities.

Felicity Tchorlian

I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia with a loud, excitable personality with nowhere to channel my creativity. After enrolling in drama classes as a good bludge in high school I realised I had an affinity for performing in front of an audience.

eclectic incubator of talent with a huge troop of musos, artists and other fun abnormal characters that challenged and encouraged me to explore the different elements of my identity. I invested more of my life into drama and music completing a Bachelor of creative arts at the University of Wollongong. It was a great platform to study and workshop my talent in a family of creatives that pushed me into challenging roles. One of my first

I auditioned for one of Sydney’s premier art schools in Newtown and was accepted ready to develop a wider understanding about personal expression and creativity in practice. Newtown performing arts was an

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classes dealt with movement and an arsehole of a tutor. In one of my first sessions our class was split into 2 groups where we had to undress and re-dress repeatedly as if we were in our own rooms alone. Not being totally comfortable in my skin this scared the hell out of me at the time, but at the end of the class and 4 hours I looked at myself and others from a different perspective. Liberated from my previous self-consciousness, I took power over my thoughts and became fascinated with the sensuality of naked skin. This fascination is clearly evident in my photographs. After completing my studies I joined the rest of my troupe in the real world and the romantic lifestyle of an out of work actor, going to 2-3 auditions a month (which I thought was good for Australia) I noticed a reoccurring request given to me by directors and casting agents, which turned me bitter towards the industry. The request was “Can you do that again with an accent”…”European accent”, which was politically incorrect. I was asked to audition with an accent not because the character for foreign but because my look was foreign. Of course I still did the accent but was hit with the harsh reality that casting directors want blonde hair, blue eyed, Caucasian women and I wasn’t that. The bitterness turned me to Jazz music as away to let out my frustration, but then I learnt to embrace the typecast, Acting in Independent feature films and shorts to devising theatre such as, Deadly Women, Behind Mansion Walls and films such as True Face and Hitchhicker, with every role I was closer to my dream, productive, hardworking, passionate and unpaid. A year later I sold my soul working in the corporate world and lasted 6 months. I took my savings, packed my bag and flew overseas to explore the historic buildings of

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Europe to the magic of the Giza pyramids. Traveling was where my passion for photography grew and led me to a new creative chapter in my life. You are a versatile artist and your work ranges from conceptual photography and street art to Jazz music and film: the multidisciplinary feature of your approach reveals an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis several viewpoints that you convey into a consistent unity: before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for producing your works? In particular, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Whether it’s screen-acting, directing, music, theatre making or photography I feel it’s important to be a multidisciplinary artist in this industry, it brings more opportunities and forces you to expand your mind. Also, I get bored quickly so I am often working on several different projects at once to keep me stimulated. I found that photography allowed me to play numerous roles under one hat. During a shoot I create the concept and write the pitch, direct the models/talent whilst maintaining a spiritual connection with the subject and myself. I’ve never mastered language to become a writer, but when I shoot my subjects I realised that my camera captured how I wanted to tell my story. After sharing my stories online with friends and family I felt the urge to continue to take photos. A year later I was managing a photography studio when my mum had told me that I was “hiding behind the camera” suggesting that I had given up on acting. I thought is she

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right? The next week I quit my job and freelanced so I could focus on auditions. My life experiences heavily influences my work process, it is about seeing something and being moved by it or obsessing over certain ideas and using that as a platform. I always include an underlying theme in my work, but I never want to spoon feed viewers and force the concept in their face. I’m not a preacher; all themes are kept very subtle to give the audience a chance to create their own story. Who am I to tell that what it means? That’s boring, I want them to look at an image and question it. Even if there is no thought process I don’t care I want to create a reaction and preferably one of disgust. I feel that when we see a disturbing image it demands an emotional response and it lingers in our minds longer. I don’t believe the symbiosis of all disciplinary areas is the only way to achieve results, you can certainly triumph in one field, but I like the fluidity of working in different fields and I can’t unlearn that. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from your Cocoon/Skull BTS, an interesting project featured in the introductory pages of this article and I would like to suggest to visit http://www.felicitytchorlian.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. The way you explore the relation with perceptual reality and our intimate dimension, reminds me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "Nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". I like the way you give to the ephemeral nature of human feeling a sense of permanence, capturing the essence of human experience. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a

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creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

A huge part of my work process is getting to know the subject be it a person or place; I want the viewer to enjoy an intimate connection with the piece that will transform the energy from the image to the viewer. What we experience will always affect us in one way or another and it is about providing the platform to initiate a certain emotion, thought or conversation. Whether you want your work to represent something you have experienced or not, it doesn’t matter when everything in life, in this world is connected it is almost impossible to disconnect from our experiences. I believe art has this ability to bring people and ideas together; just there is differing levels of wanting to connect to something as some experiences effect humans more than others. My process for ‘Cocoon/Skull’ developed from my new found obsession with skulls and bones rather than a human experience. When you become deeply amused by a certain subject you generate a certain emotional and spiritual attachment and I wondered how my life would be without that. If you were to strip back humans of their flesh, blood, soul and energy we are all bones. It creates a sense of unity that we look one and the same. It’s about exploring the idea that we are supposed to physically connect, like a puzzle. It truly fascinates me and I wanted to try show that in the human form in hugging, holding hands and cradling. 4) Although conveying a sense of spontaneity, your photographs are the result of a lot of planning and thought: one of the things that I have mostly appreciated of your approach is that you seem to be wanting to move beyond standard representation, but not too much beyond it. I like the direction you are

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taking, in fact: creating what at first appears to be a typical photograph but subverting its compositional elements and making the viewer realize that your work has a different message. What has influenced your style?

Sometimes there’s planning in regards who I want to photograph and in what location. Next I create a colour palette and the rest is quite spontaneous. The angles, energy, expressions and emotions I want to convey just flow through that akin to an improvisation activing it acting classes, it all happens very organically. There is a huge conversation and spiritual connection between the subject and I. I try to read their body language, their mind and capturing that moment. There is a lot of time spent talking to the subject, making them feel comfortable and playing with their nervous energy. The shooting process is very much a conversation if there is too much nervous energy or there is no connection I try to talk to them more, push boundaries and sometimes I feel them getting frustrated with what I am throwing at them and purposely aim to capture that emotion. I want us all to be emotionally drained at the end of the shoot, show or exhibition, to feel as if we have experienced an emotional journey together. Artwork is about collaboration and I continue to find that everything and everyone influences my style, that it is forever evolving and never stagnant to keep the conversation flowing. I don’t want an image to simply represent my ideas, but others as well and for those ideas to continuously change. Most of the time, the hallmark of a photographer is the capability 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

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share and that Art for you is an effective way to speak to the world. Now, I would like you to go beyond what you have highlighted before: would you tell our readers more about what is on your mind and how you plan to continue using photography to share your messages?

I don’t know who the ‘ordinary people’ are? I don’t think there’s such a thing. We all see, either physically or mentally, but what it is we see is different to the next person. Yes, we can try to encourage others to see how we do, but in the end that’ll be boring if we all saw the same thing. I want to know what other people see in my images. Others say I have ‘loads of messages to share’, I say ‘I have different energies I want to share.’ That doesn’t make what you or I said right or wrong, it’s just an individual’s interpretation. And I value and encourage that. I definitely think art is an effective way to communicate with each other, as well as a way to express yourself. My work process is very much about going through catharsis, it’s not always expressing your art to the world, sometimes it’s personal and liberating for yourself. That’s something how I feel about music, I feel vulnerable singing infront of a crowd. I am showing a hidden side of myself that most people don’t see. Photography is a part of me that will never die, at first I thought it was a phase but then it became an addiction. It has encouraged me to look at things differently and I love that. I aim to collaborate with emerging artists all over the globe, especially MUA’s, hairstylists, models, designers, editors and actors. An aspect of your work that I find particularly compelling is the way you have create a point of convergence between spontaneous analysis of the concept of landscape you examine and autonomous aesthetics. By the way, many contemporary artists, such as the photographers Edward Burtynsky and Michael Light, include some

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form of environmental or even political message in their works. Do you consider that your works could be considered political in a subtle way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

When it comes to my landscape photography I keep a very neutral approach to it. I’m a spontaneous traveller and want to remember the gorgeous cities I have seen. I have never intentionally tried to express a political message. I would like to ask your point about selfportraiture: I am always intrigued by selfportraits because I find interesting to see how an artist decides to portray herself when in fact she has the power to portray herself as anything at all. Self-portraits often reveal a moment captured in time when one had been feeling relaxed but then suddenly something made her alert. So what does a self-portrait show us of an artist?

When I take a self-portrait it is not to represent who I am, but rather where I am. Sometimes I will see something so beautiful and want to photograph someone in that scene, but I might not have someone around, so I become the subject in this beautiful backdrop. I definitely haven’t taken enough advantage of the power and control that I have whilst taking self-portraits and its definitely something I am looking at doing for a new concept of mine. I see myself as someone with loads of selfawareness or spacial awareness therefore always aim to be ‘alert’. Who was to say I was relaxed? I am definitely more comfortable behind the camera than infront of it when it comes to photographs, its not that I have a low self esteem or lack confidence, because that is not the case. I find it exciting. I try to look relaxed in the image to not draw too much attention away from the scenery. It’s a more formal version of ‘selfie’s’, which has become a massive trend on todays society. Your approach seems to stimulates the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on

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both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to focus on this form of photography? And in particular, do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

really looking forward to it. Check out more details at www.thebricklanegallery.com Also currently collaborating with Patrick Church, an amazing designer based in Paris, working on some vulgar and obscure editorial photography. I recommend viewing his work at www.patrickchurchartist.com

I want my work to trigger some kind of thought and reaction in the viewer, which is done on both a conscious and subconscious level.

On a different creative stale, I’m also working with the owners of the Cereal Killer Café, Alan and Gary Keery. I will be filming their new comedic skit, which will be uploaded to their YouTube channel. It’ll be a real laugh. I definitely recommend grabbing a bowl of cereal at their nostalgic café in Camden; they hang around there quite often too! Have a sneak peak of what they have to offer at www.cerealkillercafe.co.uk

I have noticed the more experience I gain the more conscious awareness I gain over a particular concept. I see myself as a strong independent woman and I want other women to share that. In many of my works I present dominant women and want to continue portraying those images. I rarely photograph men; I think they can sometimes feel intimated by me. I am swapping roles of the norm and making the female as the dominant figure and the male as the accompaniment. I am not a man hater; I strongly believe in equality, I just want to give woman a chance.

In regards to my conceptual photography, I’m in the early stages of a new concept involving women and transgendered male to females. I aim to photograph approx. 200 people in an intimate space showing liberation, power and definitely audience interactivity. I am keeping the concept lowkey till I find the right candidates and sponsors. I am currently taking submissions for anyone who would love to be involved. Holla at me! Submissions can be sent to felicity@felicitytchorlian.com

Your work is strictly connected to the chance to establish a deep involvement with the viewer, that are invited to a multilayered experience: so before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

In the mean time you can follow my creative process and updates on Facebook and Instagram: Felicity Tchorlian Photography

Indeed, I always have new projects up my sleeve! I have an exhibition in London at the Brick Lane Gallery, as part of ‘Photography Now’ exhibition held in September. This will be my first photography exhibition, so I’m

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

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Photography is my passion and shapes nearly every aspect of my life. I am inspired to create images in order to receive a better understand myself and of reality. I seek the stories untold and the uncommon in the common. My subject matter focuses on the institutional space and the relationship between social control, social structure and the preconceived notions that surround particular institutions. The series “Gaol” was created in The Galleries of Justice Museum in Nottingham which was once a working prison and now functions as an educational experience and considers the history of British prisons in the 18th century. The traditional role of the museum in today’s society is to collect items, specific objects with cultural or historical importance. These objects are preserved and maintained and presented to the public to educate and as a pleasurable experience. I have attempted to document the arrangements of items and objects in this staged setting in order to slow down the viewing process of the image and to question the preconceived notions of looking at a photograph Living in a hyper real world that moves along side as at an exceptional speed, we repeatedly get a feeling of disorientation and false reassurance as we try to adjust to a post-modern society in which the boundaries between image and referent, reality and appearance are uncertain. Unlike in traditional photography in which an instant of reality and the so called objective truth is recorded, these recorded Mise en Scenes deal with the theatre of the constructed space and aim to present a platform in which the border between reality and fiction are blurred. The camera functions as a tool to observe and explore the constructed, theatrical settings. A play of light, shadow, empty spaces, textures and the artefacts of the museum results in a balance act that captures the essence and mood of the constructed spaces which could be viewed as a “reflection on solitude” in a minimalist approach. I draw inspiration from various sources, including art, music, poetry, paintings and in recent years the idea that reality is not as it appears to be, life is not about what we see but about how we see it. James Casebere and Lori Nix are two artists that deal with this construction of new realities. Focused on photographing 3D models in architectural settings, these artists create non-traditional photography by constructing theatrical environments and photographing them to appear realistic and in doing they question the conventional myth of the photograph being the objective truth. „I believe in the invisible. I do not believe in the definitive reality of things around us. For me, reality is the intuition and the imagination and the quiet voice inside my head that says: isn’t that extraordinary? The things in our lives are the shadows of reality, just as we ourselves are shadows“.

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Yanir Shani Black Days is part of an ongoing photographic series strarted in 2014. It is a visual research, based on personal sources, and looking at the relations between Deadpan photography, the urban space, & the political and spirutal presence.

video, 2013

All the images were taken intuitive between 2012- 2014 in Tel Aviv, and were made by a 35 mm, black & white negetives.The image starting point can be described as a piece from reality. Afterwords the pictures were scanned, and then manipulated by inverting them back to negetive. The main focus is on basic Geometric elements such as lines, Triangles and squares. The forms of these elements are External expression of Internal content. I am trying to shift the objects in the pictures from their original identity and formal description, and observe them in a different and more seductive manner, seeking for spiratual regularity or essence. 022 4 Summer 2015


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detail from Melodic composition #5

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Yanir Shani's aesthetics accomplishes the difficult task of creating an area of intellectual interplay between perception and memory: the evokative geometries he highlights urge us to investigate about an inner and ubiquitous spirituality that pervades the way we relate to the environment we inhabit, inviting us to explore the liminal area in which contingency and immanence find an unexpected point of convergence. One of the most convincing aspect of Shani's work is the way his investigation explores the crossroad between human emotion and Nature's geometry: I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Yanir, 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 have studied at the prestigious Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, in Jerusalem. How has this experience influenced your evolution as an artists and how does it impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Yanir Shani

Through the experiences at the analog I learnt the significant of every step in the production of an image; the right exposure , mixing chemicals, development, scanning and of course printing. I wasn’t sure of my artist direction till my last year at Bezalel.

I was born in the south of Israel in a city called Beer Sheva. I guess I can say I had a great childhood. The landscape I grew up with influenced me a lot and is very predominant in my work. I don’t come from an artistic background in fact I started learning what art is only when I started Bezalel Academy. Studying at Bezalel was a really challenging at times. I was fortune enough to be exposed to the analog processes of photography as it was still mandatory at the time. I feel in love with that side of photography, I liked the darkroom, the smell of chemicals on my fingers, looking at a blank piece of paper transform into an Image.

I have failed and struggled so many times that I was about ready to quit but in the last year I while working on my thesis exhibition I felt that I stared to crate a visual language I could relate to which would lead me to where I am today. 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, how

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much 'post-production' and digital manipulation is involved in your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a series?

My process tends to be rather long. First I choose my location which is usually a place where I feel a personal connection to. My first project Yehoopez started from the first home I can remember in Beer Sheva and moving out in a circular motion outside to the region and later to Tel aviv my current home. My recent project was shot in the south of Israel in the Arava dessert and moved across the border into Jordan. The process usually starts by doing a bit of research about the history of the places I am going to shoot at. Once I start the shooting it can take me a while since I photograph in a very intuitive manner until I feel that I have enough material. Once I am done shooting I I develop the negatives and start scanning the materials. When everything is scanned I start editing and selecting the frames to form a coherent series. Since I scan the negatives I use post production in order to turn the analog films into a digital format info but I other than that I hardly do any editing to the original image. The last stage of my process is the printing testing and choosing the final size of the images. Creating a new series normally takes me an average of ten months from start to finish. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from your Black day, an interesting series that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit your website directly at http://www.yanirshani.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production... In the meanwhile, would you like to tell us

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Improvisation #1 From the series “Black day�

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Melodic composition #14 From the series “Black day�

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something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

This specific project is very different from my other work, in terms of the medium and the overall esthetics. The idea for this series came from the previous project I worked on called Leoss. I was searching for basic geometric elements in the landscape of the Negev dessert. When I finished shooting Leoss I wanted to do the same in Tel Aviv which is urban space. I was going throw old framesI shoot in Tel Aviv and I realized that the search for basic geometric elements is something I was doing unconsciously. It wasn’t as obvious as it was in the dessert as the city landscape is full of noise and distractions. I wanted to find a way to illuminate the noise and I eventually by inverting the frames back to negatives i found a way to do so. I really liked the aesthetics that was born from this new series although it still very much felt like an analog image. Your aesthetic style is heavily influenced by a srtaight, realistic approach and a relevant feature of Black day that has particularly impacted on me is the way you question the ephemeral nature of perception that, like Edward Burtynsky's works, raises a question on the role of the viewers' viewpoint, forcing us to going beyond the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... I'm personally convinced that some information are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, 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?

I find it important that my images relate to “real life� yet each and everyone of us has it own inner world. Normally this inner world is being suppressed by conventions or behavioral norms. When I create an image I am no longer obligated to those rules, and that autonomy is liberates me and becomes a strong point in my artistic process.

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The ability to express my inner world while using the photographic medium which is obligated to a specific time and place treads on a really thin line. When an image can combine those two worlds together and communicate it to a viewer that is when n image becomes meaningful and relevant. The images you capture are very strong in bringing out form and although you pay a particular attention to let the images speak for themselves, the subject matter almost inevitably invites questions and discussion. Is psychologic commentary an intrinsic aspect of your work? Or are you drawn to noir primarily for aesthetic reasons?

The noir aesthetic was a pleasant surprise that happened unintentionally when I inverted the image back to negative. I love it when surprises like that happen in life and in art. I guess you can say it happen by a chance although it came from a long and strenuous research. More so it really fit the psychologic mood I was experiencing at that time. In my practice I always try and combine between the private and the public, the From From "Gaol" "Gaol" 2013 2013 Photography Photography inner self and the public appearance. I like the way The Third Space establishes a symbiosys between the personal but abstract idea of home and such a tactile feature suggested by the structural concreteness of the image you captured. While referring to a "fruible" set of symbols that comes from popular imaginary, you seem to remove the historic gaze from the reality you refer to: this way you give the viewers the chance to perceive in a more absolute form, 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?

It might be possible to disconnect the personal from the artists process yet I myself am unable to truly create this barrier. I generally feel that

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From the series “Yehoopex�

with a subtle but effective sociopolitical criticism. Many contemporary landscape artists as Michael Light have some form of environmental or even political message in their works. Do you consider that your works are political or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

the fuel that fires up my imagination to create is very much linked to my personal life. I need art to have some context. That is why I try and combine form and a narrative. At this time of image overload it seems almost impossible to commit to one thing I myself am a part of this era and therefore find an interest and desire in several things at once.

My work is a visual research between landscape, deadpan photography and the political vs the spiritual narrative. I don't go in to political criti-

I definitively love the way you combine an apparently representative gaze on reality

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From the series “Yehoopex�

political on an everyday basis. My work might be suggestion to new way of thinking about politics . The image can be political or spiritual, it could be about aesthetics and formalism but it is also a personal story.

cism because I find that in most cases things are really complex and there is no quick solution. What I try and do is offer a different approach to the political. Rather than detaching the spiritual and emotional from the political I try and offer a new way of reading the political one that encompasses more than just the purely political aspect.

Another intersting series of yours that I had the chance to get to know is entitled Yehoopez and it has suggested me the idea that environment acts as cornerstones for a fullfilment process that has reminds me of Ger-

Coming from my background and Israel at large I feel that balance between the spiritual and the

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man photographer Thomas Demand, 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": what's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

I can really relate to that statement, art for me is a way to represent life. My personal narrative is comprised of several narratives. The complex nature of creation or of life is deeper and more complex then what is reveled to us. It is constantly changing and therefore so is our perception. Thus art tends to be more then just one notion or way of thinking or of seeing things. What I seek for is some sort of truth therefore I keep being finding out new things and being challenged new realties. When I look at Yehoopez today new things which emerge that I didn't recognized at the time. This is what is so great about art, it is about time and space but also always changing. During these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions, 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?

It is very crucial , exhibiting the work in the final stage in the the process. I feel that the work is not done until it is not presented. My aim is to reach as large as audience as possible. I am seeking to reach people who are not necessarily art viewers . In order to do so the work has to be appealing and accessible. The

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images need to have a certain ability to touch everyone. In my case i do so by landscape photography which I feel that everyone can relate to. This is the way I found my interest in art as well in 2005 I saw a show of Jeff Wall at Tate Modern which just blew my mind away. At the time I didn't know anything about art but I loved photography and I thought I was looking at snapshots. They were beautiful and interesting and they made me want to know more. A year later I started Bezalel in order to learn art and I quickly realized how “wrong” my reading of Jeff Wall’s work was. I believe that art is for everyone wether they be from the art world or just a general public. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, Yanir. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I move in circular motion from the first home I can remember and continuing in an expanding circular motion outwards. Im my recent project I took a leap out of Israel and I want to continue in this path. My plans for the upcoming year is to crate new work in Europe which is where my family used to live before coming to Israel in 69. I am staring my masters degree at Trodenheim academy in Norway and I believe I will have plenty of new materials in this new landscape. I will have to encounter a new Yanir when ill move there and I am very exited to see what will it be like over there.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator with the colaboration of Catherine C. Williams arthabens@mail.com

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Lukas Adolphi Adolphi I wouldn’t consider myself as a designer or an artist. I prefer the term creator. Communication to me is more important than categories – dialogue instead of DIN. This can be activated in text form – such as books or posters – as well as in form of interventions in public space. All my work has a playful component in common. The experiment is more important than than the stringent way from the initial idea to the final implementation. To visualize my idea it’s not important whether I work analog or digital, with pen or brush, markers or watercolor, photo or moving image, caution tape or cable ties, tacks or magnets, copier or analog printing techniques. When I work in public space I feel just as comfortable as at my computer at home. During my studies I became more and more aware of the social responsibility, that I as a creator have. I want to make a positive contribution within my means. Lukas Adolphi

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Bitte Alles Ändern – All Change Please, installation du 021 4


Lukas Adolphi

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ring the Yoga.Wasser.Klang Festival, Hamburg, 2013 022 4

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Bitte Alles Ändern – All Change Please, installation during 03 WASH Festival, Hamburg, 2011 4 Summer 2015 Summer 2015


Lukas Adolphi

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

The work of Lukas Adolphi rejects any standard classification in the countless categories of contemporariness: the crucial feature of his practice is an incessant experimentation that allows him to accomplish an insightful investigation about the liminal area in which memories and imagination coexist in a dynamic equilibrium. Providing the viewer of a multilayered experience Adolphi's work invites us to explore the crossroad between contingency and immanence, and one of the most convincing aspect of his practice is the way its intrinsic experimental nature is conveyed in the final result : we are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Lukas and welcome to ART Habens: I would start this interview, posing you some questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you hold a B.A. of Communication Design at the Burg Giebichenstein Art School in Halle/Saale: how has this experience influenced the way you conceive and produce your works?

As far as I can remember I’ve been always expressing myself in a creative way. I’m blessed with a family which always supported me in regard to this. Next to my regular education at school I’ve been visiting a private art course for 13 years. There I got to know a very broad variety of techniques as drawing, painting, working with clay and other modeling materials. This craft oriented education had a big influence on me and gave me a good skill set to which I still refer. Next to that I started to do graffiti. Somewhen the strict rules within this scene frustrated me. So I shifted to street art, started to do stencil portraits of musicians on stickers and put them up everywhere in my hometown.

Lukas Adolphi

Until that point I worked mostly in a formal way and less content driven. Than I started to study at the Art College Burg Giebichenstein. This changed my way of working. Suddenly there were tasks that needed to be solved, questions which demanded for a visual answer. So I started to think of creation also content wise, not only formal. This shift in the approach became stronger as my studies proceeded. Now I’m at a point where the content has

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the highest priority to me and to find the right form for it is just the second step. Often the term „Design“ is used to describe the process of „polishing something“. I totally disagree with this. Because by this design is perceived as something trivial which is just meant to decorate the surface. This is not what I consider design. With the things that I give a visual form I want to transfer a message to the audience. I want to fascinate them for topics of which they never considered that they might interest them. All your multifaceted artistic production is pervaded by a subtle but recurrent sense of narrative: although each of your project has an autonomous life, there's always seem to be such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose ideas and media: German multimedia artist Thomas Demand stated once that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

I don’t like the overused term of narration. It’s not really clear to me what it means when it comes to creation. To me it’s more important to communicate with an audience then to just tell them something. I give an impulse and hope that it triggers something within the recipient that he feels touched. This can happen within every medium. I can e.g. build a giant disco ball on a festival which people can enter. The visitors of the festival are invited to have a seat within, to start chatting with others, to find some relax, to get a different view on their surroundings.

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Zum Glück verrückt

an interview series about the topics of psychological diseases a

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nd creative output, 2015

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Zum Gl端ck verr端ckt

one spread of interview with Janna Nandzik


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Zum Glück verrückt one spread of interview with Hans König

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Another example is that I can develop a publication which deals with the topics of asylum and refuge. In the first place I want to get a perspective on the topic myself. But at the same time I already think about a potential form for the gathered experiences and information to persuade others to inform themselves about this not too easy topics. One might maybe name this play of impulses that I give and reactions that I receive also narration. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Bitte Alles Ändern – All Change Please, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit www.lukasadolphi.de in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted production. What most impressed me of this project is the way you have create a point of convergence between a functional analysis of the context you relate to and autonomous aesthetics. Do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

„Bitte Alles Ändern – All Change Please“ started as a term project at my university. For one term I went really mad and did as many interventions in public space as I could. In the beginning this was all very spontaneous and intuitive. When I saw a spot and an idea plopped up I went straight for it. It was a sort of try-and-error working method. Due to this I also did some interventions which failed or didn’t turned out as I wanted them to. But I also surprised myself many times with astonishing outcomes which I couldn’t have figured out beforehand. Between the first interventions I also changed the materials I used very often. This brought up on the one hand a broad variety of interventions. On the other

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Diskomet, installation for the Immergut Festival, Neustrelitz, 2015


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hand I never digged deeper on one material. At this point my professor suggested me to pick one material and explore it as far as possible. I followed this suggestion and limited myself from that point to the redwhite construction tape. What I liked about it is that you can create visually strong installations in a very short amount of time. And it’s easy to confuse people with that material because they know it just in an official context. „Ah, this must be a construction site. I better don’t go there.“ So when you use it as a material to produce art you can easily create confusion. „Well, I know this material. But why is it necessary to put it several hundred times over this little stream? Is there something wrong with the water?“ When I did a lot of interventions with this material this dominant meaning which lies in the material itself became a limitation for what I wanted to say. So I decided to switch the material to something that is less easy to put into a certain category at a glance: stretch foil. It’s as easy to handle as the tape. Additionally I was now even able to create sort of rooms with this material. When I first happened to get to know Bitte Alles Ändern – All Change Please I tried to relate all the visual information and the interaction with the environment to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual unity suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: rather that a conceptual interiority, your approach reveals the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

As mentioned before the whole project started very intuitively. The more interventions I did the more I got to know what I wanted to do – and what I didn’t want to. But the general approach always

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detail of installation for the Immergut Festival, Neustrelitz, 2015

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Das Floriani-Prinzip an interview series on the topics of asylum and refuge, one spread of an interview with a refugee, 2014


ART Habens

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Das Floriani-Prinzip an interview series on the topics of asylum and refuge, one spread of an interview with a refugee, 2014

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remained to be driven emotionally and less rational. In a way I take the public space with this project as my playground and allow myself to be a child which just want to play. Why not wrap this bus stations with black stretch foil? Wow, it looks like an UFO now! But this playful approach is just one layer. If you take a step back and look at the overall outcome you can also see a a political position in it. Why is it called public space if nobody use it for anything else but passing trough, passing by. Why not make public space YOUR space. Shape it as you’d like it to be. It doesn’t need to stay there until the end of time. The plastic foil I use can be taken down as easy as it it can be installed. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, during your€studies you€became more and more€aware€of€social€responsibility: many artists from the contemporary scene, as Thomas Hirschhorn or Michael Light, use to include socio-political criticism and sometimes even explicit messages in their works, that often goes beyond a mere descriptive point of view on the issues they face: it is not unusual that an artist, rather than urging the viewer to take a personal position on a subject, tries to convey his personal take about the major issues that affect contemporary age. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a more neutral approach?

It’s not my very first intention to persuade someone of my political opinions. Nevertheless, depending on the project, it can be a side effect. I’m not a big fan of people telling me what to think about whatever. And neither I dare to think I have the „right“ opinion about anything. I think there are as many realities as there are people on this planet.

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ART Habens

Naim El Hajj

Of traveling and lingering

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group exhibition with Lucy Kรถnig, exhibition view, Halle Saale, 2015


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When I did „The Floriani-Principle“ which deals with the topics of asylum and refuge I wanted in the first step increase my own knowledge about this topic. „Accidentally“ this project made me more aware about politics in general and the topic of refugees in specific. My aim with this publication is just to give people the opportunity to broaden their perspective on this topic. My only so-to-say political statement in it is the selection of people with which I spoke. I only offer a stage for refugees, people who support them or at least don’t work against them. So I try to not be too offensive with telling people my political ideas through my works. But I think when someone is affected by my work and he starts to think about my position he can easily guess where I stand. Your practice is marked out with a playful and experimental feature: I like the way your works are intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intense interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience: in particular, your investigation about the intimate consequences of constructed realities gives a permanence that goes beyond the 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, I think it’s not possible to separate my personal experiences from the work I do. As everybody is a product of the things he went through – so am I. But I wouldn’t say that I know myself in particular why I do what I do. It might be possible to construct some theories around it. E.g. one could say that I missed attention in my early childhood which I still nowadays try to compensate by doing art and being seen with this. It might

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Bitte Alles AĚˆndern / All Change Please installation, Wismar, 2011

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Bitte Alles Ă„ndern All Change Please, installation, Halle Saale, 2011

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be like this –€or maybe it’s totally different. I don’t find it important or helpful to rationalize myself and my output like that. In a way I just take it for granted that I am how I am and resulting from this doing what I’m doing. If Art could be considered a form of communication, should the creator and the audience have the same background that ask as a common language capable of conveying a variety of concepts?

No, I don’t think that it’s a necessity to have the same background to find a common ground for the understanding of an artwork. At least how I understand and do art I try to create something that can touch everybody, regardless of social, economical, religious or national background. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that what I’m doing is something that everybody can understand. But I think it doesn’t refer to a certain background or education if you feel touched or not by my works. You seem to draw inspiration from an universal imagery and the images you offer to the viewer are immediately fruitable. This feature of your work induce the viewer to enjoy your Art in such an absolute way, that goes beyond any track of contingency, in the sense that you do not refer to the categories of present, past and future. Rather, you seem to encourage a spontaneous communication with the viewer, who is encouraged to elaborate personal interpretations and extract autonomous aesthetics. How is the importance of the aesthetic problem in relation to the chance of the viewer to catch the concepts you translate in your work?

Well, I wouldn’t agree that I don’t refer to present, past or future. As I mentioned before everyone is who he is because of his very own way. But I can ensure you that my

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main goal is to build up a spontaneous relation with the audience. In the best case it doesn’t remain only a short term affection but triggers something so one thinks further. It’s a very pleasing and sometimes surprising to hear peoples feedback to my works, because that’s what it’s all about for me: touch people with what I do and start a dialogue. As I mentioned in the beginning my focus of doing art and design shifted towards the content. This has the highest priority for me and aesthetics stand in the second row. This is why I actually don’t see an aesthetic problem. For me it would just be a problem if the form was more important than the content. The experimental nature of your practice is more important than its implementation and the variety of techniques you use to materialize your ideas create unpredictable effects: how important is the role of chance in your process?

I have an ambivalent relation to chance. On the one hand I like to go with the flow, see what happens and be surprised. On the other hand the chance can be annoying as well or I get the feeling that a certain creation is not my very own child but just something that happened by accident. But as I think about another idea appears. If you analyze the german term for chance „Zufall“ you can also perceive it as something which comes to you with certain. It puts a different light on it than you look at it most of the time as being something accidentally. Maybe one can say that you might have no control about it itself, because there is something bigger than the human will which leads you. But you still have the choice how to react to a certain incident. For example if I work with the Riso, a print machine similar to screen printing, and the paper comes out to fast

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Pixel in Public installation, work in progress, Halle Saale, 2011

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and drowning in ink so it sticks to the next one –€I can either become angry or disappointed that this ruins the whole copy – or I can appreciate that this makes each book unique. I’m sure that it’s always a matter of perspective.

this limitations. There are two criteria which I reconsider when applying for something: the artistic and the financial benefit of it. If none of this factors is given it doesn’t lead anywhere for me. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Lukas. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

In regard to my installations in public space chance paired with intuition to me mostly resulted in success. When I start an installation I never fully know what the result will look like. So it might happen e.g. that I put a lot of red-white construction tape parallel to each other in a small distance to the ground on a lawn and just in the end I realize what it looks like when the wind interacts with the material – that it might add a hypnotic touch to the work.

Haha, I’m pretty happy that I’m unable to predict the future. I can just say from my point right now after finishing my studies I feel as free as never before. And a lot of things turn out in a good way. I have a six-month scholarship Bremen right now where I’m working within an interdisciplinary team on the topic of space travel. Besides that I already had eight exhibitions this year and there are a few more to come.

The multilayered experience you provide the spectatorship of seems to reveal the will of deleting any linguistic barrier between the viewers and the ideas behind your work, highlighting your effective communicaton strategy. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I had a short-term artist-in-residence in Spain and did some video shootings which I right now transfer into a music video. In the beginning of October my scholarship ends and I’ll move to Leipzig. There I’ll buy my very own Riso and proceed doing books. The next one will be on the topic of garbage. I don’t know yet how I’ll afford living but I just trust in the way things go.

I don’t perceive the reception of the audience as a limitation for what I do. I’d say it’s almost the opposite: Whatever I do, I don’t only do it for the sake of doing it, but also to reach an audience and to start a dialogue. As I’m working in a lot of different fields I don’t feel myself limited by anything except maybe by myself. I can do installations, whether it’s commissioned or self-commissioned. If it’s a commissioned work for an open call I think about before I apply if my way of working fits there and if I need to limit myself in any way – and if I can deal with

Summer 2015

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

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Naim El Hajj

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Pixel in Public installation, work in progress, Halle_Saale, 2011

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Pixel in Public, installation, Halle Saale, 2011

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Krzysztof Slachciak Slachciak Christopher Ślachciak, born in 1983, Poznań, Poland. He graduated from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań with masters degree in Korean Studies and on Poznań University of Economics he did postgraduate studies in field of Business to Business Marketing with thesis on commercial photography. He is interested in photography since highschool and since 2008 he has run his own commercial photography studio in his hometown. Since 2011 at the invitation of professor Wladimir Włoszkiewicz he has been conducting practical lessons of photography, and lectures of composition for the Architecture Department's students at the Poznań University of Technology. Since 2013 he has run photography section of the Artistic Science Club. Until now he has shown his works during four collective and seven indyvidual exhibitions. He has also curated three student's exhibitions. Apart form photography he also sails, rides a horse nad skies during winters. In students years he raced cars and even won some trophies, but gave it up for taking photos. My works during couple of years has gone throught some evolution. I started with stilised portraits and geometric architecture, gone throught technics of multiexposure and photosinthesis, and now, however unelegant it sounds, I make some abstract figurations. My favorite aspect of photography is observing how viewers react to photos. I never try to make people think exactly what I meant it sounds dull to me. Instead I look for reactions where viewers have their individual thoughts, their own ideas on what they can see. This is when I am pleased with what I do. Why do I do it? For fun, nothing more.

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Krzysztof Slachciak

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

After having explored techniques of multiexposure and photosinthesis, Krzysztof Slachciak is now accomplishes an effective investigation about abstract figuration. His recent works reject any conventional classification and go beyond the usual dichotomy between representation and abstraction and subverting elements from environmental and human imagery, urges the viewers to find personal associations and free interpretation of his insightful manipulation of images. One of the most convincing aspects of Slachciak's practice is the way he walks us into a liminal area in which memory and perceptual processes find an unexpected point of convergence. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Krzysztof and welcome to ART Habens. I would start this introductory part of our interview with a couple of questions about your rich background. You started to nurture your interest in photography at your highschool's years and since 2008 you run your own commercial photography: despite this remarkable experience, you didn't attended any formal program and you accomplished a very high level in education in the fields of Korean Studies and Business to Business Marketing. First, I would like to ask how this variety of experiences has impacted on your evolution as a photographer. Secondly, I would ask your point on formal training, since you currently teach at the Poznań University of Technology. What does mark the crucial difference between a self-taught photographer and an academically trained one?

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your path hasn't been set up for you by someone else. It also means that you have to find your path on your own. I think that my works are influenced not only by my education, living in south Korea, sailing or rally driving expirences, but mostly by people I came arcoss. The most important thing that I've learned from my live until now is that the World is very complicated place, and many questions have more than one correct anwser. I mean in arts there are no correct and incorrect ways, there are

Photography itself is just a set of technical knowledge and compositional rules. It's quite simple, everyone can lern this. Lack of artistic education in my opinion, means that

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only those which satisfy an artist, or not. When I look at works of artisticaly trained photographers I always have an impresion that they are going textbook alike ways. Of course, photographer who has artistic education and self-taught one can be on thesame level. The biggest difference, and the most important one is that a self-taught photographers' development isn't governed. It is more risky way, but it might be also more profitable.

satisfaction. This satisfacion consists of two parts. The first one is when I personaly like what I've done, when it is wildcard, when I find graphicaly interesing parts on it, and when it's both abstract nad figurative in some ways. The second part is when I show my work to a viewer, listen and observe his reactions. I don't know why, but I find it fascinating how different reactions people have. More varied they are, more satisfied I am. As you can see, I do not try to say anything through my works. It's more like a game for me. I never wanted to be the saver of the World. Despite it's defects, in my opinion, it just doesn't need to be saved. My pure concept is connection with a viewer, that's it. In addition I must say, that sometimes, during my exhibitions, I talk to the viewers pretending that I'm not an author.

Your approach to photography is marked out with a deep symbiosis between several techniques, ranging from multiple exposures to light leaks, from cross processing to liquor stains on the film, which are combined to provide your works of a dynamic and autonomous life. Have you ever happened to realize that such synergy is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from your recent body of works featured in the introductory pages of this article and I'd like to suggest

Everyday work with advertising photography and on the university makes me want to concieve my works only for me and my

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to visit http://slachciak.digartfolio.pl/ in order to get a wider idea of your production. The way you explore the relation with perceptual reality and our

intimate dimension, reminds me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "Nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and

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has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". I like the way you give to the ephemeral nature of human feeling a sense of

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permanence, capturing the essence of human experience. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is

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taking, in fact: subverting both the traditional composition and the nuances of tones, you urge the viewer realize that your work has a different message. What does influence your style?

absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I cannot imagine how any artist can disconnect his personal expirience from his creative process. Even if he dosen't write songs about love based on his life, he is still using his personal expierence in everything what he does. Doesn't matter if he realizes it or not. That's exactly why it's so important. Everything we've done, everyone we've met, everything we've seen and touched, it all has and influence on our character, sence of humor, habits, and defects. We are what we have experienced.

I don't know if I have a style, that's not my judgment to make. But I can tell you what and who influenced my works, except that what I told you before. On the university I work among couple of abstract painters. I think this is where I started to see photography different. One of my tasks there is to make photographic reproductions of their, and their studens works. This gives me opportunity not only to work with paintings but also to talk to their authors. And the biggest influence on me and my demands from photography had profesor Wladimir WĹ‚oszkiewicz, who unfortunately passed away couple of months ago.

Although conveying a sense of spontaneity, your photographs are the result of a lot of planning and thought: after having experimented a lot a variety of technics of multiexposure and photosinthesis, in your recent works you have focussed on abstract figurations. I like the direction you are

While bringing new messages and inviting the viewer to elaborate personal

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interpretations, you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics: the way you recontextualize human body creates a lively combination between conceptualism and beauty, as in the extremely stimulating cialo series. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

Aesthetics problem doesn't exist for me. The last thing I want to do, is to limit myself to any boundries. I limit myself only in my commercial work and its by ethics, nothing more. Most of the time, the hallmark of a professional photographer is the capability to highlight or even to see there where ordinary people can't. Your refined approach seems to stimulates the viewer’s psyche and consequently plays on both a conscious and a subconscious level. How did you decide to focus on this form of photography? And in particular, do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

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of. Instead I tend to treat photography literally: form greek it means "drawing with light", and this is exactly what I try to do. It can work inside of camera, in scanner, enlarger, or even in cartoon box, I like it as long as it's real. It seems that I see it more like a painter than a photographer - so be it. My creative process is all about planing. Every single work of mine is being created in my mind before I'm even close to the camera. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes it stays in my mind and never leaves it.

Photography understood as most people understand it always left me with sence of hunger. When you take a photo of an object, person, architecture or landscape, it's not your, event if you're the best, skills that impress the viewer, but what exactly has been photographed. Photographer is just a middleman or sometimes an interpretor as long as he doesn't start to interfere in what he takes photo of. It might be by composition and arangement, thats when you are more like a movie director. It can also be interference in very tissue of the image. There is a trap in this however. Many Photoshop users tend to change one photographed scene to another, and their aim is to make it look perfect, as if no one has ever fiddled with the image. It's not an art, it's an imposture. I never wanted to be dishonest with my viewers, and I have never found anything particulary interesting in directing and composing what I take photo

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Many of your works are concentrated around the theme of landscape and I find particularly compelling the way you have create a point of convergence between a rigorous analysis of the concept of environment and autonomous, consistent aesthetics. As most of your works, this piece is open to various interpretations: in particular, it communicates me a process of visual deconstruction and semantic recontextualization. What is it specifically about deconstruction which fascinates you

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and make you want to center your artistic style around it?

It is like closing your eyes and imagining street you grow up on. You can see screch of it, some details are sharp, and some are blured. You can't see it clystar clear as on

It the simplest words I can find, deconstruction is transforming objects into ideas.

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the photo. Our mind, our memory transforms objects into ideas this way. Except you cannot show anyone your memories, you cannot display what exactly

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is on your mind. Deconstruction is not an attempt to recreate this process. Instead it reverses it showing how an idea looks like and leaving viewer with imagining

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what was it made from. At least I hope it does. Many contemporary photographers as Edward Burtynsky and Michael Light,

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question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

I must say, I love Michel Light's works, and admitt I didn't know Burtynsky before. Their works are amaizing. I love graphic efects they capture. Theirs' works definately have strong political message. I find it applying to the best photojurnalists' tradition of showing world's problems to the wider audiences. I have never felt confident in this type of photopgraphy.

Yes. I think that the issue of audience reception is very important for my creative process, but in different way it might seem. I always considered the best way to make what you do fast forgotten is to make for everyone.

And yes, I imagined some photographic polytical projects of my own, but never did one, as I couldn't see a point. With all due respect to photojurnalists, the contemporary world is flooded with images, and they have just lost their power to provoke and influence people. After seeing dead bodies in the news, crashed cars on the Internet, pornography and the movie "Saw", what can possibly apply to anyone else but very narrow sensitive margin? My works are not political. They are for me and for stimulating viewers' imagination. Is there anything more precious than imagination?

This approach makes you work for others pleasure. Nighther its satisfying nor creative. I always wanted my recipments to have sort of my sensitivity, so the narower it gets, more I am unique ;) So I make it for me, and through this for others, but not everyone. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Krzysztof. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I dare say that your photos can be considered limitless experiments, with subtle allegorical references. The variety of techniques you merge together creates unpredictable effects to the viewers, highligh: how important is the role of chance in your process?

This is deffinetely the most difficult question. I just don't know what I'm gonna do tomorow. Specialy in the field that supose to be a plesure for me. Maybe I'm gonna use colours one day, or construct big format camera.

I cannot say that there is no chance in my works. Sometimes specific efects are created when I try a new method. Many times its the only time I try it, even when I like what was created. I think that in my works role of chance is more or less equally important as in photojurnalism, eventhough thees are completly remote branches.

I don't know. Until now I have milion ideas, so it's very unlikely I can gues propertly what will I do. If you're interested in my works it's the best to visit my website from time to time, or one of my exhibitions. Thank you so much for this opportunity to channel my thoughts into this interview. I'm greatful.

Your work is strictly connected to the chance to eastablish a deep involvement with the viewer, that are invited to a multilayered experience: so before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a

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

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Yintzu Huang Huang My work tend to focus on my critical views of cultural issue and express my feeling by daily life objects. It could be small as someone’s hair and big as the languages from cultures. While visualizing these topics into photos and videos, I usually try to create a theatrical- like of look to express thought. I like deconstruct how objects “suppose” to be looked like from people’s mind and juxtaposed them with an uncanny, weird feeling when I set up the tone for every new project. I liked moving image ever since I was a kid. In my childhood, I went to movies with my parents every weekend, I watched TV everyday, I even thought TV commercials were sometimes more interesting. This constant exposure of media is what made me want to go to film school. During my days in film school, I encountered video art/experimental films, it was a whole new and different world to me, I totally fell in love with it. I decided to shift my track and began making art videos. For me, when someone is viewing a movie, their role is solely one of a consumer and the interpretation is more direct and obvious. But with video art, there is a conversation happening between the viewer and the artist, which is more interesting and challenging to me; there is more room for the viewer to digest and interpret the works according to their own experience. “Aphasia” is a medical term for language disorders caused by brain damage. When one has aphasia, their language skills remain normal but they can’t speak or write. Sometimes, patients can sing but cannot talk. To me, the condition works as a metaphor to express how Taiwanese people have felt in the last 100 years. Taiwan’s political identity has been in constant flux, very often switching regimes and even languages. People on the island were expected to be loyal to changing regimes and nationalities. The language of education kept changing, as did what was being taught. People needed to translate themselves all the time and learn new languages, new ideas of who they were; just to be able to get their education or earn a living. By representing the facts of literal similarity and the mentality crisis due to the second-hand expressing, I think the process of making this piece was also a help for me to know who I really am and build up my own cultural identity.

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

Yintzu Huang's aesthetics accomplishes the difficult task of exploring the liminal area in which cultural substratum affects the relationship between perception and memory: her process of deconstruction and assembly of memories suggests a refined investigation that provides the viewer of an unexpected Ariadne's thread. One of the most convincing aspects of Huang's approach is the way she unveils that that Art is a vehicle not only to express feelings, but to dissect them, grapple with them, and integrate them into a coherent unity. I'm particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Yintzu, 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 after your studies in Radio and Television, at the National Chengchi University in Taipei, you moved to New York, where you earned your MFA of Photography, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts. How have these experiences influenced your evolution as an artist and how do they impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Yintzu Huang

Before I started doing any film and video making, I was actually trained to be a professional dancer, from age three up until I was 15. After dropping out from dancing school, I started taking more photos and making videos with my dad’s Nikon FM2 and his Sony video camera. My BFA department was called “Radio and Television”, but it was actually shifted into “film and production studies”. During my days in BFA, excepting for the basic film-making training, I encountered video art/experimental films

and it was a whole new and different world to me, so I decided to change my track and began making art videos. In 2011, I started my MFA in SVA, it was was my first time studying fine arts and continued to do mainly video work. I’m sure my theater and film background did influence my style of video work, for example when I combine performance and the cinematic language.

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Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and and I would suggest to visit http://www.huangyintzu.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production: you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, taking advantage of the creative and expressive potential of Video as well as of Photography: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

It probably only happened when I was working on “The moving still”. In this project, I was trying to experiment with the boundaries between still and moving imagery, the exquisite slow motion of people’s slight movement. To achieve that, I chose a high quality GIF as the medium. But other than that, to me, it really depends on what kind of project is it. I believe every project can work with a different medium, it doesn’t need to be multimedia all the time. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from APHASIA, an extremely interesting video installation that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: when I first happened to get to know it I tried to relate all the visual and sound information to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its content: in your videos, rather that a conceptual interiority, I 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 APHASIA, the dialogue, monologue, even the insert scenes of each character and every other detail in this video installation were designed systematically.

To be honest, I used to work more intuitively on my videos in the past, but certainly not this time.

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The way you question the cultural identity crisis and the consequent aphasia of

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people in Taiwan, using your own body to personify hectic cultural changes, lead you to accomplish a stimulating combination between a process of introspection with an analytic gaze on the reality you have experienced for years. In particular, I have appreciated the way your approach brings a

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new level of significance to personal experience, re-contextualize it according to the society the individual inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach, that provides the viewers of an Ariadne's Thread, inviting them to challenge the common way we perceive the relation

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between the outside worls and our inner dimension... You seem to suggest 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

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of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

In terms of encrypting and deciphering, as an artist, this is undoubtedly the most important basis while making art for me. As the encrypting happens during the art-

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conversation between artist and the viewer. Sometimes, I even feel misunderstanding is beautiful to me too. Maybe that the following assumption is stretching the point a little bit, but I think that the continuous switching regimes that Taiwan has experienced during the last 130 years could be compared to the current globalization process. But with a crucial difference: while in Taiwan the imposed changes had the time to create a cultural substratum that lasted for some decades, the unpredictability of today's sudden social transformations is marked out with an intrinsic ephemeral quality that makes almost impossible to a coherent set of cultural features to get established in a so short span of time. In this sense, we may need a a realtime aesthetic ethnography that cold help us to discover our identities, in such a way you did in APHASIA, producing a self-defining context for our lives and experience... do you agree with this analysys? Moreover, what could be in your opinon the role that Art could play in sociopolitical questions?

I don’t think I was necessarily redefining the current Taiwanese identity, so much as asking questions. I'm trying to understand the past and explore who we might be but not trying to define it. As far as the role of art to the social political question, I think art could be a efficient awakening tool for people to enhance their realization of things. I like the way Claire establishes a symbiosys between the personal but abstract idea of home and such a tactile feature suggested by the structural concreteness of the image you captured. While referring to a "fruible" set of symbols that comes from popular imaginary, you seem to remove the historic gaze from the reality you refer to: this way you give the viewers the chance to perceive in a more absolute form, 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

making process, it creates a distance between the artist’s original idea and the viewer’s interpretation to the same art piece, which means the audiences might or might not really get what the artist wanted to express. To me, that also initiates a

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a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Maybe “Claire” is obvious related to my direct experience, but in fact, I do think the creative process could be disconnected from direct experience. For instance, that was how I worked on “APHASIA”, none of those characters are from my personal experiences. But throughout the researching period, I integrated historical materials I found with my own creative experience. Claire invites us to a fullfilment process that involves the viewer's personal memories as well the cultural context in which the represented object is placed. This is a recurrent feature of your approach and you seem to deconstruct and assembly memories in order to suggest a process of investigation...

In “Claire”, what I wanted to explore is a brand new relationship between me and my old belongings by taking photos of those objects in a way differ from how is was placed. To me, it is a process to review and rearrange myself. Your works are pervaded with a subtle but effective narrative, that in an unconventional way, leads the viewer to a multilayered journey in the imagery you explore: The Moving Still has reminded me the idea behind Thomas Demand's works: as he once stated "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. what's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

For my works, even a conceptual abstract one, a narrative is always there, but never needs to be seen by others.

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During these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions, including a recent participation at the 2015 edition of the Festival de videoarte de artistas en la Ciudad de México, 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. As you have remarked once, in video art, there is a conversation happening between the viewer and the artist in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

The audience reception has never been an issue for me while making decision. In terms of the language I use, it depends on the content of the project. And the “conversation” I stated, instead of a real person to person one, I meant the space between me and my audiences to interpret what my work is about, it could be thought in the same or the opposite direction as my own interpretation. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, Yintzu. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

The video project I am working on is an extension of my photography project “Claire”, about how some asians chose to give themselves an “English name” , how they identify themselves with the chosen name and the cultural meaning behind it. By making this new project, I plant continue to focus my gaze and critique on the irrational phenomenons that occur in culture. An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Katherine C. Wilson, curator arthabens@mail.com

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Wanbli Gamache Gamache I am interested in the continuation of memories within abandoned structures and the narrative that follows in the space as new observers manifest their own personal history and interpretations within the discovered and explored locations.Using stop motion video, I am able to construct a new observation that I animate based upon my own personal representation of the found space. I use multiple mediums to engage the viewer on an emotional level as they are provided a medium to explore the presented environment. I find the layout of many abandoned areas as a form of abstraction and it is exciting in the process of trying to make sense of the misaligned layout. Also, the choice of using stop motion is to exemplify the idea that memory is not fluid, but instead it is formed by small, strung together moments. With every frame I create a new set of memories that branch from the observed reality. The video is a instrumentation for the viewer to experience this space using sounds recorded on site, color manipulation, animated drawings and objects, and also the process at which I interact with the locations. In the work the viewer and I are able to explore and have a connection that extends from my initial experience within these environments. Wanbli Gamache

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

Wanbli Gamache accomplishes the difficult task of extracting a compelling narrative from an investigation about the continuation of memories within abandoned structures: in his work Excavations that we'll be discussing in the following pages, his versatile animation style draws the viewers into an area in which perceptual dimension and an engaging abstract gaze on the reality we inhabit blends into an unexpectedly consistent unity. One of the most convincing aspects of Gamache's practice is the way he establishes an area of intellectual interplay between memory and perception, inviting the viewers to explore the unstable relationship between human intervention and freedom in the contemporary age. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Wanbli and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that has particularly influenced your evolution as an artist?

Wanbli Gamache

Hello! I have been living most of my life in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where I first received a degree in Anthropology at the University of Arkansas. After a few years I began to explore the art world in the form of illustrations for local bands. I have always had an active love for the music scene and the DIY spaces that the Fayetteville community uses to express creativity. After independent exploration in the local art scene, I returned to the University of Arkansas to earn a Bachelors in Fine Arts, while still keeping myself active in the surrounding community. Drawing and painting has been my main focus, though recently I have been exposed

and continue to explore the world of video art, primarily in the stop-motion and animation format. The interest in specific spaces around the area comes from my own experience in DIY venues where local bands would play, emitting a wonderful amount of energy and expression. This led me to an interest on the aftermath of these spaces when the people and activities have shifted into another form. I feel deeply connected to these moments and it allowed for me to materialize many memories into visual and auditory expression.

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What has at soon caught my eyes of your animation style is the way you create a convergence between reminders to universal imagery, as parts of human body and environmental elements, and an abstract, almost conceptual gaze on the elusive concept of space. Such compelling combination reminds me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he states that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". While the conception of Art could be considered an abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a sense of permanence, going beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of those concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Personal experience is very important in my approach. In this particular piece I am commenting about the personal experience that people have within a given space. My own means of artistic expressions always stems from a very personal place, memory, or a specific relationship with an object. I need to have that individualized interaction with a medium to give it a language that reflects my respective thought process. There needs to being a definite connection between the artist and the viewer at an emotional level, so in that I need to have a personal approach to my subject and imagery. I suppose you could say that acknowledging how the viewer may experience the art piece could be a disconnect from direct experience but there is always a subjective and personal touch in what decisions are made. Overall, I would so that in my case, personal experience is indispensable.

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For this special issue we have selected Excavations that has bee featured in the introductory pages of this article: when I first happened to get to know it I tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by your approach, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its content: in your videos, rather that a conceptual interiority, I 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? Did you conceive the narrative of Excavations on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

The process of stop motion is very systemic and calculating, but overall I would say I approach it intuitively. As I explore each space I react to my surroundings that comes from an initial impression of the objects, layout, colors, and the accumulated narrative. I view many of the decisions in a musical sense. The idea of synesthesia dominated my approach as I synthesized the auditory and visual balance in production. I considered the relationships between time signatures and video frame rates, how certain notes within a scale represent colors and emotions, or the structure of songs. So approaching it with a musicality is very systemic in nature but as soon as I began moving, drawing, or playing with the elements in the video, I allow for intuition to take over. The process in each location is reactionary, though I keep in mind a common thread. I want the narrative to be created by private exploration. The process needs to have a strong amount of instinct and energy as I make marks and animate the space. This is very much like playing music. I knew that if I approached something in that way, it would translate those moments over to the viewer. At the base level, I am speaking about how we react to space, so I need to allow myself

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to react intuitively to allow the narrative to become organic. I did have an initial road map in concern to subject matter, locations, and materials. It is important that there is a balance made concerning how the narrative is constructed, very much like any story, I needed the right imagery for the right part in the narration. What goes with the introduction, trial, climax, redemption, and ending? I always kept in mind on balancing each part with particular imagery and pace, but it primarily all came together in a natural way. Your investigation about the the continuation of memories within abandoned structures reveals a successful attempt to go beyond a merely interpretative aspect of the contexts you refer to: as the late Franz West did in his installations, Excavations shows unconventional aesthetics in the way it deconstructs perceptual images in order to assemble them in a collective imagery, offering to the viewer such an Ariadne's thread that draws us into a process of selfreflection. As you have remarked once, "artists are always interested in probing to see what is beneath the surface": maybe one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your view about this?

I would agree that there is a strong contingency in art being a device to explore parts of ourselves that are unexpected, while also providing a means for the viewer to make their own personal connections to a piece of art. My video was more concerned with memories established in abandoned spaces and how it can shift over time with new observers. Subjective decisions in art do come from a place of inner nature and I am sure there were decisions I made at an subconscious level that reflected my own inner nature, but I was more concerned with how to invigorate the space in a strong and

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interesting synthesis of abstraction and representation. While engaging the viewer on an emotional level, your narrative seems to be pervaded with a subtle but effective socioenivironmental criticism: in particular, Excavations has reminded me of the concept of non-lieu elaborated by French anthropologist Marc AugĂŠ. Many interesting contemporary artists, such as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to include socio-political criticism and sometimes even explicit messages in their works, that often goes beyond a mere descriptive point of view on the issues they face: it is not unusual that an artist, rather than urging the viewer to take a personal position on a subject, tries to convey his personal take about the major issues that affect contemporary age. Do you think that considering your work as political in this sense is to stretch a bit the point? Do you seek to maintain a more neutral approach?

I can understand the connection the video could have to economic turmoil in the United States leading to the increase of abandoned structures, but I don't see my work as a direct sociopolitical critique. I am more concerned about representing space by animation and abstraction. I didn't consider it necessarily to be a commentary, it was more of a personalized exploration. So yes, I prefer to take a more neutral approach when it comes to political criticism. At this moment in art, I want to focus on how we view space and what cultural implications that has on what we choose to remember. Excavations is rich of references, your use of stop motion techniques reminded me of Borowczyk's early animation works: can you tell me your biggest influences in cinema and how they inform your current practice?

I have always been very interested in stop motion/animation as an art form. I believe

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the moment I first saw “Felix in Exile” by William Kentridge I knew that I wanted to make something that had emotional weight in the form of stop-motion. His use of charcoal animation stemmed the idea of representing memory in the aesthetic of showing previous frames erased and redrawn over. The extravagant sets and visual power behind Jodorowsky's “Holy Mountain”, and ritualistic themes, has also been a big influence on the starting shots in each scene. The soundtrack by Mica Levi in the feature film “Under the Skin” by Jonothan Glazer was definitely a current inspiration as I mixed parts of the audio. As you have remarked once, the choice of using stop motion is to exemplify the idea that memory is not fluid, but instead it is formed by small, strung together moments: in this way you highlight the epiphanic nature of the ephemeral qualities of the concepts you investigate about. What is the role of memory in your process?

Every little frame of a person's memory is amazingly ripe with information. In one moment they can recall their thoughts while also accessing information in that moment such as sound, colors, smells, all of their surroundings, and their emotional state. I wanted those kinds of little details, and the quickness of those passing instances to be reflective of that. With each mark made, their was an emotional moment graphed to memory. Also, in emulating personal memory, there are holes what someone may recall. This aids me in the stop-motion format with the use of jagged motions and abrupt changes. Many of the sessions were long, so the process with minor movements and applied detailed became a meditative experience. Your captivating animation style is connected to the chance of establishing a

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spontaneous involvement with the viewer I daresay - deleting the forntiers betwee the author and the spectatorship. 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?

Absolutely, I always considered how the texture, color, or sound placed in specific context would transfer to the viewer. Would it be the same for everyone? Or could it be malleable to many different people? I pushed for individualized narrations to grow from my own. I explored many parts unexpectedly as I worked, so that when it was viewed, there was a sense of uncertainty for the individual. It is important for my language to be grounded in a concept but to periodically become abstract, aiding in the viewer's personalized interpretation. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Wanbli. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Thank you very much! In the month of August, I will be doing a project at a local DIY music and art venue called Backspace in Fayetteville, AR, where I will be living in the public venue for four days in isolation and will respond to that experience by animating the space. I will be having a open gallery to combine fixed and kinetic representations of the objects and drawings I will utilize to make a new video in response to the public area. I am continuing to experiment with new materials to animate and new techniques in film to broaden my visual language. http://vimeo.com/wanbligamache

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Austeja Laurinaviciute Laurinaviciute I am a 21 year old History of Art student from Vilnius, Lithuania. I have been taking pictures for the last 5 years with various analogue cameras, including LOMO LC-A, Nikon F3, Zenit-E, Smena 8m etc. My photos are limitless experiments. There is everything you would or would not expect: multiple exposures, light leaks, cross processing or liquor stains on the film, which create outstanding and unpredictable effects. The magnitude of the mountains, the sparkle of the snow, the shifting colours of the sky and all the other powers of nature creates magic in my pictures. Magic is in every process of analogue photography as well, starting with sensitive film material and subtlety of development. To get more diverse results, I let my film roll get more light than it receives from the aperture of a camera. I leave camera‘s door open and let light come in. The light is playing, so am I. Austeja Laurinaviciute

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An interview with

Austeja Laurinaviciute Laurinaviciute

An interview by Margareth Hill, curator

Vilnius Academy of Arts. I had a chance to choose subjects in Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, which deepened my knowledge in moving images and sound. Although it is good to specialize on a certain subject, I am trapped somewhere between sound and image. Love for sound and music must have came from my parents, professional musicians. My mother left the orchestra when I was born and started painting at home; then I met abstract art.

and Dario Rutigliano, curator arthabens@mail.com

Austeja Laurinaviciute is a young artist whose work accomplishes the difficult task of create a lively combination between refined aesthetics and an insightful gaze on perceptua processes. Mixing different techniques, she plays with the creative potential of chance, to create an area in which emotional dimension and perceptual reality coexist as a coherent unity. Her approach invites us to investigate the relationship between reality and the way we perceive it: one of the most convincing aspects of Laurinaviciute's practice is the way she creates an area of intellectual interplay that urges the viewers to explore the unstable relationship between perception and experience. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production.

I was always amazed in creativity process: you do something without knowing how the final result will look or sound like. Personally, I lack of process and unexpectancies in digital photography. I wanted to see how the light works outside 'realistic' and 'correct' imagery. Therefore, since I was 17, I started taking pictures with analog cameras. I bought Lomo Smena 8m in a flee market, rolled Agfa CT Precisa slide film and took pictures of cold and misty October mornings. Although it was mostly the view from my window, double exposures and cross processing played their part. It was like the same sentence, but in different languages. Then I discovered the magic of the film.

Hello Austeja and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? In particular, you are currently a student of Art History at the Vilnius Academy of Arts: how does formal training inform the way you conceive and produce your series today?

Overall, I do not know how formal training influences my series. Possibly, the constant pressure from the environment of adorable artists and their works, and everything that surrounds me daily, encourages me to participate in creativity and leave my own footprint in the world of Art.

Hello! Choosing the right study programme was a difficult task for me since I have always been interested in many things, particularly cinema, sound, nature, birds etc. I was about to study Moving Images, so I entered one of the London’s universities for Sonic Art degree. But then I changed my mind. I wanted to be surrounded by variety of arts, so I remained in my hometown to study History, Theory and Criticism of Art in

I should add that Vilnius is a piece of art itself. Although it is very small and unrecognised, art is pulsing in its veins. It is not only Art's Academy that has toilet switches with art on it; the whole town is infected with buskers, guerilla street artists, Art nights, Street Music days, Light

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ART Habens

Austeja Laurinaviciute

festivals, streets dedicated for poets, teenage poets, bands etc. Art is rebelliuos in Vilnius - it is not only a narrow circle of people who is interested in it - everyone participates in creating art. Honestly, in Vilnius, you will not find a person who is not an artist, or at least does not sympathise for art at least with a corner of his/her soul. Your approach to photography is marked out with a deep symbiosis between several techniques, ranging from multiple exposures to light leaks, from cross processing to liquor stains on the film, which are combined to provide your works of a dynamic and autonomous life. Have you ever happened to realize that such synergy is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

Constant experimenting is essential in terms of creating something novel and innovative. At first, light seemed to be enough to create aethetical pictures. I love light leaks and they play a big part in my photos. But in any form of photography light is the main player! So I tried to do something with a film roll as well. When I was living in France, I discovered anise-flavored liqueur called ‘Pastis’, which straight away became my favorite drink. I though soaking a film roll in my favourite drink was just brilliant! Quite straightforward connection between my personality and photography. So, I took that soaked film roll to my favourite mountains, the Alps and that’s how the project ‘Past is” was born. Anyway, a radical experimenting is not the only way to achieve things I want. Sometimes I leave a film as it is, without any multiple exposures or light leaks. Especially after some vivid red leak ruins what I wanted to express. One of those pure non-experimental image projects was ‘Phraxos’. I named it after a postmodern novel by British author John Fowles which I was reading at that time, ‘The Magus'. The plot occurs on the Greek island of Phraxos. It’s quite ironical because the novel is really multilayered, complex and magical. There had to be at least one double-exposure! But there was none. All the pictures from ‘Phraxos’ are as they would be

Summer 2015

seen from the main character’s eyes in the first novel’s pages. This project at first could appear as a calm and

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Austeja Laurinaviciute

ART Habens

I would start to focus on your artistic

relaxing day at the beach, but I feel the tension behind the frames as I did behind the lines of the book.

production beginning from your Phraxos, Past Is and Arcs, an interesting body of works

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Summer 2015


ART Habens

Austeja Laurinaviciute

featured in the introductory pages of this

to get a wider idea of your artistic

article and I would like to suggest to visit https://www.behance.net/austejalaur in order

production. The way you explore the relation with perceptual reality and our intimate

Summer 2015

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Austeja Laurinaviciute

ART Habens

symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". I like the way you give to the ephemeral nature of human feeling a sense of permanence, capturing the essence of human experience. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as part of the creative process? Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Personal experience is a necessity. If a piece of art is created on purpose to disperse a message, which is not your own, then it is not art, it is propaganda! The picture is a mirror of me as a nature lover, a traveller and a simple life-loving person. I always seek simplicity. My mom is an abstractionist painter. She cares about colour, brushstrokes and space – things that all of us can see at first glance at the painting. She starts and finishes with that and leaves the spectator to think about her work. She just paints. I just take pictures. The message is created in each of our own minds and it is different. I do not aim in creating a message sort of political relevance, instead I capture the beauty I see. But I hope that in 50 years, if someone will be still watching at my photoes, will think of the era of materialistic people, mad about being productive and hardworking, disconnected from nature and simple pleasures. We are living in ages destructive to environment. I am just a person who really misses nature and natural way of living - joy of life. Symbols often do not come immediatelly, but they will reveal themselves within the time, with the work of many artists. Although conveying a sense of spontaneity, your photographs are the result of a lot of planning and thought: one of the things that I have mostly appreciated of your approach is that you seem to be wanting to move beyond standard representation, but not too much beyond it. I like the direction you are taking, in fact: creating what at first appears to be a typical photograph but subverting its compositional elements, making the viewer realize that your work has a different message. What has influenced your style?

dimension, reminds me of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "Nowadays art can no longer rely so much on

You are quite right, I am somewhere in the

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Summer 2015


ART Habens

Summer 2015

Naim El Hajj

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Naim El Hajj

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ART Habens

Summer 2015


ART Habens

Austeja Laurinaviciute

middle. I plan because sometimes too much of spontaneity feels too far from myself and, how you said before, photos start to live autonomous life. After five years of using analogue cameras I can feel the film better, so all the process is not completely random. But I like to try new cameras and they always like to surprise me in both positive and negative ways. I think that it was Smena 8m that influenced me the most. I just loved pressing the exposure button multiple times! Now I don’t use Smena at all, because I prefer LC-A after cutting the bottom of the camera and making multiple exposure button myself. The whole process influenced me to take more and more photos, try new things and new film rolls. For about half a year I didn’t even realize I could put some light leaks. They got on film for the first time by accident. I thought that was the end, but it was the beginning. It has been 5 years, but I still feel the thrill, it is always a game with unknown results. If I fail, I’ll do it again next time. That’s how one film influences another. Of course I spent some time exploring lomography on the web. You know, there are 10 golden rules for lomographers and one of them is that there is no rules. This is how I play. Most of the time, the hallmark of a professional 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 an effective way to speak to the world. 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?

I’ve already mentioned that I seek simplicity. There is a book by Henry David Thoreau called ‘Walden; or, life in the woods’. Author just went to the woods and started to live simple life by growing his own vegetables. It was 1854! In hundred years, New York based Lithuanian artist and the godfather of avant-garde cinema Jonas Mekas realeased his film ‘Walden: Diaries, Notes, and Sketches’. He just filmed his

Summer 2015

surroundings with a small Bolex camera. There was no plot or anything, it was just a diary-film, inspired by the diary of D. Thoreau. Both works

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Austeja Laurinaviciute

showed nature as the most important thing and I totally agree with that. Now I am living in California and I see how nature is treated here.

ART Habens

Pure self-destruction! It’s sad that nowadays people don’t see themselves as part of the natural environment anymore. I am working on

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Summer 2015


ART Habens

Austeja Laurinaviciute

some projects here. Actually, I am just capturing how beautiful mountains are. Maybe, one day I would like to connect my work

Summer 2015

with some real organisation that solves environmental problems.

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Austeja Laurinaviciute

ART Habens

words are from your Alpes series: what I find particularly compelling of this project is the way you have create a point of convergence between a rigorous analysis of the concept of landscape you examine and autonomous aesthetics. As most of your works, this piece is open to various interpretations: in particular, it communicates me a process of visual deconstruction and semantic recontextualization. What is it specifically about deconstruction which fascinates you and make you want to center your artistic style around it?

I love creating new, surreal landscapes. Since being little, I've always imagined clouds as mountains. Although there is no mountains in Lithuania, there's so many clouds! And they resemble Alps. My parents love mountains; they literally brought me up in mountains. When I became friends with photography, I started creating and demolishing landscapes, also the mountains. First time I built a mountain out of two rivers, combining two frames. When I took my camera to the actual Alps, I couldn’t get enough of taking pictures! Your refined approach seems to stimulates the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to focus on this form of photography? And in particular, do you conceive this in an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

My photographs look the way they do, because I like them in this way! I don’t really think about it too much. My friends said that they can already recognize my work. For me it feels like I have just started to know the camera! I guess it’s instinctive. Photography is a feeling, an emotion, a thought. It‘s not what I carefully plan. It must be in some subconscious level. As you have remarked, your photos are limitless experiments. the variety of techniques you merge together create unpredictable effects: how important is the

Another interesting body of works of yours that has had particular impact on me and about which I would like to dedicate some

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Summer 2015


ART Habens

Austeja Laurinaviciute

role of chance in your process?

Chance is everything! Chance is when I go up the mountain and decide take a picture of one particular object. I could’ve missed it, but I’ve noticed it. Chance is the light leak in exact place, creating something beautiful or ruining somebody’s face. Chance is where the liqueur stain will leave its purple trace. It’s not a chance that I decide to take a chance. Your work is strictly connected to the chance to eastablish a deep involvement with the viewer, that are inveited to a multilayered experience: so before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

My photos would be the same without the viewer. In fact, my audience is mostly my friends and acquaintances. Oh, but I noticed that on Instagram people prefer photos with red light leaks. This is the most intense and noticeable color, that’s why we have red traffic-lights. And, there was a new trend with filters. It’s so funny when people put a red light leak on black and white photo! I would not stop taking pictures just because of lack of recognition. Recognition takes time, usually you need to die before you get recognised. I am doing it for myself, if someone likes it, I am happy to share it! Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Austeja. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Thank you! My future projects are my travelling plans. I am staying in the forests of Northern California for two more months and then I will be travelling to the Big Sur. I will also visit other states in both East and

Summer 2015

West Coasts. Seeing new horizon and meeting new people inspires me a lot. It can bring me

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Austeja Laurinaviciute

some ideas. Anyways, for the next few months I am just going to hike and cook potatoes in the

ART Habens

campfire. And take some pictures once in a while.

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Summer 2015

Profile for ART Habens

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

ART Habens aims to engage artists, curators and gallerists in conversation about the role of Art in contemporary society. Inspired by the wo...

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

ART Habens aims to engage artists, curators and gallerists in conversation about the role of Art in contemporary society. Inspired by the wo...

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