ART Habens Art Review, Special Edition

Page 50

A B E N S

SONJA WIRWOHL

HAITHAM ALHAMAD

KAMELYTA

STAVROS KOTSAKIS

KONG HO

MARYAM KHALEGHIYAZDI

SARI LUNA

ORIT SHARBAT

SONJA WIRWOHL

EINAV ZEICHNER

C o n t e m p o r a r y A r t R e v i e w
ART H
Special Edition
ART
Orit Sharbat

I’m an Israeli artist based in Tel Aviv (near the beach, under the sun).In my mind’s eye, I see everything in color, including my own thoughts and feelings.It comes from a deep connection to colors and spirituality.My soul likes to roam freely along my great inner spiritual spaces, through gardens of feelings, soaring from one emotional site to another; that’s its journey.This journey of the soul finds its expression in my paintings, which always start in a very structured, composed way, but as the creativity gathers pace, I allow myself to get lost in the painting, and feel the painting acquiring an energy and a life of its own.This allows me to follow the work’s own tempo. At this point, my hand loses control and switches from one color to another, until I’m all exhausted. Then, I take a step back and zoom out, until I feel it’s time to resume work and complete my painting. I love to explore with colors and see and feel how they move on the surface and how they transpire when mixing and merging together. I like to marvel at the texture and intensity of all the original colors as they come together, while retaining their own individual power.

Sumptuously painted in a technique consisting of freeflowing wave-like patterns held in check by subtly controlled washes of glaze and exacting trompe l'oeil floras and shells, my floral-spiral paintings exemplify the theme and style indicative of my ongoing body of work, the "Luminosity Series." In my recent series, I have created an asymmetrical composition by off-setting the circular shapes of the primary spiral of the nautilus shell and the floral images against the angular edges of the squared off canvas. Further interest is added to the composition through the articulation of the nautilus shell's segments and the structure of natural flora. I achieve a feeling of dramatic motion by obliterating portions of my ornately patterned objects by merging them with a background of sweeping ribbons, rippling draping, folding petal veins, floating seashells, and dancing stripes.

My composition is supported by a dense spatial field of interpreted interactions of forms and patterns found in nature. These patterns include repetitive clusters of meandering lines and portioned color filled areas that suggest ambiguous space.

Haitham Al Hamad was born in Homs, Syria, and studied Fine Arts at Damascus University receiving his Bachelor degree in 1992, and Graduate degree in Mural Painting in 1994.

He is a member of the Syrian Fine Arts Association and Qatar Fine Arts Association.

Al Hamad participated in various art and cultural fairs, as well as showcasing his art in many galleries in Syria and Qatar.Interested in Islamic painting, especially the Islamic miniatures.

Haitham Al Hamad is currently residing in Qatar, working at the Doha Fire Station “Artistes in residence".

Kamelyta is an abstract expressive fingerpainter with a bold and passionate eye. Working in bright, vibrant colors, she uses acrylic as her medium. Her assertive, brilliantly colorful palette reflects her own feelings and emotions. The artist’s work is often lyrical, with strokes that soar with movement and envelope viewers compellingly with the vibrant rainbow of color she embraces. According to Kamelyta, each work tells a story through color. “My life, my appetite, my hunger, my sadness, my anger, my desire, my love, my happiness - all my stories, are in these magnificent colors. I become alive. And I hope that my colors will evoke the same emotions in others as they do in me. Life is colorful. It’s bright and shiny,” she asserts. The Malaysian-born California artist exemplifies both her rich heritage and the rainbow of Southern California. They breathe the plumage of Western birds and the petals of Southland flowers, exuding the rhythm of the sea, the sway of a palm, the brightness of a desert morning.

Greece / Sweden

Stavros Kotsakis is an autodidact light artist and designer based in Gothenburg, Sweden.With the purpose to explore the endless adventures of light while interacting with fascinating materials, Stavros is dedicated to handcrafting exclusive light artworks which add a genuine warmth to a wide range of interiors. Putting light into the center point of the development process allows the creative journey from form to function to happen. Becoming itself part of symmetrical structures or transformed objects, light is being naturally turned into a basic element for geometry.Stavros has made two solo exhibitions (Greece, Sweden) and has also participated in various group exhibitions and art fairs. His lamps have also been featured in Month of Design (Slovenia), Paris design week and 3 days of design (Copenhagen). His light sculpture ‘Lightpulse’ has won the award of Ung Svensk Form 2021 and has been part of a touring exhibition in 5 different cities across Sweden during 2021.Stavros’ ambition for the future is to constantly develop his skills, expand his art network and exhibit his work to a greater audience.

Germany / France

The touch and smell of paper and cardboard have helped me to immerse myself in a creative universe since I was little: there’s nothing like the sound of cutting, ripping, folding and scrunching up a piece of paper! My works are created within the spirit of “upcycling”, which means that I use materials that are second-hand or considered as waste products, such as used cardboard boxes and old magazines. I create playful, imaginative miniature scenes that include a colourful collage background, cardboard houses and plastic figurines. Incongruent elements add a “smile factor” to my works, and the joy I experience while creating my art is, I hope, palpable. My first solo exhibition “Small Time Art” was held in Germany last year. The term, by the way, was a friend’s suggestion. It is perfectly congruent with my perception of my work: art is my personal time for small things, small scenes with lovingly added miniature details. I invite you to explore my world, where illusion collides with fairy tales, creating a magical filter for our everyday lives.

C o n t e m p o r a r y A r t R e v i e w Israel Stavros Kotsakis Orit Sharbat USA Kong Ho Kamelyta USA Sonja Wirwohl Syria / Qatar Haitham Alhamad

Iran / USA

Einav Zeichner Israel

My work is created and influenced from what exists around me - at home or on my way: materials and leftovers, especially those that areperceived as "despicable".

The main occupation is in building meaningfor each object and bring it into life as a subject in itself.

The objectsare Going through a process that changes them as in the laboratory: isolation, replication, punching and reconnection. The process reflects adeviation from the original, processes of abstraction and transformationinto a new object.

The creative experience is physical and is madeout of intuition and intuitive connections.

Reiner Heidorn

Germany

Reiner Heidorn's works have been shown in exhibitions in Brazil, Dubai, the USA and in various German and European cities.

Ho Sari

Orit

Sonja Kamelyta

Israelian mixed media painter

Alhamad 48 92 70 134 232 4 26 In this issue
Haitham
Wirwohl
Sharbat Kong
Luna
Kotsakis
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. 156 200
Stavros
Reiner Heldorn Maryam Khaleghiyazdi
Maryam is an Iranian multimedia artist and design professor based in Minnesota. The area of her work and teaching covers different realms like digital art, illustration, augmented reality, animation, and graphic design. Currently, Maryam is exploring her identity as a person who has migrated from Iran to the United States. She is applying illustration as a vehicle to expose her state as a person who lives between two different countries. Currently, she is the assistant professor of Graphic design in the Art and Design department at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She received her B.A. and M.F.A. in Visual Communication from the University of Tehran, Iran, and her second M.F.A. in Graphic Design from Ohio University, U.S.A. She has exposed her art and design work to different national and international exhibitions in various countries like Iran, U.S.A., Germany, South Korea, Japan, Italy, U.K., Switzerland, Mexico, etc. She has won several prizes like the Silver prize of A ’Design Award in Italy, the merit award of HOW International Design Awards in the U.S.A., the first prize of International Triennial of Ecological Posters in Ukraine and the second award of International Poster Design Competition Post- it Awards in Russia.
Maryam Khaleghiyazdi
Reiner Heidorn lives and works in Weilheim, Bavaria. The autodidact painter processes in his oversized and mostly monochrome paintings the relationship between man and nature. The desire to unite with nature, to become one with it and even to dissolve in it - Reiner Heidorn gives form and color to this thought. Over the years of his work, he has developed his own unique painting technique and gave it a name - "Dissolutio", which means disappearance. His paintings consist of tiny microscopic elements, flowing various shades of green and blue arrange themselves in gentle transitions on the canvas. They suggest forests, lakes, plants, up to whole worlds. Thus his artistic work stands in a contemporary discourse of socially topical issues such as climate change or the alienation of man with regard to his natural environment.

Definitely Not Boobs

Special Issue 42 01
Special Issue 2 Kamelyta Noor ART Habens 4 02
I Don’t Belong Here Anymore

Kamelyta

Hello Kamelyta and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.kamelyta.com in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence the evolution of your artistic research? Moreover, what did direct you to experiment with finger painting technique?

Kamelyta Noor: I don’t think I have a specific artist or moment that influenced my artistic evolution. I honestly just love playing with colors. I love experimenting with bright contrasting colors as they make me happy! They make me smile, and laugh, feel crazy, and feel good!

I discovered finger painting by accident really. Years ago, out of boredom and curiosity, I attended a “wine-and-paint” night, a fun event where non-artists enjoy wine and explore the fun creative process with an instructor. After a few nights, seeing how easy it was, I decided to do myself and I got hooked!

I love it! I truly enjoy painting! Eventually it became a form of relaxation for me after a long day at work. One night after I finished a painting, I had a considerable amount of leftover paint on the plate and I certainly did not want to waste it. So I played with it. I played with the colors

Kamelyta
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using my fingers and I loved it! So there, that’s how I started finger painting.

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens are marked out with such unique visual identity that reflects the personal technique of fingerpainting that you have developed over the years. What has at once captured our attention of your approach is the way you use visual language in a strategic way to offering an array of meanings to the viewers and inviting them to capture details from invisible reality: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, we would like to ask you if you create your works gesturally, instinctively. In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your creative process?

Kamelyta Noor: I don’t plan my painting at all. 95% of the time, I don’t know what I am painting till I sit on the floor. Sometimes I have a general idea on the base colors that I’d like to use. But once I sit down (I paint on the floor by the way), I literally let my fingers flow. Even the colors are chosen instinctively. I never really know how or what my painting is going to end up looking.

Bright and shiny, your artworks are marked out with such unique vivacious

and even bold tones, that provide your canvas with such sense of movement,

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People Amuse Me ART Habens Kamelyta

and we really appreciated the way your artworks create such enigmatic

patterns, communicating an alternation between tension and

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ART Habens Kamelyta

Angels In The City

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release. How does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to ART Habens Kamelyta

include moment by moment in your artworks?

Kamelyta Noor: Oh, I don’t think at all when I paint. But my emotions certainly dictate my painting. The colors are chosen based on my emotions. My anger with my bosses, my love for my children, my frustration with stupid people, my hunger for fried chicken wings – they are all transferred to my canvas.

My life, my desire, and my stories, are all in these magnificent colors. Every piece has a story and I tell them through my colors. This is how people get to know me. This is how I get to know myself. This is where I am alive. My fingers paint what I’m feeling without me even realizing it and by the end I feel refreshed and relaxed and often times, happier than when I started.

With their powerful narrative drive, your works speaks of such variety of feelings and emotions including anger, sadness, desire and happiness: how do your memories and your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

Kamelyta Noor: My life experiences absolutely drive my creative process. I capture the feeling or the moment through the colors that I choose. The colors, the tones, the shades, and how they all combine together evoke a certain feeling that I have.

You can also feel them through my

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ART Habens Kamelyta

Wishing For You

strokes. Just look at each of my piece. You can feel it.

Your artistic production reflects such unique synergy between your rich cultural

heritage due to your Malaysian roots and your current life in Southern California: how do you consider the relationship between ancient cultural

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ART Habens Kamelyta

heritage and contemporary sensitiveness playing within your artistic research? Do you aim to create a bridge between Tradition and Contemporariness?

Kamelyta Noor: Well, I don’t exactly attempt to bridge the relationship between my Malaysian roots and my

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ART Habens Kamelyta
Kiss My Ass

You Want Me Admit It

current life here, but I reckon, my paintings do exemplify both past and present. Malaysia is a beautiful and bright place. Everywhere you look there

is color and life, and the person I am today definitely tries to add those colors and life to my paintings. Southern California is so diverse and

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ART Habens Kamelyta

Nobody Can Ever Piss On Me

filled with many of my favorite things; beautifully sunny weather, mountains and trees, food and of course my incredible children. And my children are

EVERY color in the universe, because they bring me total joy and happiness. Again, I don’t aim to create a bridge but I think because of who I am now and

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ART Habens Kamelyta

where I have come from, I am the bridge and my art is just an extension of that.

We daresay that your unique technique allows you to create new kind of visual languages. French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas once remarked that Art is not what you see, but what you make others see: how would you consider the degree of openess of the messages that you convey in your creations and how open would you like your works to be understood?

Kamelyta Noor: My paintings invite viewers to immerse in their own memories and interpretation. Everyone who sees my paintings has their own visual interpretation which I find absolutely amazing. They see things in my paintings that I don’t see. They feel emotions that I don’t feel. And I believe that is where my success is. My paintings evoke various emotions and memories, taking them to their own special places. I love making people happy but what I want most is for my paintings to be so open in understanding that everyone sees and understands something different based on their own life experiences. I want my paintings to resonate with everyone in various ways, be it sadness, happiness, yearning, anger or disappointment.

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ART Habens Kamelyta

Love Is Messy And Bold

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ART Habens Kamelyta
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I Want Diamond Earrings Nakal
ART Habens Kamelyta

You create unique physical artefacts with tactile qualities: in this sense, we dare say that your artworks use the insight of the lens to rediscover the concept of materially: how important is

for you to highlight the physical aspect of your artworks? In particular, how important is intuition in your creative process?

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ART Habens Kamelyta
Just Come Home

Kamelyta Noor: I'm not really sure what you mean by “physical aspects” so all I will say is that intuition is EVERYTHING! When I sit down to paint,

I know what I’m feeling, but I do not have any rhyme or reason to what I paint. All I do is feel and my heart and fingers do the rest.

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Fuck It ART Habens Kamelyta

My Absolute Truth

We really appreciate the way you create works of art that challenge the viewers' perceptual parameters, to create interzones of sensory perceptions: how do

you consider the relationship between reality and imagination, playing within your artistic production?

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ART Habens Kamelyta

Kamelyta Noor: I honestly don’t create to challenge anyone but me. I don’t create to make a social statement. I don’t create to compete. My paintings

are the extensions of myself and my life. Yes, my paintings are both reality (my life) and imagination (what my feelings look like on canvas), but I do

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My Absolute Truth Kamelyta ART Habens
How Can I Not Love You
My Pleasurable Sin

not paint with intention. I paint to heal. If people see something in my art that is deep, unnerving, or exciting, that is great, but my goal in painting is not to challenge, only to release.

You are an established artist: over the years your artworks have been exhibited in several occasions where your bold colors have been displayed in galleries in Los Angeles, Joshua Tree, Laguna Beach, and the Inland Empire. Moreover, your work was displayed at the Ontario International Airport: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms — as Instagram and Vimeo increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

Kamelyta Noor: Social media has certainly helped me reach bigger audience, so I am just pleased that more people in the world get to experience and enjoy my art. You can check out my fabulous colors at https://www.instagram.com/greencamel 69

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Kamelyta. What

projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

Kamelyta Noor: I am currently working on several commissioned pieces which keep me quite busy. But I was recently selected by a local art organization called the Art in the Cart, to create several pieces using donated supplies from fellow artists. The final pieces will then be exhibited in a local gallery to raise funds for local art programs.

I am very grateful to work with Art in the Cart because of the lack of funding for art programs in schools and communities has always been something that I cared about. Art in the Cart is a start-up project that works to provide art supplies to artists, schools, and community groups. We all know how expensive art supplies can get, and a lot of times schools and programs don’t have the funds for the arts. Therefore, I am deeply appreciative to be part of this program to help my community and the artists of the future.

Ideas? I would love to experiment more with mixed media. Specifically, works using nonconventional materials such as nail polish, colored glue, leaves, and printed photographs. I would also love to finger-paint a huge mural! Now, that'd be a total accomplishment!

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ART Habens Kamelyta
An interview by , curator and curator
Special Issue 42 01
Special Issue 2 Stavros Kotsakis ART Habens 4 02
Apeiron

Stavros Kotsakis

Hello Stavros and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.studiolampent.com and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. As a basically self taught artist, are there any experiences influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural background due to your Greek roots and your current life in Sweden direct your current artistic research?

Stavros Kotsakis: My grandfather used to make small table lamps from sea urchin shells in his free time. This is how I started developing an interest in light and also in the ways it can be ‘formed’ or manipulated, creating different visual experiences.

‘Greekness’ can be characterized by the perseverance of a classical aesthetic even when abstract. This is an element which I always try to communicate in my light art. Greece is obviously a country with plenty of physical light, therefore the development of artificial light objects is not a very common practice. However, in Sweden, the need for light plays a central role in people lives, enhancing the creativity around that area. Moving to Sweden, has allowed me to be part of this creative journey, experimenting with new materials, techniques, and technologies as well as drawing inspiration from Scandinavian design.

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 their refined symmetries, as well as the way the unique atmospheres that marks out your artistic production provide the viewers with such unique immersive experience: when walking our readers through your usual

Stavros Kotsakis
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setup and process, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea of Apeiron?

Stavros Kotsakis: The overall process can be described as solving a puzzle where I intend to match the unique properties of different materials with the right form of light, while keeping the overall structure simple, functional and attractive.

The aim is to create a visual experience that tells a story. The idea of Apeiron was to create a space of infinity, attracting the viewer to interract with it. It also aims to explore how light permeates emptiness. Light from a neon-like light source is manipulated through mirror reflections, creating a mesmerizing effect.

Your artistic research revolves around the the interaction between light and materials, and we appreciate the way Lightpath features such sinuous geometries: what are the properties that are you searching for in the materials that you include in your works? In particular, are you interested in including objects in your works or do you prefer to create everything by yourself?

Stavros Kotsakis: When I first started to create light pieces, the main focus has been on diverting objects off their main function and redefining them in a new context which incorporates light. The working process was therefore mostly based on experimenting with re-purposed materials and components of certain interesting geometries. During the latest years, I have been shifting my focus to materials which interact more actively and genuinely with light.

Materials which emit, absorb, diffuse or reflect light (or the combination of such materials) are always worth to explore in

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ART Habens Stavros Kotsakis
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Kotsakis
Stavros
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Lightpath

order to create a memorable visual experience. ‘Lightpath’ is a good example of such exploration as light is harmonically channeled through the curved heat-formed acrylic, which produces subtle reflections and casts a beautiful glow.

With their unique delicate warm ambience, your artworks feature thoughtful nuances of tones that communicate sense of release. How do you select the colors to be included in your works, in order to achieve such brilliant results? In particular, how did you achieve the multicolored shadow that we can admire in Dhaze?

Stavros Kotsakis: In general I use combinations of analogous or complementary colors in my artworks.

Dhaze is an interactive wall light sculpture aiming to experiment with color fusion and symmetry. A light ray of colorful, interlocking circles is visible along the diagonal of a misty quadratic space, but as soon as the viewer changes observation angles, the shape becomes more fluid, and the geometrical balance is distorted.

The mesmerizing effect of this illusion is achieved by using several layers of different acrylic diffusers, each of which interract with light in different ways. Specifically for Dhaze, I have used a sequence of neighboring colors from the color scale.

How do you consider the role of technology playing within your artistic process? Are you interested in sophisticated devices, as well, in order to pursue specific effects?

Stavros Kotsakis: Getting familiar with certain lighting technologies can definately offer a wide range of artistic possibilities and I am

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Stavros Kotsakis

always interested in this exploration. Another area which I also plan to experiment in the future is kinetic light art, which would also require knowledge on small motors for example.

You are a versatile artist and it's important to mention that you personally handcraft your exclusive light artworks. As viewers, we often tend to forget that a work of art is first of all a physical artefact with intrinsic

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Dhaze ART Habens Stavros Kotsakis

tactile qualities, and we really appreciate the way, through sapient materic translation, your artistic production highlights the materiality among the viewer: how important is for you to highlight the

physical aspect of your artworks?

Stavros Kotsakis: As my artistic practice is based on material exploration, I think that the physical aspect of my work is always present. However, the aim with my art is to

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Ninvert ART Habens Stavros Kotsakis

create a strong, non-tangible visual experience to the viewer and that is hopefully achieved through the interaction between materials and light.

How important is intuition for you? In particular, do you you create your works gesturally, instinctively?

Stavros Kotsakis: I always begin by selecting the material which has the potential to interact with light creating an interesting effect worth to explore. This is the material in focus which also then defines the general form of the object. Then light comes at the center point of the development process. Becoming itself part of symmetrical structures or transformed objects, light is being naturally turned into a basic element for geometry.

The relationship between material, form and light is being tested in different contexts until an aesthetically satisfying result is achieved. The last but very important step is working on all the technical details needed in order to achieve the desired function. The creative process from form to function is iterative and sometimes it is necessary to slightly change the initial artistic form in order to have a functional product in the end. So, one could describe the above procedure as a trial and error process driven by instinct.

There's a stimulating harmonic contrast between the severe, almost sharp geometries created by the straightness of light and its intrinsic impalpability: we really appreciate such visual oxymoron. French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas once remarked that Art is not what you see, but what you make others see: is important for you to invite the viewers to elaborate personal interpretations from

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ART Habens Stavros Kotsakis
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ART Habens Stavros Kotsakis

the geometries and the ambiences that you create?

Stavros Kotsakis: As you mention, the interplay between the tangible geometry and the fragility of light aims to create a sense of apparent imbalance. This state invites the viewers to question visual perception and therefore relate to their personal experiences and beliefs.

You are an established and awarded artist: your light sculpture ‘‘Lightpulse’’ has won the award of Ung Svensk Form 2021 and over the years your works have been shocased in many occasions, including two solos, in Greece and in Sweden: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience?

Stavros Kotsakis: Getting audience recognition for my work is definately a motivation to continue experimenting with new ideas, but also serves as a constructive feedback which helps me evaluate which artistic tequniques to continue working on. So, it is a very meaningful relationship.

By the way, 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?

Stavros Kotsakis: Nowadays, digital presence is key for an artist aiming to increase his/her reach. Most of my sales are currently through online galleries and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/studiolampent). However, I think it is also relevant that people prefer to first experience an art piece in real life before purchasing it. Even though

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ART Habens Stavros Kotsakis

audience can learn more about an artist throughout online platforms, experiencing an artwork through a traditional exhibition can create a more direct relationship with the artist.

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

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ART Habens Stavros Kotsakis

sharing your thoughts, Stavros. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

Stavros Kotsakis: It was my real pleasure to have this interview with ART Habens! My upcoming projects will be exploring light manipulation through infinity mirrors.

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ART Habens Stavros Kotsakis

Several significant artists have been using this technique successfully, so it is in general not a completely undiscovered area. However, I feel there is still a lot to get

inspired from, discover and experiment with.

An interview by , curator and curator

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ART Habens Stavros Kotsakis
Special Issue 42 01
Special Issue 2 Sari Luna ART Habens 4 02
Tangent Dreams, Photo by Brendan J Kennard

Hello Sari and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://sarilunadesigns.com in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. Your education was focused on photography, painting and 3D graphics: how did those formative years influence your evolution as a visual artist? Moreover, how did you develop your painting technique?

My education in photography has helped me to understand I can control the mood or enhance specific details in a composition. Learning to frame a scene from different viewpoints and angles helps me to punctuate with perspective.

Working with 3D art leveled up my skills in studio lighting for photography, sourcing reference images and drafting designs. It greatly improved and informed my best work practices.

Graphic design required me to create balance within a composition. Creating icons taught me the importance of simple and recognizable silhouettes in my arts practice.

Teaching painting workshops taught me to reverse engineer each image I was assigned to instruct. I would write down the steps I thought the original artist used and I would race to complete the painting in 1 hour, half of the class time. Trying out multiple painting

Sari Luna

styles in this manner helps me to continue developing my current painting style.

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens are marked out with such unique visual identity that reflects the personal technique that you have developed over the years. What has at once captured our attention of your your approach is the way you use visual language in a strategic way to offering an array of

4 04 Special Issue
An interview by , curator and curator Sari Luna

meanings to the viewers: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, we would like to ask you if you create your works gesturally, instinctively. In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your creative process?

I paint in my studio with music which helps me to process events and emotions as I am present with myself. Painting is a sensory activity, as in meditation, I connect with my body, feeling the brush in my hand and the paint as I lay it on the canvas. I experience a feeling of catharsis as an electric current is expelled from my heart and transferred into my painting.

I paint both instinctually and aesthetically, choosing elements and colors as both perspectives show me my path. Once, a friend accidentally spilled red paint on one of my paintings that was near completion. I begrudgingly incorporated the circular marks by transforming them into meteors racing toward the earth and the painting sold at an art show the next week. Recently, I was working near a current work in progress, Hegira, and accidentally splashed water down the front of it. I decided that the streaking paint added a necessary variation to the mostly symmetrical composition. When I can’t change something, I ask myself “How can I transform this into an integral part of my project?” I have had success with this method every time.

We have been particularly impressed with the sense of movement and thoughtful nuances that marks out your artistic production, and a particular feature of Tangent Dreams that we have appreciated is the way you achieve to

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ART Habens Sari Luna
Special Issue 21 4 06 ART Habens Sari Luna
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create such unique sense of depth: how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include moment by moment in your artworks?

The whimsical worlds I depict in my paintings are inspired by the moments I stop, slow down, and appreciate the beauty around me. My main outlook on life is twofold, to cultivate daily happiness and to make an improvement each time I work on a task.

Tangent Dreams was created as a self portrait and an immersive art experience. My dearest cousin says that I am the psychedelic sheep of my family and he is the black sheep. I have chosen to follow my dreams and adventures regardless of outside influences and this piece is an invitation to do the same.

The checkers on the hill sweep into the foreground and, in the original installation, came out the painting, down the wall and onto the floor. The sheep jump into the sky, turning into clouds and floating into the room.

When exploring the connection between the inner world and the outside reality — as in the interesting Hegira — you create works of art that challenge the viewers' perceptual parameters, to create interzones of sensory perceptions: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination, playing within your artistic production? In particular, how does everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

I stay open to opportunities that are so different they often feel scary, but that align with my values and the day dreams I imagine for myself. I have shaped my reality after my imagination, because I want my life to be

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exhilarating and to further fuel my imagination. I choose to focus my attention on what I would like or need more of, rather than prioritizing the things important to the

general populace or the opinions of individuals.

Growing up, I spent a good deal of time engrossed in books, feeding my imagination

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and adventurous spirit. I receive inspiration from small details, noticing the pleasing pattern of seeds on the back of a fern or the pattern left in the sand from an ocean wave.

We have appreciated the powerful allegorical feature that marks out your artworks — and more specifically Sea Dragon. Your unique way of seeing our world, in which illusion collides with nature and fairy tales allows you to provide the viewers with unique visionary experiences: how do you consider the role of symbols and mythological references in your creative process?

I spent my childhood exploring the forest every day with my dog following along as if she were

my nanny. I would devour books, escaping into life after life, filling my coffers with examples of symbols and metaphors. I view our world as a fairy tale, a place where nature collides with illusion and I am the hero of my own story. Symbols allow me to communicate a meaning or feeling which can be further enforced by perspective, lighting, hues and values.

I often wake up in the middle of the night with ideas, staying up for hours thereafter to paint out of pure compulsion. Designs and images come to me without initially knowing their meaning, and yet, just as often, a poem or message may occur to me with a precise and

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intentional metaphor. To me, poetry is a verbal painting and the act of painting is a visual poem. It is difficult to separate the two from one another, just as it is difficult for me to separate metaphors from my thought process.

My compositions contain details from my visions as well as from stories I encounter. Sea Dragon is no exception. A Norse tale of a viking voyage fending off a red sea dragon is what inspired the original idea. The eggs and tree stumps were inspired by a concept in Robin Hobb’s fantasy book series and my imagination filled in the rest.

We daresay that your unique technique allows you to create new kind of visual languages. French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas once remarked that Art is not what you see, but what you make others see: how would you consider the degree of openness of the messages that you convey in your creations and how open would you like your works to be understood? Are you particularly interested in arousing emotions that go beyond the realm of visual perception?

The degree with which I share my story is determined by the degree with which a viewer has opened themselves to share with me. I enjoy hearing people’s views on my paintings

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Sari Luna

and, usually, their perception parallels my own feelings. I engage with and open up to those I feel a genuine spirit of sharing and connection with.

It is an amazing honor when people approach me asking if my painting means a specific emotion and I get to smile and say “Yes!” One person approached me saying that my painting made them feel loved. I tipped the painting down to reveal the title already written as “I Am Love”. This person went on to share an intimate story of loss and how this painting helped them to release. It is surprising and gratifying to connect with people in this way.

I feel proud of my accomplishment as an artist because my art evokes emotion and transports viewers to a memory in time. I watch as people pause, lean in and absorb the details in my works. There is a connection and a camaraderie in that moment.

Being seen and heard is one of the most important gifts I give to myself. My art speaks for me; my art is my voice.

It's important to remark that you are also an experienced art teacher: does your work as a teacher influence you as a creative? In particular, did you ever draw inspiration from the creative process of your students?

Teaching creates the necessary environment to define my processes and procedures. Iteration after iteration, I refine them. Teaching reminds me to practice the basics and the act of inspiring others makes me feel empowered. Rising to the challenges of teaching made me the artist I am today.

I encourage my students to put their personalities into their paintings and to come up with their own ideas, such as adding a monster’s silhouette to liven up a woodland scene. When I remind them to try new things, I remind myself. Telling them not to be afraid of making a mistake and this reminds me to continue experimenting in my own practice. Testing new ideas can potentially cost you hours of time or I could discover a new way of doing something.

You are an established artist: over the years your artworks have been exhibited in several occasions: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional

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gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms — as Instagram and Vimeo — increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

I meet most of my audience in person while I am live painting at art shows, pop up markets and festivals.

My online presence is established and steadily growing. I use YouTube for my motion graphics, art time lapses and discussions from my creative book club (we meet on my Discord server). I use Instagram, Facebook and TikTok to share videos, project updates and upcoming events. Using these online platforms helps me connect with people further than I am able to travel, and I look forward to finding more ways to connect online.

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/sarilunadesigns

Discord ID: SariLunaDesigns#4472

Instagram:

http://instagram.com/sarilunadesigns

Facebook:

http://facebook.com/sarilunadesigns

TikTok: SariLunaDesigns

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

I am currently finalizing the painting “Hegira”, which symbolizes impermanence and the familiar cycles of life. I will be creating a motion graphic with the finalized art and animating it to a song I got permission to use from a local Seattle music producer.

I have been wanting to do more murals and UV art. As luck would have it, I accepted a new commission at my last art show and I have been commissioned to paint a UV reactive mural. The painting will be on 3 concrete columns and feature organic foliage designs to compliment the home’s industrial aesthetic. The design is meant to draw the eyes upwards and punctate the home’s vaulted ceilings. Details are being finalized.

I have been working on my photography and am enjoying capturing portraits of fire performers in addition to landscapes and event photography. I have a 3D VR project in the “daydreaming phase” which promises to incorporate all of my artistic skills.

Thank you so much for your insightful questions, I truly feel that my work has been seen in a whole new way and I am grateful for the opportunity to be featured in your publication. I have gained a more thorough understanding of my own works I was not able to articulate since working through this process with you.

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An interview by , curator and curator ART Habens Sari Luna
Special Issue 42 01
Detail from The World Before Eyes
Special Issue 2 Kong Ho ART Habens 4 02
Detail from Lily Touching A Cosmic Disturbance

Kong Ho

Hello Kong and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate aboutyour artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.kongho.com 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 and you hold an M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing, that you received from the Texas Tech University, and then you started an intense career as an art professor and practicing artist at several universities over the world: how did these experiences address your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does your bicultural background due to your training and professional experience in both Chinese and Western art direct your current artistic research?

Kong Ho: I have enjoyed the privilege of being a teaching artist for almost 25 years. I believe my art teaching experience augments my artistic practice and keeps me fresh. Taking a teaching position in academia means not having to worry about selling artworks for a living, however, it does take away daily time and energy from my studio practice. I realize that every career has its own pros and cons. In the end it is all about balance and time management. In the past, I took advantage of the semester breaks to make art or summer breaks to participate in artist-in-residence programs when I was teaching full-time. I was aware that the earnestness, which I have toward my art also became instilled in my students as they observed my work ethic over time. Working in academia requires not only a dedicated teaching schedule

but also conducting research and publishing, and providing support service to the university and its community. As a faculty member at various universities, I received several research and travel grants to conduct research projects, including: the rise of contemporary Chinese visual artists; the exploration of Chinese Buddhist art in a contemporary context; and the influence of

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Chinese Buddhist grottoes. I also presented several conference papers when I was teaching at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford from 2001

to 2011. The outcomes of this research strengthened my Chinese cultural background and reflected on my Enlightenment Series (2006-2011),

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ART Habens Kong Ho
Glowing Daffodil Corona

Symbolic Awareness of the Divine Waterlily

which focused on the influence of Buddhist philosophy in my spiritual paintings with Buddhist symbols, such as portraits of the Buddha and the

role of the lotus in Buddhist mythology. My bicultural background definitely gives me the perspective and understanding to examine the

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Floating Sakura Time

roots of my Chinese heritage. Furthermore, I only explored the use of figurative Buddha representations in this series.

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens are marked out with such unique visual identity that reflects the personal technique that you have developed over

ART Habens Kong Ho 23 4 Special Issue

Botanical Blush with Tentacles

the years. What has at once captured our attention of your approach is the way you use visual language in a strategic way to offering an array of meanings to the viewers, inviting them to

discover the ubiquitous connection between Nature and human beings: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, we would like to ask you if you create your works

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Kong Ho

gesturally, instinctively. In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your creative process?

Kong Ho: I consider all of the paintings in my Luminosity Series (2016-2021) to be experimental works in the sense that each painting’s composition evolves out of creative spontaneity and intuition. This approach yields a unique composition with fresh and unpredictable results. Even though I use my own floral photos as visual reference for the representational portion of my floral and nautilus paintings, I let my intuitive feelings guide the interconnecting composition of my work directly on canvas. I let the abstract elements of each painting flow from me like a kind of automatic drawing. This approach to my composition gives me the freedom to create order without the rigid control of conscious reasoning. My floral and nautilus paintings appear to have well-balanced or premeditated support structures, however, they actually are the result of spontaneity. Life is full of contradictions and so is art. Just as with everything else in life, the images in my floral based paintings appear to have fluid meanings when one looks carefully at the structure of the work and contemplates the images as a whole. Everything in my work is set up to create a tension between realism and an abstract spiritual or a transcendental surrounding space that is as timeless as the fabric of the universe itself. My motive or inspiration for exploring the complementary nature of flower and nautilus shell motifs is the Buddhist notion of

the circle-of-life coupled with Western scientific studies of evolution.

Blue seems to be a recurrent color in your palette, and we definitely love itsvarious nuances in Temporal Botanical Continuance and Mystic Beauty Reborn, that communicate such sense of movement and depth: how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include moment by moment in your artworks?

Kong Ho: Actually, blue and magenta are the most recurrent colors in my palette. Contrasting cool and warm colors with subtle nuances adds to a feeling of buoyancy rather than one of melancholy. Perceptually, the color blue suggests depth and evokes movement. Symbolically, for me, blue and magenta are hues that I associate with space, freedom, imagination, intuition, sensitivity, and introspective journeys. The distinctive palette of my Luminosity Series (20162021), which incorporates the symbolic references of my Enlightenment Series, is about new sensory experience mingled with nostalgia for familiar one. No matter where I have relocated to in the past, the local plants and flowers always bring back old memories or pangs of yearning in my heart. Nostalgia is more powerful than memory alone. The shades of blue and magenta, like Yin and Yang, help to capture the timeless and transitory moments of my life’s journey. Rhythmic movement is created from the simultaneous saturation and pastel dissolution of the aforementioned contrasting colors within the pictorial space.

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An aspect of your artistic production is related to the Taoist order of nature andBuddhist spiritual enlightenment: how do you consider the relationship between ancient cultural heritage

and contemporary sensitiveness playing within your artistic research? In particular, do you aim to create a bridge between Tradition and Contemporariness?

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ART Habens Kong Ho Blue Cadence of Forever

Flowering of Golden Symmetry

Kong Ho: On one level, my Luminosity Series (2016-2021) can be considered as visual interpretations of the Taoist order of nature and

Buddhist spiritual enlightenment because my art reflects the spirit or essence of the Buddhist/Taoist belief that there exists a

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harmonious wholeness and eternal order that connects human beings to nature and to the Yin and Yang forces that govern the universe. On the

other hand, vibrant colors add to the feeling of engagement with, rather than the separation from my bicultural life experience of Eastern and

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Blue Illumination

Causality Evolution

Western cultures. I believe that contemporariness and tradition are relative to each other, like yin and yang. Through my art, I try to explore

traditionally popular garden flowers in a contemporary context. By bridging the gap of tradition and contemporariness, I connect the

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opposing aesthetics of the celebrated garden flowers with the transcendental world of spirituality. My Luminosity Series (2016-2021) is classic in some respects because it pays homage to traditional floral still lives. The ambiguous space settings of my floral and nautilus painting is a departure from realism because the space depicted is abstract or non-representational. The ambiguous space creates the transcendental or spiritual illusion that is a vital expression in my work.

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your art is about the experience of transition: as an artist whose practice transcends the notion of mere memory, how does everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

Kong Ho: My art embodies the experience of transition, a sense of the bitter-sweet—of the time in-between—a feeling of the loss for a past that is left behind, and the excitement of new connections in the future. I believe that incredibly delicate and complex plant blooms display not only the beauty of nature but also the transcendental longing of humanity for a world beyond this one. The motivation behind my floral and nautilus paintings is to hold on to the essence of the transitional feeling, memory, time and space of an ephemeral moment. In the Zen Buddhist sense, daily life experience is unique in itself. It is essential to live in a moment of my daily life. It may seem contradictory to try to rematerialize what is already gone, but a part of the large historical rational behind humankind’s

reasons for making art seems to favor into this endeavor. The beauty of a short-lived flower evokes a melancholic sense of the transience of life and leaves a memory trace that speaks to me about the inevitable processes of change.

We daresay that the wave-like patterns that marks out your artistic productionallow you to create new kind of hybrid visual languages. French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas once remarked that Art is not what you see, but what you make others see: how would you consider the degree of openness of the messages that you convey in your creations and how open would you like your works to be understood? Are you particularly interested in arousing emotions that goes beyond the realm of visual perception?

Kong Ho: Arising out of nostalgia, memories, and the sublimity of nature, my floral and nautilus paintings are meant to arouse the imaginations of viewers. Driven by intuition, my art seems to stir the emotions and expectations of viewers who are willing to explore the branch of philosophy that is aesthetics. Like most artists, I seek to find an echo that speaks to the lived experiences of viewers. I want to help viewers to contemplate the images in my paintings through their personal backgrounds, so that they can perhaps experience a personal vision of a transcendental realm. My art is aimed at giving viewers an out of the ordinary experience of the spiritually divine world of nature and its evolving ecological systems.

Your short-lived floras display not only the beauty of nature but also the transcendental

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Temporal Botanical Continuance

values of humanity. We really appreciate such stunning organic quality of your artworks, as well as the way they allude to meaning through symbolic and visual references: how

do you consider the role of symbols playing within your artistic practice? And how important is for you to create artworks rich of allegorical qualities?

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Kong Ho ART Habens

Dilatation of Botanical Color

Kong Ho: In my previous Spiral Series (20022006), I used symbolic images, such as nautilus shells and Chinese ancient jade discs, to

express ideas of change and rebirth. If jade represents the Chinese ideology about nature, then the nautilus shell stands for the Western

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aesthetic and mathematical understanding of the order of nature. The beauty of the nautilus’ spiral shell, goes beyond that of a common bauble; it is an allegory for the eternity of nature. A bisected chambered nautilus shell has become the recurrent spiral symbol in my art. In my recent Luminosity Series (2016-2021), I have revived the use of the nautilus symbol and merged it with floral images because of their seemingly opposite characteristics: asymmetry and symmetry, and permanent and short-lived.

The complex layers of symbolic recognizable images with repetitive passages and spaces of meandering lines create a dynamic and vibrating surface that is a paradox of contrasts between order and disorder. My botanical depictions not only arouses personal emotions and memories but also attributes to my homage to natural beauty and phenomenon. The use of symbolic images allows me to create art that transcends physically this reality in which we all live. Finally, many of the flowers that feature into my artworks are blooms that I either encountered on my travels or were grown by my wife in our garden.

You create works of art that challenge the viewers’ perceptual parameters, to create interzones of sensory perceptions: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination, playing within your artistic production? In particular.

Kong Ho: In order to make “art” a person must assimilate experiences and ideas, and then, filter those experiences through the activity of creating something that is mixed and distilled into a new way of knowing or feeling. Representational art is associated with the world that we know and abstract or nonrepresentational art is most often seen to indicate a more significant channeling of an artist’s feelings or reaction to something. My paintings pair these two methods of working to create a visually dynamic image that carries conceptual messages about the mysteries of time, nature, evolution and our conscience desire to understand these mysteries in greater depth.

I recognize conflicting expressions and unify them in a harmonious continuum. Nowadays, when people ask me what I do for a living, I am inclined to answer that I am an artist and my current subject matters begin with flowers and spiral shells, but I am not a still-life or botanical painter. I want to go beyond painting images that are simply decorative.

As experienced art teacher did you ever draw inspiration from the creative process of your students?

Kong Ho: When I look back on the last two decades of my teaching life, I feel that teaching and learning are a vital part of the reciprocal process of giving and receiving. Artists generate their creative expressions and

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Waterlily with Zen Purity

meaning through hands-on activities in their studios. The process of art making requires constant practice and self-determination.

However, teaching art is about transmitting conceptual knowledge and passing on technical skills. After so many years of

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Sun-Scripted Oscillations

teaching, I realize that I cannot simply transfer knowledge to my students. Students must build their own style and designs through a

process of assimilating information that will become their own visual language. I always give my students room to explore new

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Entry into Botanical Continuance

concepts and techniques because meaningful and lasting learning occurs through personal active engagement. Undoubtedly, the

seriousness that teaching artists have toward their teaching can have a direct influence on their students. Similarly, I have drawn

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inspiration from the creative processes of my former students. It is true that being a teaching artist fosters an inspiring exchange

between practicing artists and aspiring students.

Summer 2015 23 4
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ART Habens Kong Ho Mystic Beauty Reborn

You are an established artist: over the years your artworks have been exhibited in several occasions, and you designed and painted numerous school and community murals in the past 17 years. How do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms – as Instagram and Vimeo – increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalized audience?

Kong Ho: Art can serve as an international language to communicate in different settings. These can be an art community, physical art gallery, art museum, art center, community center, school, public place, or online platform. I believe that the expressional quality, plus the somewhat bicultural perspective and esoteric approach that I use to create my paintings and outreach murals help to foster meaningful dialogues and exchanges with both physical and virtual audiences. I believe that my images translate well in any format and it doesn’t matter if a viewer is seeing my work in person, in print form, or on a web browser or TV monitor. The major emphasis of online art platforms in the 21st century should allow worldwide connections without any physical boundaries. No doubt, online art platforms have broadened my audience base. Herewith are online art platforms showcasing my artworks:

https://www.kongho.com

https://www.instagram.com/kongho04

https://www.facebook.com/kongho99

https://www.turningart.com/artist/kong-ho

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

Kong Ho: I always look for new sensory experiences and inspirational ideas to use in my next art piece. There is no retirement or age limit for being an artist. Having a date with yourself at the studio seems to be the romantic dream of all artists. Currently, I am focusing on my ongoing Luminosity Series (2016-2021). As an expatriate teaching artist for more than seven years before I returning to the States, I have accumulated a lot of meaningful memories, intriguing floral images and enduring travel experiences. It will be time for my next series to begin when I lose interest in my current art direction, and I don’t see that happening any time soon.

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An interview by , curator and curator
Special Issue 42 01
Special Issue 2 Orit Sharbat ART Habens 4 02

Hello Orit and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.oritsharbat.com in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as a visual artist? Moreover, how does your cultural background direct your evolution as a painter?

Orit Sharbat: Hi and thank you for inviting meI'm so glad to be here.

My way was vbery long untill I got the courage to hear my inside voice and follow it fully. although I grew up in a house where my parents took us to meuseums and trips to europe, also my mom painted and my sister, I was the one who plays the piano in the family and i took it as a hobby . but my fingers always tapping inside of me and wanted to paint I just didn't let it out. eventually I worked in a real estate company as a project manager and as more I succeed the more I felt my fingers wanted to paint it took me 5 years since the moment I felt that I have to do it till the moment I actually make it happened.

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens are marked out with such unique visual identity that reflects the personal technique that you have developed over the years. What has at once captured our attention of your your approach is the way you use visual language in a strate-

Orit Sharbat

gic way to offering an array of meanings to the viewers: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, we would like to ask you if you create your works gesturally, instinctively. In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your creative process?

Orit Sharbat: When I paint there is a dialogue between the plan and the improvization for

Orit Sharbat
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An interview by , curator and curator

example in "Adam and eve" the whole painting was planned from beginning to end, but at "Birth" it was exactly the opposite it was improvization from beginning to end at "Where are u?" it started as a planned painting but then I felt that this is not the call of this painting and I let an inner voice ro lead the brush and I was just the vassel to let the paint to go out. So every paint is different there are paintings that a planned but with most of them it’s a journey of a deep listening from the soul and creating something in a flow from the divine beyond.

We have been particularly impressed with the sense of movement that marks out your interesting Deep and Harmonic and we really appreciated the way your artworks create such enigmatic patterns, communicating an alternation between tension and release. How does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include moment by moment in your artworks?

Orit Sharbat: In the piece – "Deep and harmonic" during the process of making this piece I clean my inside from any thought of the ego and I connected to the divine spirit and the procees is what u see in this painting the tones the shades and the tension between stress and release.

We dare say that your artworks unveil the bridge between reality and inner worlds, that you sapiently disclose by creating interzones of sensory perceptions, that invite the viewers to recognize elements from natural environment, as in The Magic Forest, Where are you? and Flying: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination, playing within your artistic production? In particular, how does everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

Orit Sharbat: That's an intersting question. I feel the world throw shapes and colors i'm a very realistic person and practical with my feet

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ART Habens Orit Sharbat

on the ground, but on my inside I see everything like a painting, a rolling movie of paintings and music -like a film of colors and shapes. that’s why u can recognize in my work

the combination between the realistic eye -like the trees in "The magic forest" that are very real but the colors,the enviroment and light at the end its from an outside of reality its the

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fantasy part . in "Flying" you can see it too . those flowers just have a nice flow in the sky...

5) We have appreciated the powerful

allegorical feature that marks out your artworks — and more specifically Paradise and Happy. Your unique way of seeing our world, in which illusion collides with nature al-

ART Habens Orit Sharbat 23 4 Special Issue

lows you to provide the viewers with unique visionary experiences: what kind of sensations do you aim to communicate with such bright, joyful combination of tones?

Orit Sharbat: When people see my paintings for example "Happy " and "Paradise" that see cololors that are full of life I want them to connect to the alive energy cause I believe that beyond every darkness or pain there is a secret light there are life itself our exsictence is full of colors life itself are full and not only goes in one shade and I want people to connnect to that side inside of them and to fill themselves with great energy . the energy of life itself and to be gratefull for that – for being alive.

We appreciate the way your works constantly capture surrounding life , to address the viewers to appreciate also ordinary aspects of life, as in your interesting Night and Ocean: how important is for you to highlight such little as epiphanic details of the urban and natural landscapes?

Orit Sharbat: The painting "Night" just captures the most ordinary and normal time of the day that we drive home at night nothing special happened but actually if u look closer at this boring moment and u give it your full attention, u will find how much beauty there is in this moment .

Look at the sky,at the moon, how it shine this night in a special way look at the colors how strong the light colors become at night and how different it is from the day, its like magic look at the shades of the cars so beautiful those piece of metal that come from the creative human mind -so even a random moment it not random its accurate in its beauty . also in "Ocean" its just The ocean right? Wrong it’s the – beautfull ocean and thank u god for that for your beautiful creation.

You often work with large canvass, that, as in My statement

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Orit Sharbat

of liberty, provide the viewers with such immersive visual experience: how do the dimensions of your canvass affect your workflow?

Orit Sharbat: The dimensions of my pieces are very important and actually they bring the idea of the piece that is going to happened inside of them in "My statement of liberty" the size

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ART Habens Orit Sharbat

of the canvas is 80\120 but the lattes are very small it represent the big idea that is made out of small words that comes all together to build this idea . when I work on a big canvas it

always takes a long time to work on it, and combined lots of flows of feelings and ideas.

We daresay that your unique technique allows

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ART Habens Orit Sharbat

you to create new kind of hybrid languages that expand and even trascends the nature of human perception, and more specifically we definetely love the way your Hide and Purity invite the viewers to elaborate such a wide

number of interpretations. French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas once remarked that Art is not what you see, but what you make others see: how would you consider the degree of openess of the

23 4 Special Issue
ART Habens Orit Sharbat
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Orit Sharbat
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Orit Sharbat

messages that you convey in your creations and how open would you like your works to be understood? Are you particularly interested in arousing emotions that goes beyond the realm of visual perception?

Orit Sharbat: My messages in the paintings are hiden and not obvious - for example "Pure" is a description of pure energy, clean spiritual very thin energy but do know what was behind it – a huge mess!! And the clean energy suddenly took over the space and

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shows that purity its an energy a state of mind and not something that can be forced. The point is not being transparent but to let the viewrs to guess and take it to there own understanding. So yes: I want to evoke emotions that goes beyond the realm of visual

perception cause there always more than the eyes can see in art and in life...

9) You are an established artist, and over the years your artworks have been exhibited in prestigious locations in Israel, Europe and in

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ART Habens Orit Sharbat

the United States: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms — as Instagram and Vimeo — increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

Orit Sharbat: My relationship with the audience

is very honest – it’s a range of people there are people that gets the paint instantly and understand the energy and others who really got curious and ask qustions but all of the people that hear that I am a painter have an instant connection to it they remember instanly themselves as kids that use to paint or to there

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ART Habens Orit Sharbat

mother or grandfather that use to paint – so its connected them to themselves to their childhood and to their families. also they talk about their dreams in life and amazed to see me and my life it gives them hope to fullfill their dreams and ambitions and i'm very happy to inspire them I think that that the role of artists to inspire people to believe in love in

life in themselves and in the good in life . the online platform only help to connected people to me from all over the world so its just great .

For more info this is my instagram page: www. instagram. com/oritsharbat

Or 'orit sharbat' on facebook and my page 'orit artist '.

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ART Habens Orit Sharbat

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

Orit Sharbat: Right now i'm working and researching new areas that gives a humor glimps with abstract- real work . I don’t know where it will take me but i'm happy and curios to see Thank you so much for having me I had such a wonderfull time.

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Sonja Wirwohl
Habens

Hello Sonja and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid education and you hold an in MA Cultural and Critical Theory that you received from the University of Brighton. You are also an independent actress and an English teacher and translator: as a basically autodidact artist, how did experiences influence your evolution as a creative?

First of all, thank you very much for your interest in my work, I am thrilled to be included in this edition! I am native German, spent 18 years in the UK and am now living in Strasbourg. And, in spite of my academic background, I really can’t say I’m an academic at heart. My soul has remained far too childlike to call itself intellectual!

I am by nature very tactile and curious about all sorts of subjects, and intellectual stimulation alone just doesn’t fulfil me. As an English teacher and actress, I threw myself into the active process of discovering the visual arts when my classes and shoots were cancelled during the first lockdown in

2020. As you probably know, the lockdown in France was very strict, hence I was forced to spend a lot of time at home. After a few destabilising weeks, I experienced such a huge surge of what I can only describe as a creative spirit. And as I don’t have the patience to spend years perfecting a certain technique, I just got stuck in straight away.

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Creating my little scenes and landscapes enables me to express parts of myself that are not so pronounced in my everyday working life. I take care to create an ambience with background music, a scented candle perhaps, tea, a real feelgood cocoon for creation. My day job, teaching, takes considerable preparation, planning, and time management, and in the artistic process I can just lose myself without having a concept or time frame in mind. I know “art as a meditative process” is a cliché, but when you’re used to tailoring your methodology towards groups of students and their needs, working at your own pace is immensely liberating in creative terms.

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens has at once captured our attention for the way it evokes complex and authentic emotions with unique simplicity, that connect viewers belonging to different generations and cultures: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you develop your initial ideas? In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your creative process?

Sonja Wirwohl: I fell in love with assemblage art and mixed media purely

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by chance! It all started with a large cardboard box and some acrylic paint and grew into something different altogether.

From the very beginning, spontaneity has been at the heart of my work, and I even surprise myself with what I create.

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and cardboard everywhere!

In terms of the actual process, I generally work from the inside out and often start with the frame. I then pick a matching base colour from my supply of torn-out pages from magazines and indulge in the messy process of sticking the collage background. The cardboard houses are constructed separately, as I make them in batches when I feel like getting stuck into cardboard with a cutter. Finally, I dip into my boxes of second-hand plastic figurines and select the “protagonists” for the scene in order to breathe life into it. The process is entirely organic, as I don’t have colour schemes, prescribed topics or visions for the images beforehand. Even if I do have a certain idea for a particular frame, this can frequently change, and in 99% of all cases I end up with something completely unplanned.

For me, creating art is a spontaneous, messy, blissful process. I’m 100% selftaught, and sometimes my stubborn desire to find things out for myself results in trying out three different approaches if one doesn’t work, generating lots of frustration and bad language and then thinking ‘I could have done this far more easily’. Having said that, I am always happy to take on advice from more experienced artist friends.

You could say that happiness equals hands covered in glue and bits of paper

Contemporary practice has forged a new concept of art making involving such a wide and once unthinkable variety of materials and objects, and as you have remarked in your artist's statement, an important aspect of your artistic practice is marked out with the spirit of “upcycling”. American 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": could you tell us something about your interest in recycled materials?

Sonja Wirwohl: My scenes are created within the spirit of ‘upcycling’, as I use salvaged and second-hand resources out of respect for the planet. I only work with used cardboard boxes, and the collages are made out of old magazines that would otherwise have been thrown into the recycling. The only new materials I use are glue, paint and anything that might be necessary to repair a frame and to make the work more durable.

As I strongly believe in the power of the individual in a consumer society, I find most of the figurines at jumble sales or charity shops. Unfortunately, the concept of charity shops isn’t as integrated into consumer habits in France as it is in

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Britain, which is why there are nowhere near as many here. I always get rather excited when I go in search of materials, as I never know what I’m going to find. If there are signs of previous use, even better, as this adds more character to the

work: a certain alchemy of used elements reassembled. As I mostly buy framed paintings just to use the frame, the paintings or images get covered up by my collages. I can absolutely relate to the concept of archaeological discoveries, as I

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always wonder what the story is. Who painted it? Where was the image displayed before? Why did the owner get rid of it? Out of respect, I don’t like to cover up portraits, it would seem too much like erasing a person from history. I

wonder what the previous owners would say if they could see what I transform their old pictures into!

Incongruent elements are recurrent in your works, and, as you have remarked

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in your artist's statement, adding a “smile factor”: how do you consider the role of humour playing within your artistic production?

Sonja Wirwohl: Story of my life: when I set out to create something deep and meaningful, some inner devil drives me and turns it into comedy. My art performs a kind of intellectual lobotomy and frees the observer to just look, enjoy, and wonder.

To give you an idea of the kind of motifs I have created: a Beagle rubbing noses with a pig on a rooftop, a penguin being hoisted up into the air by a labourer, two stallions celebrating their marriage in a cloud of pink petals, rhinoceros dangling from a rope and being rescued by an emu on a fire engine.

My work “Got you”, for instance, shows a goose on a rooftop, facing a golden dinosaur that is suspended from the frame by a string. Now: who has “got” whom? Has the dino found a way of finally trapping its dinner? Has the goose tied up the dinosaur, who is now helplessly hovering overhead at its captor’s mercy? In any case, it was fun to paint and tie up a plastic dino and juxtapose it with a goose in order to create a marvellously nonsensical image to inspire the viewers. This kind of visual humour adds to what I call the democratic element of my art, as

it frees us to approach art in a naive, playful way. This is also the reason why I add elements that make you look twice, and that lift the images into the realm of the absurd.

We have been particularly impressed with the colourful collage background and thoughtful, delicate nuances that marks out Village des Chèvres: how does your own psychological make-up determine the tones that you decide to include moment by moment in your artworks?

Sonja Wirwohl: Actually, Village de Chèvres (village of the goats) was my first work. It all started with an enormous cardboard delivery box which seemed far too precious to just be thrown in the recycling. It also reminded me of the fun I had creating cardboard dens, castles, and objects to play with as a child! I initially bought acrylic paint to match the walls in my home and had fun mixing shades of grey and silver. I just wanted to create an individual work of art for myself and had no idea this would set the scene for a huge mental snowstorm of ideas I wanted to put into practice.

But back to Village de Chèvres. Since everyone was forced to stay at home during the first lockdown, I had the idea of creating scenes that included houses

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with open doors and windows. Even if the inhabitants were not going out, at least the windows were open to let in a breeze of fresh air, new ideas, and human

sentiment. In other terms, and without dwelling on the health crisis for too long, this small world reflects the rebirth of the creative spark in challenging

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circumstances. After hours and hours of painting, cutting, gluing and assembling, the grey village was complete and looked pretty elegant in its shades of grey. Nonetheless, I found it far too dreary to display. I didn’t find that it reflected me as a person, my curiosity, or my somewhat warped creativity. So, just for fun, I added some plastic animals and figures to liven things up and to create a dynamic scene rather than just a still life. And thus, my personal style was born! Things might have taken a very different turn if I had chosen a palette of, say, cheerful pinks or reds for my first creation.

We really appreciate such stunning organic quality of your artworks. French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas once remarked that Art is not what you see, but what you make others see: how would you consider the degree of openess of the messages that you convey in your creations and how open would you like your works to be understood? Are you particularly interested in arousing emotions that goes beyond the realm of visual perception?

Sonja Wirwohl: The idea of tapping into the viewers’ own rich imagination and creative interpretation of my work is fundamental to me. Even a work of art depicting a tied-up dinosaur can evoke strong emotions around the themes of

captivity, power, control and abandonment. Since the viewer always brings their own emotional make-up, their personal history and psychology to the images, it is impossible to prescribe what should be experienced.

Let me use an example from literature to illustrate this. A famous work of flash fiction reads “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.” This would probably be interpreted as describing a tragic event by most readers. However, thinking of my own daughter, the story makes me grin as she was forever tearing socks and booties off her feet when she was a baby. Her first shoes suffered a similar fate, so I can well imagine an alternative interpretation to what appears to be a straightforward story of loss and heartbreak.

Having said this, my work has an underlying glow of loving playfulness. This playfulness leaves plenty of room for the openness you mention. There have also been some interesting reactions to my art. Perhaps not surprisingly, children tend to really appreciate it, and there were many “ooohs” and “aaahs” when young visitors experienced the exhibition.

We sometimes tend to forget that a work of art is a physical artefact with tactile qualities, and we really appreciate the way your artistic production reflects this aspect: how important is for you to

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highlight the physical aspect of your artworks?

Sonja Wirwohl: The physical aspect of my work is the anchor of my creative process. I don’t sit around in a frilly shirt thinking “Which emotion do I wish to convey today? What profound philosophical concept shall I explore in my next piece?” Again, my work is very much organic rather than conceptual.

Each viewer adds freely what they see, what they think, what they become aware of in my creations, without pretension or preconceptions from my part and without ideological constraints. The images are accessible without language and without any prior knowledge or appreciation of the world of art. You have probably noticed that the houses haven’t been cut out perfectly, and that the collages contain plenty of imperfections. These characteristics are intentional and typical, as they represent the accessibility of my work. A heartfelt “But I could have done that!” is often seen as an insult to modern artworks, but for me would rather be a compliment and an indication that I have reached one of my immediate goals as an artist, which is accessibility.

In brief, the transparency of the process of creation of a physical artefact is, for me, desirable and fundamental.

You are currently holding your first solo exhibition featuring 23 original works of art: as an artist particularly interested in reaching an intergenerational audience, how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm — as Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/sonja.wirwo hl— increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

Sonja Wirwohl: I consider my relationship with my audience one of raising questions and smiles. I lived in the UK for almost 20 years and was always impressed by the range of international art that is accessible, and the rich dialogue this creates. My inner child rejoiced when I visited Anish Kapoor’s exhibition at the Royal Gallery in 2009. ‘Shooting into the corner’ just seemed a dream to me. Imagine the artist’s meeting with the curator: ‘…and then I’m going to install a huge compressor cannon in one of the rooms, and bit by bit 20 tons of bright red wax pellets will be fired onto the walls of your gallery’ I’d love to have been a fly on the wall for that particular business meeting. Once you call yourself an artist, you can get away with fulfilling even your wildest dreams!

In terms of the artist-audience

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relationship, I have recently become a fan of Instagram as it facilitates dialogue between artists all over the world. There is a large community of collage and assemblage artists on Instagram, which are still niche types of art, albeit very accessible ones as they don’t require expensive materials or training. I don’t have a website but use Instagram to present my work via https://www.instagram.com/sonja.wirwo hl A website is a one-way process, but

social networks can create a real exchange between artists and audiences. You can even find weekly and even daily collage challenges on some profiles, like the Paris Collage Collective, which is a fabulous way to stimulate international participation and dialogue.

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, Sonja. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

Sonja Wirwohl: I have some huge cardboard boxes in the cellar that are waiting to be used, so my ambition is to get working on some large-scale projects! Having focused on framed works for the exhibition, I’d like to revisit my original concept of coloured villages. Until now, my artwork has remained fairly small and discreet, but I now want to work on larger urban cardboard landscapes that invite the viewer to go on a journey and to get lost in the scenes. Once again, an open invitation to immersion in my quirky, joyful universes. In any case, if my work evokes smiles and transmits the joy I feel during its creation, I consider this as a great success.

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Haitham Alhamad

Hello Haitham and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.haitham-alhamad.com 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: after habing earned your Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from the Damascus University, you nurtured your education with a Graduate degree in Mural Painting: how did those formative years influence your evolution as a visual artist? Moreover, how does your due to your travels and your cultural background due to your Syrian roots direct your artistic research?

Haitham Alhamad: The continuous work during the school days and the great effort expended and diving into various artistic techniques made me gain and refine my experience that I have. Going back to my early days of prolific artistic production, where I used to work in university studios and at home and in the old Damascus lanes. I used to draw anything I see from human or inanimate. I was also keen on reading , self-education and experiencing life, all such works to refine the artist’s character and puts him on a specific approach, but in my opinion, the artist should remain free in his artistic

propositions and tackle and handle social, political and scientific issues with transparency and honesty.

The postgraduate studies and research that I conducted in the library of the National Museum in Damascus had a great impact on probing the depths of local arts and their history, especially the art of mural painting. I am the son of a region that is considered

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the cradle of human civilizations for thousands of years, where the arts diversified over the thirty-seven civilizations that ruled the Syria or the Levant, that is to say from the era of the Sumerian civilization up to the Syrian Arab Republic. The artistic identity and my artistic tours contributed a lot to know new artists and styles, this in fact added a lot to my knowledge, creating a state of challenge and curiosity.

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens are marked out with such unique visual identity that reflects the personal technique that you have developed over the years. What has at once captured our attention of your your approach is the way you use visual language in a strategic way, inviting the viewers to capture details from invisible reality: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, we would like to ask you if you think that there is a central idea that connects all your works.

Haitham Alhamad: The central idea in my works is anticipation, expectation, and waiting that lasted fifty years until the difficult time we are living now that caused a lot of troubles to the Syrians, and we are still waiting for realizing our freedom and getting rid of the dictatorship that destroyed our lives and our beautiful country, Syria. The Syrian society has disintegrated and the Syrians have been displaced. All over the world, we have become a society that carries

one culture, but lives in different societal environments. I try a lot to address new ideas and topics in my work, but I find myself returning to the Syrian humanitarian grief and sadness. We really appreciate the thoughtful nuances that marks our your artistic production, and that provides your landscapes with such meditative quality, as the interesting City Pain: would you tell us something about your choice of tones? Do you choose your colors intuitively or do you carefully plan each particular of your palette?

Haitham Alhamad: In the past, I used to shorten and condense the meanings that I wanted to embody or put forward in one subject or artwork, so it would be a single artwork that combines the performance of color, shape and meaning and is done in a continuous interaction until the desired goal of the work is achieved. As for our current days, I am working differently, my work is a planned artistic project, as soon as the idea or meaning jumps into my mind and I start to get busy in analyzing the concept or meaning or the meaning behind the idea through theoretical research and technical research (Sketch studies). Often times the subject dictates the appropriate technique or colors, but when carrying out the work I am in a state of immersion and integration with the work and complete it spontaneity, which makes colors flow freely blended with beautiful feeling, and this performance ends with

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the ecstasy of finishing the work after reaching the maximum goal that can express the topic.

We like the way you artworks capture the beauty of urban landscape and we have appreciated the way Balcony of the village of Maaloula and Old Damascus reflect the sense of connection with your surroundings: how does your everyday life's experience and the places you have the chance to visit fuel your creative

process?

Haitham Alhamad: "MAALOULA" means the high place with fresh air. This is a name of a city that was built 3500 BC and the structure of this city is carved in rocks. It is an Armenian city that speaks the language of Christ and is the incubator of the beauty of history, and that balcony that I painted overlooked the homes of many of the saints who lived in it.

I lived in Damascus, the city which witnessed my sentiments, this is why I often painted old Damascus, and. Drawing the beautiful scenes of this city makes you imagine living in that city of the ancient times.

The place for me is no longer the space, the space, the emptiness, the homeland or the house. The place has become united with time, both time and place are combined in one integrated unit (spacetime). The place is changing like time, it is born and goes through stages, it grows up and becomes old with the presence of man. Presence became for me everywhere I am an image and a feeling of intimacy and nostalgia.

You created such stimulating portraits: many of your subjects seem to reveal their inner lives in the portraits: what’s your philosophy on the nature of the portrait? How do you select the people that you decide to include in your artworks?

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Haitham Alhamad: The truth is that I do not plan to choose people to draw them like portraits, but when I draw someone I work spontaneously and rely on my feelings, and looking long and meditating on the faces of people constantly, which enables me to show some of the nature of the person or model, which means that I do not draw what is beautiful in a person, but I rather draw reality.

You are particularly Interested in Islamic painting, especially the Islamic miniatures: how do you consider the relationship between Tradition and Contemporariness playing within your work as an artist?

Haitham Alhamad: Artistic schools are part of the civilization that accumulates over thousands of years, and to know the nature and culture of peoples, the arts of these peoples must be studied and considered.

Islamic arts have lasted for more than one thousand four hundred years and the peoples of the world are still exchanging culture through the arts, where many world-famous artists at the beginning of the twenty-first century were inspired by Islamic art.

Accordingly, development is based on previous experiences and technologies and on new beliefs and ideas. Techniques and materials are an essential part of visual art, and they are almost everything

in visual art. They are the physical part, i.e. the body, but not the soul.

My beliefs in the responsibility of art towards man and society led me to conceptual art that addresses real and existential human issues through the

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freedom to choose techniques that serve the embodiment of meaning.

How important is for you to deploy

elements of ambiguity that make the border between reality and imagination more fluid? In particular, do you essentialy draw inspiration from reality

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or from your imagination?

Haitham Alhamad: Art has a stimulating

function for the mind and feelings through the questions it raises to the audience. For me, I could not stay away

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from the national concern and the painful facts and events that we live in, for the tragedies that occurred and are still not

comprehended by the mind. The Syrian issue imposes itself strongly on the conscience over feelings. Sometimes I

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dream to imagine reality , ( may be dreams become reality ), I don't know if it is an attempt to relieve the actual reality.

We daresay that your unique technique allows you to create new kind of visual languages. French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas once remarked that Art is not what you see, but what you make others see: are you interested in triggering free inspirations in the viewers? And how important is for you to invite the viewers to elaborate personal interpretations?

Haitham Alhamad: It is true that the idea of the visible and the invisible is the game of the visual artist, and it is at the heart of the creative process that he undertakes to transform ideas and meanings into a material product (thought, language, meanings and connotations + image = knowledge).

It is the need to probe the depths of the audience to communicate your ideas and knowledge through artistic work, and here lies the difficulty explanations to people, so it is necessary to mix between sight and insight. It is a game of the deceptive simplicity and easiness, and here the attempt to adjust the balance between easiness and the impossible, it is the state that creates the controversy among the audience.

You are an established artist: you have been recently awarded with the first prize for Conceptual Art at the London

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Art Biennale, and over the years your artworks have been internationally exhibited in several occasions: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms — as Instagram — increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

Haitham Alhamad: For me, every show and meeting with the audience is a test of people's reaction to my artwork. They are a woman who reflects on me the impact of my work on them. After the eighties, the term (the world is one village) began to appear, which is the beginning of the concept of globalization, which allowed different races of people to mix and open up to different cultures, and this is consistent with the language of art as a global language, criticism has become globalized.

For online communication platforms, the sense of the artwork remains incomplete if it is seen in the frame of the screen, because it is necessary to feel the place, the surrounding air, the size and the color of the natural material. The interaction will be completely insufficient, similar to listening to music through the recorder. Attending a live concert is a completely a different experience, where the interaction with the musicians and the direct feeling of the musical instruments and the harmony of the player with his

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musical instrument is transmitted to the audience by revelation, which makes the audience get high from direct listening.

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Haitham. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ide-

as that you hope to explore in the future?

Haitham Alhamad: There are several ideas for artistic projects that I have started working on, including a project on chemical weapons, part of which was displayed. It was a personal exhibition for me, and it was a mixture of drawing and composing in vacuum. With the exacerbation of events in my country and the world and under the name of a place that has be-

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come an obsession to search for a reconnection, and a sense of belonging as well as stability and to a place that embraces our

hopes and aspirations to live a dignified human life, my thoughts take me towards an artistic project of composing in the space

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and vacuum of the place. The artist continues to live with a feeling that much that needs to be said about what has been seen, has not been said yet, and many ideas tampered with my im-

agination, as I put titles for them, and this requires great time and effort.

An interview by , curator and curator

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Einav Zeichner

Hello Einav and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://einavzei.wixsite.com/mysite and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you hold a degree in Design from Kibbutzim college, classical animation studies and art student at Shenkar college: how did experiences influence your evolution as an artist? Moreover, how does your cultural background direct your current artistic research?

Einav Zeichner: The studies exposed me to many different techniques and demonstrated how much I love multidisciplinary work and experimentation. It led me to explore intellectually the subjects I was interested in, And also to experiment with graphic, fashion and product design. The combination between design and art made me engage in the boundary between the practical and the impractical. For example, creating accessories that can be worn but will still be unusual and non-commercial. My main interest was the combination between beauty and rejection which included harmony and strangeness in different mediums. The animation enabled me to bring images from still to life, gave me a greater awareness and knowledge about the body, movement and rhythm.

In the last year of the degree I worked on my final project, and my advisor was the artist Masha Yozefpolsky who was a great inspiration for me. The subject of the project was “Abject”. According to Julia Kristeva’s book “Powers of Horror”, the term refers to that which has been distanced or secreted from the body, and has been transformed into the “other”. The

Einav Zeichner

despicable, which unsettles identity and the system, refuses to respect boundaries, stances and rules, thereby resisting control. The project was an autobiographical journal and it included Haiku inspired texts - poetry I have been writing since the age of 17 - alongside photographs that included dead animals, hair and refuse.

Highlights from the project can be found in the following link:

https://einavzei.wixsite.com/mysite/anesthesia The culture we live in seeks to purify itself and

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An interview by , curator and curator

do away with anything that appears ugly, different, sick and diseased, anything we would not want to be although humanity is inherently contaminated. I understood that our world is hyper-designed and overly aesthetic. There is too much of everything and everything looks the same.

Therefore, I chose to collect existing objects and evoke in them a beauty and meaning that will invite people to get closer and even identify with them.

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens has at once captured our attention for the way it questions the materiality of the image, as well as for the way you sapiently challenged the audience's perceptual parameters, inviting them to question the themes of perception and experience: we would like to start this journey in your artistic production with Rolled Newspaper, a stimulating work, that has impressed us for the way it highlights its deep relationship with human body: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea of Rolled Newspaper?

Einav Zeichner: The idea began in my research on the body and abjectness, the ways in which the physical body serves as a locus of control, discipline, monitoring, or social and political opposition in Western culture, a construct of the relations between body and identity. The question of how our corporeality is formulated in relation to identity was examined, what types of monitor and control systems are our bodies subject to, particularly the female body in modern times, and to what extent do we choose our own body image? In addition, is there a difference between fashion when it comes to women’s attire and the female body? Newspapers are cheap and readily available, industrial, dirty and smelly, many people spend

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time with it in the bathroom or on the bus, and it passes through many hands. This type of paper comes and goes and is of little significance. The vulnerable paper became a stable unit which cannot be torn, an act intended to render the cheap valuable and transform the industrial into a “one-off”.

As a versatile artist, your creative production encompasses Photography, Drawing, Painting, Prints, Sculpture, Jewelry, Animation and Video: 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?

Einav Zeichner: I think that curiosity is the starting point which leads me to experiment with different mediums. When I think of an image, I treat it as both two and three dimensional. The ability to diversify without sticking to a single medium allows me to think and act freely, without boundaries. My approach is to taste new things without a fear of failure. All mediums are related and work together, they create a rich and diverse world that reaches a wider audience. My passion for any given medium arises at different stages of inspiration. Every medium meets a different need, and together they form a single coherent sentence.

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your work is created and Influenced from what exists around yourself, at home or on your way: as an artist whose work is particularly influenced by transitions and changes in life, how does your everyday life's experience fuel your artistic research?

Einav Zeichner: The past two years have been very significant for me and have provided me with food for thought and action. Relationships,

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places and objects which are and have been a part of my life are transforming, and this is reflected in an abstract way in the work. There are days when images or social circumstances occupy my mind. They come up while I am riding the bus, in the shower or talking with a friend, and I cannot get them out of my head until I create something from them. In addition, moving out of an apartment shared with roomates in noisy Tel Aviv to my own place in the quiet suburb of Ramat Gan enabled me to connect to myself and provided me with the physical space needed to work. My family moved out of the apartment and left behind possessions, objects and leftovers. As a result, a large part of my art during this period has been based on “cleaning house” and sculpting with existing materials. In addition, the camera obscura photo was taken in my childhood bedroom after it had been emptied and repainted. It was like going full circle.

You are particularly interested in using unconventional materials, leftovers, especially those that are perceived as "despicable". 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 and recycled materials?

Einav Zeichner: Reuse is a substantial part of my work. I see no reason to purchase materials when I am surrounded by so many materials, all of which bear history, memories and energies from the past. I aim to take an object and transform it into something dynamic, to take it apart and simplify. The use of materials that have been discarded and orphaned transforms my work into a type of resuscitation and adoption. I performed a different kind of act in my self-portrait photo, in

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which I am wearing my wedding gown after it was dirtied with mud following my divorce. The pure white look of the wedding gown, together with all the beauty, make-up and hairdo before the wedding felt like a costume.

Your artistic process reflects a deviation from the original, processes of abstraction and transformation into a new object. Scottish 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?

(Here we have reserved space for The-Wolf and Thong, that if you like you could mention in your answer, as well)

Einav Zeichner: Indeed, most of my artistic process derives from imagination and the subconscious. The work is made in an intuitive way and images are created, sometimes provocative images, which are familiar to us while still being hard to identify. Like Freud’s “The Uncanny”: strange, disturbing, mysterious, incomprehensible. The combination of familiar and foreign creates a feeling of discomfort and alienation. Freud describes the fantastic experience as a frightening situation which leads us to a well-known memory which has been repressed in our minds. In the Wolf project I created leftovers of a body that were eaten by a wolf. Each and every part became an independent object, which was photographed as a stand-alone portrait with a character that is at once both dead and alive. The images creating both a sense of alienation and belonging, in order to elicit in the viewer feelings of discomfort, excitement, appetite or repulsion. The same type of alienation is expressed in a different way in the wire Thong. Here the reverse act is executed - taking an

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existing object, a fabric thong, which we wear on our bodies for most of the day, and rendering it useless and even dangerous and painful. At the same time, the underpants take on a new meaning as a “shield” against sexual assault or an expression of female empowerment.

Your artworks — as the interesting Internal Organs series — reflecting such stunning organic quality, through reference to parts of human body, and we appreciate the way your works allude to meaning through symbolic and visual references: how important is for you to

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trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations?

Einav Zeichner: It is important for me to trigger the viewer’s imagination by deviating from clear illustration. I avoided adhering to

anatomical correctness, and the viewer can connect what he sees to whatever he wishes. The work comes close to depicting something familiar, but at the same time a certain detail might pop out and cause the viewer to think again.

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Your artistic practice is made out of intuition and intuitive connections: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? And how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your work as an artist?

Einav Zeichner: For me art is a means to convey feelings and conduct a discourse that cannot always be expressed in words. Improvisation

leads me to places I could never reach if I planned ahead. It enables me to be the person I am at any given moment, to undergo a meditative experience. Most of my works are created instinctively , with influences from different artists, such as: Urs Fischer, Laura Kalman, Tom Friedman, Daniel Spoerri, Zoe Leonard, Sarah Lucas, Annette Messager and Jorinde Voigt.

We sometimes tend to forget that a work of art is a physical artefact with tactile qualities, and we really appreciate the way Synthetic meat reflects this aspect: as an artist particularly interested in highlighting the materiality among the viewer, how important is for you to highlight the physical aspect of your artworks?

Einav Zeichner: It is important to me that the public that sees the work is attracted to it, wants to examine it from up close and even touch it. I aim to cause them a sensory experience, whether pleasant or not, to elicit thought and imagination, to create surprise, excitement and movement. I also strive to make them question whether the object in front of them is dead or alive, the same feeling of strangeness I spoke about before. It is like a breaded chicken cutlet, which is coated with crumbs so that the diner will not notice the dead animal inside.

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? (if you like you can include the link

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https://www.instagram.com/einavzeichner to your Instagram page, in your answer)

Einav Zeichner: Exhibiting my work in a physical exhibition space, and my own personal

presence alongside the audience, are very important to me. I am always interested in hearing and seeing reactions and developing a dialogue with people from inside and outside of the art world, to give the audience a sense of

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meaning while they are in the gallery. Moving to an online platform is challenging and requires marketing know-how - all information is conveyed through photographs, although I have received positive feedback on such

platforms. I am active on Instagram and you are welcome to follow me:

https://www.instagram.com/einavzeichner.

We have really appreciated the originality of

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your artistic production and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Einav. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of

the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

Einav Zeichner: It was a pleasure to participate and share my work. Thank you very much.

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Today I am at a bit of a crossroads, I am trying to reset the system and examine what I want to take with me and what I am finished exploring. At the moment I am continuing to research new textures and shapes, the relationship between the object and the subject.

I hope to start working on a larger scale, to move beyond the intimate space of my home and be exposed to new areas.

An interview by , curator and curator

Summer 2015 23 4
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hillflowers 200 x 280 cm

the entry 240 x 190 cm

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Reiner Heidorn

Hello Reiner and welcome to ART Habens. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.reiner-heidorn.de in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. As a basically autodidact artist, are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as a visual artist? Moreover, how did you come up with the idea of your Dissolutio painting technique?

Reiner Heidorn: I grew up in Southern Bavaria, next to the Buchheim Museum, where in the 90ies I was very impressed by Kirchner, Nolde and Mueller. They have works of Dix, too.

So I started with drawings, than installed a huge table with all sorts of crayons, ink, pencils and kept on producing.

Soon later the table became a room, and since 1998 I had a own large studio. At a certain point of my career

I had the strong urge to disappear, and I found microscope images of chlorophyll and freshwater, which came next to the idea of dissolution. I adopted the pointillism of these botanic and biological images with a certain technique of dripping oilcolors with turpentine and

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pigments, to create a endless universe, which at least brought me sort of peace and calmness.

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of ART Habens are marked out with such unique visual identity that reflects the personal technique that you have developed over the years. What has at once captured our attention of your your approach is the way you use 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, we would like to ask you if you create your works gesturally, instinctively. In particular, how do you consider the role of chance and improvisation playing within your creative process?

Reiner Heidorn: It may sounds like a joke, but with the years I´ve experienced, that the best way to create these universes is to work in a very high speed with fury and despair :)

My surfaces are resulting, if someone does everything possible wrong during working with oilcolors. I´ve developed all these mistakes into my own technique.

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sirens 200 x 280 cm

wetgrassnight 180 x 240 cm 2017

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I tried once to paint with patience and consideration, but the result was much worser. The secret is to make everything look improvised, but it is absolutely controlled, as far this is possible in this area of artworks.

If you may have achieved a good painting, you should repeat it at least ten times, to reduce the improvisation and have a result that was in your mind. Than you are able to repeat styles, that you think are worth to establish.

We have been particularly impressed with the sense of movement that marks out your interesting othersurface and we really appreciated the way your artworks create such enigmatic patterns, communicating an alternation between tension and release. How does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include moment by moment in your artworks?

Reiner Heidorn: When I start a new idea I always work in series. I do small and large canvases at the same time and finish everything with speed and without thinking too much about the process. In my gesture I

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aim to do the sort of figures, like flowers or plants as rough and childish as possible.

I have no interest in a reproduction of reality. I wish to create a feeling of hover, like in a dream. It is no point to discuss, if this painting is over or under

water, everything is pure fiction.

When exploring the relationship between man and nature — as the interesting u are here for a reason — you create works of art that challenge the viewers' perceptual parameters, to create inter-

othersurface 160 x 400 cm
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zones of sensory perceptions, that invite the viewers to recognize elements from natural environment, as forests, lakes and plants: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination, playing within your artistic production? In particular, how does

everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

Reiner Heidorn: “u are here for a reason” was ment literally if someone steps in front of this painting and starts to watch it, he does it for a

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reason.

I want to use this term as a title for a show, so when you are surrounded by a series of my monumental works, the originallly essence of existence as a trash producing human should occur.

I want people to think about how unimportant they are. There are maybe horizons or woods in the paintings, but this is secondary. The canvas has no beginning and no end, it could expand infinite or present the smallest critters in water, in a cell.

We daresay that your Dissolutio technique allows you to create new kind of languages that expand and even trascends the nature of human perception, and more specifically we definetely love the way your fogland series invites the viewers to elaborate such a wide number of interpretations. French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas once remarked that Art is not what you see, but what you make others see: how would you consider the degree of openess of the messages that you convey in your creations and how open would you like your works to be understood?

Are you particularly interested in arousing emotions that goes beyond the realm of visual perception?

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lakeplants 200 x 340 cm

Reiner Heidorn: As I had international shows, I recognized, that in every country viewers share the similiar

impressions. Though I mainly take my inspiration out of the direct environment here – and I mean strictly

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my hometown with a few surroundings – the language of my paintings and the floating universes are always causing a nostalgia, a wish for weightlessness and at the same time hope and calmness.

All the things, that are not appearing in my paintings convey a sweet tranquillity. At least I think I really

managed to transfer my wish to disappear and to feel unimportant. When the location is beautiful, a selection of my works let people walk in, as if they step in a church or a huge cave.

Your artistic research is engaged with social commentary and topical issues as

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mentalflood 190 x 530 cm 2019
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climate change or the alienation of man with regard to his natural environment. Many contemporary artists, such as Thomas Hirschhorn and Michael Light, use to include socio-political criticism and sometimes even convey explicit messages in their artworks: do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical

issues as that affect our everchanging society? And how do you consider the role of artists in the contemporary age?

It´s interesting that I´ve done these works before the discussion about climatechange appeared. Especially my botanic makro chlorophyll paintings are than seemed to be the visual

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fogland 1 200 x 250 cm

appearance to fill this gap between political and social movements and art. As I now create nearly without compromise only botanical works in thousand shapes of green and wanted to transfer the issue of exploitation, destruction and greed,

the paintings became examples for topical issues of our time by itself.

A particular feature of your artworks that has at once impressed us is the way you achieve to create such unique sense of depht with monochrome tech-

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nique: would you tell us something about this aspect of your approach? In particular, how do you determine the nuances of tones to be included in your paintings?

Reiner Heidorn: When it comes to the explanation about the range of colors,

it is more a issue of the technique and the use of pigments, oilcolor, turpentine and linseed oil. This is not very creative, it is more chemistry. You have to know, what you want. But as I had explored the same creations over and over again, I now can work safely

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fogland 2 200 x 250 cm

without any surprises. I know what´s happening when I set up the mixtures. I´ve also learned, that all in all the paintings are much more impressive the less variations or bold figures are happening in them. From the wild to a serious harmony. At least the random

plants in tiny environments are a good source for learning, how to lead your arm with the brush.

You often work with large, oversized canvass, that, as in mentalflood, provide the viewers with such

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fogland 3 200 x 250 cm
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shape 1 200 x 170 cm
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shape 1 200 x 170 cm

immersive visual experience: how do the dimensions of your canvass affect your workflow?

Reiner Heidorn: The larger, the easier. With the gesture of the whole body I

achieve the greatest results. Even if I choose to do some sad and grey large works, when they are really large, they have a moving aesthetic. It is much more difficult for me, to do smaller works with success. I could produce

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Reiner Heidorn I was put on this earth 200 x 240 cm 2017

endless without limits, it´s like painting your own jungle, where or why shoud it end?

You are an established artist: over the years your artworks have been internationally exhibited in several occasions, including your recent show „the long awaited“, at LeiXiang Gallery, Taipei: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms — as Instagram and Vimeo — increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

Reiner Heidorn: The main thing is, that during the process of painting I don´t have any audiences, exhibitions, trends or social media platforms in mind. I simply don´t care about my own ego either. It´s not essential, if I´m hungry, cold, tired or anything.

Everything that counts is the result of a good painting. The first instance of critic is me. I destroyed many works, which surely would have been applauded by

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u are here for a reason 200 x 250 cm

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the

viewers worldwide. When at least I have a nice new canvas, I than step back into reality and do all the marketing tools, which are useful to show my style.

When I by myself are satisfied with the new work, nothing can harm this personal success.

Than you have to meet real people to make something real happen.

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ART Habens Reiner Heidorn thinshining 240 x 380 cm

That means real shipping trucks, wrappings, you have to sit in a plane and talk to the business partners. Social media tools are helpful, but they can´t never be a substitute for

real meetings. I´m glad that no laptop in the world can transport the depht of an original painting. You have to go and see it.

https://www.instagram.com/reinerh eidorn/

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

Reiner Heidorn: I prepare shows for 2022 in Germany, Austria, Italy and China. I would wish to do much larger works one day and hope to achieve some residencies international.

What also more and more happens is, that I can change canvases for goods, so I have the hope, that my artworks are becoming sort of a currency. And I could do as much as I want :)

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ART Habens Reiner Heidorn An interview by , curator and curator
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