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

8 Sunjects 64 References, Installation by Jacklyne Cornelisse

A r t

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

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R e v i e w

Marcus Durkheim

Jacklyn Cornelisse

Chen Jung Kuo

Éva Gajda

Doraelia Ruiz

Rebecca Cherrington

United Kingdom

The Netherlands

Taiwan / Australia

United Kingdom/Hungary

USA

United Kingdom

I am fascinated by how the social frameworks in which we live influence our identity. How much of our personality is determined by our roots and how easy can we adept to new circumstances? Does the country we live in, the generation we 're part of, or the language that we speak change us? Is there a constant. unchangeable core in every human, immune to all external powers? Or is our identity a plaything to our surroundings?

“I intend to create a language that is based on body and its energy. I mainly work with affects, instincts and visuality. During the rehearsals and performances, I create scenarios for the dancers so as to visualize their imagination through their own personalities. I am interested in merging different artistic medium and body performances, and especially in how their interinfluential effects come to different sensations.

My work is very spontaneous in that I see a form and decide it would make a good subject, but then yes, I am quite structured in how I choose my colours and the methods I use. I love wood a lot and yes it is my choice of canvas. I like how it feels alive to me and the different textures it has and how that can influence the final painting. In particular I use reclaimed wood as I want to show a use to something we otherwise discard.

I think things become more interesting when they are broken. In my paintings, I am toying with ideas of broken portraits, tarnished reputations, and how emotions alter how we are displayed to the world at each given moment. In keeping with this quest, I have taken photo-graphs of real paintings in my studio and uploaded these slides into a digital painting program. Once in the digital realm, I begin to “break” the image apart using a wide array of programming tools.

I try to convey my feelings into every piece I do with the different colours and directions, my particular favourite fantasy was one of the first designs I did and I fell in love with it so much that I got a phone case with the design on it so I could show it off more! It's like my own fairytale. My designs are very personal to me, I like people to have a double look at my work and wonder what thoughts were apparent during the design period.


In this issue

Jacklyn Cornelisse Lives and works in Breda, The Netherlands Mixed media, Installation

Chen Jung Kuo Lives and works in Athens, Greece Mixed media, Installation, Video

Mabel Edwards Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Taxidermy

Marcus Durkheim Lives and works in USA Painting, Mixed media

Jung Min Lives and works in Portland, Oregon, USA Mixed media, Painting

Doraelia Ruiz Lives and works in USA Painting, Mixed media Elizabete Caires

Jung Min

Mabel Edwards

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

My artwork is based on daily life; emotions, feelings, colours and shapes. When I begin a painting I don't really have a specific idea in mind as to what it is going to be or look like. I start simply with a line or colour and then things will begin developing and taking shape. I let my imagination and my feelings take control of the process. My work is colourful, expressive and bright, influenced by everyday life and the places I've lived.

My work explores sexuality as taboo through the lens of Korea and U.S cultures with humor. My work explores feelings of ambivalence about sexuality, gender identity, and the body as I negotiate my experience moving between Korean and U.S. culture. Generally speaking, the space in which I reside is a great influence in the formation of my thoughts and beliefs. Specifically, I am interested in the impact of a country’s society, which includes culture and history.

Exploring the gap between senses and visual stimuli, marking the distance between physical and virtual presence, meaning giving and the pursuit of (right to) anoesia in an existential context (absolute freedom), exploiting cultural, mythical, historical and personal imagery (elements and photos found on the web and/or taken by me) into new playful hybrid compositions, hopefully not in need of - but creating, narrative.

Elizabete Caires Lives and works in the United Kingdom Painting, Mixed media

Éva Gajda Lives and works in London, UK Mixed media, Painting

Rebecca Cherrington Lives and works in Cheshire, UK Mixed media, Painting

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Special thanks to: Charlotte Seeges, Martin Gantman, Krzysztof Kaczmar, Tracey Snelling, Nicolas Vionnet, Genevieve Favre Petroff, Christopher Marsh, Adam Popli, Marilyn Wylder, Marya Vyrra, Gemma Pepper, Maria Osuna, Hannah Hiaseen and Scarlett Bowman, Yelena York Tonoyan, Edgar Askelovic, Kelsey Sheaffer and Robert Gschwantner.

8 Sunjects 64 References, Installation by Jacklyne Cornelisse


Jacklyn Cornelisse Cornelisse The past has always had a big attractive power to me. Events that already have happened, how horrible they may have been, somehow feel safe to me. The past itself is unchangeable. Our memories about this past however are flexible and pliant. I am fascinated by how our memories become a new reality in Itself, constructed by real and fictional elements. These days it 's widely acce pt ed that our current identity is the sum of our past experiences. But if we remember them wrongly, is our identity a lie? How does the collective me mory work? How do separate identities melt together into a group? As a visual artist I am fascinated by how the social frameworks in which we live influence our identity. How much of our personality is determined by our roots and how easy can we adept to new circumstances? Does the country we live in, the generation we 're part of, or the language that we speak change us? Is there a constant. unchangeable core in every human, immune to all external powers? Or is our identity a plaything to our surroundings? My work does not have a constant visual language. Every new subject le ads me to a different way of conveying a story or feeling. In a way, I put myself in the service of my project and yield to whatever it needs. My passion lies in the constant experimenting with new materials and media which can result into both still and moving images, installations, sculptures and/or essays. Jacklyn Cornelisse

Jacklyn Cornelisse (1992) is a visual artist based in the Netherlands. After completing her bachelor studies in Photography at the Art Academy St.Joost in 2014, she is currently studying at the Master of Photography in Breda (the Netherlands). Although she's obviously trained as a photographer, she has never limited herself to this medium.

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video, 2013

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

It's not unusual to meet an artists who starts from a single media and then developes a personal approach which involves a wide variety of disciplines: Jacklyn Cornelisse's approach goes beyond mere multidisciplinarity. While trained as a photographer, her work reveals a deep investigation about the expressive potential of the medium: questioning the nature of the medium itself, she effectively use it in order to convey stories, feelings as well as an insightful investigation about the concept of identity in the unstable contemporary age. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Cornelisse's multifaceted artistic production. Hello Jacklyn and welcome to ART Habens. To start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after having earnt your BA of Photography from the St. Joost Art Academy, you joined the MA program in Photography. So I would like to ask you how do these experiences influence your evolution as an artist: in particular, how does your cultural background as a fine art photographer inform the way you relate yourself to art making?

Actually both my BA as MA studies have documentary photography as starting point. So it has been a pretty long process for me to get from there to where I am now. I was very young when I started my bachelors. I had no idea what kind of photographer I wanted to be or could be. All I knew back then was the work of big classics like William Klein, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martin Parr. Real observers who used the street as their arena, hunting for the perfect photo. I started off by doing this as well and was profoundly frustrated when I found out that I couldn’t do it. I saw beautiful moments, but simply couldn’t catch them. Always too slow, or too shy. The academy helped my by showing that there are different roles you can assume as a photographer. Sure you could be a hunter, but

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what about a poet, an activist or a provocateur? And why not become a mix of all of them? I suddenly felt a great freedom. I didn’t have to hunt down the perfect frame in the streets, but was able to build it myself. This freedom developed itself over the years and my focus shifted from technical aspects in my work, to the conceptual side. The academy has become a playground where I can experiment and fail as often as I have to. I am grateful that they have given me the opportunity to experiment with different media

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and not get hung up by the fact that I study photography, so I should take pictures. Process comes first, outcome second. They trained me in a way which focusses on the concept of art. That I should always create a strong base and not go for the first idea that pops in my mind. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It has to be good. This way of thinking continues in the master program and now I feel even more freedom to experiment. Not just with still or moving images but I have expanded my research to more material based experiments. Over the years I’ve found out that the best way for me to learn is by simply doing it. I often have no clue how a certain medium works, or what ‘the rules’ are when I start working with it. This way, I am not aware of its limitations and although it makes me fail just as often as succeed, it allows me to experiment freely. I just love to be surprised by the materials I work with. It motivates me to think of even weirder experiments. I’ve been playing for example with chemicals which can make materials light sensitive. I guess every photographer has an ‘analoguefase’ at a certain point in their career. I love the mystique around the dark room, the physical craft of developing. It’s something which takes time, and cannot be rushed. That moment of seeing an image emerging for the first time, is simply magical. I hadn’t been in the dark room for years, but started wondering at a certain point whether I could transfer that process onto different materials. I wanted to turn the process into a work itself. So I started to experiment with light sensitive gelatine, hoping that after a long period of beaming a specific image onto it, it would emerge within the block of gelatine as some sort of ghostly appearance. Sounds pretty cool and in my mind I was already setting up an exhibition space, filled with these big squares of jello. But so far I haven’t figured out the right recipe or working method. This is just one of the many experiments I’ve been doing recently. I found out that this is where my passion lies, the fiddling with new materials. Thinking of new experiments as I go along. At the academy there’s always somebody asking me “why?”. This forces me to dive even deeper into the concept so that every decision that I make, is a

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deliberate one. You can do anything, as long as you can explain why you did it. You are a versatile artist and we have particularly appreciated the interdisciplinary feature that marks out your multifaceted production, and we would suggest our readers to visit http://www.jacklyncornelisse.com in order to get a synoptic view of the variety of your projects. While superimposing techniques

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and concepts from different spheres and consequently crossing the borders of different artistic fields, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

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extensive research, both theoretically as visually. It becomes a quest to find the core of the subject. What is it exactly that makes it so fascinating to me? What is the most important thing I want to say? I often find a certain feeling to be the base of my fascination. Emotions however aren’t solid or stable. Photography, which is a fixed medium, therefore doesn’t always fit my projects. In a way, I put myself in the service of the project and yield to whatever it needs. This means that my presentation form

Absolutely! Many of my projects derive from difficult questions or complicated social issues. In order to make it more understandable for myself but the viewer as wel, I dive into

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is always subject to change and can result into just about anything. I don’t see myself as a photographer. I call myself a visual artist, in the absence of a better word. It has always sounded a bit pretentious to me. If I may quote a friend and fellow artist, I can describe myself best as “a person who does things”. Making art or being an artist isn’t my goal. This is just the label you get when you studied at an art academy. To me, my projects are just a way of showing my view

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on certain topics. If this makes me an artist, that’s fine with me. But as I said, every idea demands a different way of telling. Sometimes a huge picture in a quiet white exhibition space creates just the concentration the subject needs. Sometimes film is the only way to show a certain motion or process. Audio can be essential in order to evoke an atmosphere or emotion. Sometimes

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styrofoam particles. Sitting (literally) in the eye of the storm, I was physically left untouched. Mentally however, I was immensely touched by the experience. All I could see where changing forms and shapes, as if suddenly surprised by a blizzard. All I could hear was the whooshing of the particles and the machine blowing wind into the room. It might sound dramatic, but this work of art changed me. I kept thinking about it for weeks and wanted to share it with all my friends. I think this is the biggest respect you can get as an artist. A recurrent feature of your work is the exploration of the relationship between the social frameworks we live in and their unavoidable influence on our identities. It's quite obvious that an unstable reality as the one we are experiencing in these years causes an incessant process of change in the way we perceive ourselves and consequently relate with the idea of experience. Many interesting contemporary artists, as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to include socio-political criticism and sometimes even explicit messages in their works, that often goes beyond a mere descriptive point of view on the issues they face: it is not unusual that an artist, rather than urging the viewer to take a personal position on a subject, tries to convey their personal takes about the major issues that affect contemporary age. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

Honestly, I have always tried keep myself far from politics, but I cannot deny that the subjects which I choose, can be linked easily to current political or social issues. I have a huge respect for people who feel the need to fight for their believes, who dare to stand by their ideas and do not let anyone distract them from their goal. I do however hate people who try to shove their believes down someone else’s throat. As an artist I try to find a balance between the two. I believe that there is no absolute truth. Every story has many different angles and it’s impossible to show all of them. I think a neutral approach can be useful sometimes. It allows the viewer to come up with there own opinion in stead of you offering yours on a golden plate. I

you need all of them in order to show different chapters of one topic. I personally have a big preference to art pieces which include all of my senses. Which make me forget just for a moment where I am. One of my favorite art pieces is Nemo Observatorium by Lawrence Malstaf, a Belgian artist. He created a big circular space with see-through walls. In the middle stood a chair with a button which, when pressed, created a tornado of uncountable tiny

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like to have an active viewer, someone who thinks for himself, not simply accepting what’s been given. Being clear on your position or even exaggerating this, can work really good as well. It will always trigger a reaction with the audience, and even if they don’t agree with you, at least they’re thinking about your ideas and this is the most important. All I want to do, is make people aware of certain issues. I don’t like to fill in too much for the viewer. I do try to answer some of the questions within my presentations, but prefer to evoke even more questions, just to get people to start wondering. It’s not that I’m trying to teach them to live a better life, or impose my opinion as superior. I just want to show a different view. Hoping they’ll think: “Well… I’ve never thought about it that way…” I hope I can trigger their curiosity. If they leave the exhibition wanting more, I’ve succeeded. They’ll start looking on their own. They’ll continue the discussion and keep the subject alive. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Rate/Comment/Subscribe, an interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What at once caught our attention of this installation is the way it unveils subtle but ubiquitous process of semantic saturation that nowadays affects not only the internet, but our society in a wider sense: in particular, rather than simply bombarding the viewers with a sequence of unrelated images and sounds, you seem to urge them to find unexpected relations between apparently unrelated ideas. Would you like to introduce our readers to the genesis of this project? In particular, how did you develope the initial idea?

It was during the first months of my graduation year that I started to get frustrated by how often I was distracted. I felt the pressure to come up with a new project, but simply couldn’t focus. My thoughts wondered off every five minutes and I often found myself surfing the net, watching ridiculous cat videos on YouTube or reading useless articles about which hair color is best for

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my skin tone (which is a medium coppery blond, by the way). I noticed that after a while, I didn’t even take in what I was reading. I was simply clicking away, hungry for more. I started to realize that I was addicted to this overload of stimuli that my phone and laptop were giving me constantly. Whenever I had a spare moment, I automatically took out my phone. Apparently unable to ‘just be’, I constantly needed something to keep me entertained. I got used to this lifestyle, and now I was hooked. I cannot imagine a life without mass media, and why would I? As a child of the 21st century, I was raised with the many comforts of the digital life

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and loneliness seems unimaginable when all your friends fit into your pocket. But still, I started to get more and more irritated by my phone and internet as a whole, so I decided to make this the focus of my graduation project. After some research I realized that this constant overwhelming feeling I had from excessive intake of information, was the most important aspect I wanted to convey. I experimented with many different things, but after some time I understood that showing the viewer how I felt, wasn’t enough. They had to feel it, experience this saturation first hand. This couldn’t be done

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included crescendos, sudden breaks, grand finales etc. I used the 3D-aspect as a tool to get the viewer moving. You want to see everything, but this is impossible because whenever you’re focussed on something in front of you, you’ll hear something behind you. What will you do? Are you fascinated by the image before you or will you move along with the whirlwind I created for you? The multilayered experience provided by Rate/Comment/Subscribe plays both on the subconscious and the conscious sphere, bringing a new level of significance to the concept of noise, which you seem to consider not only as a by-product of hectic contemporariness, but as an independent concept, that deserves a particular attention and that we maybe need to decode. In particular, you seem to highlight the creative potential of aleatory processes in the extraction of meaning. While walking our readers in performative aspect of this work, would you like to shed a light about the role of randomness in Rate/Comment/Subscribe and in your approach in general? In particular, do you think that chance could play a creative role?

Although the images may seem random, I can explain of every single one why it’s there. In the installation I start with a simple conversation between two people. I used two robot voices who read text messages out loud which these characters send to each other. ‘How was your day?’ ‘What shall we have for diner?’ From this conversation I pick words which become the starting point of a stream of associations. I start for example with a cooking show. The cook is making dessert using watermelon. - flash Chinese growing square watermelons in cages flash - Little girl, dancing in a cage at a beauty pageant - flash - barbie commercial - flash - guy who shows his doll collection - flash - scene from horror movie with speaking dolls - flash - violent action scene - flash - satellite footage of a bomb exploding in Iraq. This goes on and on and on. I don’t just associate on content but also on colors, shapes or movements. Sometimes I show something completely different, just for the fun of it. This is, to me, exactly the behavior we have on the internet. It all starts with one link a

with photography or film. I needed to literally submerge my viewer into this raging storm of images and this is exactly what I did. I build a installation with four towers, which each consisted of four screens. These towers were placed in a square and surrounded a small stage which has just enough room for one person. The sixteen screens towered over the viewer in such a way that it would almost feel claustrophobic. I started composing the stream of images in a way quite similar to how a composer writes a musical piece. I created a structure which

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friend sends you and two hours later you find yourself awakening from some sort of zombie mode, while scrolling through the honeymoon pictures of some random stranger you found on Facebook. Since all the images I show, were found on the internet, I often encountered this problem myself while working on the installation. I’d start out with a very clear idea on what I needed for a certain part, and ended up with ten unrelated videos which were also amazing, but had absolutely nothing to do with what I initially wanted. Chance does play a significant role in my way of working. I like to get surprised. There’s no fun in diving into a research when you already know what you’re gonna find. Entering a new project is like entering a new relationship. First everything is new and shiny. Every new detail fascinates you endlessly and you’re sure, this is gonna last forever. After some time, you get into some sort of daily grind, you’ve found a rhythm. Still nice, but rather safe. Then, a bit further down the road, you feel that something has to change. You’re looking for something but you’re not quite sure what… You’re wandering around, searching for ways to spice things up. This is where the real fun starts. You’ll plunge into adventures while having no idea where you’ll end up. Knowing you’ll probably fail, but doing it anyway. These are the moments that you’ll get surprised. Anything can give this jolt. It could be as simple as forgetting to change the settings on your camera which turn out to make the picture exactly what it needed to be. A friend can come up and say something completely unrelated, you see a show or go to a lecture and then without any warning, something clicks. And you know what to do next. The creative process to me is all about experimenting and failing most of the time. Failing is often seen as something negative, but to me it often helps me make things clear. A photo might not always work for what you had in mind, but it can make you think of completely new ways of telling the story. “If you’re not willing to risk the unusual, you’ll have to settle for the ordinary.” We have appreciated the variety of media you incorporate in your works, and in particular the spontaneous way you use them in order

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

I think art and technology have always gone hand in hand. Both are avant garde, constantly pushing boundaries, moving forward. New media definitely create a stronger link between the two. It’s like the nerd and the weirdo finally got married. I really like it when two different worlds merge. It often provides new ways of application. But I do agree that the last few years art has become less tactile. Many new technologies are digital. Think about Google Glass, the Oculus Rift or video mapping. All of these techniques create a new layer on our reality. It gives us an opportunity to look in a different way at our world. It provides new insights, which is wonderful. The only thing is, we can’t touch it. It’s there, but at the same time it isn’t. Everything is ‘in the cloud’ these days. But is something digital not real, simply because we can’t touch it? (A great point of discussion, on which I’d love to do a project one day, by the way) At the same time, new techniques are used by artists which do make ‘very real’ objects. There has been however a shift in craftsmanship. We went from the ones who make it, to the ones who design it. We create less with our hands and more with our minds. 3D-printers or laser cutters give us the opportunity to do so many new things, which weren’t possible until now. Take for example fashion designer Iris van Herpen. She designs clothes which aren’t sown, but 3D-printed. It produces seamless material and can create more complex forms within a piece which isn’t possible with other manufacturing methods. It’s great. It’s groundbreaking. But the romantic idea of

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creating an object from scratch with your own hands, seems to become less important. This gives a different relationship between artist and art piece.

working without needing anything else than a brush and some paint. But I’m not. I can’t do everything on my own. And why should I? I am not a homo universalis and although this frustrates me from time to time, it’s also kind of nice to be able to have some blind spots. Imagine the pressure if you have to be good at everything…

Another great example of an artist who uses new technologies is Daan Roosegaarde. If you haven’t heard of him, please check out his work. The guy is a genius. His projects make a bridge between art, technology and society. In a way he is a hopeless romantic, trying to create a better world for his children. He designed a bike lane which looks completely ordinary during the day, but at night turns into a glowing path, inspired on the painting Starry Night by Van Gogh. ‘Glowing Lines’ as he calls it, are lines which are charged during the day and glow at night for eight hours, using smart paints and other complicated processes. In a different project he is experimenting with glow in the dark-trees which would make street lanterns unnecessary, using the bioluminescence which is similar to for example fireflies.

I guess you have two options. You can try to learn everything yourself and continue to fiddle on your own, expending your own capabilities but staying on the surface. Or you can start a collaboration with another professional and together bring the work to a higher level. Right now I’m working on my very first film documentary. In the film industry it’s already very normal to work with a team where every member has his own specialty. Together they create something which one person would never be able to do. It felt very strange for me in the beginning to hand over some of the work to another. For this project I had a cameraman and although we built the frame together, he was the one holding the camera. It was then that I noticed, how I was drilled to be a photographer. I was constantly checking the borders of the frame, whether the image was balanced. My cameraman was thinking more in narrativity. If we film this frame, what angle should come next? Now, I can’t speak for every artist, but I will definitely collaborate more in the future. Not just for movies, but also in different projects. I get inspired by other artists, how they work, how they think.

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled 8 subjects 64 references, a stimulating collaborative project that has involved eight photographers with different backgrounds. Collaborative practice is today an ever growing force in Art and that that most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project... Have you ever happened to realize that such synergy is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts? By the way, the artist Peter Tabor once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of several practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists?

In 8 subjects, 64 references I was part of a group which contained 8 photographers. We had an idea which was very simple. We made work with words like ‘load’, ‘mutation’ or ‘counterpart’ as starting point. Every two weeks we would get together, discuss the work, make a selection and based on the selected pictures, we came up with a new word, which became the base of the next picture. Almost every meeting I was convinced that someone would have made the same picture as me. Because in my head, there was just no other way to depict the word we chose. I was proved wrong every time. It was great to see how everybody makes different associations. How everybody’s background influences the view they have on certain topics.

Those are some inspiring words… and I totally agree with them. The romantic idea of an artist who works in solitude in his studio and emerges after some time with new work, is no longer the status quo. I guess it all depends on what kind of an artist you are. Some simply do work best when completely cut off from ‘the real world’. There are moments that I’d give anything to be a painter who can just close the door, ignore everybody and start

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well, deciding everything democratically which lead to endless discussions. In the end what tied together all the separate works, was the way we presented it. We collaborated with lighttechnicians who created a system where every separate subject was put in the spotlight for a certain amount of time, while the rest of the room was a state of twilight. This way we guided the viewers through our exhibition, giving an extra layer of experience to the audience.

Most of us just graduated from our bachelors and to be honest, I was feeling a bit rebellious. After years of constantly explaining what every single detail in my work meant, all I wanted to do was just to make pictures. So I took this opportunity to depict some of the images that I had in my mind for some time. Through discussing these images with the group, we all got influenced by each other. We learned a lot during this period on how to fit all these different visions in one group exhibition. It made us more aware of who we were as artists and I guess you can feel this in the exhibition. It became a patchwork of eight completely different views on eight completely different subjects. In a way it was a social experiment as

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Your investigation about the process of choice in lijdend voorwerp seems to refer to the necessity of going beyond any symbolic strategies to question the relationship between reality: I would take this occasion to

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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?

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ideas that I have. I use my art to understand my surroundings better and I allow myself to explore whatever subject is relevant in my life at that moment. By researching what role certain topics play in my own life, I hope to show the public a different point of view. Jacklyn ‘the person’ can learn from whatever Jacklyn ‘the artist’ is researching and visa versa.

I guess it would be difficult to find an artist who doesn’t get influenced by his daily life. I certainly cannot make a clear distinction between my personal life and my professional practice. I can get inspired by just about anything. A conversation I hear, a book I find, a dream I have, a documentary I see, every experience influences me. I try to keep track, quickly sketch images that pop into my head, but honestly I am to chaotic to remember all the

The project Lijdend Voorwerp arose from another frustration I was struggling with at the time. I was raised with the ideal that I can do anything, or be anyone. Initially this sounds amazing, but it brings a huge responsibility. Everything is possible these days. I am given countless opportunities and I want to try them all. Being able to choose is a good thing, so more

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possibilities is better, right? But constantly in the back of my mind I was worrying. What if I don’t make the perfect choice? It’s there. What is my choice was just ‘good’? ‘Good’ has been downgraded until it became the equivalent of failing. If I don’t choose the perfect option, this is my fault. Because I could have just as easily chosen something else. I guess this overkill of

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choices is something many people struggle with these days. All these choices made me crazy, so I started to wonder how I’d feel if I had no choices to make. If I’d, just for a moment, give my responsibilities to someone else. This idea became the base of my project. Of course this has close connections to some of the works of Marina Abramovic, for which I have huge respect.

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had control over me. It was a social experiment for both parties. To me it was all about boundaries. What would I do if they’d cross it? Would I break? Would I be scared or enjoy having no power? Most of my ‘collaborateurs’ felt completely uncomfortable with the power I gave them. This was the one moment they could do anything with me. So what ever they’d make me do, it had to be good. All of a sudden they were faced with the pressure I had just escaped. They had absolutely no idea what to do with me. Some instantly started to abuse their power. Made me clean their bathroom, or forced me to eat cigarettes. Some however tried to turn it into something positive. A boy used me to make his dream of throwing a cake in someones face, come true. One girl even decided she wanted to help me learn something which I’d find scary. She taught me a very simple trick of standing on a chair and making it flip over. In the beginning I totally hated that moment when you feel the center of gravity shifting and you know you’re gonna fall. After a few times however, I felt liberated. Such a simple, trivial thing, made me feel like I had overwon something. Something tiny, but still, I felt good. Feeling like this, while I was just following orders was a very special experience to me. I did cross some of my boundaries. A girl made a portrait of me naked, while I felt very uncomfortable with my body at the time. There was only once I felt really scared. I had gotten a blindfold and was told not to react on anything happening around me. Nothing happened, but the suspense, the waiting for something to happen made me think of everything that could happen. I was making myself completely crazy and it felt like I sat there, alone, for hours. I got to know myself a bit better after this. There are artists who make their life an art piece. Every decision they make is deliberate. Every outfit they have is a statement. Every action they make is a performance. I’m not like this. This lifestyle sounds exhausting to me. It’s a huge dedication of which I don’t think I’m able to do. But of course every project I make, influences me. I can’t see ‘the artist’ or ‘the human’ as two separate persons. It’s impossible since they both use the same brains and body.

I started small ‘collaborations’ if you like, with both people I knew as complete strangers. They’d chose the time and place and have complete control over me during the experiment. I’d do whatever they want me to. The only rule I had was that a camera would register the scene and they had to make a maximum of 10 pictures during the time they

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ART Habens

Jacklyn Cornelisse

Over these years you have exhibited€your works in several occasions: and one of the distinctive hallmarks of your approach is the capability to establish direct relations with the audience, deleting any conventional barrier between the idea you explore and who receipt and consequently elaborate them. So before leaving this conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

That’s a difficult one. Although I use my work often as some kind of therapy, the ultimate goal of art is to be seen. What’s the use otherwise? It’s a triangular relationship between artist, work and audience. I think it’s useless to make work which is unreadable for your viewer. You always have to keep in mind where the work will be shown and who will see it. Of course you shouldn’t sell your audience short and make it too easy. You have to intrigue them, not give everything away in one go. I often try to do this through creating layers which can be discovered at different moments. If we look again at Lijdend Voorwerp, this probably wouldn’t be understood by most of the viewers at first. I lured them in by showing the movies on small television screens. The viewer had to come close in order for them to really see what’s happening. Once they’re close they can also read the text explaining my thoughts. Without the text it would be just a collection of obscure videos in which a girl is doing various strange things. I realize that I was asking quite a lot of my audience in the presentation. It demands a certain level concentration to watch several scenes which were filmed in a pretty bad quality. You have to take the time, sit down in order to see what they made me do. If you sat down, you’d find on the bench my publication. This was compiled of all the pictures which were made by the people I collaborated with, which provided another layer. The videos can be seen without the publication and vice versa but

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together the offer a more complete view on the project. This however was still a rather conventional way of showing the work. In RATE/COMMENT/SUBSCRIBE I broke down most barriers and made the viewer part of the installation. The entire piece was presented in a small dark room I built. On the outside you

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couldn’t see anything. You did however hear the noise of all the videos. This was a trigger to enter into ‘the dark unknown’. I always tried to talk to whoever came out and see how they experienced it. Many really did forgot the outside world and were rather disorientated afterwards. Some felt watched and intimidated because they were put in the spotlight on that small podium. To them the

ART Habens

project was more about ‘big brother watching you’ and all the screens made them think of a control room. Some said they thought people were shouting outside of the installation so they hurried back out, convinced there was something going on. These were all interpretations I couldn’t have thought up. It’s bizar to see what the audience makes of it. I guess an audience finishes the

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Jacklyn Cornelisse

tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

project. Without them it would just be a dark room with 16 old televisions showing YouTube-clips. They enter it and bring their own interpretations and associations, which makes it so much more.

That’s an even more difficult question. Truth is: I have no idea. As I said earlier, right now I’m completely focussed on making a documentary. It’s a very different way of working than I did so far and every day I’m learning new things, which is

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Jacklyn . Finally, would you like to

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that at the border of the EU there is a place where freedom of speech remains a privilege in stead of a right. In contrast to other former USSR-counties, Belarus still hasn’t regained its original Belarusian identity. They seem to be stuck in a Soviet, pro-Russian mindset. Although Belarusian and Russian both are official languages, the latter controls all media and other communication. Only 6% of the Belarusians speak their original language. The KGB is still called KGB and Lenin and Marx are celebrated on street signs and huge statues. Apart from that the state controls the system of education completely. It’s forbidden to teach anything outside of the approved curriculum which is still full of Soviet dogmas and other propaganda. During my stay in december however, I got in contact with a lyceum which refuses to teach their children this curriculum and has been educating its students therefore in underground since 2004 in a small home in the outskirts of Minsk. They focus on giving their students objective facts about the history and identity of their country with a democratic approach ánd do this all in the Belarusian language. In my documentary I show the life within this small school. The hopes and dreams of the students and teachers and of course try to shed a light on the complex situation Belarus is in. Right now I’m in the editing fase and things are going pretty good. I do hope to finish this project within a few months and show it during my graduation in June. After this project, everything is still up for grabs. I just started researching group dynamics and I’m playing with the idea to create a recipe for the perfect group. This however is still developing and it has to simmer a bit more before I can tell you more about this. I do however have some shows and assignments coming up which is always exiting to do. I’ll keep busy, no worries.

exiting. It’s a movie about an illegal lyceum in Minsk, Belarus. In december 2014 I went for the first time to Minsk, which was at that time a completely unknown place to me. Of course I did read about it’s history and knew that it was struggling under the reign of President Lukashenko, which is seen by many as the last dictator of Europe. I thought it unbelievable

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

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Chen Jung Jung Kuo “Especially interested in artistic definition of space, I intend to create a language that is based on body and its energy. I mainly work with affects, instincts and visuality. During the rehearsals and performances, I create scenarios for the dancers so as to visualize their imagination through their own personalities.� Chen-Jung Kuo, originally from Taiwan, began dance training at age 7. She went to Australia when she was nineteen, has joined the Melbourne Dance Theatre, Australia. In 2009, She Joined the Mariana Bekerman Dance Company in New York and gets the scholarship program with Jennifer Muller/The works in the same year. After several years dance in New York she moved to China in 2012 and work as a resident choreographer in musical CATS. She is now a interdisciplinary artist, collaborator and choreographer who is experienced in composing pieces with practices of vitality, imagination and behavioral performances. I am interested in merging different artistic medium and body performances, and especially in how their interinfluential effects come to different sensations.

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Chen Jung Kuo

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Chen Jung Kuo

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

By an effective combination of dance and visual arts Chen Jung Kuo brings a new level of significance to each of disciplines she draw from, conveying the creative potential of movement and ambience into a consistent and coherent unity: her coreographies overtly plays with the unheimlich nature of gestural movements, revealing that images tend to exist in continuum, residing somewhere in memory, whereas they inadvertely tends to evoke the present moment. Kuo's work One of the most convincing aspects of Kou's practice is the way she invites us into a liminal area in which we are urged to interrogate ourselves about human beings’extremes of emotions. It is with a real pleasure that we would like to introduce our readers to her stimulating works.

Chen Jung Kuo

Hello Chen, and a warm welcome to ART Habens. We would start this interview posing you some questions about your rich background: you learned gymnastics and dancing since young and in 2004 you eventually completed Box Hill Institute’s Dance and Mangement degree and you inducted to the scholarship program at Jennifer Muller’s The Works dance company New York and the musical CATS chinese production in China. How has the convergence between formal training and your early practice as a dancer informed the way you conceive and produce your current works?

Hello Art Habens! It is been my pleasure to be part of the edition. I guess at early age of my training in school I wasn’t really intended to become an artist or a choreographer. It was, and still is harsh to be really soaked in an artistic environment and independent learning

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when I was trained in the highly institutionalized dancing school. To be a good dancer means you get ‘good’ grade and ‘good’ performance, which doesn’t really offer you any insights of liberal arts. All over these years I’ve seen Taiwanese art school education a site where ‘difference’ is not encouraged at all. The training and knowledge are serving basically for a standardized style of performers who are ‘all the same’. I believe I have something different inside of me. I never give up believing myself, even I am being rejected. So that is a very significant transition when I decided to make a decision to see other parts of the world. Therefore, after failing to apply for formal university dancing program in Taiwan, I traveled abroad and determined to see more,

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Chen Jung Kuo

to ‘see’ the alternatives. Box Hill Institutes in Australia was the very first place for me to start making a real dancing happen. Then ‘Under Dark’, the very first work of choreography of mine came out. I received positive feedback and was tremendously encouraged after that performance. Very fortunately and contingently, that inspiration came from a totally different cultural milieu in contrast to my home town. And that was the moment I experience so much more, remarking on not only techniques but human nature and all its relevance. I realized they need to be ‘seen’ and collected through experiences of emotions, sensations and visuals too. I dance a lot, but I think the more I see the more I’m into choreography these years. Over these years you started a very prolific career as choreographer, that lead you to travel extensively all over the world, exhibiting from China to Australia and New York. How does travelling and the chance to get in touch with a variety of cultures impact on the way you relate yourself to choreography?

At first I wasn’t sure if traveling or leaving home was related to my work of choreography. I just felt like ‘it’s time to be out there and see the world’. Then something in me has got pluralized and multiplied since I was 19, the age I started my journey. What I could tell is, the dance education I received in Taiwan began at very early age of mine and I thought the ‘conservatives’ and their confinement regarding education, life philosophy and humanity came from that. However traveling does help me see cultural alternatives through a western lens: taking risks, being expressive and independent. They are variants of how culture develops their aesthetics. I feel like I’m an adventurous person so I’m quite inclined to immerse in that alternative.

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Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

It’s weird to say so, but I’m always in the state of ‘setting up’. I tend to put regulations and rules aside (well sometimes I can’t because of production period). I don’t see art-making as a mission or a task because that results merely in a poor piece of art. I visualize and I imagine during ‘the process’ a lot, very boldly. The imagination goes to many aspects: location of performance, events, stories, sound and voices, styles of performers, texture of bodies, etc. I have said to my collaborators many times, like ‘go wild’ and ‘safety is boring’. I prefer simply imagining and trying out. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Underneath, an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit https://vimeo.com/user30715427 in order to get a wider idea of it. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

The inspiration of ‘Underneath’ initially came from the year when I was working in Musical CATS Chinese Production in China. In that year I visited Museum of Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders and I wasn’t expecting to see anything in the museum but when I reached a small room exhibiting a ‘sound’ called ‘The Twelve-Second Bomb’, I was absolutely stunned. I heard the sound of that bomb dropping from the sky. It only takes

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Chen Jung Kuo

12 seconds to reach the ground and make people dead and burned and I, at that moment, stood there for at least 20 minutes whereas my imaginations and affects that come right after. They were authentic and there was barely time to make a respond to them. I keep this ‘moment’ in mind and see how that grows in me. So, ‘Underneath’, I do take a year to make it happen from production meetings, rehearsals to actual performance. But images, voices, sounds and thoughts have been already incorporated in my own notes and painting collections 8 years ago. Yet when I was working as a dancer I couldn’t execute this project. However in 2014 I returned to Taiwan, I lost someone I love (very beloved person) and the project was becoming clearer piece by piece. Those images I kept in my head constantly showed themselves so frequently in my everyday life. ‘Underneath’ is just a work of collection of those memories: life, death, pain, fight, struggling, evilness and the uncontrollable. What I did was to speak, to respond to those emotions. Yes I just want to talk, to have a conversation, no idea to whom, but to talk. The way Underneath urges the viewers to interrogate human beings’extremes of emotions and thoughts: in particular, you seem to hint the necessity of going beyond any symbolic strategy to examinate the relationship between a variety of states of mind that ranges from darkness, sorrow to struggle and absurdity. Moreover, the effective way your approach visualizes imagination creates a concrete aesthetic from experience and memories: inviting to visualize imagination... in order to understand the way it offers a translation of reality. So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience is absolutely indispensable as

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

I appreciate that you reach this dialectical comment concerning personal experience and the process. Yes, to me, they are indeed related and connected. I’m not sure whether I could produce it without it. Maybe I could, and I’m attempting to see whether inspiration and creativity would come to me in any other forms. Your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of establishing collaborative relationships with other artistsI do believe that interdisciplinary collaboration today is an ever growing force in Contemporary Art and that that most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project... could you tell us something about this effective synergy? By the way, I can clearly remember the well-known Peter Tabor's quote, when he remarked that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between several artists?

I’m not familiar with Peter Tabor but I agree that the collaboration could achieve a more complete work of art in a sense of constant negotiation and experimenting. In ‘Underneath’, I work with performers from Formosa Circus Art. Instead of working with conventional dancers, I am more into seeing alternative possibilities and flexibilities in their body because their movements are different, and I was expecting that to happen in ‘Underneath’. However their own training often serve for show-oriented performance, so

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Chen Jung Kuo

we spent a lot of time discussing and trying out theatrical elements, aesthetics and different textures of body. It really was a challenge while we tried to reach the real affects and authentic responses that ‘Underneath’ needed. As for the techniques of hanging and bonding, we had a lot of discussions on safety, materials and techniques. When I said to the team that I want the three performers hanging in the air (as an opening of the performance), they think I’m crazy! To visualize the images in my head, we tried out the materials many many times including how performers move while being hung. Architecture and the distance between the viewers and performers are the main challenges me and my production team encountered. In ‘Underneath’, I always told my collaborators to, again, ‘go wild and let’s try something’. I know my sound/music designer are good at authentic and live performance, so I want that. We worked together to arrange how well the sounds or voices, for example, of the mud sliding, ultrasonic, heart beats, could go with the dancers and with the architecture, etc. Same to the projection designer, we communicated through mails very much so as to let her grab the idea of the images, concepts or possibilities. And during the rehearsals she would provide something and we improvised diverse raw materials until we think they could be projected to and immerse with the performers on the stage. ] I have a very clear picture of the visual concepts I’m working on, so I know exactly what is ‘right’ or ’wrong’. But due to many reasons and conditions, sometimes I have to compromise and loose what I originally insisted for, like stage designs. The way your choreography represents the unspeakable suggests us an attempt to go beyond a mere interpretative aspect of the

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reality you refer to. As the late Franz West did in his installations, this work seems to reveal unconventional aesthetics in the way you deconstruct and assemble memories in a collective imagery, to draw the viewer into a process of selfreflection. What is the role of memory in your process?

I’m not sure. It’s hard to demonstrate the feelings (in a rich and complex form) in words. The truth is, I could (maybe) hear the invisible or unnoticed voices and sounds that people couldn’t hear in everyday life. Images and feelings are highly related to my constantly experienced ‘present moments’. They are strong affects to be transformed in my works of art. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impressed us and on which we would like to spend some words is entitled Body&Memory. By definition dance is rhythm and movement, gesture and continuity: your time-based works induce the viewers to abandon theirselves to associations, rethinking the concept of space and time in such a static way: this seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?

Paula Lay invited me to collaborate the dance film ‘Body and Memory’ with her. The film displays the relation among environment, architecture and body. Whereas she provided a core concept foregrounding the shapes and lines of architectures in urban area, I then used my imagination to improvise the relations between different rhythms and flow of the air. ‘Body and Memory’ to me is a very new experimental piece because besides movements, she wrote a poem and we recorded my voices while I read it in the film

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Chen Jung Kuo

feel solitude. In this way I think of myself and my works of art. Yes, because I try not to ‘make’ a performance restricted in a specific space but in an open area, site, or exhibition hall where the viewers found themselves immersed IN the performance, rather than using a specific (usual) mode to see and expect a performance. In ‘Underneath’, there’s no concept of ‘entrance’ so while the viewers stepped inside I wanted them to see three performers hung in the air, hear the heartbeats sounds flowing in the space, and watch the lights filling the architecture. In this case I do think of the relationship between my art and the audience.

--- language is incorporated and I performed without audience sitting in front of me. Your choreography reminds us of Peter Greenaway compositions: you stimulate the viewer’s psyche, working on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How do you achieve such compelling effect? 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 inspirations come mostly from certain images and instincts. I sort of structure them (but not in an engineering sense). I don’t feel fear while collecting and weaving the ‘moments’ and ‘emotions’ as part of my creation. I want them to be demonstrated without too much unnecessary movements but with direct feelings and pure images. I also think they are way more tense and effective than incorporating too many dancing techniques in a piece. ‘Underneath’ is the one to express those ‘affect’ instincts. Simple and direct.

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

Well for now I’m hoping the viewers abroad can see my wild visual art project ‘Underneath’! And now I’ve currently been developing a new piece about a woman in imagination. Again it’s going to be a project of documentary of life, containing a strong concept of visuality as well. I still haven’t tried out and challenged many things but I guess I’ll start from breaking the distinction between viewers and performance and hoping my journey can lead to viewers’ self-reflections through their actual participation within the piece.

As we have remarked in the starting lines of this article, over these years you have intensively exhibited€your works and one of the hallmarks of your performances is the capability to establish direct relation with the spectators, deleting any conventional barrier between the idea you explore and who receipt it. 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?

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

No and yes. No, because as an artist who process through the creations and arts, I often

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photographies by Zin GE/OD Studio

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Naim El Hajj

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Mabel Edwards

The reality of war by Gregor Schlatte (Mixed Media/Installation)

Our reality is of bad quality. It was Hito Steyerl who said, that the internet is the realm of the “poor image”. Opposed to classical photography the poor image is of pixelated, shared, cropped and edited. Our reality mainly consists of those poor images and in a reverse development this poor images assure us that something really happened. Mobile phone shots became the new guarantor of authenticity. They assure us that the person who shot it, was really there, involved, that he/she is a witness.

London-based artist Mabel has incorporated taxidermy into her artwork since 2011. An interest in taxidermy was sparked after

We see this development also in the area of war photography. Most of the photos and videos coming out of a war zone are shot with mobile phones by people involved. The embedded journalist is replaced by the soldier, who shoots his Kalashnikov with one and photos with his other hand. In a way the romanian revolution can be seen as the prime event in this character (as shown in the work “Videograms of a Revolution” by Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica). The revolutionaries took over the TVstation, assuring that the revolution is really happening. The improvised character was not a lack, it actually guaranteed that it is really the revolutionaries who are broadcasting.

Mabel created bejewelled mice for a college fashion project.

In short we can say, that the bad quality photo or video is perceived as authentic. Hito Steyerl called this “the uncertainty principle of modern documentarism”. That for example Liveleak states that it is redefining the media, must been seen in front of that change in perception. To be authentic, a video has to be blurred, out of focus and it has to include moments, where the camera is moved too fast. Of course, a video has also to show some real action, but this action is viewed as true only insofar as those moments of poor filming are delivering a frame. Those moments, where nothing really can be seen, those very moments, are the guarantor of authenticity. Consequently this works centers on footage from the war in Syria and Iraq, which is probably the first war almost entirely documented by mobile phones. The images are extracted frames from those videos, posted on different platforms, and each show one of those moments, which guarantee authenticity.

Mabel has trained with professional Taxidermist George Jamieson

and adheres to all the regulations of The UK Guild of Taxidermists, which she is a member of.

Doing so this work wants to highlight the question, how can we value the authenticity and meaning of a photo or video document, when there is no time to discuss it as the attention already moves to next? Do we depend on those moments of bad quality? Or to go further, what kind of education do we need to cope with this new reality? Kevin Andrews

Summer 2015

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Mabel Edwards

An interview with

Mabel Edwards

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

matters as human impact on Nature, she probes the expressive pontential of the media she incorporates in her works, walking the viewers in a liminal area in which imagination and experience find an unexpected point of convergence. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Edwards' refined artistic production.

London-based artist Mabel Edwards accomplishes the difficult task of establishing an effective synergy between taxidermy and a lively gaze on contemporary art practice. The cross-disciplinary nature of her approach urges us to investigate about the relationship between reality and the way we perceive it: drawing inspiration from urban environment as well as from living

Hello Mabel and welcome to ART Habens. You have a solid formal background and you trained with professional Taxidermist George Jamieson. How has this experience influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular,

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Mabel Edwards

do you think that being exposed to a wide,

Thank you ART Habens, Although I received a triple distinction at college for my national diploma, my background in art is not particularly solid, as I never attended higher education (university). Therefore the training I undertook

international scene as London's one does inform the way you relate yourself to art making?

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from George was absolutely essential to the development of my practice as my creations involve organic material with which a certain scientific method comes as to the preservation, alongside this I was taught how to refine

ART Habens

details to create realistic representations of animals with which it could be said is the basis of my work.

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Mabel Edwards

London is my environment, which is the biggest influence on me. I am completely surrounded by and dependent on technology, which is a theme heavily relatable to my upcoming work. As part of a big city I witness

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mass consumerism and themes of environmental irresponsibility are the core of my recent series Pray for Birds, avian trio of taxidermy.

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Your approach is marked out with an refined experimentation and shows an incessant search of an equilibrium between the evokative parameters of the media and a rigorous practice.

ART Habens

Do you conceive your compositions on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance?

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Mabel Edwards

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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". 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?

My first works were sporadically inspired, at times even during the mounting stage, the resulting positioning or expression on an animal could spark ideas or change the ones I which I had developed about the entire piece. When I started using taxidermy within my artwork my mind was feverish with ideas at the possibilities and dynamics of this new medium. I progressively take more time over each piece and now I always have a clear concept in my mind and clear mindset on what I would like to represent before starting a new project.

My personal experience is relative to part of my process as the ideas that inspire the concepts behind my works are based on things that have an affect on my life or thoughts. My personal interpretation of emotive events or the study of boundaries that people seem to set themselves in terms of emphatic attachment to other living beings determines a big focus on what emotions the end piece of work will conjure up. I wish to provoke a response, which demands the viewer to re-evaluate how he or she assesses the necessity of equality to other species, which are not part of the dominating force of humanity.

I would suggest our readers to visit http://www.mabel.london in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production: an hallmark of your approach is a deliberate subversion of the decorative feature of taxidermy and I have been impressed with the way you probe the expressive potential of the imagery you draw from, going beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials and techniques from a contingent era and a contemporary approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

The Pray for Birds series expressly touches on the fragility of birds and the brutality that the indirect human effect causes in a relentless environmental battle. By using the real organic medium of the skin on an animal, directness in the works further enables viewers to commit to an immediate response that is almost determined by instinctual gut reaction.

Tradition in regards to this medium seems to me like a rigorous practice that has been more driven by science and accuracy than by creative experimental forces. Although saying this; techniques wouldn’t have developed throughout history if the practitioners of the craft were not experimental in their work, which means a level of creativity is essential. I see a contrast in technique and application of the craft but not in the precision of preservation.

Your approach to performance suggests me an attempt to go beyond a mere interpretative aspect of the reality you refer to. As the late Franz West did in his installations, this work seems to reveal unconventional aesthetics in the way you deconstruct and assemble memories in a collective imagery, to draw the viewer into a process of self-reflection. What is the role of memory in your process?

I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from Slick, Bleached Black and One for sorrow, from your recent Pray for Bird series, that our readars have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What most impressed me in this project is the way you have created a point of convergence between a functional analysis of the context you examine and autonomous aesthetics. This

Memory is a foundation for all inspirations and thought patterns, many projects I have been involved in have stemmed from nostalgic interpretations of my evolving thought process-

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Mabel Edwards

es and idealistic view of the world. Through experience I relate what I have found into my works, this is a moral that I carry with me in all aspects of life. Discovery through personal experience is the only way I feel it is possible to refine and develop your own opinion of anything so this lends to how I want my works to be effective in the mind of the onlooker, each person that comes across the works will have their own experiences which reinforce their interpretation therefore everyone has different views and relativity to each piece. Unconventional aesthetics are what make art truly interesting and moving, it is because of a distortion in reality through which comes a purity and perfection inflicted by the human hand. I would like to spend some words about Plaything, which I have to admit is one of my favourite piece from your manifold artistic production: the way you highlight the ubiquitous process of fusion between digital culture and organic matter creates a point of convergence between a representative gaze and an insightful symbolism, that brings a new level of significance to the work. In the effective juxtaposition between organic matter and a reference to a constructed reality embodied by the doll, I can recognize a subtle but effective siopolitical criticism. Many artists from the contemporary scene, as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light convey a variery of criticism in their series and they sometimes use art as tool to question living matters, as the effect of human impact on the environment... Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

My political approach in regards to sociopolitical criticism is neutral because my focus has nothing to do with politics at all and particularly in this piece; I’m more interested in perception of reality and playing with fusions of different forms, confusing the boundaries of organic life and synthetic material. These themes are generally of more interest to me than representing a stance on a political issue, the exploration and evolution of my works stems from experimentation driven by insatiable fascination. ‘Pray for Birds’ touches on en-

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

vironmental issues but as opposed to giving an opinion on the issue, the works highlight something factual, an undeniable truth which exists whether addressed and responsibly handled or not.

I think that the inner nature of ourselves is reflected constantly within each other, art is a manifestation of the beauty and horror everyone is capable of and some artists are very effective at evoking emotion. There are many artists that have affected me; I am attracted to irony and dark humor works by the likes of the Chapman brothers, Banksy, Kelly McCallum, and Polly Morgan. Even the dark sides of human nature can be beautiful and need to be explored.

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, you gather inspiration from your urban surroundings: as Franz West's installations, Dr Mouse reveals an unconventional aesthetics that comes out from a process of deconstruction of accomplished concepts 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 self-reflection. As an interesting artist that I had the chance to recently interview 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

In reverse trend with the accomplished taxidermy tradition, your works never communicate the idea of staticity: in particular, I would like to mention The Last Supper: when I first happened to get to know

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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?

Rarely are systems in place with my artwork, inspirations and whims are normally the motivation. The Last Supper piece was a custom window display for cheese specialists Mortimer & Bennett a delicatessen in west London. The process of this piece was quite structured and well planned because of space restrictions. Over your career you have exhibited€internationally, showcasing your work in several occasions. 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 decisionmaking process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

I guess I do consider audience reception when creating artwork, although it wouldn’t have an affect on the process itself because I would have already determined the concept of a piece, knowing that the purpose of the work is to be enjoyed by others. I would be glad if people appreciated and loved the things I made but I also want to make things that I impress myself by making, which is why I experiment, develop and evolve my artwork. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Mabel. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

The fusion of materials and techniques is what I’m exploring and I’m excited about upcoming multi media projects, diversifying and further integrating my work into digital culture.

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Marcus Durkheim Durkheim 'Marcus Durkheim' is a pseudonym for a body of work titled Is This Not. This work is an exploration into the illusive nature of physical reality and the filters that prejudice our views. During the process of making this work the use of visual sight is periodically omitted and/or replaced with abstracted imagery so that the relationship to the surface, the paint and the objects are altered and reconsidered. The use of a pseudonym is intended to create an additional layer of ambiguity; questioning assumptions and conclusions. The artist 'Marcus Durkheim' has an MFA in Painting, has received a USA Projects funding grant, a Durfee Grant, a George Sugarman Grant, exhibits internationally, teaches Drawing and Painting at Cal State University Northridge, Moorpark College and Ryman Arts in the Los Angeles area. Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise. Surangama Sutra This body of work is an investigation into the illusive nature of physical reality and how beliefs and preconceived ideas prejudice our responses to everything around us. The objects in these works are extensions of the self, inert avatars that acquire meaning through the associations, memories and emotions that we attach to them. In this way the objects also symbolize larger philosophical questions about human understanding and interpretation of existence. I use a combination of realistic and digitally abstracted reference imagery. During the process of making the work I alter and/or omit the use of my eyes so that my relationship to the surface, the paint and the object are further altered and reconsidered. This body of work is created under a pseudonym with the intent of inserting an additional layer of ambiguity; questioning assumptions and conclusions. Rene Magritte. George Eliot. Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Jean Baudrillard. Base 5. Ceci n'est pas une pipe. Marcus Durkheim

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Is This Not A Lulz Oil on panel 16" x 20" 2013

video, 2013

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Is This Not A Hand Grenade Oil on panel 16" x 12" Issue (40.6cm x 30.4cm) Special 2011

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

Holly Boruck's work Marcus Durkheim – Is This Not draws from everyday life and carries out an insightful exploration of mundane reality to a new level of significance, inviting us to an unconventional exploration of the relationships between our cultural substratum and our perceptual process. This series that we'll be discussing in the following pages accomplishes the difficult task of unveiling the illusive nature of physical reality, going beyond the elusive dichotomy between imagination and experience, revealing unexpected viewpoints about the way we relate to the reality we inhabit and convey them into a consistent unity. Marcus Durkheim – Is This Not could be considered as the last step of an in-depth analysis that invites the viewer to find personal associations, creating an intense participatory line: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to these stimulating works.

Marcus Durkheim 1) Hello Holly and a warm welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you hold a BFA, that you received from the California College of the Arts and you later nurtured your education with a MFA: how did these experiences influence your evolution as an artist and how do they inform the way you currently conceive your works?

Painting and drawing has always been my primary means of communication but I have also been a ballet dancer for over 30 years, studied the violin and viola throughout childhood and as an adult I've worked in the animation industry, costume design and set design. I studied architecture as an undergraduate, receiving a BFA from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. For my MFA degree I decided to focus on my primary and first love, painting. I feel

Thank you ART Habens, I'm grateful for the opportunity to present my work in your wonderfully rich and thoughtful publication. My artistic background has included many different areas of the arts.

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that my artistic voice has been informed by the sum of my experiences. Having studied both the visual and performative arts I think this has developed connections to my body in deep and more concrete ways that has in turn, given an added layer of understanding of the physical realm for my artworks. We would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.HollyBoruck.com in order to get a wide idea of your artistic production: in particular, we would like to start to focus on your Marcus Durkheim – Is This Not series, that our readers have already had the chance to admire in the introductory pages of the article. The way your paintings resist immediate classification in terms of their subject matter reminds us of the idea behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". Marcus Durkheim – Is This Not appeals to our eyes because it captures on a multilayered level the inner essence of the stimulating process of deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage that lead you to accomplish an effective exploration of the illusive nature of physical reality. In particular, it investigates, as you state, "beliefs and preconceived ideas prejudice our responses", challenging the viewers' perception in order to rethink the role that our cultural substratum plays in the way we relate ourselves with the outside. So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

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Is This Not Fruit Oil on panel 16" x 20" (40.64cm x 50.8cm) 2015

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Is This Not Love Oil on panel 18" x 24" (45.72cm x 60.96cm) 2014

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Yes, 'Marcus Durkheim - Is This Not' is an investigation into the illusive nature of physical reality. The objects in my paintings are extensions of 'self', inert avatars that acquire meaning through the associations, memories and emotions that we attach to them. In this way objects also symbolize larger philosophical questions about human understanding and interpretation of existence. I'm interested in exploring this idea of communal understanding especially where there appears to be consensus but which turns out to be different than expected, sometimes incomprehensively so, when examined individually. I really like your reference to Thomas Demand's work in relationship to Marcus Durkheim – Is This Not. The "psychological narrative elements within the medium" is definitely a goal in my work and I think Demand's use of paper and cardboard to create simulated scenes echoes my thoughts about perception and the nature of reality. Marcus Durkheim – Is This Not is created under a pseudonym as part of the work itself with the intent of inserting an additional layer of ambiguity; questioning assumptions and conclusions. My artist name, Holly Boruck, is subverted and obfuscated by using my paternal great grandfather's name, Marcus Durkheim. My intention was to create confusion; a purposeful comment on the idea that assumptions will be made but that in fact, each of us brings with us biased understandings. In terms of your question about the possibility of the creative process being disconnected from direct experience, I think that we all, to some extent or another live in the alternate world of our

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Is This Not A Ding Dong Oil on panel 10" x 8" (25.4cm Special Issuex 20.3cm) 2011

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Is This Not A Can Oil on panel 10" x 8" (20.3cm x 25.4cm) 2011

one has to have experienced torture or love or starvation etc. in order to have something to say about these experiences. Artists' psychic lives can be just as real as what we call 'reality'. For me, the creative process includes all stratums of self and experience. What we notice most about your paintings is that there is a dichotomy between fluid lines and realistic representation and then you abstract to tell your story. It’s the composition of molding or joining the abstraction with the realistic pieces to lend plane and spatial concept, inviting people into an idea that makes the work so special. You are conveying an inner vision: what is

Is This Not A Rubber Ducky Oil on panel 40" x 18" (101.6cm x 45.7cm) 2014

own psyche. For example, I don't think

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

During the process of making my work I limit the use of my eyes so that my relationship to the surface, the paint and the object are further altered and reconsidered. I usually begin a painting by rendering a realistic portrait of the object. Then at some point during this phase I place the painting behind a curtain and paint from touch only, I can't see the painting. When doing this I use a visual reference of the object that has been abstracted digitally using filters in Photoshop. When I have pulled the curtain back I'm often surprised (and mostly pleased) with the abstraction and expressive strokes. The act of depriving myself of seeing the painting surface is symbolic of human perception: we exist through our senses and the nature of reality is multi-layered, unexpected and to a great degree, individualistic. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, your pieces seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell through your portraits of objects... this quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and memory. What is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

Indeed, I try not to be literal and overtly explanatory in my work. In fact it is one of my great pleasures as an artist to hear

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Is This Not A Pipe Oil, pen, graphite on panel 11" x 14" (27.94cm x 35.56cm) 2012

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how others interpret my work. I often gain insight into my own intentions through listening to the thoughts and feelings expressed by others. My process involves doing a lot of research and reading about an idea and overall theme that I'd like to communicate; I digest this information and then 'forget' it. The intellectualization of my work comes before I sit down to paint. My creative process definitely draws on memory, the subconscious and emotional connections to experiences and I tend to work more intuitively during the act of creating. We have appreciated your lively gaze on contemporary visual language. The reference between realistic and digitally abstracted imagery shows how art has always been a vehicle not only to express feelings and concepts, but to also dissect them, grapple with them, and integrate them. Your approach seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to explore this form of expression?

I've always been interested in the 'big questions' about human existence, especially our psyche. I read the books of Carl Jung as a teenager and his ideas about the subconscious and symbols intrigued me. I also fell in love with the works of surrealist artists such as Dorothea Tanning and Remedios Varo who used the subconscious as avenues for expression. Another influence specifically for Marcus Durkheim – Is This Not is the surrealist painter Rene Magritte. I especially resonate with his quote that “If the spectator finds that my paintings are a kind of defiance of ‘common sense’, he realizes something obvious. I want nevertheless to add that

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Is This Not A Rock Oil on panel 11" x 14" (27.94cm x 35.56cm) 2014

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Is This Not A Small Bottle Oil on panel 8" x 10" (20.3cm x 25.4cm) 2011

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for me the world is a defiance of common sense.” Magritte’s paintings challenge the everyday, the notion of common sense. By subtly rearranging recognizable forms and perspectives he forces the viewer to look more closely at what is generally taken for granted. He exploited the ambiguities between real objects and images of them and delighted in playing with the viewer’s expectations. The title of my works begin with Is This Not... which is a play on the title of Magritte's painting This Is Not A Pipe – I've turned his statement "this is not a pipe", into a question (Is This Not) which symbolizes the ambiguity about the nature of reality. I've also found inspiration in the work of research psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons whose experiment The Invisible Gorilla shows how "our minds don't work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we're actually missing a whole lot." I've had a long interest in how humans give meaning to objects through personal experiences. While studying architecture I designed a structure called the Prosaic Tower where objects gained greater significance by virtue of where people placed them in the structure – the higher and more dangerous people were willing to place their objects, the more significance the objects accrued. This idea of transferring importance and meaning to an inanimate object has carried through to my work in Marcus Durkheim – Is This Not.

The dialogue established by texture and colors is a crucial part of your style: in

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

My palette choices are developed from more intuitive systems. Some choices I make are based on how colors affect my perceptions and moods. Other times I also rely on training and resolve decisions through formal techniques and academic formulas. Your paintings can be considered visual biographies that investigate the ambiguous relationship between Perception and Experience in the unstable contemporary age and are open to various interpretations: in particular, your hybrid approach is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Consideration of the audience is an interesting question. For me, my most direct and pure form of communication is through my art making but during the process of creating I'm not thinking about

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Is This Not A Steak Oil on panel 8" x 10" (20.3cm x 25.4cm) 2011

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Is This Not An Assault Rifle Oil on panel 18" x 24" 2012

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an audience or public interpretation. I try to only focus on how I'm understanding what I'm doing and what makes sense to me in terms of what I'm saying and the methods I'm employing. Of course my hope is that others will respond and receive my communication through viewing and experiencing my work, but I'm not trying to make sense for anyone but myself. If I consider the audience while I'm immersed in the creative process, I feel that it dilutes, changes and ultimately degrades the substance of my expression. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Holly. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I began the work of Marcus Durkheim – Is This Not with focusing on single objects but as the work evolved I began grouping objects together to build a more explicit narrative structure; as can be seen in Is This Not An Apple, Is This Not A Rock, Is This Not A Rubber Ducky, Is This Not Love, Is This Not A Lulz and Is This Not A Compass. In these paintings I've chosen objects that when placed together carry symbolic significance and form meaning as a whole. For example, in Is This Not An Apple I was contemplating the tragedy of death caused by drug addiction and in Is This Not A Rock the objects and landscape together speak about my specific childhood experiences. A single object can carry a long and complex narrative on its own, but my intent for grouping objects was to communicate more specifically about an idea or feeling.

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I often have more than one body of work that I focus on in my studio at the same time. Right now, in addition to Marcus Durkheim – Is This Not, I'm working on two other bodies of work, Musings and Omni-Optics. Musings is a collection of thoughts, memories (past/present) and contemplations of my everyday experiences. These works are created using blind contour drawing as a basis because I feel that this method more closely represents, in visual terms, the way things appear in my mind and memory. The work is best described via a series of definitions and sentences that, like the work itself, are fragmented bits of understanding. In Omni-Optics I'm reflecting on the insidious intrusion of surveillance in our everyday lives. Data collection is scientific, clinical and devoid of emotion, therefore seemingly also without threat or even ethics; sweeping up information, silently, gently, secretly. We accept this omnipresent monitoring because we fear, are told to fear, threats to our security (real and manufactured). I use night-vision camera imagery and draw inspiration from black & white German Expressionist films for the visual representation of these paintings. I would say that all of my work is, in some way or another, influenced by human psychology and/or human existential questions. At heart I'm deeply interested in humanity and a search for understanding the world, the universe (if possible!) and each other. Thank you so much ART Habens for this interview and showcasing of my work. I've enjoyed your insightful questions and applaud the work you do to present the works of artists through your publication.

Summer 2015

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Is This Not An Apple Oil on panel 16" x 20" (40.64cm x 50.8cm) 2014

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Jung Min My work explores sexuality as taboo through the lens of Korea and U.S cultures with humor. My work explores feelings of ambivalence about sexuality, gender identity, and the body as I negotiate my experience moving between Korean and U.S. culture. Generally speaking, the space in which I reside is a great influence in the formation of my thoughts and beliefs. Specifically, I am interested in the impact of a country’s society, which includes culture and history. Through my art practice, I intend to elaborate on my uncomfortable feelings towards navigating these societies, which have had an impact on the development of my identity. Furthermore, I want to delve deeper into the experience of tightrope walking between Eastern and Western cultures. Using my experience of familiarity and unfamiliarity from moving between two cultures, I will bridge differences in the understanding of sexuality in Korea and the U.S. as a source to explore how ambiguity and humor can be used in my work and the work of other artists. I am talking about sexuality as a main subject in my work because it is considered a taboo in my culture. By making fun of the subject, I am taking control over the power in taboo in order to create a dialog around sexuality and its restricted quality in my culture; and to have the viewer question their cultural biases and expectations. Through this act of looking, viewers acknowledge their own body and achieve a more honest self-perception. Jung Min

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video, 2013

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An interview with

Jung Min

accomplish an effective investigation about

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator

a variety of uncomfortable feelings that

and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

affect our contemporary societies. While

arthabens@mail.com

questioning about the impact of a country’s society, both on a historical and a cultural

Jung Min works in a wide range of media to

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aspect, her multilayered investigation

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practice is the way she invites the viewers to explore the development of Identity in the unstable contemporary age. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Min and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid background and after earning your BFA in sculpture from Kookmin University in Seoul, you moved from South Korea to the United States to pursue your MFA in Visual Studies, that you eventually received from Pacific Northwest College of Art: how did these different experiences influence your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does your Korean cultural substratum impact on your process? Does it in some way inform your approach and your imagery?

I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. Since I was young I’ve been curious what’s out there, and studying abroad was always one of my dreams! I started traveling the world as soon as graduated high school. The first place I traveled is London, U.K. I still remember how it was different and Jung Min to be out of my comfort zone. refreshing Shortly after, I decided to apply as an exchange student to Huddersfiled Art school in England. Being in new cultures and spaces has always has been a big influence for me because living in Western and Eastern cultures allows me to see the things that I wasn’t able to see when I was in Korea. It is such a powerful moment when I identify the major, as well as minor differences and collisions in cultures.

explores the elusive dichotomy between form and significance, revealing unexpected points of convergence between Tradition and transcultural imagery, that create a compelling aesthetics. One of the most convincing aspects of Jung Min's

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College of Art in Portland, Oregon. I was very pleased to learn that Portland and PNCA is the perfect place to explore my subjects in sexuality and femininity through various mediums. I studied western feminism to identify the likeness and differences in feminism, which evoked certain emotions to influence my work. As I mentioned, my surroundings are great influence for my work, and these conflicted and contradicting feelings exist consistently in my work. My work is constantly pushing and pulling between the idea of sexuality, femininity and identifying my ever developing identity in Korean culture and Western culture. This evolution in me creates concealing and revealing imagery in my work process. Your approach is marked out with a deep multidisciplinary feature: the fruitful synergy that you established between several practices, that are combined to provide your works of dynamism and autonomous life. I would suggest our readers to visit http://minjung-art.com/ in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. While superimposing concepts and images, crossing the borders of different artistic fields, have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different viewpoints and practices is the only way to achieve some results, to express specific concepts?

These are the moments that provoke ideas that I attempt to communicate through my work. The realization in the differences in cultures also causes me to judge my own work, and forces me in a new direction. I’ve learned my work had been repressed and censored by my society and the culture. I immediately knew I needed to physically move away from my homeland to push my work further, so I moved to the states. I applied to many schools in cities with a reputation for open minded and forward thinking people. I was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship to the Pacific Northwest

My concepts are strongly formed by my surroundings. I feel this is the reason why I try to constantly position myself in different environments. To force me to face my predisposed judgments and thoughts. This awareness challenges me to be accepting the diversity and questions the beliefs that I have been told.

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Jung Min

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, through your practice you elaborate a variety of uncomfortable feelings towards navigating contemporary societies. You often focus on sexuality, which is a main subject in your work, since it is considered a taboo in your culture: many contemporary artists, as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, used to include socio-political and sometimes even convey explicit messages in their works. Do you consider that your works could be considered political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach? In particular, what should be in your opinion the role of an artist in the unstable contemporary age?

I push myself to explore social normality to reveal unfavorable belief systems and unfair and unrealistic traditions. As an artist, I like to inspire people to question the beliefs instilled in them since a child. I want people to see my work, and stop for a second and wonder if they have been irrational regarding sexual orientation or conservative thinking. It is not my intention to make strong political statements, but I’m aware that my work causes people to internally challenge sociopolitical framework

relate all the visual information and its geometrical symbolism to a single meaning, filling the gaps and searching for an Ariadne's thread that could unveil an order in the intrinsic rigenerative nature of this interesting work. But I soon realized that I had to fit into its visual rhythm, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from The pores in heaven; Glory hole, an extremely stimulating installation that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What mostly impresses me of this installation is the way it combines a rigorous sense of geometry and a reference to chance: when I first happened to admire it I tried to

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(The Pores in heaven; Glory hole) is an

work was very systematic because I wanted

installation work that explores sexuality,

to represent very particular part of sexuality

culture and space. I would say the display

in this installation. This part is awkward,

method and the process of collecting daily

unglamorized even a grotesque side of sex

items depended on intuitive and habitude of

that can be very personal. We are living in

my life. But approaching the concept of the

an era where admiring glamorized sex

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Jung Min

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While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, your sculptures often seem to reject an explanatory strategy: you rather seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the concepts you communicate through your works: this quality marks out a considerable part of your production in which, rather that a conceptual interiority. Do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your

however not idealized sexuality almost always exists in personal/secret space. I associate this personal space to my art studio where my on-going, messy, art practice is happening. Just like the commercialized sex industry, I put out only polished art work to art galleries. I wanted to create the rupture of ideologies in daily life.

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feelings? And in particular, what importance

In your drawings you often bring to a new level of significance the role of simple shapes, showing the aestethic consequences of a combination between the abstraction and a limbic level of perception: as Gerhard Richter once remarked, “my concern is never art, but always what art can be used for”: what is your opinion about the functional aspect of Art in the contemporary age?

has for you the aesthetic problem?

I enjoy activating viewers’ naughty thoughts. My work would never give them an answer but the innuendos lead them enough to get “there”. I don’t think I want my work to be exclusive to “adults” only because it talks about sexuality. I found my work playful even innocent in some sense. I mean, the

I believe most powerful function of art is motivating people to open their minds, think, question, talk, feel, laugh and feel

interpretation on a long plastic toy can be vary depending on its viewers. Right?

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encouraged to spread these thoughts to others.

you walk our readers through the genesis of this project?

Another interesting work from your recent production that has impacted on me and an which I would be pleased to spend some words is entitled Say My Name: as most of your works, this piece is open to various interpretations: in particular, this stimulating video reveals unconventional aesthetics in the way you deconstruct and assemble memories in a collective imagery. In particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works? Could

This video is exploring the idea of ‘inner space is bigger than the outer’. I was intimidated by new culture and intensive MFA program that I didn’t feel like I was showing who I really am. I was fascinated by black light’s dysfunction as a regular light and lighten up particular things. I was playing the process of revealing and concealing with black light to reveal the possibility of galaxy in me.

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Jung Min

A remarkable aspect of your work concerns with the experience of tightrope walking between Eastern and Western cultures: in particular, I have really enjoyed your refined exploration of the psychological nature of the collective imagery as well as the way you "probe" the evokative potential of imagery to provide the viewers of an extension of their usual perceptual parameters. This allows you to go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials and techniques from a contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

Absolutely! The medium I chose shows the tension between tradition and contemporariness. The self portrait digital printed imagery represents the contemporariness and traditional method of charcoal traditional Korean hairstyle drawing refers my heritage and tradition. A year has passed from your first Solo Show “Tight Rope Walking� in Influx gallery Pacific Northwest College of Art: your works are 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 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 audience are those who are interested in

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a conversation around culture, and identity. I personally believe that Art is such a strong communication method that it can speak for itself beyond language, even more powerful than words, emotions. This is why art is so attractive to me. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Min. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I would like to continue pushing and developing the idea of how the wide cultural spectrum affects sexuality and identity in various social settings. Also, I am planning on exploring abstracted figurative forms to delve deeper to the subject. I do have a solo show coming up in April 2016 at Portland, Oregon. I am excited to have my first major solo show outside an institutional Art education setting. Also, it is frightening to face the challenges of constant change, but this is what drives me! Thank you.

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

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Doraelia Ruiz I think things become more interesting when they are broken. In my paintings, I am toying with ideas of broken portraits, inept portrayals, tarnished reputations, and how emotions alter how we are displayed to the world at each given moment. In keeping with this quest, I have taken photographs of real paintings in my studio and uploaded these slides into a digital painting program. Once in the digital realm, I begin to “break” the image apart using a wide array of programming tools. The aim is to dissect and examine what compositional elements of each painting contribute to a dynamic image and it’s ultimate manifestation. It is the age old question, “What makes a painting done? How do you know when it is done?” I believe an image has a life of its own and I am playing with different ways I can “mark” or “alter” it using different mediums and tools, even digital. I am looking at an image not for what it is, but what it could be in a different context or environment. When you abstract elements from one origin and place it in another, you really you realize how otherworldly they are. These paintings become alienated in their own space. I force acrylic and digital paint mesh, even though are strangers to each other and in direct competition with the other. Their tension creates a wonderful violence that leaves its mark on the new image they jointly create. Their strengths are in their vices and there is great power in that. Artist Samara Golden described my work as slowly killing a piece, resurrecting it, killing it again, and resurrecting again; like a surgeon finding the fine line between life and death. Indeed when I play with the relationship between a painting, its own photographical representation, and then alter it through a third dimension, I am playing with its spirit and origin. Is it a painting? Is it a photograph? I do not bother with these questions. When I am done altering the image, I print them out on canvas and physically paint over them again. The digital and hand processes represent the tension between the mechanical, the impersonal, and the hard labor of human physicality, mirroring the tensions between the life and death of traditional painting in a modern world itself. Doraelia Ruiz

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

Texas based artist Doraelia Ruiz produces compelling mixed media works that highlights the tensions between the life and death of traditional painting in a modern world itself. Her paintings are marked out with vivacious colors that communicate a wide variety of emotions that ranges from joy to violence and that accomplish the difficult task of drawing the viewers into the process that lead Ruiz to conceive such equilibrium between abstract and a vivid description of alienation. One of the most convincing aspect of Ruiz's practice is the way she creates an area of intellectual interplay between perception and memory, that invites the viewers to explore unstability in the contemporary age: we are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Doraelia 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 at the Brown University, you nurtured your education with a Post-Baccalaureate of FIne Arts that you received from the Brandeis University: how did these experiences influence the way you relate yourself to art making?

Doraelia Ruiz

but more out of just how they believed the world was structured. People like me, without a trust-fund, (or any college savings), -even if I by some miracle got into a school like this, I wouldn't be able to afford it. From the start I was an underdog, and my art reflects that.

Such a wonderful question! Thank you for asking! I have thought a lot about how my art process is related to my formal education as well as my own personal experiences. Part of what drew me to study Education at Brown was the complex intersection of how education, race, and class, all play a part in an unequal society in America. Growing up in a poor family played a huge role on my emotional psyche. I was often told I couldn’t ever go to a school like Brown. I don't believe people told me that out of cruelty,

I also believe in a lot of ways my art rebels against my formal training. As much as I loved studying race, class, and education, I also truly hated it. I tried to become an administrator in education prior to pursuing art full-time, and the “straight and narrow”

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path just isn’t for me. I love the theories behind inequality, but I felt I was better off helping voice these inequalities as an artist than as an administrator.

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am driven by a very intuitive urge that is not self-conscious, that is much more “primitive” or “outsider”. At first, I found that to be a weakness in my studio, but then I realized that in actuality my perceived weaknesses are my actual strengths. My entire life it has been my tribulations that have given me the greatest edge in life. Brown did not want me because I was another prep school child. They wanted me for the adversities and difficulties I faced. It is my unique background that gives me an edge, and the more I try to muffle that voice, the more I

At Brandeis I merged these two worlds together. I finally received a formal training in art, and I was able to merge into my work the knowledge I had about inequality. Not only that, my two very different educational experiences now clash on the canvas. On the one hand, I am very conscious of the art world dialogue occurring but on the other, I

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will just blend in. I was trying to round out my rough edges and make my work acceptable and appealing. I am not a traditional painter, or a traditional artist, and I am coming to see that is my greatest asset.

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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, as you have remarked in your

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artist's statement, alienation is a recurrent theme in your work: how does it inform the way you conceive your works?

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alienation. I constantly feel like I am straddling two different worlds. My work reflects this division and emotional insecurity that accompanies it. Sometimes I feel like the only place in the world I belong is in my studio surrounded by my work. I find

My works are a reflection of myself, and within me there is always a deep sense of

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home and refuge in my sense of alienation. I would start to focus on your artistic production beginning from #1 and #2: that our readers have already started to get to

Inevitably we paint what we know, and this is something I know very intimately.

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know in the introductory pages of this article. While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, these pieces seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell through your painting... this quality marks out a relevant part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and memory in a truly engaging way. What was your initial inspiration for these stimulating pieces? And in particular, did you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

ART Habens

Number 1: Titled: Are we Living in the dark or dying in the light? Is an explicit examination on my constant battle between straight lines and intuitive painterly mess. I feel within me a personal divide. A part of me that is “Ivy league� or even just a structured person, and then another part of me that is totally disastrous and thrives off chaos. I showed a ship colliding with these elements and being ripped apart by them because sometimes internally this is how it

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feels. If I am not at peace with the dualities of my persona, then I am at war with them. There is no real “grey” with those two. For me, a ship has a very personal meaning going back to Pablo Neruda’s “A Song of Despair” where in he speaks of losing a lover like a shipwreck where everything sank. I once lost a love like that I have identified with shipwrecks as a metaphor for my body and my soul ever since. Number 2: Titled: Little Hiccups is also an examination into my divide, that goes one step further. I incorporate mixed media into this piece. This piece was the start of my foray into how I could mirror the life and death of traditional paintings into my own personal dialogue. I feel like when you add into a “traditional” painting a mixed media feature, you are slightly killing it. You are killing the idea of just the canvas and the brush. You are killing traditionalists. You are killing the flatness of the canvas. I also believe that what does not kill us, makes us stronger. I believe things are more interesting when they are broken. I feel, and I think we all have, that in my life the things that have not killed us, have made us more complex individuals. I believe this is the same for a painting that survives the mixed media realm and continues to “pass” as a painting. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on us is entitled No Tears at the Dinner Table: your approach is creates an insightful convergence between abstract and descriptive and accomplishes the difficult task of establishing a consistent unity between imagination a rational gaze on reality: your process of deconstruction reveals a deep interest in how we interpret and make meaning of what we see, and in particular you seem in search of a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion

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personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

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outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

I believe some artists believe that creative process could be disconnected from direct experience. Some artists spend their careers attempting to create this “lack of meaning” artwork. I feel like it’s like meditation where you try to clear your mind, and I am a horrible meditator. I personally cannot work like this. Everything I am is immediately dispersed on the canvas. Sometimes I will not realize I felt a certain way until it appears on the canvas, and then it is undeniable. My work, when you look closely, tells all my deepest secrets. Without my personal experience, my artwork would not exist. No Tears at the Dinner Table is in particular a very personal piece. Usually I hide my feelings deep into abstraction, but this piece I did attempt to visually portray in a less abstracted way, my feelings about a topic. I was inspired by Eddie Martinez who also blurs the line between abstraction and description.

I encrypt all of my paintings with secret messages. Sometimes the messages are secret to even myself, and I discover their meaning months or years later. My paintings have the ability to teach me about myself. I work so intuitively that almost subconsciously I put messages to myself, pieces of wisdom are hidden in the work. Some messages I put are very conscious however. I am playing with language in my work. In addition to being a painter, I am also a writer. Paintings can be ambiguous in nature, but writing generally has to be clear and concise. Sometimes when I am not ready to put what I am feeling into words, when I am not ready to face the reality of an emotion, then I will abstractly paint it. I am coming to terms with my emotions in my work. This is why I break down language in my paintings, this is why you’ll see partial letters, because they are not yet words. They are just abstract muddy feelings that do not complete the message yet.

At first I disliked this piece greatly because of it’s more direct nature, but people responded to it so strongly that I began to realize the very thing I disliked about it was it’s strength. I also just disliked it because it so aptly captured me. Like looking into a mirror and not really being pleased with what you see. That’s what this painting does, and I’ve come to love it.

Most of your works are open to various interpretations: artist Samara Golden described your work as slowly killing a piece, resurrecting it, killing it again, and resurrecting again. In particular, you seem to accomplish a process of deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage. What is it specifically about deconstruction which fascinates you and make you want to center your artistic style around it?

What particularly appeals to us of your works is the way you explore the aesthetic problem in such compelling way. We would go as far as to state that your paintings provide the viewers of the capability of unveiling ambiguous aspects of the relation between Perception and Experience. A recurrent feature of your approach that urges us to question the common way we perceive not only the

It all comes down to my belief that things are more interesting when they are broken. I am fascinated with deconstruction because I

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sometimes both green and red, and when you combine those two shades on the canvas they are complementary colors; they are perfect opposites that both attract and repel each other. I love mixing colors and alienating them, putting them in worlds where they shouldn’t be with hues they haven’t been paired up with. I think when done right, the colors thrown together produce a violent tension in the work that mirrors emotional volatility.

find it to be the essential and often disregarded component of construction. When you build a house, how much destruction do you have to go through before you have a perfectly completed home? A home begins with digging into the earth, cutting up trees, and making utter carnage. I think when we examine things once they are taken apart, we learn new things about them and we understand them in a much more complex way than when we just see the perfect assemblage. I believe that the true nature of something lies in it’s components, or how it is when it’s broken. Like the saying that when the chips are down you see someone’s true colors; When you go through a tragedy with someone or you see someone at their most broken, then you know them far better than when you just know the external image they project to the world. I am in love with that type of intimacy, vulnerability, and violence.

A recurrent feature of your paintings is the way you juxtapose straight lines that suggest a contrast between a severe geometry and a free approach that urges the viewers to elaborate personal associations: at the same time, you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively combination between conceptualism and beauty. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

This aesthetic problem is essential to my work. I am directly attacking the proposition that straight lines and severe geometry must be separate from chaotic impromptu composition. I believe when done right, these two can produce a swan song. Again, they are a union of perfect opposites. At first they might repel each other but if you study it and approach it correctly, then they can bring something to the canvas that is compelling and entrancing. I think that’s what emotionally captures people, because we can all recognize the struggle that happens when the two diverging parts of ourselves collide. We have all felt emotionally torn at one point or another, I am merely trying to capture that visually.

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

I have aspergers and in the world of autism your emotional levels are charted using colors. /The range goes from Green to Red. Green is calm, and Red is total insanity. I started out just being inexplicably drawn to colors but then realized they also had very deep personal meaning to me and my struggles with sanity sometimes. I also realized I am not divided into clear and concise colors, emotionally speaking. I am

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Your approach is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, so, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you

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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?

even time. It is through our audience that we live on. How could I disregard that? Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Doraelia. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I try to balance my work between being too abstract and being too didactic. I want the viewer to yearn for more, to partially understand my work intuitively, and then when they’ve committed more time to my work, fully understand it intimately. I really dislike when artists do not consider the audience. I don’t think you have to be a people pleaser, but I feel like you are missing an important element when you do not. I think what makes art so powerful is the ability it has to connect strangers all over the world together. When you go to the MoMa in New York how many nationalities do you see clamoring to Van Gogh’s Starry Night? What is it about that work that connects us? I believe it’s our humanity and the incredible empathic ability Van Gogh had that transcends language, culture, and

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This fall I have the opportunity to be in a show curated by art critic David Pagel that I am very excited about. I am also in talks with the Royal College of Art on a postexperience programme in Printmaking that would give me the opportunity to learn and study under the faculty there while also creating a more digitally based project. I am merging more of my digital work with my real-time paintings. As I continue, my paintings are taking on lineages. A single painting could be digitalised, edited, reprinted, and repainted hundreds of times. Over time I produce many varied and

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different works that can all be traced back to the first painting. I am also pushing my work to larger than life scales. I will be printing on vinyl with companies that produce billboards for commercial purposes

ART Habens

and making billboard sized works. I think when I take my work up to that kind of physical scale, the emotional intensity will be heightened. I am really excited to see how that works out.

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Elizabete Caires My artwork is based on daily life; emotions, feelings, colours and shapes. When I begin a painting I don't really have a specific idea in mind as to what it is going to be or look like. I start simply with a line or colour and then things will begin developing and taking shape. I let my imagination and my feelings take control of the process. My work is colourful, expressive and bright, influenced by everyday life and the places I've lived. Elizabete Caires Special Issue

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

Elizabete Caires' work draws from everyday life and carries out an insightful transposition of cultural and mythological elements to a new level of significance, inviting us to an unconventional exploration of the relationships between Man and Nature. Her works capture inner emotions and investigate about the elusive dichotomy between imagination and experience, revealing unexpected viewpoints about the way we relate to the reality we inhabit in, conveying them into a consistent and fascinating unity. Caires' canvas could be considered as the last step of an in-depth analysis, that invites the viewer to find personal associations, creating an intense participatory line: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating works. Hello Elizabete and a warm welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any particular experiences that have influenced your evolution as an artist and that inform the way you currently relate yourself to art making?

Thank you and hello. I was born and lived in Africa before moving to Portugal and most currently England. I grew up in a country full of vibrant culture and open-minded interesting people and extreme weather. It was also a country engaged in war. This has had a profound effect on my work influencing colours, textures, lines, forms and shapes that evolve within each painting. The contrasts between Africa and Europe with its more formal approach seep into my visual interpretations, subjects such as life versus death, urban living against the countryside and traditions versus time are all ingredients merged together.

Elizabete Caires Experience in the unstable contemporary age. As most of your works, City Life and The Heir are open to various interpretations: in particular, it communicates a process of deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage. When looking at these paintings we can feel the emotion, energy and the struggle that your brushstrokes have conveyed into the canvas: would you like to walk us through the process?

Each painting image will evolve from a simple line and grow, I’ll have a basic idea of what I want to paint and colours I want to make use of but this can change depending on how the initial line making process flows. Often an image will alter or a face can appear as I play about.

Your work appeals to our eyes because it captures on a multilayered level the inner essence of your subjects in such a compelling way. Your paintings can be considered visual biographies that investigate about the ambiguous relationship with Perception and

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I don’t tend to sketch out the painting or work from a source in front of me the paint goes straight onto the material. Of huge importance is that the painting appeals to me as a picture not just whether technically it’s perfect or that I’ve conveyed everything relevant to the subject.

ART Habens

While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, some of your pieces as Introspection and Entangled seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell through your portraits... this quality marks out a considerable part of your production,

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

The impact of my childhood is strong within my work but so too is the journey of my life and life itself. My work isn’t necessary a faithful translation and I find both comfort and humour in that – I don’t want to lay bare to the entire world every emotion. Like many others I can find interaction and meaning within an artists work knowing that I could be wrong or I could be right but if there is any power to my work then the struggle that you might have in decoding my brushstrokes is perhaps the closest thing to painting the pieces themselves. What we notice most about your paintings is that there is a dichotomy between fluid lines and figurative representation and then you abstract to tell your story. It’s the composition of moulding or joining the abstraction with the figurative pieces to lend plane and spatial concept, inviting people into an idea that makes the work so special. You are conveying an inner vision: what is your process for working on your art? We are particularly interested in knowing how a piece takes shape in your mind before you start working on it with paint and brush.

There are many external factors influencing what we all do, all around us, all the time. It’s not only what goes onto the canvas and how I go about getting it there but what’s on television, what’s in the news, how well did I sleep and how inspired do I feel are all questions and stimulus swirling about. This isn’t to trivialise my own work there are always subject matters that mean a lot to me and that I feel strongly enough to want to extract from my head into art form, Carnival has its roots in tribal customs and the heat of the African sun but it was painted in England in the grey and rain so it’s as much about the present as it is remembering the past.

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goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Royalty takes in part the traditions of Europe and forms we might recognise but mixes it with the same ideas that Carnival stemmed from but I’ve filtered it, they are the parts of me from different continents.

I believe that is possible to an extent, work that is produced purely from imagination or longing or purposefully trying to be free from anything that has happened but I do believe that everything is connected. I could paint a picture that could appear to even myself as the result of total disconnection but sub-consciously or even consciously it would have to result from my life and experiences that have preceded it.

Another couple of interesting works that has particularly impacted on us and on which we would like to spend some words are entitled Shaman and The Heir: in these stimulating pieces you seem to question the intimate consequences in which we relate to each other: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that

Your works are always pervaded with a subtle but ubiquitous narrative: in particular, Everyday Life seems to show an empathy with

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the subjects and that's incredibly beautiful. Your approach seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How did you decide to focus on this form of expression?

ART Habens

Thank you, while I am too modest to completely agree with you I admit that it’s a favourable response that I hope to produce from my work. To be able to create something that hopefully can stimulate other people and work on various

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levels is part of the process but when physically painting I don’t ever try to be overtly clever or multi-layered I really am just working on each piece, with ideas, in a developed style that others will, if I’m lucky, be responsive to.

both natural elements such as the blazing sun against a clear blue sky or striking tribal artistry. These colours contrast with each other not only as visible paint marks but also in terms of subject, real or imagined, confusion or knowing, life or technology. This has been my staple set of colours for most of my creative life, a piece such as Constrainment is an example of this.

Fertility Dance is a really interesting piece and we have appreciated the insightful combination between the reminder to a mythological, almost ancestral concept of fertility with a lively gaze on contemporary visual language. Such mix shows how art has always been a vehicle not only to express feelings and concepts, but to also dissect them, grapple with them, and integrate them. Would you walk our readers through the process of this stimulating piece? How did you develop the main idea behind it?

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

At the heart of this piece is an influence of tales from African folk history. I wanted to combine tribal figures intertwining, almost dancing and the bodies themselves representing more than appendages, becoming shared, collective instruments to bond with. The figures pose as more than just people, they are the stories, they are the history and they are the ties to their own heritage and culture. My own adolescent years were nurtured with imaginative legends and characters. The final piece is not heavy though, I wanted the finished work to be accessible and playful and relevant, not tied purely to the past.

For the most part I aim to please myself, to push and develop further without the fear that the work I produce is alien to a possible audience. Of course for people to be positively receptive to my work is always rewarding but my work has to exist from its initial stages through to the final execution as an integral part of my portfolio unbound from any potential. That is not to say that I don’t selfdoubt or feel disappointment if a piece of art is received unfavourably or silently.

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

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

Thank you again for this feature, I am currently working on a collection of illustrations for children that I would love to see printed, much of the subject matter involves animals and plant life with my own spin, although visually they are somewhat removed from my fine art many of the ideas stem from similar places.

There are certain colours that invoke memories of my youth and my travels since. Strong blues, earthy orange hues and fiery reds are a staple of much of my palette, representing for me

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

Evie Gajda's works reflects an unconventional combination between spontaneity and experimentation: drawing from environmental imagery, she creates insightful juxtapositions that invites the viewers to develop a personal narrative, encouraging them to find personal associations. A particular attention is reserved to the tones, that range from pastel nuances to vivacious colors that communicate a variety of feelings, that often belongs to the intimate sphere, but that always establish direct relations with the viewers. We are particularly pleased to introduce our readers to Evie's stimulating artistic production. Hello Evie and welcome to ART Habens: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that influenced the way you currently conceive and produce your works? In particular, what is the nature of your relationship with art making?

Éva Gajda

Hi there, yes sure. I was born in Budapest, Hungary but now live in the U.K. I studied agricultural engineering in Budapest and also I have a degree in nursery teaching. Strange for a city girl, most of my work is influenced by nature and the countryside, however I do try to bring some aspects of city life into my paintings. Also being a nursery teacher for years the simple lines and creativity of the children has had some influence in my work. As you will see I use a lot the technique of pyrography which is basically burning my subject matter onto the wood and then painting.

dimension suggested by the stories you tell with your suggestive juxtaposition of colors and materials. Would you like to tell our readers something about the genesis of these interesting works? What was your initial inspiration?

Sometimes my inspirations are quite simple and vague. With reference to #2 (‘Sisters’ I see this as a transposition between the simple use of form, colour blending and visualization. #11 (‘Bicycle for two’ is interesting as it ignites my imagination for those innocent days of meeting someone and being happy and free. This painting for me shows elegance and love but leaving the background non descript

We would start to elaborate about your artistic production beginning from #2 and #11, that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. We have been impressed with the way you draw the viewers into the intimate

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Éva Gajda

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what happens when I let my mind go. I sometimes like to use vivid colours and abstractivity but blending them gently to create subtleties of tone and form. The texture of the paintings are in some ways already decided by the type of wood I use. I just develop this with my thoughts and colour. Your works suggest spontaneity but at the same time show a particular care to the choice of materials: do you conceive this equilibrium on an instinctive way or do you rather structure your process in order to reach the right balance? In particular, wood is recurrent media in your work: why did you focus on it?

so as to evoke your own imagination to take you wherever you want. Your works are marked out with a colorful palette: incorporating a wide range of tones, from thoughtful nuances of green as in the interesting #5 to vivid tones that in #4 communicate a compelling vivacity. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of palette and how it has changed over time?

My work is very spontaneous in that I see a form and decide it would make a good subject, but then yes, I am quite structured in how I choose my colours and the methods I use. I love wood a lot and yes it is my choice of canvas. I like how it feels alive to me and the different textures it has and how that can influence the final painting. In particular I use reclaimed wood as I want to show a use to something we otherwise discard. We do too much of that in this word,

In these paintings (#5 - ‘Abstract cat’ #4 ‘Fantasy horse’ I have indeed tried to show

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Éva Gajda

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and showing how it can be re-used is an important part of my work. As you can see in #1 (‘Hanging with books’ and #10 (‘Rough Day’ I tried to use a real subject in my paintings, and as in #1 sometimes a little humour. In painting #10 I was influenced by a particular style from Japanese art. I use a burning tool to enable me to structure the outlines and give me a guideline to how it will finally look before I add colour. You draw a lot from reality and in you highlight the relationship between an imaginary dimension, and a rational reference to reality: the way you recontextualize a variety of evocative figures of animals, as in #9 and #3 brings a new level of significance to the concepts you investigate about. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience? And in particular, do you try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

I think having a personal experience is important but wouldn’t say it’s sacred cent in the part imagination can play in art. You don’t have to have direct experience, however, it can help in the creative process. I tend to use both methods of drawing on my experiences and letting my imagination go. (#9 - ‘Picasso Cat’ #3 - ‘Just Looking’ While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, some of your pieces, and I think to the recent ones as #6, seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the stories you tell through your brushstrokes... would you like to tell our readers about the genesis of this stimulating work? What was your initial inspiration?

This piece (#6 - ‘Surfing birdies’, was inspired, as most of my work is by nature, in the obvious portrayal of flighty birds.

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Éva Gajda

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Another interesting works of yours that has particularly impacted on us and on which we would like to spend some words is #12: in particular, it seems to attempt to bring a variety of messages and invites the viewers to elaborate personal interpretations: at the same time, you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively combination between conceptualism and beauty. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work?

#12 -’Iron leaves’This is indeed quite simple as a piece yet quite complex in its interpretations. Firstly I always like the viewer to find their own meanings from my work, because each piece is not only personal to me, but also to them. Sometimes its refreshing to find out how others see my work and how it moves them. With ‘Iron leaves’I’ve tried to create a marriage between nature and man to show that we can live as one and create beauty and stability from what is around us. There is also images of light and memories of my childhood, seeing a plant that had leaves

However, I thought I would incorporate it with shapes that makes the viewer think about their own interpretation, thus making it personal to them. For me there are undertones from 1960’s fashion and form as well as indications of a surfing culture. I like to make the viewer think and not just see the obvious.

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Your paintings are often intentionally raw: this feature gives you freedom and allows you to go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, as in the interesting Inextricable, establishing a captivating osmosis between materials and techniques from a contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

so translucent to light and yet so brittle upon a stem of strength, which encompasses the fragile side of nature for me, combined with the “stem of strength�that we can give to nature. Aesthetics is such a personal thing to everyone, so yes it is important to me just as the colours and textures are too. It needs to feel, as well as be pleasing to the eye.

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Charles Ligocky

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Éva Gajda

Yes, I like my work mostly raw and natural as this gives me no boundaries in which to work because to me thats how art starts out, it’s a beginning, a journey into your emotions and experiences. With the two paintings you

ART Habens

mention (#7 ‘Sudbury house’and #9 ‘Picasso cat’ however I have deliberately tried to show the contrasting forms of Contemporariness and tradition whilst keeping true to my original

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style and offering an insight into what can be achieved when you are true to yourself. Your approach is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, urging them to relate themselves to Art in a conscious way. 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?

Well, I like the viewers to think about art, not just my own, as it is a form that speaks volumes, can be very emotive and vocal yet is expressed in silence. All art is relative, and I think someone relating and emoting about my work is very satisfying and rewarding. Audience reception is important because it helps me grow and try new ideas, but ultimately it’s how I feel inside as to the path I take. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Evie. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Actually, I would like to share with you and the readers a couple of projects I’m thinking of doing more of in the future. In #13 ‘Full moon’I’m using beach pebbles to interpret my art and in #14 ‘Fisherman’s tales’I’m experimenting with woodcut printing. Both of these are new techniques for me, and are quite simple in their execution. So, I would like to think my work is evolving with what nature supplies, however I will still keep using wood as the basis of all my work. I would like to say, this has been a very interesting experience for me and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to share and talk about my work.

Summer 2015

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Rebecca Cherrington The reality of war by Gregor Schlatte (Mixed Media/Installation) Our reality is of bad quality. It was Hito Steyerl who said, that the internet is the realm of the “poor image”. Opposed to classical photography the poor image is of pixelated, shared, cropped and edited. Our reality mainly consists of those poor images and in a reverse development this poor images assure us that something really happened. Mobile phone shots became the new guarantor of authenticity. They assure us that the person who shot it, was really there, involved, that he/she is a witness. We see this development also in the area of war photography. Most of the photos and videos coming out of a war zone are shot with mobile phones by people involved. The embedded journalist is replaced by the soldier, who shoots his Kalashnikov with one and photos with his other hand. In a way the romanian revolution can be seen as the prime event in this character (as shown in the work “Videograms of a Revolution” by Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica). The revolutionaries took over the TVstation, assuring that the revolution is really happening. The improvised character was not a lack, it actually guaranteed that it is really the revolutionaries who are broadcasting. In short we can say, that the bad quality photo or video is perceived as authentic. Hito Steyerl called this “the uncertainty principle of modern documentarism”. That for example Liveleak states that it is redefining the media, must been seen in front of that change in perception. To be authentic, a video has to be blurred, out of focus and it has to include moments, where the camera is moved too fast. Of course, a video has also to show some real action, but this action is viewed as true only insofar as those moments of poor filming are delivering a frame. Those moments, where nothing really can be seen, those very moments, are the guarantor of authenticity. Consequently this works centers on footage from the war in Syria and Iraq, which is probably the first war almost entirely documented by mobile phones. The images are extracted frames from those videos, posted on different platforms, and each show one of those moments, which guarantee authenticity. Doing so this work wants to highlight the question, how can we value the authenticity and meaning of a photo or video document, when there is no time to discuss it as the attention already moves to next? Do we depend on those moments of bad quality? Or to go further, what kind of education do we need to cope with this new reality? Rebecca Cherrington

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An interview with

Rebecca Rebecca Cherrington

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

Cheshire based artist Rebecca Cherrington's work is a successful attempt to capture the ephemeral quality of direct experience and to condense impressions into dynamic compositions. Her digital pieces do not aim to pursue an explanatory strategy: rather, they can be considered as maps, capable of providing the viewers of the chance to lead them in the liminal area in which memory blends with imagination. One of the most convincing aspect of Cherrington's approach is the way it materializes the permanent flow of associations in the realm of experience and memory: we are really pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating artistic production. Hello Rebecca and a warm 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 currently conceive and produce your works?

Rebecca Cherrington

Hi there, thank you so much for having me! I'm a relatively new artist who fell upon digital work by accident! I used it to pass time on my phone whilst travelling or at appointments! The designs can be quite chaotic which I love and it reflects my creativity! I produce my works at home in between my children having naps and going bed!

introductory pages of thsi article. Your paintings resist immediate classification in terms of their subject matter, but your work reveals a deep emotional committment: as you have stated once, the Earth without art is just Eh... So we would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

For this special issue of ART Habens we have selected Into the vortex and Rainforest, that our readers have already started to get to know in the

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Your paintings are rich of abstract references and before starting to elaborate about your artistic production I would like to explain to our readers the concept of Eclectic Art: in particular, the digital quality of your works reveals a vivacious search of an equilibrium between memory and imagination: the

I think everybodies individual experience can be portrayed artistically and creatively as art as a subject is very diverse and accepting, in my work the more simple designs I was quite calm whereas the chaotic designs reflect how I was feeling at the time.

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recurrent reference to an emotional but at the same time universal imagery seems to remove any historic reference from the reality you refer to, and I daresay that this aspect allows you to go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, and that establishes a stimulating dialogue

ART Habens

between references from contingent era and an absolute approach to Art: do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness? And in particular, what is the role of memory in your process?

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Rebecca Cherrington

I think there is a huge contrast between

anyway they like and cater it to their inner feelings.

traditional art work and the art of today the art today is very diverse and

What we notice most about your paintings is that there is a dichotomy between fluid lines and geometric representation, as in the interesting Fantasy. You are conveying an inner vision: what is your process for working

constantly changing whereas traditional artwork never gets old or tired it is forever elegant. I think my work is more futuristic and people can interpret it

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

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every finished article I do is a complete surprise with colours etc it's as if I close my eyes and just let it flow and I know that sounds strange but it's the only way I can describe it

My work doesn't appear in my head and I transfer it onto the screen it's more of a feeling it's as though my hands have a mind of their own while I create them

While exhibiting a captivating vibrancy, your pieces seem to reject an explicit explanatory strategy: rather, you seem

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Rebecca Cherrington

to offer to the viewer a key to find personal interpretations to the feelings that you convey into your paintings... this quality marks out a considerable part of your production, that are in a certain sense representative of the relationship between emotion and memory. What is the role of memory in your process? And in particular, do you

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try to achieve a faithful visual translation of your feelings?

I try to convey my feelings into every piece I do with the different colours and directions, my particular favourite fantasy was one of the first designs I did and I fell in love with it so much that I got a phone

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Rebecca Cherrington

ART Habens

reference between realistic and digitally abstracted imagery shows how art has always been a vehicle not only to express feelings and concepts, but to also dissect them, grapple with them, and integrate them. Your approach seems to stimulate the viewer’s psyche and consequently works on both a subconscious and a conscious level. How

case with the design on it so I could show it off more! It's like my own fairytale. Another intetresting piece of yours that has particularly impressed us and on which we would like to spend some words is entitled Love. We have appreciated your lively gaze on contemporary visual language: the

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Rebecca Cherrington

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

did you decide to explore this form of expression?

I adore the love piece the colours are so tranquil and calming which comfortable love should be! I have done a few love ones with different colours for different aspects such as a very deep red one to symbolise the passionate side of love! At the time of my original love I was in a very content stage of my relationship and everything was so calm which is rare! The dialogue established by texture and colors is a crucial part of your style: in particular, the effective combination between intense nuances of tones sums up the mixture of thoughts and emotions. How much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture? Moreover, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

My designs are very personal to me, I like people to have a double look at my work and wonder what thoughts were apparent during the design period. I also like my audience to draw there own co cousins of what the piece is about!so they can hopefully identify with the colour contrasts and genuine feelings of a piece! Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Rebecca. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

In my rainforest piece the texture and depth it has relates to my inner feelings at the time everything was very deep and meaningful and more like an iceberg with the majority being underneath! You have to look deep! In regards to building it up I layer the colours over and over with a bright u setting to give the texture effect. The colours are quite random and change constantly until I am happy with the outcome.

My work constantly evolves as my life continues! Different experiences bring different designs as does the time of year! I like to think each one is different and will continue to be individual! I would like to explore more colour contrasts and different textures In my future work! Thank you so much for talking to me!

Over these years you have had the chance to exhibit your works in several occasions, including a recent show at The Canvas Bar Shoreditch. Your paintings investigate about the ambiguous relationship with Experience and Perception and are open to wide variety

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

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ART Habens Art Review - Special Issue - Autumn 2015  
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