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ART

Special Edition

H A B E N S C o n t e m p o r a r y

A r t

R e v i e w

ALJOHARA AIMEE PEREZ EIRINI ROUMPI LESLIE STARK LIDIA MIKHAYLOVA ULF KÖNIG EDMAR SORIA EFI SPYROU ANJA SIEBER

ART

Anja Sieber's Gate of Hell Transkript of Dante's Devine Comedy after live performances with wire at the Contemporary Art Ruhr in Essen Germany 2012


ART

H

A

B

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

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A r t

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R e v i e w

Aimee Perez

Ulf König

Leslie Stark

Efi Spyrou

Anja Sieber

Eirini Roumpi

USA

Germany

USA

Greece

Germany

Greece

I work with human forms – with the gestures and emotions, lives and relationships – that serve as archetypes by transcending the context of their story.Through the exploration of contemporary, religious and biblical themes, I create sculptures that explore spiritual truth and the paradoxical truths of suffering and redemption, grief and comfort. The mediums I use include various types of clays fired at high or low temperatures and surfaced with oxides washes, slips, terra sigillata, engobes and glazes. I have also been known to to add encaustic, wax, metals, glass, and found objects to add layers to a piece. My work has been exhibited in national and international shows as well as museums and is part of several collections in the United States, Australia and Mexico.

Architecture and sculptures are my passion, trying out a variety of styles. The series “Architecture Criticism” exaggerates my stylechanges. Herein I create an “extreme chaotic” deconstructivism, extended by a “subjective” symbolism which might provoke subliminal perceptions. That yields unorthodox, ironic, provocative, multifaceted, critical views. Architecture Criticism” converts real architecture into bizarre chaotic architectural sculptures which leave scope for stimulating associations. The “stripe-constructions” seem to connect, to brace the buildings visible in the underneath photograph. Or do they produce new exceptional spaces, either passible or habitable? To the astonishment of many, however, to the delight of myself the sculptures reveal aesthetics and order even in chaos.

My work explores the relationship between reality and imagination, free-form and structure. My process is intuitive, informed by memory and empathic observation of our world. In each layered surface, elements of the ordinary are given new context and meaning, inviting intellectual and emotional engagement with the viewer

My artistic work is based on a "what I hear" during “transWRITing”, painting, forming paper objects and doing performances. I transmit art and scientific discourses, world literature, everyday communication.I am fascinated by the possibility space remains to be explored on another occasion – entering with my voice and my body a new room in which poetic, intellectual, commonplace or political thoughts pass directly into an art event. To locate the artistic action in the chosen art context, the performing body becomes the medium. Hands and movements form writing lines. I condense what I write down with various fluid media into complex, mostly illegible line structures that materialise as the message being presented.I allow the material flows to break their path and dry up in a variety of interesting track formations.

My work is about interdisciplinarity in the Arts, in other words the idea that performative and visual forms of art tend to be unified, exchanging elements with each other and even creating new artistic hybrids. The interdisciplinary approach applies to me additionally, because of my previous education in Psychology and the way it informs my practice in art.Some of the main ideas that concern me are the overlap between dance, theatre and performance, rituals and symbols, time and the idea of absurdity in existence. Recent work has led me to realize that all these ideas are connected to the one major idea of ‘’in between’’. In case of Time, for example, that was the subject of my most recent project, the in-between essence of waiting, the idea of non-time and non-space ended up being the most intriguing concepts for me.

"I’ve been working in the fashion industry for several years and considering my body as a medium-object. Now, as an artist, I use the same anonymous medium-object to deal with social phenomena – whether this has to do with race, origin, age, sex.In a series of photo-performances my torso is captured in poses – naked but for poetic phrases projected on my I was born and raised in the back. great Pacific Northwest. My interest in art began at Quotes like ’Older a very young age, drawing Younger’, ’Authenticity In illustrations of animals and Question’ and ’Exotic Not Exhausted’ relate to my cartoon characters. In interest in the politics of college I studied graphic the art and fashion. My design, art history, and photographic series form a advertising; then spent 20 years as a singer, studying "backdrop to a series of voice and opera. I am often animalesque sculptures" inspired by music, and find such as "Little Black Bird". a lot of parallels between art and music, as both Pictures of human bodies embody texture, line, color and sculptures are as a and harmony in their whole of a self... a plural singularity.’ composition.


In this issue

Anja Sieber

Efi Spyrou Ulf König

Aimee Perez Aljohara

Leslie Stark Aljohara

Edmar Soria

Lidia Mikhaylova

Belgium / Saudi Arabia

Mexico

Russia

I am a wanderer.I like to make up stories about places I have never been and shapes I have never seenand to do so I like to wear and take off different tongues which I have found mostly by chance.

"The inner life of each person is based on energy centers or what we call chakras. These impact our daily lives by either developing or inhibiting our emotional, intellectual, and physical lives.Universe has endowed women with a wonderful gift – the Yoni. In Sanskrit, the word Yoni means female genitalia. Besides being the most feminine part of the female body, it’s also the most receptive, and the most sensitive. It truly is the most amazing part of the feminine.In tantra, the Yoni is also associated with the cosmic gate; the gate to the Universe, the Source or the sacred temple; the place from which we all came into this world. Simply put, the Yoni is a mystical, mysterious, powerful, and beautiful place!

As long as I can remember I have been a woman and artist. Enraptured by techniques, I am a photographer by trade (studied in Belgium) and took courses in medieval painting techniques (inPortugal). I was born in The Netherlands, lived in various countries around the world (eg China) and in October 2017 I came to visit for a short first time Saudi Arabia. After formalities and settling down, I started to work energetically on my art. Enjoying this vibrant society so much and convinced that Jeddah has all the elements to become the next artist's hub on par with Berlin and the like, I decided half a year ago to close my house in Europe for good andsettle here… as long as The Kingdom is willing to have me, of course.

I see myself as a creative that seeks to express his ideas through some languages of art by using and getting advantage from the tools of those languages and expressing the result through different mediums or formats. My multidisciplinary background guides my creative work and allows me to use and apply tools (technical and theoretical) from math and computer science (in a formal and rigorous way) on this creative process.

On the cover:

Eirini Roumpi Edmar Soria Lidia Mikhaylova

4 38 60 88 110 144 166 200 232

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.

(Contemporary Art Ruhr in Essen Germany 2012)


Anja Sieber, Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius, Installation, 2014, at art KARLSRUHE, booth ROOT photo: Christine de Boom


Anja Sieber Lives and works in Berlin and Hamburg


ART Habens

Jordi Rosado

Anja Sieber

Anja Sieber's Gate of Hell. Transkript of Dante's Devine Comedy after live performances with wire Special Issue at the Contemporary Art Ruhr in Essen Germany 2012 403


Anja Sieber An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Anja and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. You have a solid formal training in Fine Arts and you studied painting at the Akademie für Malerei, in Berlin, and you eventually earned your Master Student of Ute Wöllmann: how did those formative years help you to create your unique attitude to experiment with different media? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your previous studies of Literature and Media Science address the trajectory of your current artistic research?

Anja Sieber: Thank you for the opportunity to present myself in this media. For me, it had always

Anja Sieber

seemed better to study art at a younger age. However, starting later in life as I did, having already been working for many years as a journalist, an editor and as a publisher of books (on the transformation of cultural phenomena through media, by the way!), the advantages in terms of approach are quite different. It had definitely been a teenage dream of mine to attend the famous Städelschule in Frankfurt/M. The 1980s were a tumultuous and exciting time, still marked by the Paris student revolt of 1968 and its anti-authoritarian movement. The documenta 7 included Joseph Beuys’ 7000 trees planting action and, as an 18-year-old, I found

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Anja Sieber

Anja Sieber is co-curator of the BUNKERHILLGalerie (jointly with Errkaa, featured by Hilldegarden e.V.). In that

myself both confused and enchanted by the Con-

in literature and film that made a difference in soci-

ceptual Art and the New Wild Painters exhibited.

ety. Moreover, in linguistic studies, you dissect eve-

All this fuelled my wish to be as free and bounda-

ry syllable to reveal the theory of signs. So what is a

ries-breaking as these artists were. This attitude al-

semiotic sign? And how is it transmitted? What is

so determined the intellectual focus of my first

the political core of everyday messages? French

studies – Romance languages. I found conventions

philosophers like Foucault and Deleuze made their

boring; I was fascinated by new forms of narration

mark on the study of the humanities at that time. In

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show, she included her installation of Dante's Gates of Hell.

2009, when I began my studies of painting at the

teachers, and means of expressing themselves. But

Akademie fĂźr Malerei in Berlin with this educational

the most important aspects were the weekly re-

heritage, a decades-long accumulated readiness for

views of our works. Those meetings in front of all

experimentation and a yearning for freedom burst

the students stimulated within me a profound self-

inside me. The Academy's special approach, influ-

reflection on my personal artistic development and

enced by Georg Baselitz, favoured this by offering

on the direction in which I was heading. During one

students the option of selecting the techniques,

of my first meetings in front of the plenum at the

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Anja Sieber

Body of Measured Time, 2010, poems from In One Thousand Days by Galit Seliktar, paper, acrylic gel, ink, 4,33 x 9 Academy, the keyword “writing” was mentioned

the dictum “brush” by reading several interesting

as an interesting element of my work. (I had used

books on the subject of “The integration of writing

writing to create drawings with blue pen lines.) I

into 20th century painting” and began to produce

was given the task of painting for ten minutes eve-

lots of incomprehensible blobs, lines and surfaces.

ry day for six weeks and writing down everything

I applied the paint. I started with small pieces of pa-

that came to my mind.

per and moved on to larger and larger fabric for-

Thrown into the experiment, I freed myself from

mats. I used my fingers and everything else I could

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Anja Sieber

ART Habens

of the corners of plastic bags. The result was a mixture of chaotic lines and textures, so impressive that I later sprayed the largest of them completely with white paint to emphasise only the structures. While I was wildly waving my hands around and muttering the names of writing artists, I kept dipping my brush into the thick paint, thinking above all about the abstract expressionist Cy Twombly, whose huge white scribbles I had stared at in disbelief in the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum in Berlin a few years previously. And so it did not take long before I had initiated a series of experiments to combine painting and performance art with literature and language. Marked out with such unique visual identity, the body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens —and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article — has at once captured our attention for the way they convey sense of freedom and rigorous aesthetics, and in particular for the way you use your visual language in a strategic way to offering an array of meanings to the viewers: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us

,84 x 1,18 inches

something about the genesis of your Bind Together Hyperallergic Ideas series?

get my hands on. Acrylic became the glue for garbage, sand, colourful carnival letters, the remains of

Anja Sieber: Spontaneous constraints, being in an-

yellowed signs, etc. I used oil paint, tempera,

other country, and having a lot of space acted as a

gouache and watercolours directly from the tube,

strong creative trigger. The special aspect of this

chalk, charcoal and graphite enabled me to create

series is the fact that it was prompted during my

the scribbled line. I stirred black ink pools into thin

time as an artist-in-residence. In the Jewish district

webs with the brush handle, squeezing colour out

of Zurich, I had a large and more or less empty

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Anja Sieber

Bind Together Hyperallergic Ideas 2, 2019

Bind Together Hyperallergic Ideas 3, 2019

Mixed Media on Paper, 46 x 33 inches

Mixed Media on Paper, 46 x 33 inches

apartment all to myself. Apart from the kitchen,

and Its Discontents”, a self-described “forum for

there was only a bed, a wardrobe and a chair. This

serious, playful, and radical thinking about art in

experience taught me that leaving your comfort

the world today”.

zone can help to boost production.

I took screenshots of some articles and edited

The first step was thus, as always, the search for a

them digitally for my purposes, i.e. I changed the

suitable medium that contains an inspiring subject

readability beyond recognition. Since the host of

which can be incorporated into my art. For quite a

the residence was also the owner of a large print-

while, I had been contemplating how best to deal

ing company, several large formats and countless

with the global art scene and its media. I chose the

other paper sizes were lying on my floor within a

New York platform “Hyperallergic – Sensitive to Art

few days.

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Bind Together Hyperallergic Ideas 4, 2019, Mixed Media on Paper, 33 x 23 inches


Bind Together Hyperallergic Ideas 14, 33 x 23 in


Anja Sieber

ART Habens

Bind Together Hyperallergic Ideas 13, 44 x 20 in

Being Free 1, 2017, Mixed Media on Paper, 36 x 14 in

In general, I need modern colours which dry quick-

ent after drying. I call these results “text skins�. In

ly as part of my approach. The acrylic gel I use cre-

this way, the image-bearing paper is changed into a

ates elastic surfaces.

picture carrier ready for the emotional working

They stick together strongly and become transpar-

process with paint.

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Anja Sieber

I work on the floor all the time, rarely on a wall. I allow the material flows to break their path and dry up in a variety of interesting track formations and reliefs. This process never falls to inspire me anew! To locate the artistic action in the chosen art context, the performing body becomes the medium. Hands and movements form writing lines. I condense what I write down with various fluid media into complex, mostly illegible line structures that materialise as the message being presented. In this case, I used the words “The Power of Artist’s Books to Bind Together Radical Ideas�, which I also recited aloud to myself during the painting process. Beneath these superimposed coloured notes, the articles enclosed in gel remain visible, are partly readable, and provide a rectangular and linear counterpoint. We have really appreciated the way your artworks challenge the viewers' perceptual parameters and we dare say that they could be considered interzones of sensory perceptions. Scottish painter Peter Doig once remarked that even the most realistic paintings are derived more from within the head than from what's out there in front of us, how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination, playing within your artistic production?

Anja Sieber: A very interesting point of view. I would add a preliminary stage and claim: without a realistic picture in mind, it is difficult to grasp the sensory perception inside and give it strength. I derive this from abstractions of figures and objects,

Rings um uns hoben sich die Leiber a Special Issue

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us dem Stein 1, Transcript of Peter Weiss‘ The Aesthetics of Resistance, 2011, Mixed Media on Paper, 14 x 20 inches 21 4 12

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Anja Sieber

Solicloud piece 24, 2015, Mixed Media on Paper, 15 x 20 x 1 in Special Issue

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as for example in my series “Outside”, and choose the substratum of thoughts for my work to achieve even greater abstraction. Words and the distilled statement itself act as an anchor for me, as well as the framework formed by the typographic lines and blocks. With this point of reference, I connect with the world and, at the same time, include my personal feelings and ideas. By locating the work in a specific context, I place myself into an intellectual sphere I perceive as reality. Canadian artist Jeff Wall once stated that "a picture is something that makes invisible its before and after." Our perception of reality is informed by imperceptibly interwoven experiences: how does everyday life's experience fuel your creative process? In particular, as an abstract visual artist, do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Anja Sieber: Isn't it the other way around in processual art – the before and the after remain in the picture? Not only in a material form, but also conceptually. In general, I share Jeff Wall's view that no work of art can be created without everyday perception and always has a perceptible or indiscernible impact on the productive process. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, you are fascinated by the possibility space remains to be explored on another occasion – entering with your voice and your body a new room in which poetic, intellectual, commonplace or political thoughts pass directly into an art event. We daresay that your artworks not only express your personal vision, but also and especially work as a communication tool that give life to a more general

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Pergamon Frieze 2, Transcript of Peter Weiss' The Aesthetics of Resistance, 2012, Mixed Media on Paper, 33 x 46 inc


hes, photo: Daniel Kulle


Solicloud, 2015 mobilĂŠ of 100 pieces, altonale art prize competition, Hamburg


Anja Sieber

ART Habens

Weiss Papers 3, 2016, wire wrapped with paper, 12 x 12 x 3 inches (photo: Daniel Kulle)

interaction with wide audience where everyone can

Nevertheless, art is of course a form of communica-

find something new, personal and universal: how im-

tion.

portant is for you the degree of openness of your art-

That’s why I came up with the idea of going back to

works and how open would you like them to be understood? Moreover, do you believe that art is univer-

medieval manuscripts. I studied the astronomer

sally understandable?

Galileo Galilei, the Italian poet Alighieri Dante and the French Enlightenment philosopher Denis Di-

Anja Sieber: Art is subtle. Visual language has a dif-

derot. Since these cultural assets are in the public

ferent effect on the viewer than text and speech.

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Live-Performance with wire transWriting with wire Dante’s The Gates of Hell, 2012 Contemporary Art Ruhr in Essen Germany video still: Birgit Ginkel


ART Habens

Anja Sieber

domain, I was able to download some digital copies of these old venerable books and use them for my own purposes. In particular, a large wall installation consisting of many round works in different sizes on Galileo’s star observations stimulated the interaction with the public. In this case, the universal message of the inherent text addresses the viewer additionally via the “replica” of a planetary constellation. In the meantime, this series is temporarily sold out! As an artist, you must always be “open” to the perceptions of your audience, which frequently deviate from the artistic intention. Most visitors who wander around an art fair do not initially concern themselves with the concept behind a work of art. Either it appeals to them, or it doesn’t. The reason my exhibits stimulate communication is often the enigmatic “material”: viewers ask if it is ceramics, sheet metal or plastic. The answer “paper” often provokes a conversation. I find visitors’ idiosyncratic interpretations and sometimes even suggestions highly enriching, as such discussions remind me of the reviews of paintings in the Academy. But the openness could go much further than that. Imagine what would happen if I started a challenge on Instagram and asked my followers to post their favourite quotes from world literature … A collection of such quotations could be used to create an interesting new interactive project for a touring exhibition ... As you have remarked once, your practice is based on "what you hear" during transWRITing, painting, forming paper objects and doing performances, and as we

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Anja Sieber at Gallery Sui Valet Berlin with How to Pitch to Hyerallergic 7, 2018, Mixed Media on Paper, 98 x 59 inches 21 4 18

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Live performance with wire transWRITing the poem On the moon, a smell by Galit Seliktar at open]art[space Pot Special Issue

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noticed in your On the moon, a smell performance, that our readers can view at https://vimeo.com/158450598, your approach highlights the importance of manuality. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes? In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your creative process?

Anja Sieber: In a live performance with aluminium wire, the tension between language and image naturally increases. The voice guides the hand that transforms the words into a sculpture made of wire. The words necessarily become abstracted by the gestural line that is detached from them, which still contains the communicative act – and thus carries meaning. The video is part of a German-Israeli collaboration from the year 2010. You see me transWRITing the poem “On the moon, a smell” by Galit Seliktar, which is played with her voice in Hebrew and my voice in German via loudspeakers. Since I work with wire and without printed paper, a rectangular box serves as a geometric form. On top it, the “transcript” accumulates and unfolds. When I am trying out a new technique or material, I often act wildly and freely, without a chosen intellectual concept. In other words: when the sheet is still completely blank, I also enjoy working from instinct and improvisation, as for example in my pure ink overlays in “Being Free”. Regarding my tran-

sdam 2010 open]art[space Potsdam 2010 21 4 20

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Anja Sieber

Weiss Papers 8, 2016, Mixed Media on Paper, 12 x 12 inches photo: Daniel Kulle

sWRITings on paper, I combine a conceptual ap-

When exploring edges or shapes, your artworks fea-

proach with an intuitive expressiveness through

ture unique combination between sense of freedom

the colours.

and subtle still rigorous sense of geometry — as the

Summer 2015 Special Issue

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Anja Sieber

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Weiss Papers 4, 2016, Paper, 12 x 12 x 3 inches photo: Daniel Kulle

works from your Weiss' The Aesthetics of Resistance.

an alternation between tension and release. How does

Moreover, we have particularly appreciated the way

your own psychological make-up determine the nuanc-

they create such enigmatic patterns, communicating

es of tones that you decide to include moment by mo-

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Anja Sieber

Anja Sieber in action as artist-in-residence in ZĂźrich, 2018 (photo: Howard Brundrett) ment in your artworks and in particular, are there any

Anja Sieber: The monumental work about the fascist

special states of mind that you need in order to make

resistance threw me into a state of rage but also

such decisions?

gave me utopian hope. As in the novel, I also find

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Since a woman writes me, 2010 wire transcript 1 of a poem by Galit Seliktar, wire, acrylic gel, 7 x 5 x 1 in


Artist-in-Residency Zurich photo: Howard Brundrett)

(


Anja Sieber

ART Habens

certain set frames to psychologically “endure” the

Anja Sieber: I believe the pandemic will push artists,

historical contexts. I play with lightness and joy as

including myself, to inevitably market themselves on-

well as with melancholy and consternation. I have

line to a larger extent. Nowadays, more and more

not only used the typographic book pages, giving my

apps are tailored to online presence and sales. There

works a geometric pattern, but also the audiobook

are already inventory systems and exchangeable

version. Thus I was absorbing and interpreting the

“rooms” in which works of art can be digitally at-

literary words and fictional content as I was painting.

tached to a wall for previews, etc. The collaboration

The Weiss series operated in several directions. Here

between artist and gallery will definitely change.

you can also find free watercolour drafts in a hand-

Both parties will invest more in online sales. Tempo-

drawn rectangle with coloured applied writing. I ex-

rary collaborations will be created, giving the artist

perimented with blank paper and wire here too.

more independence and bringing new collectors to the galleries. Exclusive contracts will be a thing of

For my art production I always need the “special”

the past, new agreements are needed.Even if buyers

moment. For this reason, I have to imagine an impor-

are given the right to return the acquired work, the

tant project and a predetermined exhibition location.

personal contact to the artist, which is crucial for so

Without real-time pressure from outside I often find

many collectors, will be lost. Therefore, since the be-

it difficult to start. When I know where this new idea

ginning of the lockdown, I have invested a lot of time

is taking me, I can proceed. And throughout the

in my Instagram account (see

process, I have this place clearly in my mind.

https://www.instagram.com/anjasieber_art). This You are an established artist: your artworks are in a

small-format medium with its many interactive possi-

number of private art collections in Zurich, Berlin and

bilities is currently replacing multiple facets of previ-

Hamburg, and over the years your paintings have been

ous communication. However, as both an artist and a

exhibited in several occasions, including Miami River Art,

curator, I wouldn't want to miss the direct contact to

Art Beijing, art KARLSRUHE, Kunst Zürich and PREVIEW

the art scene, and I still consider a visit to the site es-

BERLIN: how do you consider the nature of your relation-

sential. A work becomes art by being embedded in a

ship with your audience? Direct relationship with the

context. This context not only consists of a discourse

viewers in a physical context is definetely the most im-

but also exists through space and the personal en-

portant one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery

counter. What the Insta community is struggling for

spaces, to street and especially to the online realm — as

is already given here: authenticity.

Instagram — increases: as a co-curator of BUNKERHILL Galerie, Hamburg, how would in your opinion change the

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of

relationship with a globalised audience?

your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating

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Anja Sieber

Since a woman writes me, 2010, wire transcript 9 of a poem by Galit Seliktar, wire, acrylic gel, detail

conversation we would like to thank you for chatting

some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

with us and for sharing your thoughts, Anja. What

Anja Sieber: Currently I am very inspired by my expe

projects are you currently working on, and what are

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riences with Instagram. I could imagine a new series

market will open up and will offer many new op-

based on this particular media aesthetic and its com-

portunities in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

munication streams. And I sincerely hope that the art

English editing: House portunities in theChristine wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

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Efi Spyrou. Solo Exhibition The onslaught of dogs, At Centre of Contemporary Art Diatopos (Storm Bird and Other Animals) Photographer: Despina Spyrou, Make-up&Hair: Yannis Siskos, Installation Photographer: Emma Louise Charalambous


Efi Spyrou


ART Habens

Jordi Rosado

THREAT Chess Board, 2017 Saturate fluorescent lamps, fastening straps, iron 129 x 120 x 20 cm Special Issue Special thanks to Polyeco

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Efi Spyrou An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Efi and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit http://efispyrou.com and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your BA in Arts and Sciences in Communication Studies from the University of Indianapolis and your BA in Fine Arts from the University of Athens, you nurtured your education with a MA in Performance and Design from the University of London, and a MFA in Fine Arts, that you received from the University of Athens: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

Efi Spyrou

Efi Spyrou: My years of studying gave me the tools to delve into my research more systematically, methodically.

Portrait Photographer: Nikolas Louka

Throughout these years, the multidisciplinary and multilayered approaches in the field of communication, performance, sculptural form and art in general formed a concrete dialogue with my experiences in fashion and mass media created a strong, highly resistant alloy for every artistic work created.

for this special edition of ART Habens and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once captured our attention for the way you sapiently explored the grammar of body language, inviting the viewers through a provoking and multilayered intellectual experience. As a versatile artist, your creative production encompasses sculpture, drawing, video and photo-performance: what does

Make-up&Hair: Yannis Siskos

The body of works that we have selected

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Efi Spyrou

Efi Spyrou. Solo Exhibition-The onslaught of dogs- At Centre of Contemporary Art Diatopos, Photographer: De

direct you to such multidisciplinary approach? In particular, are there any experiences that did particularly help you to develop your attitude to experiment with different techniques?

From the first lessons in my father’s carpenter workshop, when the modelpaper would transform into a utilitarian three-dimensional object, and then on to my relation, a few years later, with fashion and clothing, its folds, its posture and movement presenting the garment, as garment, as a new body expressing and forming identities, and

Efi Spyrou: My personal history is imbued in alternating sceneries and experiences.

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spina Spyrou, Installation Photographer: Emma Louise Charalambous

Some of your artworks, as the interesting Thread and Flight or Fight communicates such unique tactile sensation: we’d love to ask you about the qualities of the materials that you include in your artworks, with a particular focus on your current artistic production: as an artist working with diverse media, how do you select them?

then to my studies and first steps in drawing color or then in exploring the materiality of bodies, organic and nonorganic, all this gave me the wealth, knowledge and freedom to converse with different raw materials every time, in order to give birth to a new project without any restrictions.

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Efi Spyrou

Efi Spyrou: I choose my materials or many times they choose me… The decision is born with the project itself – the notions it carries, the forms it services, the present conditions. For instance, the saturated fluorescent light tubes in projects “Chess Board” and “Flight and Fight” were chosen after an invitation by POLYECO – a waste management company – when I was asked to freely create a project based on any material. Of course, it was not by chance that among the thousands of materials that I was offered, I chose saturated lamps. Light was always conquering my work. It has been very often a structural element of my work, sometimes as the protagonist, sometimes as a secondary feature. However, saturated light came to a nodal period in my life – a blurry time when black-darkness and light were one and the same. As it I did not know which one would prevail each time… I therefore entered the “transformation” procedure in that stage when something is dead and something else is trying to be born at the same time. Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impressed us and that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled Storm Bird and Other Animals, a stimulating triptych that attempts to chart the ever-changing, complex and mul-

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Efi Spyrou

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Efi Spyrou. Solo Exhibition - The onslaught of dogs - At Centre of Contemporary Art Diatopos (Storm Bird) Photographer: Despina Spyrou, Installation Photographer: Emma Louise Charalambous 21 4 08

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Efi Spyrou. Exhibition-PLEXUS- At Cyprus Embassy (Tramp in) Special Issue

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Efi Spyrou

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tilevel identity demanded of today’s artists. Your artistic practice talks about the progressive movement from the particularity of personal narrative to the universality of collective memory. How do you consider the role of memory playing within your artistic process? And how do you consider the tension between the personal sphere and the public one?

Efi Spyrou: Memory is a driving force in my practice. It can come either from personal or from collective history. However, I realize that the intermediate black gaps in memory, its deceptions are the elements which shuffle the card deck and the game is played differentlyand unexpectedly. I begin with something concrete, something personal. By examining it with perseverance and obsessively, I realize that there is not just one core, but many cores in all directions. There is nothing absolute, stable and specific. The subject is the starting point and not its formulation. I observe myself entering and exiting my personal experience in a manner which finally abolishes the person and the onedirectional flirtation with the subjective. You deal with social phenomena – whether this has to do with race, origin, age, sex. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "artists's role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": does

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Efi Spyrou

Efi Spyrou. Exhibition-PLEXUS- At Cyprus Embassy (Metamorphoses) Commissioned by POLYECO

your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In particular, do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues that affect our globalised and everchanging society?

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Efi Spyrou: I consider myself a local foreigner. This raises the question on who is local and who is foreign, and what do they have in common. To me, the issue is to be present in the

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Efi Spyrou

moment regarding the story between the people and the place where I am at. This raises questions that I am called to answer or multiply. I use a language referring to locality, but it addresses and provokes the global society. However, it

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is not produced as an exportable product – it exists, it seeks value inside and outside its framework of origin. Exotic Not Exhausted relates to your interest in the politics of the art and fashion:

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Efi Spyrou. Exhibition-PLEXUS- At Cyprus Embassy (Edged Sun)


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Efi Spyrou

as a creative with such a long experience in the fashion industry how do you consider the role of direct experience as starting point for your creative process, and how does your every day life experience fuel your artistic research?

Efi Spyrou: The everyday ignites thoughts and gives birth to new parameters in the narration of things. It is the city, and the direct urban experience is an open lab for experiment, games to seek the moment of convergence between the experience and the conscience of being/existence. As you have remarked once, your photographic series form a "backdrop to a series of animalesque sculptures" and we have really appreciated the way Little Black Bird unveils the point of convergence between organic matter and mechanics. In this sense, your artworks seem to invite the viewers to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

Efi Spyrou: I would like for my work to surprise and be open to be surprised by its interpretations. The work is to create interactions, in a

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Efi Spyrou

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Efi Spyrou-Exhibition-Flight or Fight (Flight and Fight-AWARDED) Supported by POLYECO 21 4 14

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Efi Spyrou-Exhibition-Thread (Chess Board- close up ii) Supported by POLYECO Special Issue

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spiral course, between the spectator-the work-the artist-the model-the work-the spectator. In a controversial quote, German photographer Thomas Ruff stated that ''nowadays you don't have to paint to be an artist: you can just create photographs in a realistic way". Provocatively, the German photographer highlighted the short circuit between the act of looking and that of thinking critically about images: how do you consider the role of photography in our contemporary age, constantly saturated by ubiquitous images?

Efi Spyrou: Photography is another medium to spread the message. The message is not the medium. It is also the medium. The photography’s products, like slicesfilms of things can travel in a flexible way and provoke the same questions for the mechanisms of creating a project as well as for the project itself and its value. You are an established artist: your artwork has been featured in numerous exhibitions in Greece, Cyprus, London and Berlin and is part of private collections worldwide: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the audience in a physical is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the on-

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Efi Spyrou

line realm increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

Efi Spyrou: I try to preserve my bodily relationship with things, although it is not easy in a time governed by noncorporal and asexual relationships. It is a challenge to be able to move in a continuum in between and to keep discovering and revealing yourself in a poetic manner. We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Efi. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

Efi Spyrou: Right now, my solo exhibition «My finest fabulous and amazing math book» is hosted on the façade of an empty emblematic neoclassical building in the center of Athens, however visitors are currently not able to have access to it. Relations between art, the market and spectacle are commented with a dose of self-sarcasm. I wanted to evaluate how a work of art could exist today, as a notion as well as a means of communication, to examine how the dialogue between a work of art and its value is determined or

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Photographer: Maria Siorba, Make up&Hair: Yannis Siskos 21 4 18

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Photographer: Maria Siorba, Make-up: Yannis Siskos

formulated. In a certain sense, I became a specialized agent of secret services and isolated phrases from articles written, I decoded discussions or writings and I focused on words and meanings which influence and augment the value of the work, thus creating a new work of art beyond what it already is.

invited to produce new art performance pieces, emphasizing in fields and practices such as reformulations, transformations, negotiations for a new identity, centered around gender issues, as they happen and are formed through the contradictions of multicultural and unique modern societies.

In parallel I am working on a collective project entitled ÂŤIdentity in betweenÂť where five Greek women artists are

An interview by

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and

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, curator curator


Installation Photographer: Christos Fousekis


Lives and works in Ulm, Southern Germany

The Bund Bond to Pudong - Exotic Shanghai Huangpu

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Ulf Kรถnig

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video, 2013

Bridges, 2019 0 422

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A Burj Khalifa Special Issue Complex - Dubai, 2017

Ulf Koenig

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Ulf König An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Ulf and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.artkoenig.de and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training in Physics and you also hold a PhD in Engineering: as a basically self taught visual artist, are there any experiences — along with the occasions of venturing off to famous art museums worldwide — that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your technical cultural substratum address your current artistic research? Ulf König: Hello ART Habens, many thanks for your invitation to present my art and thoughts on it. Indeed, I have devoted the majority of my life to exact science, and I have been shaped by rational-pragmatic thinking as industry manager. In my youth, however, art has played a certain role, I had been taught in painting by my father, Werner König, a cartoonist and oilpainter, I drew my architecture visions to paper, and I read a lot of books with modern and fantastic architecture. Therefore, I originally wanted to study architecture, until I realized that most architects only build ordinary houses. I decided to study physics in which I found my professional fulfillment.

Ulf König

occasionally an artwork. After my retirement I could turn fully to art, initially to the constructivism, not entirely surprising regarding my professional background. With this art- style I explored subjective perceptions of technological items, and primarily of architecture, my youth’s ambition.

Business trips during my activity as industry manager allowed me to visit museums worldwide, as you already mentioned in your question, in addition I saw icons of architecture. Back home, I designed in my sparetime flats for me and for friends, e.g. for Prof. Dr. Ulrich Langmann, and painted

My strategy in conceiving my artworks indicates analytic approaches left over from my profession, starting with a concept, a sketch, a

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Ulf König

first layout-test, and an effort estimation. At the beginning of the manufacturing process I’m keeping strictly to my concept, however fortunately, step by step my artistic imagination and freedom triumphed, not seldomly ending up with something else. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, has at once captured our attention for the way you use your visual language in a strategic way to explore of the ideas of modern architecture within the practice of sculpture. In particular, we have been fascinated with the way your Architecture Criticism highlights such unique osmosis between architectural practice and artistic sensitiveness. When walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you usually develop your initial idea for your artworks? Do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes? Ulf König: My recent series Architecture Criticism exaggerates my style development and as you speculates - it reveals a certain artistic sensitiveness. Herewith I have created an “extreme chaotic” deconstructivism together with a “subjective” symbolism which enriches the bandwidth of interpretations. Licensed photographs of well-known urban places and buildings in Dubai, New York, Shanghai, Berlin, furthermore those of Barcelona, San Francisco are “oversculpted” with colored wooden stripes, whereby unusual, bizarre architectural structures seem to have been built in or above the existing cities. That yield unorthodox, ironic, provocative, multifaceted critical views onto modern architecture.

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Chaotic is Better than Nothing, a Retrofit - Transam. Pyramid San Francisco, 2017 21 4 06

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Hubris of Babel - Burj Khalifa Dubai, 2017 Special Issue

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I try to discover something new, inventing what didn’t exist, what opens an aesthetic view onto order in chaos, and what points to a reconstruction of cities. Indeed. I’m often asked by visitors of my exhibitions “When will that be build?”. Concerning my process, I don’t believe that sculpturing can be made gesturally, instinctively like perhaps painting informel. It needs time, it requires planning and method to position and to mount the stripe element one after the other, even if at the end a chaotic something remains, in contrast to the photographic underground. German artist Gerhard Richter, overpainting technique inspired your works once underlined the importance of the physical act behind any work of art: how do you consider the relation between the intrinsically abstract nature of the ideas that you convey in your artworks and their materiality? Ulf König: “Oversculpting” and “overpainting” both of them target changing a photography by means of mixed-media, in order to create new, distorted realities. The results abandon the intrinsic, documentary character of the photo, and present unexpected perspectives. Concerning my sculptures in the Architecture Criticism series, the oversculptung proactively anticipates the architectural world of tomorrow. Thoughts of an artist might become materialized. The colored wooden stripes or styrofoam/wood blocks that you include in your works provide them with such unique multilayered visual quality, that seem to highlight contours of known reality in an unknown world, to invite the viewers to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination,

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A Torre Agbar Complex - Barcelona, 2017



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Ulf König

playing within your artistic production? In particular, how do you select your tones in order to achieve such powerful visual effect? Ulf König: Indeed, the Architecture Criticism series is multilayered. In terms of the tangible, of the material we have the photo-level and above the dominant stripe-construction which is themselves built in various levels. The stripes seem to connect, to brace buildings visible in the photo underneath, or they produce new exceptional spaces ether passable or habitable. Furthermore, the pieces contain a diversity of styles, constructivism in the photo, deconstructivism and symbolism in the stripes. This complex arrangement, together with the choice of colors, is precisely what leads to the visual attraction of the artworks. In a deeper, subjective contemplation the series brings a subconscious world to the surface, i.e. insight into my thoughts and feelings, torn between implementation of experience, planning and intuition. Even Albert Einstein, that idol of my time as physicist, has stated concerning this matter: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational one a faithful servant”, surprisingly that a strategy in theoretical physics is valid for art, too. Rich of unique sense of geometry, your artworks challenges the viewers' cultural categories: how important is for you to question the aesthetic problem within usual contemporary parameters? Ulf König: In view of the fundamental meaning, aesthetics covers - very unspecifically - the generation of multiple sensing, i.e. the discovery of any visual and emotional impact of objects. My first architecture-related series Arterial Roads and Cityscapes - which we shall be discussing later in this interview as you has indicated - address geometric sensitivities. The

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Arterial Roads XI, 2009 21 4 12

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Ulf König

the role of humour playing within your artistic production?

harmony of forms and colors one may appreciate as very stimulating and beautiful, but also opposite statements are conceivable, i.e. too orderly, boring, meaningless. The series Architecture Criticism with her new perceptions and unusual form-vocabulary could act provoking, but even that is an aspect of aesthetics.

Ulf König: Humor, irony, even provocation marks the pieces in this series. My crucial goal is, to put in a concealed manner a finger on problems in realized architecture, that actually ought to have been known for a long time. But provocation - I have to emphasize this – does not give me the right to break the rules of aesthetics.

I don’t claim having reached aesthetic perfection, if that is at all possible. But my focus is to make visible the callistic site of aesthetics, i.e. the beauty. In my view beauty is represented by the exciting conflict between order and chaos in my pieces, and by the harmony or the contrast between primary and non-colors.

As this criticism can’t be seen at a glance, I gave the artworks longer subtitles, as a kind of interpretation aid. Let me begin just with artwork A Torre Agbar Complex, you mentioned in the question: “No doubt, the Torre Agbar is an internationally recognized outstanding building, but the unspectacular surrounding does not match to it. The artwork suggests a solution”, in other words, why the city of Barcelona doesn’t arrange a complex of them. In terms of the piece Chaotic is Better the subtitle is: “The extraordinary, very aesthetic Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco is regarded as a symbol for earthquake stability. However, for avoiding a disaster perhaps a seismic retrofit, even a chaotic one would be better than nothing”, or to The Bund Bond to Pudong: “The old and the new city districts ought to be connected by quite unusual skyways, also offering places to live or shops. Isn’t Shanghai open for visions?”.

In your Architecture Criticism series you created an“extreme chaotic” deconstructivism, extended by a “subjective” symbolism which might provoke subliminal perception, and that shows the connection between reality and the subconscious. To quote Max Ernst's word, human beings have an inexhaustible store of buried images in their subconscious and into their inner world: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination, playing within your artistic production? Ulf König: Your quote of a “store of buried images” is really relevant for me. That stands in the context to my “first life” as an industry guy: even though planning prevailed there, I had a suppressed longing for freely designable order - or should I say - disorder. Chaos appears in my recent art series, as I now may give vent to my creative imaginations. Frankly, some order in chaos still remains visible.

Assuming, someone feels offended by my irony, my generally accepted artistic freedom, however, allows me to argue - with a smile in the face - “It’s only humor”. You’re right, the series enters a subjective symbolism. I prefer to stage this by means of miniature figures, arranged inside the wall sculptures. Questions arose like “Are the bizarre bridge houses in Berlin places for living?”, or “When one can walk over the Huangpu-River in Shanghai?”.

We can recognize subtle still effective irony in your works, and especially in the interesting A Torre Agbar Complex, as well as in Symbolism in Architecture Criticism: how do you consider

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Ulf König

ART Habens

Arterial Roads IX, 2008

Despite all nasty criticism in the series, solution approaches become discernable as well visually and by my subtitles, generally driven by my desire to turn art into architecture.

that your general motivation is to explore subjective perceptions directed to “artist's views of cities”, highlighting that the influences of a variety of architectures have been mentally processed and inspired you to artistically alienated architectural wall

Speaking about Introduction, you clarified

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Ulf König

Manhattan V, 2015

sculptures: how does your everyday life's experience fuel your artistic research?

and buildings. Books and internet help to enhance my impressions. My search revealed - not entirely surprising - that even architects of the early 20th century like A. Sant’Elia, or K. Malevich have shaped the architecture development up to today. This is precisely why my forerunner series Arterial Roads - the

Ulf König: Most of the architecture all around is unfortunately very boring. But I remembered having worldwide seen a variety of extraordinary urban areas, traffic centers

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Ulf König

concept was born shortly after my retirement, and still having the well structured methods of my industrial occupation in my mind – did regard early suprematist, constructive visions, e.g. that of Yakov Chernikov or the forward-looking plan

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of the Radiant City by Le Corbusier. From the today’s trend in architecture both concepts are modern, but too compact. Art should help to accentuate the extraordinary, ordered character and should carve out the hidden magic and charm.

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Ulf König

Manhattan VI, 2016

I used wooden blocks as “buildings” and painted “streets” in between. Honestly speaking, I was a bit surprised about my result with the clear, uncluttered layout and about the beauty, probably thanks to the geometric simplicity and to the impact of a

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few colors together with non-colors. That motivates me to start with more complex compositions, i.e. the series Cityscapes. Marked out with such stimulating visual ambiguity, Manhattan from you. Cityscapes series features such ambivalent and a bit

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enigmatic visual identity, that provides the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception, inviting them to elaborate personal associations. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project

ART Habens

onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

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A City's Metamorphoses, 2019



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Ulf König

follows function”. What is your intention of this set of sculptures?

Ulf König: In respect to the Cityscape series, the spectators will easily recognize the stretchedout, rigid map of Manhattan with skyscrapers, avenues and streets. More profoundly regarded, they hopefully become aware of the rather hostile design of traditional megalopolis, though the sculptures went through an artistic embellishment. The feelings of the audience encompass either pleasure or repellency, all that can be read off the sculptures.

Ulf König: The Manhattan Cityscape sculptures I prefer to exhibit as a whole. That installation expresses best the evolution from purist Bauhaus-like constructivism, via postmodernism up to “angular chaotic” deconstructivism. A City’s Metamorphoses comprises four to six sculptures and a video panel, showing there the movie Artist’s Views and Sounds of Cities, a short version please find in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsLof6It8jg. The movie visualizes associations between real or visionary architecture and the sculptures, and is accompanied by a magical 3Dsoundtrack, during the exhibitions audible via wireless headphones to avoid disturbing other visitors. An amazing robotic voice provides the spectators with information.

I myself as the sculptor took the freedom to create more attractive cityscapes sculptures, e.g. by means of a postmodern upgrade of the functionalist layout. Angled-top buildings like that of Richard Rogers in Berlin, or HughStubbins’s CityGroup Center in Manhattan, or the Parkview-Green in Beijing become apparent. Even a playful deconstructive version I have created, with leaning skyscrapers like the Puerta de Europe in Madrid, or the Dubai Sun Tower project by SkidmoreOwingsMerill, and in the center of the sculpture replications might be detected of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi concept of Frank O. Gehry or, respectively, of the crystal-like Superman’s Fortress in a WarnerBrothers movie.

First of all, the audience shall be enjoyed by the set of sculptures. Moreover, I would wish, that the visitors recognize how much a citypopulation would benefit from a development towards cities with an art-inspired design. It's important to mention that in 2014 you started the interdisciplinary artist collective AV-SCILLS (AudioVisual-SCulptural ILLusionS). It's no doubt that collaborations are today ever growing forces in Contemporary Art and that the most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project: could you tell us something about the collaborative nature of your work? Can you explain how your a work of art demonstrates communication between artists from different disciplines?

My primary goal is to guide the spectators in order to figure out what my inspirations have been and which ideas and visions I plan to transfer. Nevertheless, that means a lot of mental work, whose outcome I don’t want to influence. Spontaneous, unexpected exciting associations are always welcome, no matter what the spectators believe to see. Maybe it stimulates fruitful discussions. We have been particularly fascinated by the tactile sensation provided by your artworks, that in A City's Metamorphoses suggests us the act of crystallization of your ideas. Some artworks in the installation seem to be inspired by the BAUHAUS-philosophy “form

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Ulf König: I’m pleased about this question, as that allows me to elucidate another branch of my artistic activity, which is - whom it may surprise - related to technology, the topic of my

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Higher & Higher & Crazier - Dubai's Next Gen. Burj Khalifa?, 2018 21 4 22

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Chaotic Pent- and Pile-Houses - Lower Manhattan's Rebuilding, 2018 Special Issue

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composed of real and virtual sculptures in Europe, with several thousands of visitors, have posted three relevant trailers

R&D-history. I guess, you have established that my mixed-media sculptures appear flat like paintings from a distance , however, when approaching the areas convert to spatial elements of moderate depths. Why shouldn’t I enhance the threedimensionality? Why not trying to combine haptic visual art with virtual multimedia? And that leads me to a strategic point: Why not benefit from the know- how of former industry colleagues which had developed an appropriate technique to solve these questions?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHrhwWen_hA, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AchbysdF_Ds, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDHxaFXDmdM

and have contributions in newspapers and art magazines. Success is the driving force to maintain the cooperation. Over the years your artworks have been exhibited in several occasions in the United States, Canada and around Europe: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the viewers in a physical context is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

By means of an innovative stereoscopic technique - applied to Cityscape artworks (having been reported in foregoing sections) and furthermore to pieces of Deformed Architecture (a series you may find in my website http://www.artkoenig.de ) - we obtained extreme 3D-images using two projectors and special glasses. That awakes the illusion of meters-deep even room-filling sculptures. An observer can literally enter, bump into them, or the virtual sculptures follow him by changing their shape when he moves around. The three-dimensionality is reinforced by an accompanying spherical, electronic 3D-soundtrack. Visual and audible illusions gave an unforgettable impression for the visitors.

Ulf König: I must confess, that I clearly give priority to present works to an audience. It’s a mandatory requirement in case of our 3D-Show with projections onto a large movie screen, as the people should feel and play with the sculptures virtually standing in the room. It was an incredible experience to see especially children – with mostly too large 3D-glasses and headphones on - jumping around and trying to catch the sculptures.

The 3D-colleagues Helmut Jorke, Markus Fritz, in between having formed the spin-off company INFITEC, the stereo-photographers Dietmar Gruchmann, Lorenz Bee, the musicians Georg Höck, Eric Koenig and myself joint to the artist collective AV-SCILLS, not only an acronym as you already mentioned in your question, also a wordplay with the meaning of SKILLS. If you want, please read more in the collective’s website http://www.3D-multimedia.com. Our team represents a perfect networking, as most of them know one another from industry activities.

If “hardware” is exhibited, I prefer exhibitions for a limited time, as that guarantees my frequent presence and thus dialogue opportunities. So I have heard in many places fruitful statements, revealing that the visitors have understood my message. I remember e.g. a Berlin-exhibition of the A City’s Metamorphoses, where I met Sara Sand, a filmmaking lady, from which a cooperation concerning the video inside the installation arose. Nevertheless, in parallel I participated in international online exhibitions, which offer the potential to get a global audience. The up-side about it was that I received thereby two awards in

We work since several years successfully together, as each one of the team is inspired and motivated by the multidisciplinarity, and learns from each other. We have presented the 3D-Show

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Symbolism in Architecture Criticism, 2020


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Ulf König

the USA, one for Cityscape sculptures, the other for pieces of my Architecture Criticism series. We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Ulf. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? Ulf König: In future exhibitions I will pronounce the interplay between chaos and order, what the readers of this article already could notice, when comparing side-view images with front views. Currently I enlarge the number of pieces of the Architecture Criticism series. I want to fill the available space during a solo exhibition in an old German castle near Lake Constance. I guess, this exhibition will form a spectacular contrast between the historic architectural ambience and the innovative deconstructive sculptures. Some of these artworks will also be exhibited in group-shows in Milan Italy and Basel Switzerland in spring 2021.

Four as One, 2020 embedded into an artificial soundscape. We have extended our consortium by the drone company droneparts.de and by drone pilots Micha Kohnen, Timo Wetzel, Jürgen and Gabriele Westenberger. Please find our first art- drones trailer on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3gdUb9Xl-E

For the A City’s Metamorphoses installation I plan to create two new Cityscapes, one of which is inspired by Zaha Hadid’s organic architecture, the other will be related to the chaotic-organic visions of TerreformONE NewYork, headed by Mitchell Joachim. By the way, I’m in contact with both offices in this respect. My artists’ collective AV-SCILLS is also involved, in order to actualize the video.

You see, the allocation of responsibilities among collective members - origionally a business strategy of firms - also allows to follow visions in art. Finally, I’m exceedingly grateful for your expedient interview questions which have addressed the key issues of my artistic practice.

Additionally, our artist collective is working on an innovative concept (copyrighted by us in 2016), called Heaven full of Art which will radically alter art in public space towards temporary or even permanent environmental aesthetics. Swarms of flying-by artworkdrone-complexes perform a choreography

SummerIssue 2015 Special

An interview by and

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Bizarre Bridge Houses - Upgrading of the Potsdam Square Berlin, 2019 21 4 28

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Lives and works in Miami, Florida

Game of Chance

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video, 2013

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Special Issue Still Waters

Jordi Rosado

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Aimee Perez An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Aimee and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.aimeeperez-sculptor.com and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Are there any experience that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum influence the direction of your artistic research?

Aimee Perez: I would say that one of the things that influenced my evolution as an artist was the need to communicate my thoughts. Shy and withdrawn as a child I found solace drawing everything I found interesting or beautiful, such as my surroundings, and my family. As an adult I found in clay a medium where I could express passions, emotions and record my inner journey. Also, my years of living in Mexico and traveling across the region and the world has had a personal impact on my life. The ancient traditions, legends and myths and the popular art of Peruvian, Mesoamerica and the Caribbean and their gifted creators have influenced

Aimee Perez

my artwork. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, has at once captured our attention for the way you explore human forms within

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contemporary and religious themes, and we really appreciate the way your artistic research around the ideas of redemption, grief and comfort provides theviewers with such an immersive and multilayered experience. When walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you usually develop your initial idea for your artworks? Do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes?

Aimee Perez: The process of my work begins with the idea created intuitively and then from the idea comes the research, for example my series Rare Earth began with the idea of the dichotomy of the immigrant specially the role of women in these societies, being that I am both an immigrant and a woman I could deeply feel and understand the subject but I wanted to know other views so I began to read the books related to the topic such as Borderlands by Gloria Anzaldua. From this research, that took me two years to materialize, Rare Harvest, Still Waters, Red River, The Crucible and many other pieces where created.

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We have appreciated the way you combine reminders to reality — as anthropomorphic shapes — with such unique abstract visual qualities. Scottish visual artist Peter Doig once remarked that even the most realistic works of art are derived more from within the head than from what's out there in front of us: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination, playing within your artistic production?

Aimee Perez: It is an interesting process meshing reality and imagination, I begin with a block of clay, an idea and the need to convey the idea, once the hands begin to work the clay, the passion takes over and I go into a meditative state, when I finish there is a form staring back telling me what it needs to say. My work for the most begins with shaping a head or what I call the gate that brings audience into an inner world of intricate patterns and weaves that could be our unconscious, or our soul. The work is realistic but full of symbols and clues that aims to connect the audience imagination or self. You are a versatile artist and you experiment with unconventional materials as encaustic, wax, metals and

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Will the Real Venus..?


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glass. In particular, we really appreciate your sapient use of found objects, to add layers to your artworks, eliciting response in the spectatorship: New York City based photographer and sculptor Zoe Leonard once stated, "the objects that we leave behind hold the marks and the sign of our use: like archeological findings, they reveal so much about us". We’d love to ask you about the qualities of the materials that you include — or that you plan to include — in your artworks: in particular, how important is for you to use found materials?

Aimee Perez: The materials I use vary according to what I want the pieces to say, for example in the series RARE EARTH, in pieces like STILL WATERS, RARE HARVEST and RED RIVER I used fibers, found objects, stoneware, and porcelain, these materials spoke to me about immigrant women issues, the harshness as well as the beauty of their lives. The found objects, some iron, some old shard pieces of pottery represented their history imbedded in the earth. Other material used were fibers, cotton, manila rope weaved together representing their labor and their connection to their deities and the universe, also pieces of porcelain representing the feminine, cycles of The Cylinder Special Issue

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The Portal

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moon, the maiden, the mother and the crone. In the series FRAGMENTS I chose to used naked clay, white slip, acrylic, led lights and fishing cord. From this series the piece WILL THE REAL VENUS…? Represents and questions the cannons of beauty from antiquity to current times using broken down figures of Venus made of naked clay, an acrylic base and led lights shooting up from the base as if the figures where in a show of sort casting shadows. In other pieces from this same body of work such as, THE CYLINDER, THE PORTAL, I try to bring transparency to feminine issues that have held in secrecy throughout history. All the materials I used in my work become clues for the audience to dig in their own backyards for archeological pieces of who they are. As you remarked in your artist's statement, you work with human forms – with the gestures and emotions, lives and relationships – that serve as archetypes by transcending the context of their story.With their unique multilayered visual quality, your artworks — as the interesting Newspaper boy and Will the Real Venus...... — highlight contours of Rare Harvest 21 4 12

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his subconscious and into his inner world: it is merely a matter of voyaging into the unconscious, to bring pure and unadulterated found objects to light: how do your memories and your everyday life's experience fuel your artistic research?

known reality in an unknown world, to invite the viewers to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

Aimee Perez: Latent in my work are my memories and everyday life experiences, for what else do we want to leave behind but imprints of who we are and what other language do we speak but the language of our soul? Bernini’s terracotta sculptures bare his handprints and his soul prints.

Aimee Perez: There is always a veil between the art work and the audience that only imagination can fill because total transparency in my view is impossible.

In my gestural pieces you can sometimes see manifested the eyes of a family member or the wrath of a hurricane both an intrinsic part my life.

We all are a mystery to ourselves therefore if the work is genuine, by genuine I mean from the entrails, the audience will be pressed to use their imagination.

We have been fascinated with the way your artworks unveil the point of convergence between historical references to religious and biblical themes and unique contemporary sensitiveness, highlighting that exploring a past experience can enhance the understanding of the contemporary: how do you consider the relationship between Tradition and Contemporariness playing within your artistic process?

We really appreciate the way your figures work as an Ariadne's thread that unveils the elusive still ubiquitous link between reality and the subconscious. To quote Max Ernst's word, every human being has an inexhaustible store of buried images in

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their work in depth, they want to be a part of the artists life, all this has created a very sophisticated and knowledgeable art collector to the detriment of galleries and other art markets.

Aimee Perez: I speak from the now so my work is a contemporary language but it is in traditions, legends, myths, what lives in our collective subconscious where I find the creative spark, this is where the archetypes in my work dwell.

We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Aimee. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

You are an established artist: you won several awards and over the years your artworks have been exhibited in many occasions, both in the United States and abroad: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the viewers in a physical context is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm — as Instagram — increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

Aimee Perez: I am currently working on a series on Taino mythology. The Taino an agricultural society lived in the Caribbean and disappeared with the Spanish conquest, they were great potters and weavers, but most of all they were a peaceful society. In this series I am using materials such as clay, and cotton because these convey the essence of their culture and the mysticism of their artwork most of it dedicated to their deities, nature and life and death. I have been researching this topic since the beginning of this year and of most interest to me is their path from South and Central America to the islands of the Caribbean, the changes

Aimee Perez: As far as the online realm, yes, it is an important part of the artist world, the mystery that galleries built around the artist is no longer effective because the audience demands that direct contact made possible by social media. The audience want to know you because to know the artist is to know

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The Timekeeper

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they had to make from living in a continent to the isolated life in the island, their pacifist views and their closeness to nature. The pieces for this body of work are inspired by their work in clay, wood, and weaves, from the very small amulets they carried in their travels, to the very large trinogolites they worshipped in their

religious ceremonies. I am currently working on an installation made of fiber and clay which incorporates pieces inspired by their day to day living such as large clay rings, duhos and pots. An interview by and

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Lives and works in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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Aljohara An interview by and

, curator curator

with the collaboration of

curator/critic/art promoter

Hello and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about Aljohara’s artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit

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https://www.instagram.com/aljohara.arts and https://www.instagram.com/aljohara.paintin gs and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about her background.

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substratum direct her current artistic research? The old African saying goes, "it takes a village to raise a child." What does it take to create an original work of art? An artist naturally. So, what makes a professional photographer turn to creating fine art in our day and age? This is one question among many others one feels like asking Aljohara, a fine artist with Dutch origins now living and creating amazing works of art to much critical acclaim in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I met Aljohara in Jeddah at the 6th annual 21,39 art show, where her Jabal Arafat (2019) was part of the exhibition. The fabulous bright blue pigment on gold foil immediately drew me to the rendering of a mountain, one of the few figurative, two-dimensional pieces amongst the thoughtful installations and slick videos presented by predominantly young Saudi conceptual artists. The artist proceeded to introduce herself and her work. What was astonishing to me was that here a European, a western artist had a work of art placed in a local Saudi show, with a masterfully executed painting of universal appeal yet with an Arab title. What did all this signify?

Are there any experiences that did particularly influence Aljohara’s evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does her cultural

It does indeed take a village, and more, an open perspective, to wrap your head

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around all this. Aljohara Jeje is a true global contemporary. Inspired by her grandmother's colorful stories from Indonesia as a child, she had developed an artist's sensibility by the time she was a teenager. Her father saw her desire to go to art school as more of a pipe dream and insisted she study “something decent”, i.e. engineering, which she duly proceeded to do. Before long, however, she specialized in the field of photography, earning a degree and embarking on a career in commercial photography. Later, married to an Italian business executive working internationally in several continents, most recently in China before transferring to KSA, circumstances obliged Aljohara to reduce her professional activities. Whilst raising their three boys, her artist's soul continued to unfold and her creative free spirit began to resurface as she experimented with old techniques and found her signature style in fine art. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens — and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article — has at once captured our attention for the way the visual language that marks it out seems to be used in a strategic way to provide your artworks with an array of meanings. New York City based artist

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Sacred Family - First Born, Ishmael

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Sacred Family - Like Sisters

Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: does Aljohara create her works gesturally, instinctively? Or does she methodically transpose geometric schemes? In particular, how does she consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within her creative process?

instinct converge, informing her sometimes more figurative, sometimes entirely conceptual art with both form and content. Marked out with such thoughtful nuances, the artworks from Aljohara’s Sacred Family series have struck us for the way they create such enigmatic patterns, communicating tension and dynamics. How does Aljohara’s psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that she decides to include in her artworks and in particular, how does she develop her textures in order to achieve such brilliant results?

Aljohara's artistic practice stems both from her knowledge of techniques she acquired in her thorough engineering and art studies as well as from her innate sensibilities and love of art. Method and

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Sacred Family - Two Brothers, Ishmael & Isaac

Aljohara Sacred Family - Ibrahim, Father

The supreme serenity or tension her work exudes are the final outcomes of long chaotic processes in which she seeks to find balance, both in herself and on canvas. Often various literary, musical, philosophical, scientific, and biological influences converge, become symbiotic, metamorphosing into a whole to become part of Aljohara's complex creative process. "Ideas", the artist says, "need to ripen, to feed on interior streams of consciousness. This takes time and patience. And, perhaps most importantly, one needs to find the right vocabulary and tone to express oneself."

We have appreciated the way Aljohara’s artworks unveils the connection between narrative and abstraction. Scottish painter Peter Doig once remarked that even the most realistic paintings are derived more from within the head than from what's out there in front of us: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination playing within Aljohara’s work? And how does everyday life's experience fuel her artistic research?

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Naturally, outside stimuli continuously affect an artist's sensibility influencing

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conscious and subconscious reinterpretations. The artist feels strongly about many issues, women’s issues; the state of our planet; war and refugees; hunger; and inequality. She maintains that the study of historical developments affecting mankind over time and the traditional lore of our many cultures present gripping topics to ponder and juxtapose, as do the many world religions and scientific research.

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We noticed that some works of Aljohara challenges the viewers to complete the painting as a whole by their free associations. How important is for her to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would she like her works to be understood? Good art is about relating information, ideas and emotions and should do so primarily on its own. At the same time, it is a must to leave a bit of enigma for the so disposed spectators to discover by themselves.

Most of all, our shared human experience of human fallibility and human strength – Aljohara recounts that "Roads to Makkah started with a friend telling me about her grandfather carrying the Kiswah from far away on foot to Makkah" – inspire the artist.

Aljohara’s technique could be considered as a revival of a medieval

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technique applied in a contemporary way: how do you consider the relationship between Aljohara’s cultural heritage from traditional

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aesthetics and contemporary sensitiveness? In particular, how does her artistic research reveals a point of convergence

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between Tradition and Contemporariness? "All Art Has Been Contemporary", as Nanucci says. Naturally, good artists build

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on traditions to reinterpret their contemporary reality in an evolved language of their own. Quoting Isaac Newton freely, Aljohara

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states that "by standing on the shoulders of giants� one can see further.

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Aljohara lives in Saudi Arabia, a country that is nowadays going through changes. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist’s role differs

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depending on which part of the world you’re in": do you think that Aljohara’s artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In particular, what role

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could artist play in the current shift from the traditionally proud oral culture to an increasingly visual culture?

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Surroundings influence us, and the more sensitive an artist is, the more he or she will soak up from the environment.

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Working in KSA inspires in many ways – be it the Holy Mountain (2019) series or Sacred Family (2020) based on Abrahamic oral and written history; or

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Double Dutch (2018), a series of largescale photographs combining Dutch and Saudi symbolism and reflections on gender.

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Aljohara often works with large canvas, that provide the viewers with such immersive visual experience: how do the dimensions

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of your canvass affect her workflow?

obsessed to undergo, as she calls it, such "masochistic torture", Aljohara admits that the larger the work of art, the more physically challenging it

Not shy to often work on a very large scale, in fact sometimes passionately

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becomes, and time-consuming. She adds "Facing complications with my special techniques and large sizes, in the middle of a sometimes truly exhausting struggle,

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I question myself why, for goodness sake, do I take the hard way when I could have chosen the easy way?" The rewards, however, are dramatic.

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We have been particularly impressed with the way Chilling Climates, a stimulating interactive art installation that invites the viewers to reflect on the influence that we have as human beings

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on our planet. When walking our readers through the genesis of Chilling Climate, would you tell us if you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues, as

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environmental themes, that affect our contemporary age? Yes, absolutely. Art should communicate, inspire, and educate. In medieval times in

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Europe, for example, religious art was the only art commissioned at the time, by the church, to inform the public in lieu of books (or the Bible) that were not in circulation prior to Gutenberg's invention of the

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printing press. In her practice, Aljohara looks to our common human experience, the philosophies of art and religion, old traditions and contemporary issues, to comment on our reality, and create

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awareness. Her present studio's location in the old port city of Jeddah, where Eve (as in Adam's) grave is said to be, just an hour from Mecca, the very navel of Islamic worship, has prompted

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mountains of the Hejaz, the desert landscapes along the Red Sea and other ancient biblical references all converge in the stunningly blue-pigmented Sacred Family series, masterly incorporated in gold foil as in illuminated medieval manuscripts. As we read about the different pieces in the series, we learn how many of our traditions – European and Middle Eastern – actually converge – in aesthetics and thought. For your installation of Chilling Climate Aljohara included leaves on the ground: we’d love to ask you about the qualities of the materials that she includes — or that she plans to include — in her artworks: what are the qualities that she is searching for in the materials that you use for your artworks? Chilling Climates is a great example for answering your question about Aljohara's preferred materials. The leaves on the ground in this installation were sourced from nature, as most of the elements she likes to use. What seems to be the common thread in all the material present in her work is a certain tactile quality, ingredients that call out to the five senses, sometimes dramatically visual, other times a combination like in the leaves that you see on the ground, which you can hear rustling as you walk through them, feel them if you are barefoot or reach down to move them around with your fingers

her to study Islamic traditions and philosophies. Her own European cultural background is steeped in Judeo-Christian traditions, closely related to Islam, all branches of Abrahamic origin. The

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to discover the outline of a crime scene.. a child left to die. Clay and sand from different parts of the Arabian Peninsula, the metals gold and silver, pigments, goma Arabica, egg yolk and egg white – all combine for a very sensual approach in her choice of materials.

unenlightening, positive to negative, constructive to deconstructive, formal to informal and so on. Personally, I find Aljohara's work full of beauty and truth, which is all I need to know, to adapt Keat's adage. But that is my personal, subjective take which I happen to think art always is, a subjective reaction, to another's subjective expression, a fortuitous dialogue then, when it happens to occur. Our artist in question here leaves us with a bit of mystery yet she offers beautiful narratives in all her work. Her final expression then is left for the viewers to judge for themselves. The cliché "Not all is gold that glitters" certainly does not apply here. Formally, her work indeed sometimes glitters due to her medieval technique of gold foil underneath the pigments - yet the content immediately surfaces from its depth. In contrast, the dry, caked earthlike surface in Chilling Climates does not glitter but appears like an urgent call to us from our beleaguered environment.

Aljohara is an established artist, and over the years your works have been showcased in several occasions. Moreover, she often stimulates the visitors to interact with her artworks, and in particular in Chilling Climate she invited the visitors to kick a pattern or the path: how do you consider the nature of Aljohara’s relationship with her audience? And how important is to allow the viewers to interact with her artworks? Aljohara comes across as a very social, communicative being, so perhaps, on the surface, it comes as a bit of a surprise that she defines her art primarily as a monologue and less of a dialogue. She gives a good explanation though, a philosophy of art: "My art is an expression of personal experience that is first empirical, then processed intellectually, a private monologue then, that can only become a dialogue when a viewer reacts to my personal articulation." If we consider how artists relate to their audience, a spectrum seems to emerge, from reclusive to interactive, from the didactic to the

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Direct relationship with the viewers in a physical context is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm — as Instagram — increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

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of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

Again quoting Aljohara, "..it can take away from the mystery of life, to face some things in real life.." - the pop song title, "Video killed the Radio Star", comes to my mind here. If all art becomes digital, perhaps we may lose some spontaneity, some passion. Then again, if we look at art tourism – before the Coronavirus – what is the percentage of true art apasionados vs limelighting adabeis? As often in many things in life, there are two sides to a coin. The art market's having gone digital certainly allows for more viewing, may reach greater audiences, and that at perhaps less of an environmental impact due to a cut-down in travel. From an educational aspect, maybe art will have a greater impact on young minds in our digital age. Studying from books and slides in my art-historical courses decades ago was most inspiring without coming face-to-face with caryatids or David. Traveling with my mother to Strasbourg or Worms to see the cathedrals, highlights in Gothic architecture, the Etruscan Villa Giulia in Rome, or the Bayeux Tapestry in Normandy are indelible memories but so are impressions gathered to this day at home, say, from Hanson's classic History of Art textbook or artnet articles.

Creating art, for Aljohara, is a perpetual process. She continues experimenting with ancient and medieval practices such as embossing while completing private commissions and larger commercial and charitable projects. A series of silkscreen portraits honoring prominent public figures like HRH King Salman, and his son, aka MBS, is an ongoing project, as well as developing a series of works for the Saudi Relief Charity. New themes about to emerge are Argos, Fear of Man and Fear of Woman, both dealing with societal values and narcissistic personality and gender disorders. Current and upcoming shows: Isolated, Living Yourself, at LoosenArt at Millepiani, Via Odero 13, Rome, Italy Just Like a Woman, The Cultural Center of Cape Cod, South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, USA https://www.culturalcenteronline.org/jus tlikeawomanintro Recent interview on SBC TV, 6 March 2020: Saudi Seasons with Dalya https://www.pscp.tv/w/1YpKkQDnBLmJj (from 2:22 minutes onward)

We have really appreciated the originality of Aljohara’s artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some

Claudia A. Ziegeler, B.A., M.B.A. curator/critic/art promoter http://www.environart.net/ 21 4 18

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Lives and works in Seattle, Washington

I was born and raised in the great Pacific Northwest. My interest in art began at a very young age, drawing illustrations of animals and cartoon characters. In college I studied graphic design, art history, and advertising; then spent 20 years as a singer, studying voice and opera. I am often inspired by music, and find a lot of parallels between art and music, as both embody texture, line, color and harmony in their composition. Detail from Stardust

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Leslie Stark An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Leslie and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.lstarkart.com and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training, and you studied graphic design, art history, and advertising: how did those formative years — as well as your career as an opera singer— influence your evolution as an artist? Leslie Stark: I think those formative years helped me understand the impact that visual art can have. The ability to immediately communicate a message or evoke a response from the viewer in subtle or not-so-subtle ways is very powerful. Studying graphic design, advertising, and psychology made me see how visual art is used to engage and influence an audience. I was also very drawn to typography as a graphic element at that time. I once turned in a college art assignment that involved logo design. I was the only one who included the typography as part of the logo. I also took a lot of art classes in high school, but am mostly selftaught as a painter. When the pandemic happened, I started taking some online classes from artists I admire. I also watch a lot of YouTube tutorials.

Leslie Stark

Some of that process can be compared to expression through visual art, and the nuances of color and texture. With music, just as with art, you make mistakes and sometimes feel stuck or frustrated, but you keep going— and the learning process is never finished.

The years I spent training as a classical singer absolutely influenced my artistic evolution. Learning to sing opera demands extreme focus, discipline, and learning technique that involves your entire body as the instrument. There are so many layers...finding subtle nuances in language and dynamics to interpret what’s on the page, carefully considering what you think the composer intended, and honoring that.

Art and music both take a lot of patience. I think artists tend to be perfectionists, myself

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Tuscan Seascape included…and singing taught me to let go of that. Salvador Dali said, “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” I’ve learned there is no such thing as a perfect performance, or a perfect painting. Everyone makes mistakes,

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but you cannot stop in the middle of a performance when that happens – you learn to improvise on the fly, re-focus and push through. Perfectionism kills creativity, and I think there is something beautiful in the imperfect.

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Under a Dusk Sky Marked out with such unique visual identity, the body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens—and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article — has at

once captured our attention for the way you use your visual language in a strategic way to counter-balance subjectivity, offering an array of meanings. As you have remarked once, painting in the abstract style allows you to

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Synthesis experiment without knowing what the final piece will look like, and often results in happy accidents: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you usually develop your initial idea for your

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artworks? As an artist marked out with intuitive process, do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your work as an artist?

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Leslie Stark

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Window in Time

Leslie Stark: I am very process driven. I begin a piece with a lot of mark making, which eventually gets covered up. Instinct and intuition also factor into the equation, especially

further into the process when I’m working on final layers, until a piece feels complete. Chance and improvisation play a large role in my

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Sister Moon

work. When I get in the “zone” I’m usually not thinking too much…I’m just allowing one gesture to lead to the next, and the next. I add layers, and then use various tools to make

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marks and texture, and scrape back layers to reveal what’s underneath. Through a process of adding and excavating many layers, the paintings start to reveal themselves.

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Leslie Stark

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Visage I never have a preconceived notion of what I will paint. I might get ideas and inspiration by looking at work by other artists, places I’ve been, or things I see every day‌ I am like a

sponge, constantly observing and absorbing the world around me. A lot of that comes out in my paintings subconsciously. As I build layers, the different

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Wandering parts of the painting will begin to ‘talk’ to each other. I like to try things out and then hang a piece on the wall and look at it for a while. Sometimes its weeks or months before I decide

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what works and what doesn’t. Every time I touch a piece it changes. Usually I end up with a painting that started out looking completely different than the finished piece.

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Leslie Stark

ART Habens

Solstice We have particularly appreciated the way your works contain inspiration from landscape and such unique abstract style — as the interesting Tuscan Seascape and Tranquility — featuring

such stimulating dreamlike ambience, that provides its figures with ambivalent and a bit enigmatic visual identity, that seems to unveil the bridge between the real and the imagined.

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Leslie Stark

Turquoise Dream

Scottish painter Peter Doig once remarked that even the most realistic paintings are derived more from within the head than from what's out there in front of us, how do you consider the

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relationship between reality and imagination, playing within your artistic production? Leslie Stark: I think a lot of my landscapes start

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Leslie Stark

ART Habens

Between the lines

out with a feeling about a specific place, using colors that translate for me certain emotions‌and then as layers are added, things start to evolve into a more idealized version of a

place, or an imaginary place but based on something I remember‌either from real life or from a book, or something I may have dreamt about. I think sometimes we tend to remember

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Leslie Stark

Knowingness

things as better than they actually are‌we romanticize them as time goes on. I think my work represents that romanticized, idealized stored memory that is derived not just from

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the head, but from the heart. When exploring edges or shapes, your artworks feature thoughtful nuances — as

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Leslie Stark

ART Habens

vehicles to escape the ordinary world. Fictional places— C.S. Lewis’ the The Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland— and more recently, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere— these other worlds transport you to another place and time, and I think some of that magical quality is represented in my paintings, in the way I tend to blend the line between the real and the unreal. I love texture. I recently discovered oil and cold wax medium, which is great to work with because of the way it sets up and allows you to build surfaces. The subtle nuances you can create are amazing. I do a lot of mark making with various tools— graphite pencils, mono printing, pottery tools, stencils, tissue paper, oil sticks, sand, dry pigments…and even everyday objects like plastic forks, kitchen tools, and bubble wrap. I also like to incorporate ascemic writing and collage. As you have remarked in your biography, your landscapes are inspired by summers you spent tin the San Juan Islands growing up, and reflect their timeless peace and calm. Although marked out with abstract style, your artworks are pervaded with such subtle narrative drive, and we really appreciate the way your figures work as bridge that shows the connection between reality and the realm of imagination. To quote Max Ernst's word, human beings have an inexhaustible store of buried images in their subconscious and into their inner world: how do your memories and your everyday life's experience fuel your artistic research?

Golden Sands

Under a Dusk Sky — as well as bold tones in View from the Hill and Bohemia. Moreover, we have particularly appreciated the way they create such enigmatic patterns, communicating tension and such dreamlike ambience. How does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in an artwork and in particular, how do you develop your textures in order to achieve such unique results?

Leslie Stark: I love that quote. I believe it’s true, everything we have ever experienced is stored somewhere in memory. I think both my memories and everyday life experience reveal themselves in my art, maybe subconsciously. Most often memories of places that made me feel joy, or peace, are reflected in my

Leslie Stark: I have always had a very active imagination. As a child, books and music were

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Leslie Stark

landscapes. I have lived near water all of my life, and I find it calming; so I am drawn to painting beaches, or scenes that invoke the sea, or even underwater landscapes. My intent is to capture a feeling or emotion and invoke it in the viewer. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life, I have found that creating provides a counter-balance to that. It brings me a lot of joy, and in turn brings joy to others. I find creating art to be very healing, and finding that sense of calm is part of why I create. With their unique multilayered visual quality, your artworks seem to have several different strands but they are all connected to a core vision: how important is it for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to discover the unity of your artistic production? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? Leslie Stark: I definitely want my work to trigger the viewer’s imagination. My hope is that someone looking at my work will see something that speaks to them personally. Everything is open to interpretation, and interpretation very individual, and it’s triggered by emotion. I want my work to provide an escape from the ordinary. No matter what may be happening in someone’s life, I hope that someone might look at one of my paintings and find relief from their own personal challenges, even if it’s only for a moment. It's important to mention that you spent 20 years as a singer, studying voice and opera: what are in your opinion the points of convergence between music and visual arts? Leslie Stark: There are so many points of convergence between music and visual art. Matisse said creativity takes courage. Both art forms require a willingness to be vulnerable and exposed. As forms of self-expression, both convey a gamut of emotion, but use different

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Bohemia SummerIssue 2015 Special

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Leslie Stark: I think the changes happening on a global scale right now are providing an opportunity for artists to build a more personalized relationship with their audience. It is allowing us to reach more people via the internet, more frequently.

languages— soft and loud, simple or complex. Music and visual art both have the power to completely transport a viewer or listener and both can affect them on multiple levels. We may not even be aware of why a piece of music or art has a strong effect on us– it’s a visceral, instinctive response. The impact is immediate and has both intellectual and emotional components. It’s interesting to me that these two different art forms have similar descriptive language— Line, movement, harmony, color, tone, shape, composition. I always listen to music when I’m creating. I get into a flow and sometimes I even dance without realizing it. I totally lose track of time.

Although nothing can replace viewing a piece of art in person, I think creating a presence online and giving audiences a chance to see my process, through videos, and to get to know me personally with glimpses into my world, can give them a deeper understanding and appreciation of my work. It’s also been wonderful to connect with other artists around the world. We can support and learn from each other, and that’s a great thing. I love Instagram’s platform and supportive community of artists. I post there frequently: https://www.instagram.com/lesliestarkart.

How important is it for you to create works whose value goes beyond the aesthetics, in order to awake more intellectual and intimate reflections in your audience?

We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Leslie. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

Leslie Stark: It would make me happy to know that something I created has a deeper meaning for someone than simply aesthetics. I love it when someone tells me that a certain piece “speaks” to them. I want my work to have meaning for people, and that meaning could be something different for each individual. Sometimes people see things in my art that I don’t see or wasn’t even intending. It’s interesting to see how other people interpret things in their own way, how they see things they connect with through their own filter and life experience.

Leslie Stark: The pandemic and turmoil happening in the world has resulted in more time to create art, so I’m excited to explore themes of being in quarantine— isolation, grief and loss, connection, and hope. I have a very exciting project in the works right now…it’s a mixed media collaboration with a poet.

Direct relationship with the viewers in a physical context is definitely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm — as Instagram — increases: how would this in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience? In particular, how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience?

I will be incorporating beautiful lines of poetry within the paintings. These are dark times we’re living in, and I think the world needs artists right now more than ever. An interview by and

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, curator curator

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Eirini Roumpi Lives and works in Athens, Greece

My work is about interdisciplinarity in the Arts, in other words the idea that performative and visual forms of art tend to be unified, exchanging elements with each other and even creating new artistic hybrids. The interdisciplinary approach applies to me additionally, because of my previous education in Psychology and the way it informs my practice in art. Some of the main ideas that concern me are the overlap between dance, theatre and performance, rituals and symbols, time and the idea of absurdity in existence. Recent work has led me to realize that all these ideas are connected to the one major idea of ‘’in between’’. In case of Time, for example, that was the subject of my most recent project, the in-between essence of waiting, the idea of non-time and non-space ended up being the most intriguing concepts for me. Also, my interest in performing arts, in combination with the idea of in-between, lead me to investigate the importance of the “fourth wall”, the space between an artwork or a performance and the audience. Another core idea of my practice is the idea of “tautology”, in other words repetitive statements, different layers of the same thing or when something includes and describes itself. Tautology was a present concept in a few different projects of mine, with different names and descriptions each time, while the term “tautology” was only recently realised. My art investigation includes also the use of space, the architecture of objects and machines, specifically the form and composition of constructed interior space, from the inside of a room, to the inside of a drawer or a washing machine. My practice is deeply conceptual and is not divided into projects, maybe only for convenience, it is more like a continuum, with artworks returning and re-evaluating basic ideas that concern me. Sometimes I do not even realize that I am interested in a concept, until I repeat it in different "projects". Only retrospectively I am becoming aware of similarities and I can identify it as a unifying concept. For example, in “Installation Rooms”, the simultaneous view of multiple layers of the transparent object, (object itself - object's shadow - object's shadow video), was an example of “tautology”, that I later realized after repeating the same idea in “Inside”.


Sometimes, a concept can be a starting point, but usually is being refined through the process of visual experimentation, while additional concepts emerge and rarely ending up with the initial idea. I am interested in working across media, so my work usually involves multiple layers, using different mediums and their overlapping techniques. I usually work across photography, video art, printmaking, performance and installation and my practice is also informed by theater techniques, contemporary dance movement and experimental film. My creative process, for example, can start from a photographic investigation and later these photographs can be printed in order to create three-dimensional objects. These objects, afterwards can be used and recorded in a video piece etc. Mediums like photography and video are used to compose visual artifacts that are usually not edited. Specifically, I prefer to use materials like plastic, fabric, acrylic sheets etc, and photograph through them, or experiment with lights and reflections in the actual space, creating ‘’natural filters’’ in a way. On the other hand, I also use techniques like printmaking, because of the material’s character, and its tendency to form images that slightly deviate from the result I had in mind, avoiding, that way, having utter control over my artwork. I like not having utter control over my artworks in general, that is why I value the importance of chance. I always liked creatively expanding limitations, use incidental materials and spaces and playing with “creative rules”, for example “creating a piece using only objects found on Mondays”. All these elements lead my practice towards site-specificity, which I now perceive as extremely relevant to my practice and I currently using more consciously. As far as my relation to performance is concerned, I would describe it as creatively problematic, since it is always implied in my practice, but is not always present as an actual medium. Performativity is an important issue within my practice that naturally emerges almost in every artwork I make and it also made me realize the human scale that would work better for my pieces, in contrast to the previous small ‘’desk-sized’’ scale. Finally, installation seems to be the medium that brings together all the elements mentioned above, in other words, even though these techniques seem to be separate, I usually go through all of them to create an artwork and the procedure of creating is more holistic. Generally, the creating process is equally important as the end result for me, and each medium is driving me to one of the others, translating and refining the artwork.

"Duration : 3, 27 years" / Installation Projection Room / 2019 (details)


ART Habens

Jordi Rosado

3 (details) Special "DurationIssue : 3, 27 years" / Installation Projection Room / 402019


Eirini Roumpi An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Eirini and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://eiriniroumpi.wixsite.com/eiriniroumpi-artist and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training, and you hold a MA of Fine Art that you received from the University of Hertfordshire: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural background — due to your Greek roots and to your studies of Psychology — direct your artistic research? Eirini Roumpi: First of all, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my thoughts and the details of my practice! My first approach to art was seven years ago, when I started attending drawing and art lessons at an art workshop in Athens, alongside my psychology studies. The fact that it was in an amateur level, made me work more freely , using different procedures in a natural progression, shifting from one medium to the other and experimenting with techniques and ideas, without the anxiety of a degree.

Eirini Roumpi

different creative paths, that came naturally, actualizing them given the opportunity. I realized the actual connection between art research / theory and art practice and found the balance between, creating and thinking about creating, and experimenting but also staying focused in a particular discourse. I made good use of the university's facilities for printmaking , etching, ceramics etc. , which gave me the chance to learn

During the MA Fine Art at the University of Hertfordshire, my practice became more conscious and directed, and being in that environment was my first experience of art in a completely academic setting. I tried

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Eirini Roumpi

"Duration : 3, 27 years" / Installation Projection Room / 2019 (details)

greater degree, my interest towards a Unified Art field, not divided into disciplines, but a holistic approach where all disciplines borrow and use ideas and techniques from each other. I was already embracing the idea

techniques, that I could transfer into my practice. Even if some methods are not directly relevant to my practice, I try them anyway incorporating new elements, which could give ideas for installation. I realized, in

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Eirini Roumpi

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"Duration : 3, 27 years" / Video Art / 2019 (still)

of Unified Art, but during the Masters, it became even more vivid, and moreover, I applied it into my practice, making it my main procedure ever since. Since then, I am always open to different disciplines,

techniques as well as collaborations with other fields and that is actually what activates my art practice. The year of the MA was a really “compact� year, only focused on art theory and art practice and transforming

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into art, all the stimuli of the previous five years. I had the time and reason to put together all my influences, incorporate them into my practice and create, using all the information and energy I had gained from them. Last but not least, I learned to express myself more accurately when in comes to art practice, and to realize the role that my psychology background had in my practice.

reality of Greece. In other words, it is always a problematic issue, when there are numerous artists from all art disciplines in a country and a tremendous emerging art scene, but the attitude towards them is disappointing, not only financially, by providing hardly any funding opportunities and underpaid art jobs, but also socially, by regarding artists as second rate professionals, or not professionals at all, by perceiving art practice as a “hobby”.

Taking into account that Psychology is a human-centered field, I acknowledge that it made me patient and even more observant in relation to human behavior and language and all verbal and non-verbal signs of communication in general. For that reason, it made me interested in performance, along with other stimuli I had at this period of my life, like being part of an amateur drama group. Psychology, for the most part, formed a solid theoretical background that my art practice could later stand on, formed many aspects of my ideology and also drove my inner desire to be an artist to mature, through a procedure that was enlightening.

These issues, has influenced my work and also, have raised the question of how social issues can be reflected within your art practice or if it is better to address them outside of it, a question I am still trying to answer though my process and research. For this special edition of ART Habens we have selected “Duration: 3,29 years”, a stimulating video that is part of your most recent project concerning the concept of time and our perception of it. What has at once captured our attention of your visual exploration of the idea of time is the way you sapiently challenged the audience's perceptual parameters: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea of “Duration: 3,29 years”?

As far as the influence of Greek roots in my practice is concerned, I would say that the rich folklore customs and traditions of Greek culture, experienced both by being raised in Greece, but also by reading and researching about them, have been a great inspiration for the beginning of my art practice. Specifically, for “rituals”, one of my first projects, I researched the symbols and rituals of Greek customs and then of other cultures as well , an investigation that gave me profound ideas for the end result of the project, a performance entitled “Ritual_”. Apart from the cultural influences, Greek roots and being brought up in Greece, always makes me rethink the value of artists, in relation to the difficult socioeconomic

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Eirini Roumpi: “Duration 3,29” years, is the result of a year long exploration of the idea of time in general, our perception of it, as well as the intermediate essence of waiting. This video is a stop-motion video, made out of still photographs visually exploring the idea of Time. These images were later combined together, edited to create different rhythms, duration, pauses and anticipation. The video also plays with the idea of visual “intro”, in

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"Installation Room I" / Installation / 2019


"Installation Room I" / Installation / 2019


Eirini Roumpi

ART Habens

ourselves? Are we more concerned on how to spend our time? What is the relation between track of time and track of ourselves? Moreover, one of the most interesting things was the observation of the audience’s behavior. I suddenly felt a luck of purpose, so I decided to stay until an «o’clock». That made it easier for me to stay focused, because I knew how much time I had left. (Would we be more calm, if we knew how much time we all have left?) A lot of people had the same idea as me and left right when the clock struck five. We have the need to control. We have the need for completed things.

terms of creating in-between / anticipation images, giving hints about what is going to happen next, a type of “visual drum roll”. This piece was part of an installation, called Installation Projection Room “Duration : 3,29 years”, and was projected inside a hollow square panel in a dark room, playing in a loop. The space of the installation played a vital part for the atmosphere and experience of this video, making it a problem to depict it through documentation. The title “Duration : 3,29 years” was placed in a sign outside the room, where the actual duration sign would be. The title is playing with the perception of time and specifically with our expectations of time and how we deal with time regulations we cannot control, or our relationship with rules and boundaries.

So all these thoughts and questions made me want to explore the concept of time further, not only on its own, but in relation to human behavior and perception. This discourse generated more questions about that relation, for example “would the concept of “time” still exist, if no one was there to notice..” and so on.

The initial idea of this project was influenced by a 24-hour video installation I saw in Tate Modern, called “Clock” made by Christian Marclay, which was “a montage of thousands of film and television images of clocks, edited together so they show the actual time”. Keeping in mind that, this particular day, the video would not be projected for the full 24hours, I felt a bit awkward when I entered the cinema-like room, knowing that I would not be able to observe the whole artwork. So, if you are not going to see a video installation completed, would it be the same to watch two minutes of it or three hours? You were starting to think everything in relation to time, the time you waited to get in, estimating how much time a person spends there. Starting to observe other people, guessing when they are going to leave. Eventually, I started thinking about Time in general. If we are constantly aware of time, which is otherwise a human invention and a social convention, do we lose track of

Another experience that eventually influenced this piece, was me arriving early to the get my National Insurance Number, resulting in waiting more than two hours in their waiting room. Again, I started noticing behaviors of people who were waiting, including repetitions, anxiety and gestures and being intrigued by this atmosphere, I wrote a note saying ”waiting rooms” and then forgot all about it. After several months of reading regarding this concept , and playing with materials, video projection and objects, I found this note and it connected all these ideas into one. That is how I created an installation room, that could be also perceived as a waiting room. This is how my procedure works generally. I

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Eirini Roumpi

stop making to think. You can also think by doing. Thoughts are not necessarily made out of words inside your head, they can also be objects arranged in different compositions. It generally is an ever-going process that never stops. I keep a detailed archive and I always go back to it and retry ideas that did not work in the past. Usually, with a clear mind and the influence of the interim of two different points in time, I reevaluate the concepts and actually use them in future projects.

start experimenting with an idea, that at the time, I believe it to be incidental, but usually as the process develops, I realise that it returns to some of my core concerns. Additionally, many times, I would choose interesting objects, that I felt “I could do something with them” , so in a way I believe that I often use intuition as a tool to guide me in my process. Some ideas just work, is as simply absurd as that. We have really appreciated the way you expanded the concept of non-place elaborated by French anthropologist Marc Augé, through the ideas of non-time and nonspace: “Duration: 3,29 years” is part of your most recent project concerning the concept of time and our perception of it: how do you consider the role of time playing within your artistic practice?

Τime is a problematic concept anyway. Our lives are not compact enough and we tend to live our days like we have numerous days ahead of us, giving countless breaks to our meaningful procedures. As a result, the breaks/distractions are becoming the core of our reality, more than action. That applies to creation as well. We create pretending we have countless years of creating, allowing ourselves, sometimes, to make something mediocre, because “we still have time for our greatest artworks”. Then again, there are certain parts of our practice that we think about, but cannot yet explore. I often think of them as “unlocked levels”, since you must go through other processes and time, for them to mature in order to be explored.

Eirini Roumpi: The interesting thing is that I discovered Marc Auge's concept of nonplace, after I had already thought of how waiting rooms are “non-spaces” and consequently, how waiting, as a situation, is a non-action, actualized during a non-time period. After some time, I found out Auge's work and it fascinated me, since I had not thought of other places that can be perceived as non-places, like airports etc, so it opened a whole new chapter for me. It is always interesting reinventing already known ideas, through your own creative procedure.

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, you prefer to use materials like plastic, fabric, acrylic sheets etc, and photograph through them, or experiment with lights and reflections in the actual space, creating ‘’natural filters’’: how does representation and a tendency towards conceptual abstraction find their balance in your work?

Time is an important concept within my practice, mainly because of the significance and trust I give to process. And process makes sense only in a continuum of time. There are phases of not making, but only thinking. In that way, “thinking” and “making” do not always sync, but it seems that I have to stop thinking to make, but not

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Eirini Roumpi: Representation in relation to conceptual abstraction is always an issue.

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"Ritual_ "/ Performance/ 2018 (still)


"Above" / Experimental Photography / 2019


Eirini Roumpi

Personally, I am interested in the composition and synthetic features of all the images I create, but I never want to illustrate or describe my ideas. My tendency towards conceptual abstraction is fairly strong,hopefully, since my concepts are reflected in my artworks, rather than the artworks being merely the medium to send a message. Artworks should stand on their own ,being a self-existent entity, not necessarily representing or symbolize something, but also not lack conceptual depth and content because of our attention to form. It is a balance I am still trying to find, usually by separating the research process from the making process. After reading and investigating a concept, I then “forget” everything I learned about it and start making. That way eventually, after several visual attempts, many of which turn out descriptive, I often create something that reflects the knowledge and experience of an idea, without clearly implying its meaning or being didactic, which I am trying to avoid. Another controversial issue about expressing an idea through your art and abstraction in general, is the following. When you investigate something on its own, an idea or a concept, is like putting it in a vacuum. You try to eliminate the external information and see its true essence. But this is problematic, because anything that we can investigate as artists, is surrounded by a social, political and cultural background, so isolating it, can result in concealing its true sense after all.

ART Habens

existence and knowledge, you create work rich of such allegorical qualities that urges the viewers to rethink to the idea of perception: how did you conceive your stimulating work? And how does your everyday life's experience fuel your artistic research? Eirini Roumpi: “Ritual_” is a performance, that was created after a long investigation -both theoretical and visual- of rituals and symbols. Being influenced by “Minus 16” choreography by Ohad Naharin (“Batsheva Dance Company”) and its ritualistic character, I decided to devote my next project to rituals, ceremonies and the use of symbols. Keeping in mind the main actions of ritual, like repetition and invocation, and being influenced by other performances as well, like Joseph Beuys' “Explaining pictures to a dead hare”, I decided to create a performance based on ritual and repetition. This project was one of the reasons I got interested in the overlap between different forms of art, seeing how contemporary dance is similar to performance, in terms of movement and intention. At that time I was doing a lot of printmaking as well. In parallel, I had in mind that I want to find a series of gestures, a repetitive activity for the performance. So, in a serendipitous moment, while I was cleaning the glass surface I was using to roll ink for my prints, I realized the ritualistic essence of cleaning and how the transparency of the glass, can work perfectly for this performance. During that period, I was also struggling with the question of existence and knowledge. All these concerns came together with this performance.

Another interesting work of yours that has particulry impressed us and that we would like to introdue to our readers is entitled “Ritual_”, and can be viewed at https://youtu.be/MzgVoYNnGS0. When exploring the relationship between

This example reflects perfectly the relationship between practice and everyday life,

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Sound plays a crucial role in “Ritual_ and we have highly appreciated the way it provides your performance with such a unique ethereal and a bit enigmatic ambience, capable of challenging the viewers' perceptual categories: how would you consider the relationship between performative gestures and sound?

where everything is tangled together in a continuous process that never stops. It happens even unconsciously, when doing my daily routine, just because I know I have to be alert for the numerous stimuli the environment give me. Thinking about art had become embroidered into my everyday life, so it is sometimes difficult to distinct work from free time. Furthermore, I try to gain as much artistic experiences as possible,like attending exhibitions, theater and dance performances, talking about art with artists and non-artists, films and books, and keep an open mind for all other disciplines since every type of knowledge can be transformed in art material. I believe that you do not get the best ideas by being isolated in your studio,but the more artworks you see, experience, read, touch, the more ideas you have. It is like learning new words that you can later use in your own sentences and create a completely different meaning. Also, through Art Residencies, I try to combine traveling and creating, because you can get a compact period full of experiences, new visual information and energy, that can be immediately transformed into art. Moreover, coming from a different field my artistic practice was fueled by psychology-related experience, like my internship at a mental health institute in Athens, while conversations and contact with people is, in general, one of the most inspiring fuels of my art practice. It is difficult to express exactly how my internship influenced my art practice, but I believe that it mostly influenced it retrospectively. The most interesting thing was observing people as people, not as case studies or clinical incidents. To observe the way they talked and moved, their gestures.. I felt like a “detective of behavior” at times, trying to put together all the hints, to understand what is may happening.

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Eirini Roumpi: Ritual_ is one of the few pieces in which I have used sound. Specifically, I recorded my theatrical team mates, instructing them to repeat the first thing that came to mind when they heard the word “ritual”. The different answers , tones and rhythms created an ideal ambiance for these particular performative gestures. I have not yet explored sound in depth in my pieces. Until now, I want to use a type of sound often, either more abstract or a piece of music, but I usually stop myself , thinking that it is an “easy” way to create atmosphere, to make the audience engage with your piece, but I rather create that atmosphere with the gestures and images themselves. Probably a personal peculiarity. Also every performative gesture on its own, containing people, space and usually objects, create sounds anyway, which I found really interesting for the observer to pause and listen to. Τhe natural sounds of bodies interacting with the space around them, can sometimes be the ideal ambiance. On the other hand, sound is an amazing tool , collaborating well with any type of performance or installation and to be honest I would like to experiment more with it in the future, not only in performances, but also in short films, installations and on its own. With its almost ethereal ambience, “Installation Room I” seems to invite the

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Eirini Roumpi

ART Habens

"Inside" / Video Installation / 2019 (still)

viewer to complete the work of art by personal associations, creating further meanings. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once underlined the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project

onto: your artworks are very dynamic and at the same time convey philosophical aspects: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations?

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Eirini Roumpi

Eirini Roumpi: I generally agree with the view of Ernst Gombrich. I do too believe that an artwork is giving the audience,both time and space to project and to reflect. I usually have specific concepts in my mind when I present a work of art, but I am also open to different interpretations. That is also true, due to the fact that your own interpretations of your artwork are not rigid. You may start with a particular intention in your mind, but as you create, different meanings unveil themselves. In that way, interpretation is not a solid opinion, but a dynamic process. “Installation Room I “, for example, started as an installation about time and waiting, but as soon as it was completed, it became clear that it was also reflecting the importance of absence and presence, veils and spaces inbetween. As an artist, you are also the first observer, the first audience in front of your piece and being in both sides simultaneously, creator and audience, makes you interpret and re-evaluate constantly. As I said before, an artwork should speak for itself and in my opinion the artist should not direct the audience strictly to only one direction. Explaining artworks, can also result in driving the audience to read only the description instead of actually looking at the piece. We have an urgency to know what we see. But contemporary art is not about explaining everything, is about giving hints so the audience can not only find meaning for themselves, but investigate further by reading about the artist and their life, searching other works of art they have made, read about art movements that might have influence them. It does not stop in front of the artwork. But is also important to take the opportunity and experience a work of art, when you find yourself near one and not be too concerned with

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"Inside" / Photograph used for Video Installation "Inside"/ 2019 21 4 14

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"Inside" / Photograph used for Video Installation "Inside"/ 2019 Special Issue

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Eirini Roumpi

ART Habens

giving it a “meaning”. It is more important to look and to think, than to decide if you like it or not. My intention is to make people think. I would not want them to misunderstand the intention of an artwork completely, but challenging them to take a minute and think is more important, regardless the direction of thought. It is not important to decide whether you like or dislike an artwork. I am almost equally influenced by artists I like and artists whose work I despise. Being continuously exposed to art , learning to receive influence from all artworks, regardless your taste is more vital. What matters is to keep looking and keep seeing. That is why, I try to create artworks that prompt you to see more artworks. For me, it is more important to create open-minded observers than “important” artworks. Your interesting video installation “Inside” reflects the way your artistic research investigates the intersection between visual and performative forms of art. As a versatile artist, your creative production encompasses video, performance, installation, photography and printmaking: what does direct you to such multidisciplinary approach? In particular, are there any experiences that did particularly help you to develop your attitude to experiment with different techniques? Eirini Roumpi: The similarities between visual and performative forms of art, which I started noticing the past few years, formed the idea that art is a unity, as I mentioned above. That means less disciplinary and more multidisciplinary or even interdisciplinary, where there is not only an overlap between them, but also, combined, they can create artistic hybrids. Every artist is more informed

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ART Habens

Eirini Roumpi

"Duration : 3, 29 years" / Video Art / 2019 (stills)

if they are familiar with other areas too. In addition, artists and in general all professionals, that started from another field, seem to have a more holistic approach,

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including myself. My primary procedure includes shifting from one discipline to the other, which is what enriches my practice. In fact, the core of my practice can be found in

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Eirini Roumpi

ART Habens

“Attach “ / Video Installation / 2019 (test piece)

that “shifting”. The mediums I use are far more interesting if you combine them together, as far as I am concerned. That is why I use the word “expanded” to

characterize my process, for example, “expanded photography” or “expanded printmaking” etc. I rarely just use one medium when creating an artwork, but I

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ART Habens

Eirini Roumpi

“Ariadne� / Experimental Photography / 2019

would not say either that I just use different techniques and put the outcomes together side by side. I would not just put, for example, a photograph next to a lino print and an

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object. On the contrary, I would start from one medium , usually photography, and the outcomes would drive me to the next medium, where they will be further analyzed and

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Eirini Roumpi

ART Habens

"Figurative I" / Experimental Photography / 2019

reformed and then that outcome will imply to me the next and so on.. This process is like “creative recycling� , a procedure I started doing without noticing, and it only recently

became conscious and more intentional. After reflecting on it, it was clear that my previous experiences with theater, music and dance were indeed the reason I developed an

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Eirini Roumpi

attitude to experiment with different techniques. In theater there is even similar terminology with visual art, for example to describe a play or a gesture, and that was the first thing that I noticed. I also found similarities in intention and process, so I started using my already existing knowledge of observational drawing and composition and developed my theatrical skills, which proved to be far more interesting than starting from zero. The same happened with music and dance, due to the fact that the performativity and synthetic skills I gained from them, could be transferred into my art practice. As soon as I started applying the information from one field to the other , the experience became meaningful and much more creative. These fields, also opened new, three dimensional and movement-based possibilities, that I could use in my creations, and introduced me to the use of space, which proved to be a basic concern for me, not only space on its own, but space in relation to the human body, the importance of presence and absence and the vital role of atmosphere. With its deeply conceptual aspect, your artistic practice reflect the multilayered nature of your process. For example, you clarified that in “Installation Rooms”, the simultaneous view of multiple layers of the transparent object was an example of “tautology”, that I later realized after repeating the same idea in “Inside”: how do you consider the channel of communication between your artworks? In particular, what role does your subconscious play in the creation of such continuous work of art? Eirini Roumpi: At first, I was trying to think of a concept I am interested in and then create something related to it. The selection of a

SummerIssue 2015 Special

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Eirini Roumpi

ART Habens

"Figurative I /2 " / Photogram / 2019 21 4 18

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Eirini Roumpi

"Installation Room I� Installation / 2019 (detail)

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Eirini Roumpi

ART Habens

concept was not the most important part of the process, I just needed a starting point and then everything would take its course. In that way , chance was playing an important role, but as I was progressing with different projects, I realized that I was going back to some ideas, that no matter which road I took it would eventually make sense. For that reason it can be difficult to propose a new project, when applying for funding for example, and you have to propose something particular and solid. For me though, even if I do propose something very particular, it will unravel its true sense and maybe drive me to different directions , once I start creating. For me this is not a problem necessarily, since I learned to trust the process completely and enjoy the intermediate journey. Besides,through research and brainstorming for one project , an enormous list of new projects is generated. Also, some of the ideas that I had selected randomly, seemed to be more important than I thought, and oddly reflected some problems and struggles I had with everyday life. It sometimes took months to make that connection. Especially during my Masters degree, I decided that my practice, worked better as a continuum, rather than divided into projects. My artworks are indeed communicating with each other, same ideas are reappearing with a different name or appearance, like “tautology” in “Installation Rooms” and “Inside”. The term tautology was only recently realized. I may have a large archive with seemingly similar ideas, but without a connection with each other, and suddenly hear a word in a conversation, or read a term in a book, or even a word in a billboard, and it is the exact word that connects these ideas

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Eirini Roumpi

together. Suddenly they make sense. In many cases, the artwork itself gives instructions to us on how to continue the creative process, so we are not the only ones having control over our artwork, but the artworks also have a control over us. The process of creating can even happen unconsciously, by noticing and remembering interesting gestures, compositions, images and shapes that can be used, making lists of interesting things to reconsider, etc. Even if I do no know what to do with this information at that time , I keep track of them anyway. They may not necessarily be useful for the concept I am currently working each time, but after all, everything makes different sense retrospectively. I guess my strong memory aids with this consistent conscious and unconscious "boiling down" of ideas. That is another interesting but strange thing of being an artist, you can construct and create even when you think you are not.

exposition can be a “vulnerable” experience, is always important to be accompanied by reviews, regardless their direction, as it is better to hear a bad review that can make you reconsider things, than a good review without explanation. I try to be present in exhibitions and talk about my work in any given situation, with both artists and non-artists, whose opinion is important too, since they may have insight and comment on unexpected aspects of my work. Artists, on the other hand, will have a more professional opinion and sometimes a technical one. Moreover, talking about my work is critical, because expressing your ideas out loud, result in actually realizing what you are doing. It is different to think about your work, write about it or even explaining it to yourself, and talking to others about it. Other people will probably not know your background or previous work, so you have to fill gaps that for you, is given information. Sometimes, you have to defend your pieces, and it can be challenging to answer questions, but at the same time revealing. For example, during an exhibition I participated in, I was asked to summarize and explain my piece in 30 seconds!

You have exhibited both in Greece and in the United Kingdom: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the viewers in a physical context is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm — as Instagram — increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

The difference between audience in Greece and UK, is associated with the level of experience I had in each situation. The first exhibitions I participated in, took place in Greece and they were amateur group exhibitions. The audience was consisted of families and friends and consequently, the whole atmosphere was really optimistic and the artists received mostly positive reinforcement, which is always welcome, but not sufficient. On the other hand, the exhibitions in the UK were attended by art students and professors, as well as other

Eirini Roumpi: I consider the relationship between maker and audience crucial in any occasion. I would define my own relationship with the audience, fairly open, honest and of course useful, because of the feedback I receive. Even though the

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Eirini Roumpi

ART Habens

“Hollow V� / Experimental Photography / 2019

artists, so the feedback and comments were more focused. There is no comparison between the audiences in Greece and the UK, mainly because the level of these exhibitions

was different, accordingly the audience was different too. Physical relationship between artist and

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Eirini Roumpi

"Duration : 3, 29 years" / Video Art / 2019 (still)

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Eirini Roumpi

ART Habens

ticularly for my works, which are usually sitespecific.

audience is definitely the most important one, because live conversations, including verbal and non-verbal signs, are more enlightening. Apart from that, being in the space of an exhibition you can also observe the audience, “observe the observers”, see their reactions to your artworks, the time they spend in front of every piece, the proximity of their bodies to the art and much more information, that an online exhibition could not cover. Another issue is that the atmosphere and essence of installations and site-specific work, like “Installation Room I” and “Inside” in my case, cannot be depicted accurately through photographs or even videos, losing a part of their “power”. As a result, it is much more difficult to present them in online platforms.

We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Eirini. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? Eirini Roumpi: I am really grateful for the opportunity to express my ideas and concerns about my practice with you. I would also like to thank you from my part. Currently, I am expanding some of the ideas I have already explored in previous projects, mainly the idea of interior space and the idea of “tautology”, hoping that they would be the core theme of the first solo exhibition I am planning to have, sometime this year. I am also preparing some short films, with footage shot mostly during the quarantine, a period I came in closer contact with the performative character of my work. For my future plans, I hope to do more collaborative works with actors, dancers and performers, and investigate more the experimental film genre. My plans also include participating in Art Residencies in different countries, creating site-specific pieces, expanding existing ideas further, while also producing new ones, in a never-ending creative circle.

Of course exposition though online platforms, from Instagram to online galleries, is indeed helpful, in terms of expanding audiences and promoting your work outside your country. Undoubtedly, a globalized audience can provide a vast inspiration, since their feedback can reflect their unique cultural behavior and taste. Besides, I would say that online platforms, should be used as a tool, as a medium, that will eventually result in a physical exhibition or an interpersonal encounter about art. Furthermore, showing your work online, and having access to numerous references of other artist's work, is extremely important in education and research terms too, not only between art professionals, but also for the wider audience. But in any case, the physical cannot be replaced from the virtual.

Thank you again, it was a pleasure being part of this thought-provoking interview!

As far as the transition from traditional gallery spaces to outdoors and alternative places , I find it both appealing and overly creative, par-

An interview by and

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, curator curator

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Edmar Soria Lives and works in Mexico City


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Jordi Rosado

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Edmar Soria An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Edmar and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://esoriasonicart.wixsite.com/edmarsoria and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a very solid formal training: after your undergraduated studies on Mathematics, you earned your Master degree in Music Technology and a Master degree in Economics, and you eventually nurtured your education with a PhD in Music Technology, that you received from UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico): how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural background direct your artistic research? First of all thank you very much. I am truly delighted and grateful for this opportunity to be able to show some samples of my work in the area of digital art and of course to talk about it. Well, it is a complex scenario but because of that (the diversified academic background) in time I have realized that I stand in a somewhat particular middle point position between art and science, between expression and formalism, intuition and logical thinking, and it is this is special point that allows me (at least from my very own personal perspective) to envisage, design, encompass, and produce creative works with mixed characteristics from both “sides”. There are of course some clear advantages and disadvantages for standing at this particular point which I will try to briefly explain a little bit further on the next lines but as a foreword I may say that my very particular (multidisciplinary) academic background allows me and address me (at a very personal level) to a continuous seek of deep knowledge from areas and topics I find interesting and to have a somehow rigorous framework for research about them either from the academic perspective or from the artistic point of view. And so this gives me the chance to be able to produce some kind of four different general objects: a) academic research, b) aesthetic works, c) academic research based on aesthetic works and d) aesthetic works based on academic research. This objects (and the last two in particular) are somewhat related to what is called Practice led Research, Practice based Research

Edmar Soria

and Practice as Research, which is something I will talk about later. I will start saying that I have never seen or consider myself as an artist or as a composer mostly because that is a conception that is highly problematic for me as individual. And also because of that, I think that I am able to conceive, produce and create at my own peace and terms without the big constant load that implies (at least for me) “to be an artist”. So I prefer to see myself as a creative that seeks to express his ideas through some languages of art by using and getting advantage from the tools of those languages and expressing the result through different mediums or formats. Here, I understand tools not only as craft skills but also as theoretical and aesthetical frameworks. In this sense, for example, for me is equally important to develop and improve visual modelling

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Edmar Soria

techniques, and general computer related skills than deepen in theories about aesthetics of art, philosophy of technology, general art history or even phenomenology (to name some examples). So, regarding these tools, I must say that one of the most important things for me as a person is the continuous comprehension, apprenticeship and improvement of knowledge of skills, subjects and topics I like, I find interesting and I'm passionate about. From this “no artist” statement I think I have a somehow freedom of being more focused on the creative process rather than thinking or even worrying about the final work to be considered “art”, in other words I do not seek institutional or gremail validation (or approval) when I conceive or produce my work and so, when someone finds my work interesting in anyway or perspective (like this great magazine) I feel truly grateful for that. Regards to the more technical subjects I must say that in general terms I have interests in some topics of maths, computer science and complexity theory. From the mathematical perspective I have a preference for specific areas such as Graph Theory, Group Theory and Dynamical Systems and from computational tools I am highly involved on topics about AI (Artificial Intelligence), data mining, data visualization and I have been recently diving into the VR developing framework. Since I am at this “middle point” I have not developed a deeper specialized training on this areas as someone who has earned a PhD degree on Mathematics or Computer Science for example, and that could be a noticeable disadvantage at the moment if I would have to rely my entire research on a very deep development on these technical topics. However I do have the proper understanding and skills about those topics such that I can use it as technical/theoric tools to produce creative works, to do formal research and to use it as sources of metaphors which is the main guideline in my work. In conclusion I think that my multidisciplinary background guides my creative work and allows me to use and apply tools (technical and theoretical) from math and computer science (in a formal and rigorous way) on this creative process. Nowadays the trend from artists all around the world to involve science and technology in the artistic realm is almost is completely usual and widespread and despite the fact that (from what I have seen here in latin america especially in young artists) not few times this is done ambiguously and even incorrectly because of a lack of a proper understanding and training on these tools, I found

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highly valuable this huge interest from artist to get involved more and more with science and technology topics. I think that this conjugation has a natural potential to expand the art possibilities not only in format but in language and because of that, there could be

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Edmar Soria

developed new ways of think, addressing and tackling down topics and themes from an aesthetical way that is nutrished in one way or another by these intersections with science and technology and that is the main focus that guides my own personal creative activity.

ART Habens

For this special edition of ART Habens we have selected “Inverse Collision Theory�, a stimulating project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this artcle and that has at once captured our attention for the way you sapiently challenged the audience's perceptual

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parameters: when walking our readers through your

Besides the multidisciplinary approach, my work is highly relied on the basis of fiction. I am very attracted to the discourse and content of sci-fi, cyberpunk and mythology of ancient civilizations and those topics are recurrent elements in the thematic of my creative work. But I like to use fiction also from a somewhat “abstract”

usual setup and process, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea of “Inverse Collision Theory”?

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Edmar Soria

ART Habens

over the space-time which is assumed to be a contraction of this last. The conception and organization of the work resembles the mathematical way in which theories are often constructed by stating a set of axioms from which further non-selfevident statements called theorems, has to been proven to be true on the basis of the first. So, the work proposes one set of axioms and four theorems that are derived from some propositions about relationships between those axioms and this whole relationships are pictorially represented as 3D digital sculptures. More specifically, each axiom is represented by a single 3D digital sculpture that were designed as some kind of “primordial generator� aka physical hypothetical objects whose origin does not need to be explained and is assumed as given. Each sculpture has a very specific and distinctive set of pictorial characteristics that lie around five specific parameters: surface texture, structural shape, physicality of the material, material color and lighting. In this way each axiom (as represented by the 3D digital sculpture) has a very particular and distinctive character which is build on the basis of the craft of the five aforementioned parameters. As a theoretical consequence, each Theorem is the pictorial representation of a proposition (in the context of the fictional theory) build over the manipulation of one or more axioms (just like it is done within mathematical theories). And so, each theorem is composed of different sculptures that share specific characteristics of the five aforementioned parameters. In this way, each set of sculptures of each theorem can be understood as the result of the interaction of the pictorial parameters in a very specific way in order to prove an specific statement. For sake of exemplifying the above let me guide you step by step. Each one of the next figures is the sculpture that represents each one of the Axioms of the theory.

perspective and Inverse Collision Theory is the perfect example of that. The concept of the work lies around a fictional theory that proposes an hypothesis about the phenomena of collision between two bodies and the consequence of it

Fig 1. Axiom I

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Edmar Soria

ART Habens

Figure 5. Axiom V

Figure 2. Axiom II.

Figure 3. Axiom III.

Figure 6. Axiom VI.

As you can see, each Axiom has specific pictorial characteristics according to the five aforementioned parameters. Axiom I for example, is kind of plastic (texture), stretchy (structural shape), liquid (physicality of material), dark blue and with mirroring absorbing

Figure 4. Axiom IV.

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Edmar Soria

lighting on the object but reflective diffuse light on the background. Axiom II is more like segmented (texture), tube bezier (structural shape), semitransparent glass (physicality of material), light absorbing (on object) and reflective on background. The other Axioms can be analyzed in the same way.

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of the collision or the nature of the objects themselves, is the deformation of the environment where the collision takes place. Contrary to the natural logic the deformation is not an expansion of the space-time shape of the environment but a shrinking. This deformation last no more than 0.13456 nanoseconds and it has been proved by several experiments that the amount of energy the collision releases is linearly proportional to the amount of contraction of the environment.

Take a look now to the sculptures that represent the Theorem I.

So, if the meeting of two bodies no matter how, no matter when, no matter which, ends up with a deformation of the environment which host the collision, in order to achieve a better understanding about the deformation process of the environment and according to recent speculations about the possibility of extract particles from past space time locations, the actual hypothesis is stated as a question:

Figure 4. Theorem I, components A and B.

will the reversal of the space time of the collision expand the environment and if that is true: would that expansion be stable and for how long?

The piece is intended to be displayed in gallery whether in printed format or through an array of video projections. For any of the formats the work is conceived in a systemic (related to the known Complexity Theory) way aka the result of the interaction of the individuals parts. In other words, the audience is invited to explore the work at three levels:

Figure 5. Theorem I, component C.

The texture of the components of the sculptures of Theorem I are a resemble of a combination of the texture of Axioms II, III, IV and VI. Their structural shape is derived from a procedural conjunction of the structural shape of those same Axioms except Axiom II. The physicality of the material is obtained in a similar way but through the physiciality of Axioms II, III an IV. Finally, color and lighting are derived from a mixture of properties of Axioms I, II, III and V. Subsequent sculptures from the other theorems are build in a completely analog way.

· · ·

The fictional theory that I made up is stated in this way: When two bodies meet on a specific time-space location, subatomic particles are the ones that collide not the objects themselves. The meeting could be deafening, watery, elastic or rugous, but the one single characteristic that remains constant no matter the fierce

The individual and basic (each sculpture by its own). The middle level (the grouping of sculptures by theorems or set of axioms). The general or upper level (the organization and relationships between all the elements of all the theorems and set of axioms, i.e. the general theory)

This last level is conceptually stated through the next diagram where the black rectangle at the center represents the set of axioms and the figures around it are the theorems:

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Edmar Soria

Figure 6. Diagramatic representation of the Inverse Collision Theory.

Suggesting the possibility of a new paradigm shift, we daresay that Inverse Collision Theory can be considered a combination between understanding reality and hinting at the potential of unknown: we daresay that your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception. Do you aim to provide your works with allegorical qualities? Yes totally. As I said before, fiction is a core component on my workflow and one of the way I understand fiction is through the idea of allegories, whether it is sound art, electroacoustic music, multimedia performance or digital art like this, allegories stand at the central core of my creative process. My personal approach to the concept of “allegorie” is guided through the building of metaphors between not only concepts of different realms or areas but also languages, and Inverse Collision Theory is an example of that because what relies on the conceptual backstage of the work is an aim to conjugate two different and maybe completely distant languages: the mathematical and the pictorial (from the perspective of the digital art) and because of that, this could also be seen as an attempt to develop some kind of dialect that lies at the intersection of math and visual aesthetics. The first attempt of mine to do something like the aforementioned was presented in a research paper called Dynamical Virtual Sounding Networks (Soria et al 2017) published under Springer where I proposed an arithmetic system to interpret musical notation through mathematical functions such like the next example:

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As you can see, the idea behind this proposal was to be able to “translate” polynomials (or any other function) to music rhythm values within a formal and solid theoretical framework. With this idea, one can create complex procedural rhythmic ideas from combination of any Figure 7. Example of translation of mathematical functions into music rhythm values.

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Edmar Soria

mathematical functions and so it has a similar purpose of conjunction of languages (math and music in this case). I said before, my whole work (in all different formats) is conceived and produced through the use of metaphor in some way and with a strong foundation on fiction. I

ART Habens

like to research about a topic of interest (from different areas such as math, computer theory, physics, astronomy, ancient civilizations or even antroposocial subjects) and then develop the creative process of the work in order to explain that concept through the work itself using fictional elements to build the whole

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Edmar Soria

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Figure 8. Decoupling Circuitry. Condition I: Emigration Prevention (Soria 2020).

For example, In Robotic Synapse I used digital 3D and 360ยบ modelling as a metaphoric representation of the fictional process of the construction of the first self thinking cyborg. Decoupling Circuitry is a whole metaphorical interpretation of the conditions in Universe 25, an experiment conducted by John B Calhoun about the behavioral sink. And my electroacoustic music and

framework. So if I had to be very briefly about that I think I could state it in something like this: I seek to explain a particular concept through the creative work using the metaphor as a vehicle and fiction as a foundation.

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Edmar Soria

ART Habens

Ernst Gombrich once underlined the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? The viewers imagination and the personal interpretations that could be elaborated at the moment of the aesthetic experience are truly wonderful and represent (at least for me) the final moment of the creative process. These interpretations can detonate and add a whole new meaning for the work and I think there is a high value on that action. Of course, those interpretations are inevitably dependant on a different number of conditions such as mood (at the moment of appreciation of the work), personal cultural baggage, emotional disposition, past experiences, etc. but it is this precise subjectivity which allows the work (and the creator) to be confronted with their own creative/conceptual/aesthetic process and this could become uncomfortably many times for the creator but also enlightening. Actually in the (not so far) past I used to include very bare descriptions of my works (in all formats) in order to precisely lead the audience to a more personal and subjective interpretation of the work and because I had a very straightforward idea about the independence and self-sufficiency of the work beyond the description or the curatorial text. Although this strategy accomplish its aim in many cases, I have found that sometimes this could also be perceived as lack of information and it could also lead to confusion, incomplete appreciation and consequently, to loss of interest towards the work. So, from some time to now I have decided to extend the descriptions of the works in order to illustrate a little bit further the core ideas and the technical process behind the works in order to guide these imaginative potencial from the audience to a more specific route so they could have a better glimpse of the piece.

sound art works are also based mainly on this conception: metaphor as vehicle and fiction as foundation. Inverse Collision Theory seems to invite the viewer to complete the work of art by personal associations, creating further meanings. Austrian Art historian

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Edmar Soria

However, because of the nature of my creative process (which is highly related to fiction and allegories) the way I think my works in this sense, are precisely as a personal and subjective interpretation of a certain theme or topic and because of that I guess that audience still have a high degree of freedom to interpret the work in their own terms. In plain words, I welcome the viewer with a brief explanation of the theme that is being represented or explained through the piece and the viewer have the freedom to explore and make any kind of assumptions about it. Your practice links artistic research with multimedia technology and we have really appreciated the way you expanded the relationship between movement and stillness within the use of technology: how do you consider the relationship between Art and Technology? Moreover, how do you consider the relationship between artistic research and scientific method? In particular, how does in your opinion art could be used to explain scientific and technical themes and vice versa? About the relationship between Art and Technology I can only speak from the areas I have worked in: digital art, electroacoustic music, multimedia performance, etc and from this practices, technology is highly involved not only as production tool but also as a cognitive one that affects and naturally shapes and bounds the creative process itself one way or another. Some people have a non positive attitude towards this affection from technology over the creative process but for me it is a natural and inherent condition that should be embraced. The way I understand technology is highly conditioned by my mathematical/computational academic background and because of that, my attitude towards it could be considered more in the context of Kapp’s philosophy of technology and so for me is not a limiting device (in the negative sense) but a medium that allows to conceive and develop creative works that could only exist through these tools. In this sense, I am not interested at all in an antroposocial critique/analysis of technology but in the possibilities it offers as a science and research area by itself. This does not mean that I am not fully aware about all the social problematics than encompass the technology development especially those related to government, market control and militar consequences however I focus more on the beauty of the device itself.

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I think that it is also important to point out that the kind technology that is generally used in art is not entirely new when compared to the state of the art of the technology development and usage in industry or science for example. I found that this is an important note to highlight because

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the term “art with new technologies” is often used and so, except for some particular examples that happen from time to time, the technology used in art is not “new” at all. This of course is not a value judgement over the artwork itself but over the tag attached to it.

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On the other hand, the comparison between artistic research and scientific method is a highly problematic and interesting discussion. There have been several academic and artistic discussion that have addressed that topic. Without going too far into this technical

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stuff, this approach is partially a consequence for something known as Practice Based Research, Practice as Research and Practice leads Research. This framework have been getting more attention since the 90´s decade of the last century partially because it constitutes an

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academic effort for a some kind of emancipation of art practice to be considered as a real and valid research field. Briefly, it involves the the implementation of ideas and processes (practice) within an specific field or area (art in this context) and it´s further focusing on the

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of research: If a creative artifact is the basis of the contribution to knowledge, the research is practicebased. If the research leads primarily to new understandings about practice, it is practice-led (Candy & Edmonds 2018). Although these frameworks have been highly useful to place the artistic practice at a level where it can be considered as a research kind as valid and as important as the scientific one, I find some issues that are not completely satisfying at least from my personal perspective. The main one (from my personal view) is the attempt to compare artistic research as equivalent to scientific research. Again, from my very own perspective this could easily lead to a misconception and possible non completely true statements. I do think that artistic research could be as valid as scientific research but I do not agree with the assumptions that artistic research is equivalent to scientific research, even despite the countless mental exercises and hypothetical analogies that have been done in order to support that. Science has different objects of study than art and more important, one of the main goals of the science is to provide as few possible theories to explain the largest number of particular cases in some specific area aka science seeks for generalization explanation of phenomena. Artistic research by its own nature deals with particular cases since each artwork is individual and has it´s own essence which could share some aspects with other similar works but one of the very attributes of the artwork is it´s self particularity. In other words, artistic research (in the terms of Practice Based, Lead or As) deals with particular cases while scientific research seeks an explanation as general as possible for the largest number of particular cases. I also think that comparison between the scientific method with the artistic research is no valid despite there could be some glimpses of analogy among them. Some people even compare the scientific lab with the artist´s studio or workspace in order to support that affirmation, however I see that more as a romanticized analogy rather than deep rigorous analysis. So in conclusion I think that artistic research has to be appreciated and validated by it´s own value and not through a comparison (which is forced many times) with an established knowledge area like science or technology. Artistic research can and most be considered equally valid than scientific or technological

creation or production of an specific artifact (the artwork or an object related to it). Even more, it proposes that the communication of these processes in the form of a some kind of structured and well delineated report, constitutes an specific and valid form

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research but the it must exists a clear framework that consider the inherent characteristics of artistic artifacts and artistic research in order to define that. For the last question about the possibility of art being used to explain scientific and technical themes and vice versa, I think that what I said before about the artistic research being validated by it´s own value, is consistent with this question. If artistic research is self sufficient it can address scientific and technical themes from it´s own perspective and through it´s own theoretical and aesthetical tools and I think that is where the real contribution of art could be; offering aesthetical, subjective and trascendental perspectives that science or technology do not address because it is out of its field of study. In other words, while science study the nature and laws of some phenomena artistic research could contribute with subjective and aesthetic meanings, implications and interpretations of that phenomena. Sound plays a crucial role in your artistic production and we have highly appreciated the way it provides your performance with such a unique ethereal and a bit enigmatic ambience, capable of challenging the viewers' perceptual categories: how would you consider role of sound playing within your creative process? In particular, how do you consider the relationship between sound and moving images? I think that sound and image are two completely different entities and despite the whole set of possible analogies that could be imagined between them, they are two different phenomena. However, within the creative (as I said before) these boundaries can be blurred or even vanished and so multiple aesthetic relationships can be build; relationships that could allow us to perceive and experience that phenomena in non usual ways. And so, for me, the way I design sound is highly visually evocative (at least in the stage where I conceive it) because I usually think the sound works as narrative fictional soundscapes and this involves of course to think and craft the sound in a visual-sculptural way. Even more, my sound works (most of them multichannel) usually have a high degree of what is called spatial design (an extensive use of moving sound sources and positioning of them in different locations in order to create illusory virtual sonic environments) and because of that, for me, the relationship between visual imaginary and sound is fundamental.

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abstract moving visual shapes whose morphology (material shape) is changing over time. In this sense I could affirm that it is easier to me to think, design and conceive visual shapes and then try to translate it either to sound or to actual digital visual compositions. As a versatile artist, your creative production encompasses video, performance, installation, multimedia and animation besides music and sound

I find easier to craft sounds imagining it as abstract visual shapes and so, when I work with moving sounds it is easier for me to imagine them and mentally visualize them as

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art: what does direct you to such multidisciplinary approach? In particular, are there any experiences that did particularly help you to develop your attitude to experiment with different techniques?

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consequence of that; curiosity and restlessness. I just can not help to dig deeper into something I find interesting and then suddenly and almost inevitably a some kind of unexplained necessity of expression arises and what I have learned in time is to listen the ways ideas want to be expressed. I realized that each idea has its own necessity to be expressed in a certain way and so there are some ideas

Well I consider myself as a restless and curious person and I am naturally attracted to different themes and topics as I have talked before. So, my step into different formats or multidisciplinary areas are a plain

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which need to be drawn, others need to be written, others need to be expressed by sound or by the body expression and in this sense I just follow and fulfill the way they want to be born.

are simply not possible to learn or to accomplish and in such cases I try to adapt myself and the creative process as much as possible to what I know. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impressed us and that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled Henon Map — a stimulating Digital Procedural Animation, that our readers can view at https://vimeo.com/415775264 —

If I do not have the proper training at the way the idea needs to be expressed, I just put my whole effort into learning the necessary skills and tools in order to be able to put it out of my mind. Of course there task that

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that represents a transduction of the dynamics for the Henon Map for a specific set of initial conditions. It's important to remark that its unique aesthetics springs from data transduction and we really appreciated the way it unveils such a channel of communication between Art and Science. How do you consider the concept of aesthetics within generative procedural animations? And in particular, how important is for you that the viewers become aware of the fact that your work is the result of data transduction and not of conventional techniques? Data transduction is a concept that I proposed several years ago at an international conference about Art and multidisciplinary and as time has passed I am still using it. Very briefly, it is a way to generalize the terms data visualization and data sonification and it is very related to a problematization that I have proposed about the term algorithmic art which I have criticized because of the ambiguity and often misconception of the use of the concept of algorithm itself in art. For this sake I have proposed the term numerical procedural art under the assumption that every algorithm is a process but not every process is an algorithm. With that being sad, for me, the term generative procedural express an idea that combines data transduction and procedural art. The aesthetics of it stands around the idea that for a full understanding of the work it needs to be a balance among the appreciation of the final work and the knowing (and further appreciation because of that knowing) of the technical process that assisted to generate the work. Within this technical process there is data and the way data is obtained, organized, analyzed and map onto any parameter of any kind (that is why I use the term transduction rather than visualization or sonification). Data could be also of any kind and it aesthetics or conceptual meanings could be attached to the action of choice of it (for example data about an specific social problematic). And so, this whole process, that begins with collection, organization, analysis and mapping of data, involves an specific aesthetic conception of the creative work which needs to be understood and appreciate not solely as the final experience but as a whole process. Henon Map is part of a serie of procedural generative animations under the name Points of Divergence. These animations use data transduction from a set of specific mathematical equations called dynamical chaotic systems in their discrete version (something that is known as difference equations). These systems have the property that they are iterative and according to the initial values that you put on them you could get different behaviours if the

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system: fixed, chaotic or periodic (if you are interested on these topics I will put some resources at the end of the article). In this sense, for each animation of the serie, a different dynamical system with different initial conditions is calculated and it´s information (data) is collected. This data is further mapped onto several different visual parameters like: color, acceleration, density, granulation and rotation. Following this logic, the name of each work of the piece is simply the data of the dynamical system (among with it´s initial conditions) used for it and so, the images that you are looking to, correspond to the animation tittled: Henon Map, Initial Conditions: a=0.2, b=1.01. As a final thought on this question, I think that informing the audience about the whole process that underlies the work (specially when dealing with this kind of procedural generative or data transduction works) open a whole new set of possibilities on the final perception and appreciation of the work since the whole scenario is implied to the audience at some level. You are an established artist and over the years you works have been performed and premiered at several international forums and festivals at USA, Europe, Asia and South America: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the viewers in a physical context is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm — as Instagram — increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience? I am a very shy and private person so it is difficult to me to answer about a relationship with the audience but as I said before, from my “no artist” statement I have a very open mind and attitude to the constructive criticism. Regarding the actual situation I do think that our reality has changed in a no turning back way and that right now all the certainty is the uncertainty itself because right now we are in a transitorial flux of events. Based on that I think that both, audiences and cultural agents need to reconfigure their past normality and adapt to this transition and that implies to accept and do the best to rebuild the cultural institutions (social, private and public) based or assisted on this web oriented platform.

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I do believe also that the aesthetic experience of appreciate an artwork (whatever the format it is) in person and in the original context-location it was designed for (gallery, theatre, concert hall, etc.) is completely irreplaceable and could not be reproducible in any web/online experience because for me, the art location itself (gallery, theatre, concert hall, etc.) helps to (among other things) induce the audience to an specific mood of attention and reception towards the artwork. This mood and addressing is lost (maybe not completely but to a considerable degree) with the

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web/online experience because of the multiple amount of available information at any moment which causes difficulties to keep the focus on the artwork due to constant stimuli or distractors. Besides, the web/online experience could also act as an intermediary barrier between the audience and the aesthetic experience of the work according to the display device. Of course there is the main advantage of the high degree of global accessibility of the artwork through the online/web platforms and for divulgation

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cultural themes, could recover some of the locations that allow us to experience art in first person and in real time and if the momentum of the web/online platform is harnessed, maybe we could enter a new time for art; one that can take advantage from the positive side of both perspectives. We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Edmar. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? I am truly grateful for this space and wanted to say also that your hard work is the kind that we most need in this times so congratulations for your labor! Right now I have two different area of research projects. On the one side I am continuing my research about 3D audio on multichannel speaker setups but I am beginning to apply it to VR environments. On the other side I am working on data transduction but with visualization on VR environments both for artistic and research (scientific) applications. Related to this topics I am working on the concept of music sheet as visual compositions in VR environments. I am also going a little further on my research of IA applied to music composition and visual design. Thanks again and greetings from Mexico. References. Soria (2020). Espacio-Timbre: una formulación teórica en la electroacústica multicanal. PhD Thesis. Graduate Program in Music Technology, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Soria E., Cabezas R., Morales R. (2017). Dynamical Virtual Sounding Networks. The Musical-Mathematical Mind pp 277-290, Springer. Soria(2017). La Transducción: Un modelo para el análisis, enseñanza y creación artística basada en procesos matemático-computacionales y algoritmos. Jornadas de Reflexión: Arte Electrónico y Educación, UNTREF Arentina.https://www.untref.edu.ar/mundountref/proble maticas-y-desafios-en-arte-electronico-y-educacion. Candy L. & Edmonds E. (2018). Practice-Based Research in the Creative Arts. ISAST MIT Press Journal. (Dynamical Systems): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz6gXyfzV9A

and spread of the content around the world, these tools are completely useful. And is precisely because of that that I say that is important to learn and adapt to these new format and ways of experiencing art. Cultural agents have the challenge to adapt their content and their infrastructure to this web/online platforms and audience need to face the challenge to learn to consume art from these platforms. Although my true hope is that we as society involved in artistic and

https://youtu.be/9ZI4edcv_uY?list=PLF0b3ThojznQwpDEClMZ mHssMsuPnQxZT

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video, 2013

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Lidia Mikhaylova An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello Lidia and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://simpleartforms.com/gallerypainting-on-silk and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. After more than 15 years of a successful career as a corporate lawyer in Moscow, you started to take private lessons with Anna Fedorenko in Art Studio Picasso, Moscow and then you nurtured your formal education at the Art Academy of Latvia as well as private lessons and master classes all over the world: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? In particular, what did trigger your decision to devote yourself completely to Visual Arts? Lidia Mikhaylova

Lidia Mikhaylova: As far back as I can remember, I wanted to paint and painted. I was born and raised in a small provincial Siberian town, and my school teacher did not like my drawings, she gave me bad grades, criticized my work, and thereby raised a complex in me that drawing was not for me. Later in my adulthood, working as a corporate lawyer in Moscow, I began looking for a creative outlet, at first simply as a means of taking my mind off work. By chance, I found the Picasso Art Studio, Moscow, with the best painting teacher Anna Fedorenko. Anna

gave me, in addition to basic academic knowledge, a lot of creative freedom and self-confidence, and most importantly, convinced me that I can develop further as an artist. After moving to Latvia n early 2018, I searched for a similar teacher to help me move forward, but was unsuccessful in my search. Friends advised me to go to the Preparatory Department at the Art Academy of Latvia. I was afraid, I hesitated, I did not know the Latvian

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language well enough, but in the end I took a chance, signed up and I was accepted. It was an amazing time with great teachers - I was engaged in classical painting, drawing, composition, sculpting. I created some good pieces, and I was praised. In addition, I attended various master classes, gradually started to participate in exhibitions, and started successfully selling my paintings rather than gifting them as I did before. And at some point, the creative process captured me so much that I realized on some intuitive, absolutely irrational level that the only one thing I really want to do in my life is visual art. When I paint I get great pleasure. And I want to share this pleasure with the whole world. Marked out with such unique visual identity, the body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens —and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article — has at once captured our attention for the way you use your visual language in a strategic way to express such unique combination emotional feelings and philosophical concepts, offering to the viewers an exquisitely complex array of meanings: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you usually develop your initial idea for your artworks? Do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your work as an artist?

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Lidia Mikhaylova: Chance plays a special role in my art process as well as . falling in love with the image. Usually all my projects are born by chance. I fall in love with some kind of image and try to immediately capture it on paper or canvas. In the process, I can change it, strengthen it. Then, as a rule, I want to write several works in the same style and so a series of paintings are born. So, for example, inspired by one of my favorite artists, Giorgio Morandi, I painted a series of

ART Habens

paintings called Simple Forms. From one painting Spicing up the Fall, which appeared after reading the biography of Henri Matisse, the series My sweet fall was born. My Dandelions, beloved by many people, appeared thanks to the photograph by my friend's sister - she studied photography in black and white, and I saw her photo, fell in love with it and wanted to paint these dandelions in oils. They are my pride, but they set me such a high bar that I am still only deciding to

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make a series of paintings to accompany them, waiting for an inspiration and a similar state of falling in love with some image. Therefore, chance and improvisation are the engines of me as an artist.

appreciated the way they create such dreamlike ambience. How does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in an artwork and in particular, how do you develop your textures in order to achieve such unique results?

Inspired by the colorful imagery of your surroundings, your artworks feature such wide variety of tones, often market out with unique, thoughtful nuances — as Salacgriva. Latvia — as well as vivacious, almost bold tones in Sailboats and Seagulls. Moreover, we have particularly

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Lidia Mikhaylova: In Moscow, I painted mostly still life, but I was hunted by the desire to paint the sea or ocean and preferably plein air. Having moved to Latvia and plunged headlong into the insane beauty of this country, I had a

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chance to fulfill my dream - the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea were near me! I began to take a lot of photographs and sketches, which I then transferred to canvas or paper at home. I really like to

ART Habens

paint the sea or ocean with pastels, because, in my opinion, this material is very tactile and when I paint with pastels, I seem to be immersed in some special state, where hands begin to create

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separately from the head.

And here I would like to quote of Russian poet Joseph Brodsky

The right place and condition gives the right result of the fabulously alive seascapes.

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“When there is so much in the distance behind you, mainly – misery,

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don’t loiter, waiting for assistance, but catch the train bound for the sea. It’s deeper. And it’s not so small. This, in itself, won’t fix your mood. But if one has to, after all, sense all the pangs of orphanhood,

ART Habens

then pick a setting that can make your insides stir instead of ache”.

We really appreciate the way you encourage the viewers to capture beauty

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in daily life, and in this sense, your

others see." As you have remarked in your

approach seems to reflect Edgar Degas'

artist's statement, in order to see beauty,

words, when he once stated that “Art is

you just need to pause and look around:

not what you see, but what you make

how does your everyday life's experience

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fuel your artistic research?

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Jurmala, went to the seaside, made sketches and photographs, which I later

Lidia Mikhaylova: Latvia is an unusually beautiful country, just a paradise for artists. I was walking a lot in Riga and

used in my works. In December 2019, I had a chance to take part in the Contemporary

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Art Exhibition "Play Your Part", organized by the International Art Alliance at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York City. Five of my paintings from My Sweet fall series had a unique opportunity to be seen

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live by American audiences and I ended up in New York. This was my first international exhibition, where I interacted with other participating artists and visitors.

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surrounds me. Observing simple American life - these wonderful houses with gardens and the ocean, I continue to strengthen in my opinion that we are surrounded by wonderful things in everyday life, we just

Then I came to Massachusetts, USA, where I am staying for now. These days, I spend most of my time in Newton and continue to walk a lot and draw everything that

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need to learn to notice and appreciate them. Your landscape inspired paintings often feature such stimulating dreamlike ambience, that provides its figures with ambivalent visual identity, that seems to unveil the bridge between the real and the imagined. Scottish painter Peter Doig once remarked that even the most realistic paintings are derived more from within the head than from what's out there in front of us, how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination, playing within your artistic production? Lidia Mikhaylova: Sunsets and sunrises, rainbows, century-old trees, ocean and sea spaces, flowers growing your own garden or presented by a loved one, household items, people you love - all this and more this is a wonderful reality around us and it is so beautiful that it often seems that everything is a figment of our imagination. In my paintings, reality and imagination are so mixed together that they become essentially my own reality. Or my own imagination. For me it's the same thing. We dare say that your artworks are also pervaded with a sense of connection between reality and the trascendental dimension: how do you consider the role of spirituality playin within your artistic practice? Lidia Mikhaylova: Striving for goodness, thirst for truth, hunger for beauty do not weaken with time. In my opinion, this is spirituality. You know, there are people

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who look like windows. Their beauty is revealed thanks to the light coming from within. I want to achieve the same in my paintings. As a Russian publicist Simon Soloveichik said, "Art must be spiritual, and then a person can find an interlocutor in it, as well as a source of high aspirations." Another important aspect of your artistic production is centered on Tantra, an we are more than please to introduce our readers to your YONI FLOWERS series. Would you tell us something about the genesis of your stimulating project? Lidia Mikhaylova: I have a friend, Zhanna Lee, and she is a Certified Tantra Educator & Holistic Intimacy Coach. I attended her workshop MY BODY IS A TEMPLE, and its main idea was to learn how to stay grounded and connected in a nonjudgmental and heart-opening environment. During the workshop, a realization came to me that as an artist I can also help women, regardless of age, faith and body shapes, to develop and feel their inner strength and confidence. So I started my Sexual Art project, choosing for it silk painting,which is, in my opinion, the most refined and lively material, and flowers, as a symbol of female beauty and divine blessing. Your YONI FLOWERS serieshas deeply struck us for the way you conveyed both aesthetics and such deep phylosophical ideas: how important is for you to balance aesthetics and message within your works? In particular, how do you consider

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the of aesthetics aspect when creating?

important to me. In my works, regardless of what I depict on them, first of all I want to show the viewer how beautiful our world is, both internal and external. It is important for

Lidia Mikhaylova: The harmony of aesthetics and the ideas I convey is very

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me to fill the viewer with kindness, love and sincerity. My dream is that people, contemplating my paintings, experience the same feelings that they experience when they fall in love. In Sanskrit, the word Yoni means female genitalia and according to Tantra's philosophy Universe has endowed women with a wonderful gift – the Yoni: do you think that your being a woman provides the results of your artistic research with some special value?

ART Habens

customers say - paint as you see. And I am certainly very pleased when I get into their soul, see delight and receive words of gratitude. Over the recent years you started to exhibit your artworks in a number of occasions, including your recent participation to Monochrome 2020, at Las Laguna Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the viewers in a physical context is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm — as Instagram — increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

Lidia Mikhaylova: I'm not sure of the special value, but it seems to me that due to the fact that I am a woman, my works are certainly filled with special feminine energy when creating them and this can help their owners reveal their feminine power or strengthen it, harmonize any areas of life and perhaps start creating new reality.

Lidia Mikhaylova: I am still new to the world of art shows. My first exhibit was held in Moscow in May 2017 and it was organized by Art Studio Picasso, which i was a part of, for all students. My friends, my work colleagues and my mother attended the opening. It was unforgettable because I felt their tremendous support, which certainly provided an immense resource to move on. The second and so far the last art show I attended personally was the Contemporary Art Exhibition “Play Your Part” at the Tenri Cultural Institute, New York City, organized by the International Art Alliance, which I joined last fall.

It's important to mention that you pay particular care to customize the pieces from your YONI FLOWERS art collection on silk, in order to match the personal vision of your clients: how important is for you to connect yourself with the expectations - and we dare say - to the soul of who will own your creations? Lidia Mikhaylova: Some paintings from this collection found their owners after the workshops. Participants felt a connection with a particular painting and bought it to usually hang in their bedroom. When accepting an order, I usually specify the color (chakra) and wishes for the flower. But mostly the

Plunging headfirst into the American

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audience, I felt enormous gratitude, and this feeling is still with me. Due to the current global situation, many exhibits have been canceled or moved online. Of course, this complicates the work of an artist, because often photography does not convey color, texture and, as a result, the full perception of the painting. However, it is my deep conviction that, living in a world where we cannot have control over everything and where there are no guarantees, we can nevertheless do our best every day.

projects that I have already started is called Doors. For me, a door is a transition to a new quality and condition, expanding boundaries and opening up new opportunities. I started this project by accident, drawing the first Magic Door as an image of my friends who provided me with the home where I now live in Newton, MA. A little later, I got the idea that I could show through the door the image of the person who lives behind that door, and I drew several doors for my friends as a gift to them , identifying them with the their house numbers. It was very cool when I showed a finished door without a house number in FB and asked my friends if they knew whose door it was. Now I just draw doors and invite people to choose the one that they like and which they associate themselves with. And I put their house number on the painting. When there will be 36 or more door designs, I’m going to make metamorphic cards with their image and give a deck of cards to people who might beinterested.

Currently, most of our life moves online and, in my opinion, artists can and should use the online space for their own recognition and promotion,including popular and effective platforms such as Instagram. An active account can help you gain many followers and increase sales. Therefore, I devote time to developing my https://www.instagram.com/simple_art_f orms_, as well as participating in various online exhibits. We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Lidia. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

In addition, this summer I began to paint flowers in oils and these pictures became the birth oa project "Grandma's Front Garden". I also continue to paint the oceaand to paint on silk. I have a lot of creative ideas and plans!

Lidia Mikhaylova: Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to talk to you, it is a great honor for me. Answering your questions, I seemed to be opening new doors for myself in my work.One of my

An interview by

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, curator curator



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