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ART

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

A r t

R e v i e w

FERENC FLAMM JACK ROSENBERG PEPIJN SIMON CHANTAL VAN HOUTEN CHRISTIAN GASTALDI GIL GOREN KATY UNGER JANA CHARL TRISTAN RAIN

ART


ART

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

A r t

R e v i e w

Gil Goren

Jack Rosenberg

Jana Charl

Christian Gastaldi

Katy Unger

USA / Israel

USA

USA

France

USA

The Netherlands

My work is composed of exuberantly whimsical abstractions, where color and organic forms prevail. Using every-day observances and experiences as an influence, layers of paint construct layers of meaning. By considering personal moments and interactions of the universal human experience, the spectator is drawn into a fictitious and heartwarming universe that emerges bit by bit. Works appear as dreamlike images in which past and present merge; nostalgia, sentiment and romanticism often play a role as a means of adding poetic value to everyday life. As an artist, I enjoy the exchange between the artwork and the viewer, and I encourage the viewer to make his or her own connections to the work. As such: my works do not reference an identifiable form- thereby allowing the imagery to facilitate fluidity in meaning and multifaceted interpretations based on the life experiences of the viewer. Aesthetically, I am influenced by a broad range of styles: the line work of the Ancient Mayans, the bright colors and compositions of Pop Art, the fantasy of Surrealism and our Postmodern visual culture.

My art reflects the complex and many-faceted aesthetic pleasures that the tradition of painting offers me. My recent work, which has many faces—both literally and metaphorically—is a hybrid of traditional and contemporary values and concerns. The process of painting challenges me to seek, identify and bring forthsomething special. Each finished painting is a unique statement and has a“voice” of its own. The varied portraits and figures that I include are broughtinto my own kind of painted language, layered with conceptual and perceptualrevelations. I use traditional and reliable materials: mostly oil paint on canvas or panel. Myworking methods are also consistent and I begin each work by working fromlife, photos and/or found images. The variety of my finished paintings reflectsmy exploratory processes and the many varied and searching interactions Ihave with each work in progress. It is an evolutionary process without a pre-determined outcome. I have a general idea of what I want to accomplish; the canvas has its ownidea of what it wants to be; and at some point we come to a mutualagreement. My individual works morph into sequences and series, oftengenerating a variety of sizes and iterations. In turn, each new series takes meinto new territory, leading me—both intuitively and intellectually— towards mynext body of work.

In a way, the agri-food industry has become a new godfrom which citizens must proclaim their autonomy. Eating is thus a deliberate act. It is no longer a mere reflex linked to bodily survival, but an action prompted by more or less conscious emotional, economic and political choices. While tastes may not be open to discussion, they entail consumer decisions that have repercussions on our environment. The provenance of foodstuffs and their methods of production (intensive or organic) and management (exploitation or fair trade) are political and nutritional options by which people manifest their social commitment and express their individuality. On the art scene, food is a subject/object that has fascinated and “nourished” numerous performers. In many cases, their work goes far beyond the simple aesthetic event to address the eating behaviours of our society. Obviously, not all artists who use edibles as materialare political or environmental activists, but most have eating related experience or habits or attitudes that influence their every action. Food aversions, allergies, diets, special treats and childhood memories thus become food for thought in developing their art practices.

Creating a futuristic style that taps into Jung’s “unconscious collective”, my paintings follow the instructions of an anti-dualist agenda. It is a way of experiencing other worlds without actually having to reveal the source of such an experience. Consciously, that which belongs to the unconscious of the other becomes real. Organic structures give rise to the thoughts represented by objects abducted and recompiled. Even though their composition is unknown to ordinary experience and normative folk psychology, they emerge from what appears as abstraction, but is the rational intuition of their instruction. While influenced by natural forms and science fiction, their aim is to challenge the mythology of scientific thinking. That is, there is no “picture thinking” supporting some mythological idea of creation, as with the holographic principle. No origin depending on dark matter or the accretion disks of black holes emanating from a fear of sound reason, for if experimental evidence justified theoretical reasoning, it would depend on particular contingencies. What is presented is therefore neither absurd nor surreal, but rather a way of breaching the abstract and entering a manifold of actual possibilities. These are ones where there is no severance or duality between what is being judged and the understanding that presupposes its judgments are rational. Beyond the real, Antony Gormley’s Mist Box opened up unconscious worlds for me; the 2D doesn’t encode the 3D, as with the Holographic principle, but really presents us with an image projected from the “unconscious collective”.

Although I like the modern style very much but still try not to deviate very much from my Persian root and culture, therefore I have started combining the elements which can show both and also added some of my imaginations to show a perspective of present, past and maybe future. In all of my works there is an image of a lady who is living in the present world but also have roots in the ancient culture. I don’t like to show everything very clear and complete in my works and prefer to engage my audience using their own cognition and mind processing the idea of each painting. Every painting is the result of my own thinking and imagination and no one else. I pay a careful attention to every elements on the canvas same as the lady figure and spend time on every each of the elements without any preferences. Sometimes an idea comes to my mind spontaneously. I get involved in that idea and try to develop technic and vision together. I try to develop my ideas by putting a woman in the paintings and showing the changes that time would or will expose on her.

I utilize material and sensory experience as a means to explore meaning. Material is worked until there is a shift into another realm: fabric becomes flesh, a sack, or an embryo, pins become candy, paint becomes a skin of strawberry icecream or bubble gum, a pom pom becomes a microorganism or disease. My work strives to have a visceral presence by virtue of formal aesthetics, often riding the line between what is beautiful, grotesque and delicious. This speaks to various dichotomies I often reference in my work, such as light and dark, spirit and flesh. Working on muscle cars was a large part of my adolescence, so I often reference this aesthetic in the form of flame jobs, pin striping designs, and metal flakelike glitter paint. While alluding to the idea of “eye candy” and the obsessive customization and adornment often associated with car culture, these visually ornamental aspects of the work also carry spiritual meaning. At times they may point to things in life that are fleeting and carnal, the lusts of the eye and impure motives of the heart. However, flames can also symbolize the idea of inner refinement, as in the burning away of impurities by the Holy Spirit. Ornamental hood decals and sparkly paint can speak to the visual softening of something hard and made of steel as metaphor for the softening of the heart.

Chantal van Houten


In this issue

Ferenc Flamm

Jack Rosenberg Pepijn Simon

Chantal van Houten Christian Gastaldi

Gil Goren Pepijn Simon

Feren Flamm

Tristan Rain

France

Sweden

Switzerland / France

At the very beginning of my exploration in the field of art I developed an affinity towards abstraction and abstract expression. Even when we had a classical study of human body as an assignment, I gravitated to its abstracting by painting close-ups of various parts of the body. In that way, I started to develop a painting of amorphic forms that fill up the space of canvas. During the exploration of amorphousness of the nature that surround us, I worked in different mediums like painting, sculpture, installation, video animation, photography… The main theme of my artworks is motion, motion in nature and its laws. I found similar patterns in motion of the water, and its resistance to objects, in motion of smoke and its resistance to particulate matter, even in the behavior of gravitational waves. Recently my attention is attracted by the Einstein’s theory of gravitational waves, which is the main theme of the video animation. In this artwork, we can feel the forces that fill the so called empty space of universe, and make the planets move in their orbits. The mystical sound that contribute to that feeling is the sound recorded by NASA’s Voyager, the sound of electromagnetic fields of Jupiter. Our universe is not empty and silent.

Time-Image and Movement-Image series are practically an attempt to capture live Butoh dance performance into the continuity of movement contained within a single image plane rather than such movement being described through a succession of discreet and static moments or images. Being receptive to chance and accident opens possibility for the production of the new experience of the in-between stages of movement as a whole. Timeimage is an image which is infused with time. In order to invite discovery, creative discourse must bridge multiple areas of interests and fields of study, and I use everything that I know and record. I begin by looking at options, which is different from acting at random; learning to see by thinking and feeling more complexly about visibility… While representational techniques may be part of my skill set, for me, artmaking is a "flexible instrument," a developmental tool, a way of mapping thinking that can be circuitous, improvisational, or highly structured. Drawing helps me to record events and ideas and share them with someone else. It can be a container for curiosity, banking undeveloped ideas to percolate into something later.

Tristan Rain is a swiss artist. He was born in Liestal/Basel in 1972 and splits his time between Paris (France) and Berlin (Germany), as well as working occasionally in Stockholm (Sweden). Painting and Photography.

Jana Charl

Katy Unger

His work is about an incomplete, fragmentary, discontinuous vision of human perception. Tristan Rain has been interested in archeology and cartography since his childhood, and his artistic works often use archaeological as well as cartographic concepts. In particular the group "Mercator" uses fragments of routes of the historical discoveries, above all the Arctic. He realized exhibitions in Europe, Asia, North- and SouthAmerica. His most recent exhibitions took place in the following institutions : Novembre à Vitry, Parcours d'Artistes in Pontault-Combault, Réalités Nouvelles in Paris, Contemporary Art Museum Pékin, Salon d'automne Tel Aviv, St.-Petersburg Exhibition Center of the Arts, Moscow Palace of Arts, Museum of the Americas à Miami.

Tristan Rain

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Special thanks to: Charlotte Seegers, 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.


Lives and works in Gรถteborg, Sweden

Dialogue

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video, 2013

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Barre,Issue detail Special

Deca Torres

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An interview by and

, curator curator

Ferenc Flamm

Firts of all, it is a honour to participate in your work for collecting different artist behind the art works. An interview about myself is a great challenge for painting a selfportrait not by brushes but with words. The Central European art education concept is closely influenced by the classical aestethical priciples and outlook of life. On the one hand, it is a conciousness to see the whole picture, on the other hand, to focus on detail and its functional role in the entirety. I learned to get a brighter knowledge of an object by switching a closer look to set a longer distance of the viewer; it is like zoom out and

zoom in the mind. Probably this method also works for a deeper understanding of any other subjects in life. About changing homeland: I think it is exciting and enriching to bring identity to another society. Hungary and Sweden has different parameters of the geographical, social and cultural environtments. It is lifestyle, mentalty, in contrast to Hungary, the closeness to the sea and the amazing Scandinavian light. It affected and evoulted a brighter look of life, my visual and aesthetic approach as graphic designer and artist as well.

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During my childhood and all those years in Budapest, I experienced different kind of impacts to my field of views. Beside my art studies of human body, I came in contact with traditional Hungarian stud farms, became interested in horse and their movements. But at the same time, as a college student, I participated in a dance company and also created later an own music group. As a matter of fact, I came to Sweden first as a musician. At that time I came in closely contact with the stage and fell in a lifelong love in performing arts. At the time when I moved to my second homeland and formed a family, I established myself as an illustrator and graphic designer, cooperated among others, with leading Swedish companies as the Volvo and Saab. During this period, I storaged my multilayered experiences in the “treasure chest� of inspiration. Some years back, I received more and more commissions to accomplish portraits, mural paintings, etc, and it was time to switch my career and begin to create my own art projects. When I prepare a new body of work, I choose my focus to different themes mostly instinctively, but lately, I return to the enchanted world of stage. A few years ago, I had an art exhibition at the Concert Hall of Gothenburg around the theme of the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, performing under the lead of chief conductor Gustavo Dudamel. A new project starting by

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The Stage Special Issue

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collecting ideas, color ranges, sketches, also photo references. In the beginning, I work with pastels on paper in several stages until the image is ready to transfer for creating an oil painting on canvas or on board.

The atmosphere of stage, the magical tension of creating something in immediate, ongoing moments is a fascinating process. Performing arts is one of my favorite themes. If someone had once an opportunity for performing and experienced the direct contact with the audience, this feeling is rooted forever. When we talking about some kind of arts, as painting, photographs or literature, if the artist had luck to capturing those rare glints, it can relive again when the public share the work. The idea for composing The Stage Door Collection was to manifest a creative process of preparation before the curtain rises and the performance begin. I wanted to mediate sequences, just walking through the stage door to the rehearsal in order for catching moments, characters, hard work, intimacy and concentration. For implementing this vision, I am thinking and acting through the underlying training of aesthetical valuations from my classical education.

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Intermission Special Issue

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Bewinged

dominant part of images is, in this case, the dancer or a musician. I am collecting drawings I use to make in authentic environment as rehearsals and theatres, in addition, I have also photography as reference material. When I reach the stage to create the composition, I use to set up a color

At the start of a working process, the visualization of ideas takes form as black and white charcoal sketches on paper. I search for nuances of mod, state of mind, intimate moments of personalities, movements. The

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Intimacy

range, which often consists only a few tones by selecting them from a dry pastel set. The character of theme prefers to put myself into a contemplated state of mind; music, dance and thoughtful mod associate me to think in harmony of soft coloring. I am inspirited by the Swedish nature outside of my studio,

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looking for light tones, combined by complement colors and contrasts. My concept regarding tones and nuances is to use them as an embracing background combined with powerful marking the contours of objects in varying values. As I planned to accomplish this particular series, I decided to work on

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board, which I prepared first by gluing rough burlap on it. I did it in order for reaching deep and living surface under the oil painting. I use brushes but often prefer palette knifes for expressing the dynamics of motion.

My works are embossed both to perceive and interpret a realistic view, I create narratives. It is partly an instinctive process, and I am continually developing the form of expression within representational artistry. I am often portraying individual objects in their specific atmospherically environment on a contemplative way, and particularly fascinated in capturing movement. I think this the connecting link between my different art projects.

Structure, proportions, accuracy; among many other platforms, it is the legacy of the traditional European art studies. My visual perception of surrounding grounded on realism. But artistry is not necessary about to mirror, but to create an illusion of reality. The task is to balance my deeply rooted educational experiences and find a way to a personal interpretation. One of my favorite sentences is the words of Picasso: “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child�. Contemporariness is an individual ability to refine basic knowledge and affirm the ambition of innovatory, also affected the recent world around and by the inspiration of other artist. Regarding affinity with giants in art history, I am enchanted by the sensitivity of Amadeo Modigliani,

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and Edgar Degas for his colors and interpretation the moments of intimacy.

During an intensive work period, I use to meditate regularly for focusing attention and listen to the silence. It is to clear the mind from thoughts and impressions of the surrounding world in order for perceive deeper meanings of the visual. Creating is a multilayered act for expressing yet no existed images, form an unformed vision and manifesting it through a metamorphosis process. Even there are models, objects as inspirational sources, they are transformed to an own personal interpretation. There are other contexts behind the physicality, for picturing thoughts and emotions; I often open the gate of spirituality. The spiritual is an important part of everyday life at our home and my own work as well. Sometime, if one succeeds to visualizing associative dimensions through art, it is a result of balancing reality and the mirror of an inner contemplation.

My earlier Equestrian paintings are focusing on the horse, for me, it is on one of the most beautiful animals connected to human been. It is an ancient relationship with man, in work, in everyday life, in this case in the sports as well. There is an intimate band between human and animal. The series is aiming to initiate a dialog with horse lovers, involved in different branches of horse racing. As an artist, the ambition is to portraying not strictly the object but the particularly environment and

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Silence

atmosphere of scene. When I working in my studio, the power, graciosity, muscles; the Horse takes over my workshop space. I feel and mediate all the energy to the canvas and imagine the process of sharing the experience with a viewer on another time and venue. As the main focus in sports is often the speed and dynamics, I use to tone down and perceive the

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backgrounds in order to lift the movement, which can bring forward the impression to the audience.

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Ferenc Flamm

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Solitude

The communication between artist and viewer is an emotional process which can be realized by the first visual meeting with the art work. It is like the vision of a music composer can revive through the reverberating in the mind of the listeners in a Concert Hall. This meeting is independent of the distance of time and place; Mozart´s voice is still talking to us today in our

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The Accompanist

own time. The art has a meaning and potential for involving the audience. By creating a pictured though, maybe posing a question, is affect the imagination of the spectator, awake a reflection, can find an own answer and became a part of the art work. The artist capturing and forming an idea, she/he is a transmitter who communizing through the channel of

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association, and at the end of the circle is the viewer as a receiver. I think this quality of dialog can occur through the frequency of artistry.

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Ferenc Flamm

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The expectancy

It is an interesting question I think. The initial dialog through visual communication between an artist and a viewer sholud be continue by

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Ferenc Flamm

The Pump exchanging reflections and thoughts. This communication is valuable for both parts, but for the artist it has an important and inspirating role in the continued development of the creating process. This conversation can be in English, Swedish or Hungarian.

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It was my pleasure. At the moment, I am just working on my new project about horses, created in a different shape from my earlier accomplished equestrian paintings. This time I´ll going further on the way of the abstraction process and picturing compositions on a

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Ferenc Flamm

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Reflections stylized perception. I am turning from the interpretation of perspective and thinking in strickly two dimensional. As a parallel project at the same time, I have to continue to manage of an agent work myself, and looking for different opportunities for exhibiting my recent work; The Stage Door Collection. My vision for displaying this series in

the right context is to meet the audience for example at a foyer of Dance Theater or an Opera House.

An interview by and

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, curator curator

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Lives and Works in NEW YORK, NY and Washington, CT

Anna (Prima Fashionista). 30 x 36�. Oil on Canvas. 2017

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Jack Rosenberg

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video, 2013

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Deca Torres

Le Due Papi (after Velazquez). 78 x 56�. Oil on Canvas 2017 Special Issue

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An interview by and

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Jack Rosenberg

First of all, I’m honored by your interest in my work: thank you abens.

to my training and to my eye. They gave me an invaluable grounding in traditional skills that continues to shape my art.

I have been fortunate to study both in the U.S. and in Europe: at the New York Academy of Art, the Florence Academy of Art and at the Prince Charles Drawing School. Each of these institutions added something of value

Looking back, I view my art education as essential and invaluable. It gave me an introduction to art history, technical skills, ways of seeing, ways of creating, ways of interpreting and

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Jack Rosenberg

ways of expressing. While developing as an educated artist, I think it is important to absorb as much information, and experience as possible; and to be open to learning about and seeing other artist’s visions. I was educated in the canon of Western Art, raised on the Old Masters, nourished by the Renaissance, and weaned by technology and the 21st century. These visual and visceral languages are embedded in my subconscious and I need to remain vigilant towards their influences in my art-making, sometimes deferring to their influence while sometimes taking care to avoid clichés and unintended art historical connotations and references. It’s then essential to use this training/education as the launching point of an ever-expanding skill set that allows an artist begin his or her unique artistic journey and to begin exploring and experimenting. Then, to compliment education, dedicated studio practice— along with constant exploration and experimentation—is essential to liberate the artist from learned viewpoints and allow the development of an authentic inner vision.

My art-making process takes one of two distinct avenues: 1) My intrinsic response to a particular visual image.

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Jack Rosenberg

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Man in Orange Turban (after vanEyck). 54 x 60�. Oil on Canvas. 2016 21 4 30

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Jack Rosenberg

Babies. 48 x 60�. Oil on Canvas. 2016

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Jack Rosenberg

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2) A quest for a visual to represent an intellectual question that needs to be answered, illustrated or endowed with a particular mood. Having had classical training in figurative art and portraiture, the basic tools of composition, color, balance, materials and techniques are always available to me, and these elements form the underpinnings and starting point of each new painting. My artistic evolution has come as a direct result of my artistic motivations and satisfactions. I constantly take into account what pleases me about making art: what scale, subject matter, material, mark making, flexibility, tolerance; all allow me freedom to make various artistic choices. This sense of liberation enhances and contributes to the distinctive qualities of the final artwork.

Each painting begins with a few essentials: composition, subject matter and content/context. As the painting progresses, it evolves. I may have a particular point of view; but the canvas might express something which conflicts with my intention. The canvas and I continue this “discussion� until we come to an agreement. At this point the painting may be at quite at variance of the original concept, and evolved in to

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Jack Rosenberg

Roxbury Series #6. 60 x 60�. Oil on Canvas. 2016

something new (and hopefully wonderful, or at least interesting!).

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This dialogue is a critical part of the art making. It is mostly intuitive but a

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Jack Rosenberg

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Jackie. 36 x 36”. Oil on Canvas. 2017

bit analytical. This is where the magic happens, in the “zone”.

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Jack Rosenberg

Each series begins with one or two images that I find interesting or stimulating. Then I take them through my process of transformation, look at the results and see if there is a pattern, trend or discovery to be made. After further exploration of additional images through the same artistic lens, I may find that I have created a (mostly) cohesive series of paintings. It may not be an obvious theme, even to me, until there are several to a dozen images which may suddenly lead to an “Ah-ha” moment. My artistic activity just might be that sublimated.

The palette is very much determined by my intentions. Most of the new works from 2016 and after generally have a lighter and more neutral palette. This is deliberate and for no more reason other than the fact that it pleases me. My natural tendency is towards dark and black backgrounds — a la Rembrandt and van Dyck—and sometimes that is appropriate and correct for a particular image, especially one that riffs on the Old Masters. I need to be consciously aware and defiant of my “dark” predilections. The iconic Old Master images are

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Jack Rosenberg

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Tanya, after. 38 x 54�. Oil on Canvas. 2017 21 4 36

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Jack Rosenberg

burned so deeply into my memory and subconscious that it can be difficult to fight against that pull and go with a lighter, more “contemporary” palette. This tension—between the tones of Old Masters and my contemporary intentions—plays itself out in the process of layering a painting, and often leads to heavy impasto textures.

viewer’s experience, preconceptions and receptivity. A painter creates images as a visual art, selecting materials and subjects and applying his or her style to generate visual expression. In all but the most exclusively decorative pieces, the artist is initiating a conversation: first with the canvas, then with the viewers. This discussion is necessarily au courant. Even when using antique devices or subjects, the artist should be of his time and make work that reflects or discusses current and universal concerns.

I’m quite fond of the textural and tactile effect that is created by the layering of different effects including impastos, scumbles, and transparent glazes. There is a “peek-a-boo” effect to the under-painting and first layers, which are often then re-iterated as they become overly obliterated. There is also a dance between the layers as they appear and disappear. The deliberate integration of background and foreground (primary image) is accomplished by a non-uniform, yet cohesive mark- making process and by the effects created over time by my manner of paint handling.

It’s not possible to disconnect the art from the artist. To put it in personal terms, I am a singular and unique person whose history, background, education, experience, interests and intellect fuse with unique emotional and spiritual components that all come together to equal “me.” Certainly, I share many aspects of being an artist in the 21st century with many contemporaries; but like faces, we’re all a bit different. That difference is celebrated and expressed in the highly individualistic artworks that the current generation of contemporary artists seems intent on creating. The creative process can be divorced from direct experience: think of the first human

I absolutely consider many of the paintings to be political and/or societal commentary. These things are either explicitly stated, or implied—If at all possible—in my recent paintings, through subtle implications. I much prefer for the viewer to draw their own conclusions. Not that the paintings are ambiguous, no, more that they are open to interpretation, based on the

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Man in Red Hat (after Rembrandt). 74 x 52�. Oil on Canvas. 2016


Auntie Tronie (after Rembrandt). 60 x 48�. Oil on Aluminum panel. 2016


Jack Rosenberg

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Swansies. 36 x 38”. Oil on Canvas. 2017

sculptures of gods and deities.

were certainly inspired by “real”

Certainly, since there were no actual

attributes and forms. The creative

gods to model, those artworks were

process takes up a substantial portion

born in the imagination, although they

of imagination. Having said that, I

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Jack Rosenberg

think most artists are the sum of their parts and their being absolutely affects their creative processes.

In one sense, it’s quite straightforward: I paint and then I exhibit the work. Of course, deep in my mind as I am working I do understand that the audience will be a key component of the experience of the exhibition. That said, I do not alter my process or artistic choices based on what I may imagine how some viewers would respond. I stay as independent as I can in the studio. Naturally, I would love for everyone to respond and be interested and enthusiastic about each and every artwork. It doesn’t work that way though: each viewer brings their own set of criteria and expectations and tastes. I couldn’t possibly anticipate what they might all be and wouldn’t want to try.

By blurring the boundaries, literally, of the images, I create an ambiguity that allows room for projection and interpretation. Some paintings are more receptive to this openness than others. It’s all a byproduct of the dialogue that goes on in my mind during the actual painting process.

My work is obviously representational, and often familiar. It’s then processed and “disambiguated” so as to create a different conversation. The amount or density of abstraction is directly proportional to the goal of retaining an edge of familiarity. It’s a narrow edge that I try to balance upon. When I am successful, the image is mostly accessible—yet significantly altered and transformed—and the final artwork yields interesting, even pleasing results.

Each series or body of works is an individual statement or point of view. Somewhere in my group of recent paintings is the seed that will grow and multiply to generate the imagery of my next series. Where it goes from here, I’m as curious as you to find out… An interview by and

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, curator curator


Geisha. 60 x 48�. Oil on Canvas. 2016


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Pepijn Simon

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Pepijn Simon

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An interview by and

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Pepijn Simon

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

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Pepijn Simon

The black and white paintings, i paint them without the use of any brushes. In fact, i use old twisted credit cards.I begin with a black painted canvas and paint while it’s still wet. I apply the white paint without any sketching or use of photographs, trying to catch the person who reveals himself in the paint at that moment. This goes very fast. Shortly afterwards, i decide, while the paint is still wet, if it can stay or not. If not, then i start the process again. The other paintings are very traditional in structure and setup. They start with an underpainting and then will be built up in several layers. These paintings start, in contrast to the black and white paintings, always with an idea.

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

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Pepijn Simon

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ART Habens

, detail

notice in the hand with the primary colours of Piet Mondriaan.This painting is titled The Anatomy Lesson of the Painting and is meant this way. The painting asks the viewer to continue. The stanley knife attached to the painting, invites us to continue with the lesson, but confonteerd the spectator with his thoughts about this. Contrast is thus created between a contemporary way and the traditional way. Yes, i do recognize contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness. I refer to historic gaze from the reality en added contemporary elements to it. it also refers to the time in between as you can

21 4 06

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Pepijn Simon

ART Habens

, detail

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23 4 05


Pepijn Simon

ART Habens

In case of the black and white pictures, it is a need to eliminate subjective experiences. They are the result of a totall surrender of the individual to the creative process. The other paintings just ask for a personal experience, a sense of historical perspective and a deeper understanding of human emotions. Also, it is necessary to control the correct technique and apply it when needed. All this put together into a cohesive unity is an important part of my creative process

I haven't much decided. These works are often based on a mere coincidence. It is the paint that generates the expression, deconstruction, recontextualization and assemblage. I am the creator and spectator at that moment and have to accept that and letting the paint do its work. Al what I need to do is to create the right conditions to come to this work. The only decision I make is afterwards. Or the artwork may exist or not.

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ART Habens

Pepijn Simon

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

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

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

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

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23 4 05


ART Habens

Pepijn Simon

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

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the creation of these paintings very disturbing.

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Pepijn Simon

ART Habens

They are meant to be considered to be a

21 4 06

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ART Habens

Pepijn Simon

challenging interrogation of traditional portraits and contemporary ways of portraits. The question is what is needed for a good portrait, realism, emotion, symbolism, or the extracted version of all. It is remarkable that one sees in photography in a way that hyperrealism is flattened by using pictorialism.

I would define my relation with the viewer as "open" I am only the creator of the artwork.Once the work is finished, and left the studio and is published, it will lead its own life. I am basically a spectator of what happens next.

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

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Pepijn Simon

21 4 06

ART Habens

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Chantal van Houten

ART Habens

2013 collage

Summer 2015

acrylic and paper on MDF panel

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An interview by

, curator

Chantal van Houten

Well when I was a little girl, I was always drawing instead of playing outside with friends so it has always been in my system to express, I think that creativity is not something you can learn but has to be apart of you and when you have that an education is something that gets you to a higher level in your development. So the main thing I learned during my education is to go deeper in the material, look beyond boundaries. And also explore your feelings in all sorts of matters.

designer peeled off a first layer in becoming an artist, so in that way it helpt me.

I worked several years as a graphic designer, where I learned a lot about commercial thinking in this world. As the years past by at some point it felt as if I was in the wrong place, this commercial world didn’t feel right to me anymore, I had a lot of feelings whom I wanted to express and couldn’t in my job, so I made a radical decision and quitted my job to focus completely on painting and expressing my emotions in painting. I think being a graphic

My initial inspiration came basically from all bad situations in the world, everything that’s been spread all over the news everyday, it never seems to end.. And it made me think about people and these terrible things that are happening in the world today and thought, what is the one emotion that can bring people closer together and reconnect again and sympathize

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ART Habens

Chantal van Houten

60x60cm acrylic paint on panel

60x60cm acrylic paint on panel

with an other human being? That’s crying, crying brings people together, it gives us a sense of solidarity, makes us touchable, cuddly. Being able to cry and let the world see makes you the most real, most pure person that you ever can be, there is no hiding there (except if you are an actor) and it is the most intimate moment you can get with another living being. It is a beautiful thing to being able to express your self and connect to another. . I wanted to relate crying people to world issues so people can think about what is happening in the world today and explore their own feelings in the matter.

Realize that he was a very hardworking man and had a lot of struggling in his life and the sadness that lingers around him because his real succes came to late after his death, which is still a mystery today. To let him cry in my piece, makes him an accessible person and I think it’s beautiful to watch and stand still about his life.

The perfect environment serie is about the pollution situation in Asia, it’s a very big problem there and also in some Asian cultures it’s not common to cry, it’s losing face.. that made me sad, in other words they can’t be human and connect to an other human being. When I made “Vincent” (around his birthday) I really want to let people see the tragical side of Vincent van Gogh’s story. Give people a further thought than his beautiful paintings.

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23 4 05


Chantal van Houten

ART Habens

60x60cm acrylic paint on panel

to. I think if you have personal experience it makes a creative process easier, because it’s easier to relate to your own experience and to go deep into that feeling but I don’t think is’s absolutely necessary, more how far are you

I always question the way we relate to each other because it’s such a personal matter, everybody is different and it seems that people want to be the same at some level and even trying to convince themselves that they need

21 4 06

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ART Habens

Chantal van Houten

40x50cm acrylic paint on panel

60x60cm acrylic paint on panel

willing to let go to come to the depth of your feelings. So I do think it’s possible have a creative process but not the direct experience but I do think that direct experience makes the process easier.

hope that it will make people think about there own emotions and expressions. My painted faces show “almost” (and that’s the part I hope the viewer can see) no expression, it’s a reflection of reality today. And I’m hoping that if you can see what someone else is missing of expression and emotion, you will recognize what is missing within yourself and next step is to reconnect to yourself and to people around you and experience the difference and also very important to reflect on your own doings. Personally I love it when you look at a painting and it gives you a little tickle, a feeling of excitement and connection and I can only hope that people can feel the same thing when they’re looking at my paintings.

Well for me It has been a journey through feelings and emotions to come to the conclusion that we are threaten to be disconnected of expressing our feelings. By giving my paintings a subtle glimpse of how an emotion can feel, I

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Sandra Hunter

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ART Habens

Summer 2015


ART Habens

Chantal van Houten

The Father

The Other Sister

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Chantal van Houten

ART Habens

setting. Every family has their secrets and their imperfections. People often think there is a picture perfect, they should try to achieve in their life. I think that that don’t excist, not that I’ve had a terrible childhood, I have had a good

With “A Family Story” tells a story about imperfection, recognition, reflection in a familiar

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ART Habens

Chantal van Houten

oil paint on paper

oil paint and paper

childhood with loving parents, who are still together (no they are not perfect ;-) and sure when you look back there are things you would like to see different, but that’s just life.I always try to achieve a sincerely visual translation of my feelings. If it’s the right feeling it is not for me to decide it’s for the viewer. They have to experience it at their own level and the main goal is to reflect on their own feeling and emotions. I want to them experience there is no ideal situation, no picture perfect, you can be happy in your own situation as bad it may seem, all you need to do is see it. Agree! As an artist I feel the urge to do so, because I think it’s necessary to let people reflect on their own behaviour and reconnect with their inner selves. Nowadays that connection and self reflection often gets lost, it’s a luxury problem in our society I think and if you can reflect and reconnect again with your feelings and emotions you can make a

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Sandra Hunter

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ART Habens

Summer 2015


ART Habens

Summer 2015

Gemma Pepper

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Chantal van Houten

difference in our society today and it just makes you a more pure person.

ART Habens

subtle layer of (non) expression on a face or a pose.

I can only hope as an artist that people pick up the signal that’s comes with the painting. And I hope to achieve this with giving my painting a

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ART Habens

Chantal van Houten

this about being an artist, it’s always a very emotional thing for me because it means the end of a journey but simultaneously new opportunities to begin a new one.

When I first started to paint, I often used only black and white because I felt that it couldn’t give more contrast than that, I came back on my decision because I felt it was not enough layered to give the painting the expression it needed. So I began to add more colors to give more expression to the painting. Now I work with no more than 5 different colors because I don’t want to give everything away in a painting, just the extra depth but not to much to let the viewer compose for themselves. Mostly when a painting comes to his end I only have to add just one or two strokes to give the painting it’s right immersion, I absolutely love

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Maybe in the future I will paint a self portrait, if I have the courage.. I think it’s beautiful when an artist does this, it radiates some kind of selfconfidence. It tels us a lot about the artist and I think for an artist it’s a very fragile moment because it feels like you reveal a lot of yourself. Maybe I’m just not that self-confidence…yet…

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Chantal van Houten

ART Habens

Thank you! I really enjoyed your questions! My work is constantly evolving, I never stop learning only moving forward. I have developed my own style and coming one step further every time and it’s never finished. Currently I’m working on my new collection called “Rumour”. It’s about spreading rumours, everybody has been guilty of spreading a rumour at one point in its life. It’s in our human nature to do so. But why are we doing this? Is it because we think it’s sound to judge or just to make us feel better about ourselves? And do we think about the consequences for the person the rumour is about? These are the questions, which stands central in my new “Rumour” collection. Portraits of people who spread a rumour, as well the people are victim of this rumour, but are they really a victim?

I think that if you are being true to yourself and make art from the heart your audience comes automatically. And of course everybody has an opinion and you have lovers or haters. If somebody is being critical about my work (usually my partner;-) sure I will hear him out, discuss and still do my own thing … no sure I pick somethings out of it and see if I can improve here and there. But I don’t really let it influence on my desicion-making process. It’s really something of my own but this doesn’t mean I’m not open for it.

An interview by

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, curator

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Lives and works in Paris, France

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Christian Gastaldi

ART Habens

video, 2013

0 422

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Land

scape

CONTEMPORARY ART REVIEW

- 2013 - 41 x 33 cm


An interview by and

, curator curator

In my view it is impossible to separate the art you create from your entire life experience. No one has this freedom. We are products of past events, of interactions we have had with people in the places in which we have lived. Now, what are the driving forces, the triggering events that push you into creating? You may not be aware of what they are, at least immediately, and you also may not be the best placed to understand what they are! This perception comes through time, as small hints, feelings that you perceive and that sometimes fail to materialise into clear concepts. Interviews help in that respect, forcing you to put into words vague feelings, imprecise sensations.

Christian Gastaldi Sète is a place where most inhabitants are a mix of French, Italian and Spanish origins, as I am. I came to think that the geographic setting has a strong influence on people. Sète is a place that gives you the irrepressible need for freedom and the desire to discover what lies beyond the horizon. So, I studied and worked abroad (Holland, Brunei, Argentina, Angola, Azerbaijan…) coming back regularly, as if in exile, experiencing the joy and sadness of departures. As described by Fernando Pessoa in Oda Maritima: ’O mistério alegre e triste de quem chega e parte’. Living abroad, doing

I was born in France, in Sète, along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in a city surrounded by salty waters, almost an island.

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Christian Gastaldi

ART Habens

magazines, newspapers or distressed posters recovered from illegal billposting places.

geosciences research and practicing sports provided me with the emotions I needed. Then Art became a necessity. I needed the emotional rewards of the creation process, the entire mobilisation of body (soul and flesh) into a transcendent experiment. I had no choice, I had to create.

The time spent to create a piece is variable with the nature of the material used and the size of the piece. I generally spend more time collecting materials or finding the places where posters can be collected, than doing the work itself. I try do a sketch before starting the work, by arranging the paper elements side by side on the floor before going into the gluing process. But this is impossible when I work on a piece which is purely focussing on rhythm from typographic elements, like ‘Sous le Pont XCII’. In that case, I put together the elements of typography I want to use and start straight away without knowing exactly where I will end-up, except that the direction was clear: I had decided, in this case, not to use any vertical or horizontal lines. I wanted to create a piece that flows.

If now one looks at my work, it may not be obvious at first sight, but I am a painter. And the fact that I do not use paint is a detail. I conceive my work as a painter. The graphic and chromatic equilibriums of the work are paramount.

In 2013, when I did a commissioned work for a hotel in Barcelona on a 2.4 m by 7.5 m wall, it took me a day to do the initial compositional sketch on the floor, then 15 days to finalize the work on the wall, out of which, one day was spent to complete the final half square meter without destroying the equilibrium of the entire wall!

Through the years, I became fond of literature, of the rhythm and musicality of sentences. I did not care so much about the stories, but the style was critical. ‘Voyage au bout de la nuit’ of Louis-Ferdinand Céline and ‘L’amant’ of Marguerite Duras are great examples for me of what can be achieved through style. This is what I want to achieve in Art.

How does a writer arrange the succession of words to resound with the inner self of the reader? How can the rhythm of written words create transcending feelings? I have similar questions in mind when I do my work. How can I create rhythm and equilibrium in a frozen frame? How can I arrange linear elements to create movement? How will the picture be balanced if I accumulate elements in one place? ... In addition to Rhythm and Equilibrium, the material used is critical. The transcending nature of art is reinforced when working from mundane material, from elements that contain dismissed traces of life. That’s the reason why I work from used

Landscape was my first series. At that time I was mostly working from torn magazines.

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ART Habens

Christian Gastaldi

The series started with the intention to study how the chaos of juxtaposed paper blocks and the usage of bright colours could be organised to create forceful, yet harmonious, landscapes. In the process, I sometimes deliberately unsettled the composition to see how it could later be recovered. As the series progressed, the colours became fainter and the works moved from figurative to abstract until I discovered Nicholas de Staël landscapes. It disturbed me. I had evolved towards the type of abstraction and cold colours he had used. So I stopped. The choice of the theme had also to do with the fact that Landscape is a ‘classical’ subject of painting. I decided that, if starting in Art, I had to confront myself with classical topics right from start. Even more so with the unusual type of material I used. Before the Landscapes, my earlier subjects were even more classical: Christ and Madonna! The picture ‘Monocromo azul (casi)’, though part of ‘Monochromes (quasi)’ series, is conceived as a landscape. It is a tribute to my Mediterranean origin.

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Christian Gastaldi

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ART Habens

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Christian Gastaldi

ART Habens

- 2012 - 7.5 x 2.4 m - Reception room of hotel Vincci Bit (commissioned work) - Barcelona, Spain

My work should certainly force the viewer to reconsider his environment. As I pick-up elements, visible in everyday life, under other functions (and therefore with other meanings) I take the viewer to question the perenniality of the messages, of the images. Displayed in a canvas they acquire a new function. To keep the viewer totally free in his re-interpretation I systematically destroy the original messages and images. They are re-incorporated in a new chaos of onomatopoeia, the Babel world of today.

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Christian Gastaldi

ART Habens

into a piece of art but it is for the benefit of the creation of emotion, not as a substitute, a justification by itself.

As we discussed earlier I don’t think it can be. And I would even say it should not. Art without the projection of the personality of the artist is a negation of Art, a senseless activity. There are already so many of those meaningless activities in our surrounding environment, not to add Art to this list. I believe in Art as both a product and a source of emotions. I cannot conceive it as a pure intellectual activity. Of course thinking goes

Experience is the soil that feed the art. I started late my artistic activities. Maybe I needed more time than others to assimilate life experiences.

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ART Habens

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Christian Gastaldi

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Christian Gastaldi

ART Habens

The environment, and the way it expressed itself into the material, is critical to my work. My series from distressed posters are organised by the places where the material was collected. The characteristics of the place and of the people that live there, are influencing the specificities of the colours and typography used. They provide a humanity to the medium that I want to reveal in the creation process. So it is right to say that, in that case, the environment provides the narrative elements of the creation. I have also experienced in my work, that I sometimes use a narrative analogy to help structure my creation. A strong tear, through stack of posters, will be perceived as an analogy of a sea shore line, separating two physical worlds, like in ‘Sous le Pont CLIX’.

The only acceptable limits in Art are those that you imposed to yourself. Those constraints are a stimulus to the creation process. Any material, in particular in collage, can be used. I am an

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ART Habens

Christian Gastaldi

admirer of Rosalie Gascoigne’s work, and of the old painted wood she used in some of her creations. My current preference is for material which has been exposed to life. The ‘MAR-POI’ series originates from old posters collected at the Paris subway station ‘Marcadet-Poissonniers’ undergoing refurbishment. At that occasion, the recent posters had been removed from walls, leaving to the surface old posters, hard to remove. They were several decades old. The passing of time had given them specific textures and altered colours. They had a fragile beauty that interested me. Only small elements could be recovered, difficult to manipulate. In that case my work is on subtlety. If most of ‘Sous le Pont’ series can be seen as, as you said, energetic, sort of fights within canvasses, MARPOI is a caress. In MAR-POI 10, I decided to use only colours elements. No line, no letter, no figurative element. A pure chromatic palette. In doing so, I am, more than never, a painter. The challenge was to find an arrangement of colours that vibrates with the perception of textures. Softness of the tears, conveyed the fragility I wanted to achieve. I particularly liked the fainted colours that reminded me of old Japanese prints and the manner they were later interpreted by Van Gogh and Gauguin.

I totally agree with you that giving a second chance to images (and elevating them into

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Christian Gastaldi

21 4 06

ART Habens

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ART Habens

Christian Gastaldi

pieces of art) is a politicised stance. Even more so when there is no explicit political messages imposed on the viewer. I find a bit obscene, even if the word is a bit strong, to have messages on a canvas. As a viewer I want to be free to think on my own. It also distracts the viewer, steers him to the trivial, when what is essential is to emotionally react.

contribute to making people proud of themselves. They are much more capable than the politicians or the society want them to believe. Seeing elements that they are familiar with, in a new context, could help them rethinking their role in society. Will it steer people’s behaviour? I would like to be as optimist as you are!

My pictures do not have political intentions. But, by the choice of material, I would like to

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Christian Gastaldi

ART Habens

winery in Var, south of France, during JulyAugust. In October, I will participate to the Salon Réalités Nouvelles in Paris. Before that, I will most likely go back to Montréal (Canada) to work with OXYD Factory on the second phase of our common project where we combined old car parts with distressed posters into creations focussing on textures.

Currently I am for a month in an artist residency in Moncontour in France. My intention is to work on large formats on the MPL series. Then I will customise a cow for the Paris ‘Cow Parade 2015’, go to Sète for the opening of the ‘Transformations Urbaines’ exhibition at Galerie Plurielle (JuneOctober) and install a solo exhibition at a

An interview by

, curator and

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, curator

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Lives and works in Tel-Aviv, Israel

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Gil Goren

ART Habens

video, 2013

, 2014 Installation at „Ortung IX“, Schwabach (Germany), 2015 0 422

spaghetti, wood fiberboard (300Special x 600 x 50Issue cm)


ART ICUL ACTION

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

A r t

R e v i e w

meets


An interview by and

, curator curator

Gil Goren

As far as I can remember myself I have always aspired to do things in a different way. I have never wanted to do something that had already been done .throughout the years, while I was involved in advertising, branding and graphic design I have always started working with the intention of creating something new, to arouse interest, to be remembered by the target audience and create a real, pure experience that will last for a long time. Uncomplicated, joyful and loved. While studying graphic design twenty years ago, in all art classes I constantly refused to paint in a realistic style , to copy what is already there, whether it is a forest ,a vase, nudity or scenery . god created our world much more beautiful

than any one of us might be able to copy it .in the days when photography can paint a perfect picture I see no point in trying to copy reality even though I do appreciate the technique. This is what I have taken with me to the world of art. For three years I have mapped the world of art, explored, studied , learned and categorized whatever exists in the art world, many pages were filled with names, techniques, subjects and then- I have erased any known subject as well as any familiar technique. I was left with a blank page knowing the road for creation is open to start from scratch. I have erased

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ART Habens

Gil Goren

all ways of artistic expression, known techniques subjects that had been dealt with and started a new journey , aiming to create something brand new that has not been done before. My internal urge is to create art which is both intriguing and joyful , a kind of a riddle and loved, one that will never bore and will always tell something new to the spectator, leave him with a smile, a memory and a feeling of love for that moment of revelation.

In my opinion , the artistic process is inevitably connected to the directed experience. You cannot really describe a flower unless you have smelled one and obviously you will describe it the best if you have planted its seeds, watered it and followed the process of its growth and blossom including its decay. Of course , there are various kinds of artists and various ways of art to describe landscapes , people, objects or dreams that have never existed or ones artists have never encountered. In my case, anyhow, the processes has to be totally connected to the experience itself. Every little detail which I use in the process of building and assembling my piece of art, is something I have touched in reality, examined, saw, sometimes even cleaned or polished- found it or as I call the process- I hunted it while wandering in the city streets. I know for sure in which corner of the street it is located, in what time of the day the sun shines on it even stronger and on my next journey , I am happy to meet it again.

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Gil Goren

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ART Habens

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ART Habens

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Gil Goren

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Gil Goren

ART Habens

Most people's life simply pass by. People don't really pay attention to the small details which comprise life and when they do reach a point when they have time to have retrospective , they realize that they have missed almost everything. The same is true about the endless race of life in the city streets. When I saw and realized that people around me don't really pay attention to the details their life is comprised of but simply pass by, I have decided to create the world from my perspective when it is a collection of "unseen or transparent" items in urban landscapes. I told myself or actually "spoke" to my audience as if saying " you disregard the transparent items which compose the place itself, I will put them in the light and show you the love of a place, the passion for finding out, happiness of creation, because god –if you haven’t paid attention, is in those little details , just as David Ogilvy said. The urban world like the natural wild world is comprised of endless number of items and not of the whole general picture. The same sticker, brush of paint on a brick wall, same water hose, sewer cover or garbage bin , expressing your opinion on a wall in a street corner or a cry for love stuck by a guy – are the things that create the urban landscape and for most people they are meaningless. I take them all along with typographic messages, disassemble the urban landscape

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ART Habens

Gil Goren

and reassemble it to create my own world, my urban life, or actually the landscape of us all. This way I actually expose the unseen and unpredictable aspect Of urban nature and reveal it to the world in a new surprising way. the typographic messages , these codes that are slowly exposed while we observe and explore, expose what I myself expose from my own internal nature as a personal , universal statement of the place to the locals and evoke thinking.

Early memory has no major function in my life as far as creating , only about what can be said. From quite an early age I grew up in a boarding school, absolutely insecure about any human contact. The defense mechanisms I have used and the walls I have built throughout the years have been, very slowly, shattered until I have reached a point when I say "this is who I am. Use it as you think best". Choosing "NOWYOULOVEME" as the title of my first solo exhibition, is based mainly on such insights one can reach when he is exposed" musk less" as if to say , now I will show you who I am and there will be a kind of a contract between us where I will do my best to arouse your interest , make you curious , happy, evoke your thoughts, make you feel good, uncover new things every day, take you out of your comfort zone to a place where life really begin and you, in return, will love me. As a starting point for any of my creations, I get out of my comfort zone to explore new places while memories are always there but just as a statement hidden as a code which is both explicit and implicit. The same universal language which brings you to a new

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Gil Goren

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ART Habens

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ART Habens

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Gil Goren

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Gil Goren

ART Habens

level of meaning as far as the elusive relations between an experience and memory, is the point I lean on and base my art on. That same point where every human being stands in front of the art creation knowing that pleasure is in front of him and within him. I do not think that art is meant to be complicated, up high there, philosophical in a way people have to deeply contemplate about‌. I know and I believe art has to evoke happiness, light and endless joy and this belief makes me create.

This is a very interesting question which I keep asking myself every time I start a piece of art or when I come back to one which is in the process don’t really know where it all begins. Organizing the first palette is often done after much struggle and many trials , is what determines the final destination , however, the piece of art starts much earlier , while wandering endlessly around the big city streets, when I inspect its sidewalks, examine its bulletin boards , looking at those signs and statements that were left there, endlessly hunting for the visuals , stopping every few steps, leaning back or forth and taking closeup pictures, always close , unable to see the real general picture which everybody else can see‌.after printing those visuals on small wooden pieces , I treat them as my color palette. One can find there the greens, the oranges are here, here are the blue shades and also the words. Reconstructing the landscape requires focus and concentration when I organize things , days of thinking, attempts of matching until

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ART Habens

Gil Goren

finally the first small palette is there, just like the first brush of paint and it leads the way and the process as well as the decision of what messages will accompany the texture of the picture. It happens that I spend whole days working with no seemingly purpose and then in one single moment everything falls into its right place, amazingly, and I am satisfied and know it is right, it is the complete creation which will be loved somewhere on the globe, it will bring joy to a certain family and home. Throughout the last two years I have changed the thickness of the small wooden pieces and now there is an almost half an inch difference between them. This technique adds another layer and makes it three dimentional. Slowly , I have also started painting again on the final art pieces I have made adding a fifth layer

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(searching, taking pictures, printing, constructing, coloring . painting)

Just like Thomas Demand I consider myself a conceptual artist who uses photography techniques, printing and constructing in order to transfer personal ,social and political

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Gil Goren

messages from time to time. I completely agree with Thomas Demand who claimed art cannot go on relying on symbolic strategies, as I have referred to earlier in this interview, but should find emotional elements which tell a story within the art itself. Painting a visual element, as perfectly as one can, will evoke admiration to the technique and nothing more. The question is- is there a message? Is there a statement? Will I find in that technically perfect painting a story, because if I do not- I will lose interest fast. Thomas Demand's attitude towards art suits me very much and with your permission I shall quote his words " working with existing pictures like I do you constantly think about the flood of images we are subjected to and you want to figure out how you can make sense of it" Therefore, the

ART Habens

function of symbols in my work is to send messages that include an implicit, hidden code. The symbols in my work express the feeling of the place, the location and the urban rhythm as far as colorfulness and materials are concerned while the symbols and typography as I disassemble and reassemble them transfer the psychological, mental and story- telling elements which exist in the medium itself. The connection between them- is what creates interest and feelings within each spectator.

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Gil Goren

completeness the fine finishing touches, all serve the idea which lies in the base form of the work of art. The language is universal , even someone who has never visited New York but lives in today's urban world , knows what the urban jungle is , including its abyss (in my work "jungle look") has experienced in his life some kind of an end (in my work" begin again")and realizes that life begins only when we leave our comfort zone )my work "the art of things") The story has a significant part in my art , without it art doesn't really exist. The development exists in its conceptualtypographical meaning parallel to the visual colorful meaning. A story is based on a word, a sentence, in combining meanings from which everything evolves, just like a good story that

Color with no story doesn't interest me, I care about the conceptual narrative. Unless a work of art contain a story, an idea, the beginning of a thinking process, it is, in my opinion, only a garnish – a decorative element and therefore not really interesting. The narrative in my art work is very important for me and even more than that, I want the spectator, the audience who observes the art work will find the story and move along with it in its own pace. The visual beauty is highly important , the colorful

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never ends and we can enjoy over and over again.

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I have no doubt regarding the need for art and , of course, for creating artists as far as conceptual ,social art which is focused on carrying a message. The ability to express what must be said is done through my art by using urban landscapes that surround us , a kind of landscape which is daily renewed , reborn , sometimes at the expense of the lucid items which are there for a day or a week and then are covered again by new items whose time has come.

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Gil Goren

art pieces the dominant language is English since my audience is English speaking. The audience realization is a critical element in the process of my decision making because, as I see it, art with no audience, especially conceptual art, has no conceptual value. The audience has a significant role in my art and during the last few months I was asked to present my work in China and in Germany in 2017-18. It is clear that I will and at least some of my work will be in the local language so a real experience is guaranteed for the audience. That will enforce me working with a translator when finding the objects and taking the pictures. A message is sent by colorfulness but the power of a word is irreplaceable.

Language is a critical component in my work. I have no doubt that a man who doesn't understand the language that was used while creating the work , misses a major part of the experience. My art works are a composition of words, shape and color, and to experience them fully one must figure out all three. In most of my

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and cooperating with parallel arts such as music and video art. This year I was chosen by ESKFF as one of the seven European artists who will work in Mana contemporary art Center and I intend to create, while staying there, a unique project combining music and posing one simple question to each spectator, I will present 16 pieces that will expose the viewers to a wonderful and exciting experience after which people will pay some more attention to life around us. Conceptual art-this is what I am talking about. Thank you for the Honor of having this interview and the time you have spent reading it.

I want to thank you for having this interview with me and for enabling me to share the story behind my art creation with your wonderful readers. My art progresses so fast and two years after my first solo exhibition I have had four such exhibitions, my art is presented in important galleries and I am represented by one of the leading art agents in Israel. Yet, this is only the beginning. My ambition is to leave a real mark on world art so I have created my own unique language. Using digital art, printing on wood , using levels and painting on a collage . I see my creation evolves in different conceptual directions by using intensively the written word

An interview by and

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, curator curator

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Lives and works in Bern, Switzerland

, 2014, spaghetti, wood fiberboard (40

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Monica Supé

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video, 2013

, 2014

0 x 400 x 50 cm)

Installation at „Ortung IX“, Schwabach (Germany), 2015 422 0

spaghetti, wood fiberboard (300Special x 600 x 50Issue cm)


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Katy Unger


An interview by and

, curator curator

Hello and thank you! I would define a work of art by its impact. It can be conceived through intention or by accident, and may be beautiful or hideous, but it forces us to study it and engage with it both outwardly and inwardly. I believe that anything can be be considered art because art is a way of seeing, a kind of altered lens in which to view the world, but not everything can be a work of art. A work of art challenges our way of thinking and makes us awe and pause due to its emotional and sensory impact. Contemporary art, in my opinion, is inventive by default because it has an investigative and experimental approach and an honest and intuitive execution. When I consider a work contemporary, it is because it has been given permission upon itself to break away from historical molds and traditions. In other words, it has paid its dues by having a solid foundation in the principles and techniques of what came before it, and thus is able to transcend traditional artistic practices into a uniquely individual viewpoint and aesthetic. I feel it has to either pay homage or challenge the art of the past in order to direct some light on the art of the future.

Katy Unger

I, like a lot of kids, I didn’t consider myself an artist when I was little. Art was such an intrinsic part of my childhood that it didn’t occur to me that it could be a profession. It wasn’t until college that I was able to call

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Katy Unger

myself an artist without confusion or hesitation. It was an acceptance of who I was, a kind of coming out in a way.

for clues to fill in the mysterious gaps that were so abundant in my early twenties. I believe it was in an observational painting class that I started to gain a real appreciation for representational art, and eventually the human figure. In the class we would often paint outdoors, focusing mainly on perspective and architecture. We would split up and head out with our materials and plant ourselves down to paint when a specific environment spoke to us. I began to

My first year in college I had an interest in abstract and mixed media art. I loved layering text and painted images on found wood, adding and deleting words and illustrations until a message was revealed through the process. I was searching for a story, or maybe a direction, always hunting

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take this practice outside of class and would spend a lot of my time sitting outside of coffee shops or public parks, drawing in my journal the scenes in front of me, quick sketches of street lights and buildings layered on top of text or collage from previous entries. My focus would drift from the cityscapes to the people that were passing through them, observing how they moved through and physically responded to the spaces I was sketching. It revealed a

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kind of unspoken, hidden dialog between people and their environment, and the idea that there is an altering and shifting of energy that occurs not only in our presence, but in what our presence leaves behind. I began to explore body language as a subject in my paintings to follow and my thesis investigated the aspects in which environment conditions behavior and vise versa, themes that I still touch on in my work of late.

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Katy Unger

While my formal training didn’t exactly set me up with a career right away, it gave me the education and the community that helped me believe a career was possible. It also allowed me a kind of distance from my art, a way to detach myself and see it objectively. There have been moments, however, that I’ve found formal training to be stifling. You almost have to train yourself out of your training. When I was fresh out of school, I was collaborating on a painting with a friend who shouted “Stop being so art school about it!” because I kept stepping back and self critiquing instead of just letting go and immersing myself in the process. That always stuck with me. Formal training gives you the tools to push you forward, but I believe you have to go out there in the world and experiment and deal with opposition and disappointments and start from scratch in order to make it your own.

I tend to be a little impatient when it comes to my preparation. Once I am painting, I am very focused but my set up isn’t always so careful. I will use whatever is in front of me for a palette: cardboard, egg cartons, scrap wood etc. and there have been times that I have even injured myself because I was too quick with my prep and forgot to make sure I was in a comfortable position before starting. I’m trying to be better at that now. Make sure to adjust the light, add a cushion to my seat if I am going to be sitting, do a couple stretches here and there, try to remember to take lunch breaks etc. When I am painting I lose track of time, and fall into a kind of deep meditation.

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That is one of the things I love most about the process. Everything else falls away and my only focus is light, shadow, form, color, and the music in the room. My paintings start as a light sketch, usually in pencil or charcoal. Then I plug in the shapes with thin washes of paint and build up the painting layer by layer from shadow to light, gradually forming the figure. I work the background at the same time so I am able to see the painting as a whole throughout the process. I often work while the painting is on it’s sides or upside down so that I am satisfied with the composition at all angles. As for technical aspects, I’d say I focus most of my time editing the figure until I am happy with the proportions. Once the proportions are there, I set aside a good amount of time softening the features and working in the details and highlights. In my recent works, I have been adding an element of spontaneity to the application of paint, allowing drips of color to trail across the surface of the subjects and backgrounds creating unpredictable paths as they fall. This gives the portraits a fluidity and transient nature that I equate to fleeting moments that occupy dreams and memory.

For my recent series, I allowed myself to let go of some control in my technique and lean more towards the abstract. Solace was the first inspiration of this series, because while it started with a charcoal sketch as do most my paintings, I became frustrated with the proportions somewhere in the process, and that

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Katy Unger

frustration led to a kind of freedom and experimentation with my medium which ended up sparking a new series.

mention there is a hidden happiness beneath it. I am attracted to people that are comfortable with being alone and I suppose this is why my portraits all share a theme of intimacy and solitude. I think what makes them potentially unsettling is that they are devoid of a specific context and rely solely on the body or face, stripped down to bare emotions which are often hard to face.

The liquid quality of the ink and paint and the integration of the figure and background gave the pieces an ethereal quality and the subjects a ghostly presence that brought to the surface for me a feeling of Hypnagogia- a word I like because it describes the mystifying, halfconscious state on the border of sleep and wake where we can exist simultaneously in two places at once. Although this theme was touched on in my previous series, We Dream in Color, with my recent paintings, I wanted to take more of an outward and physical approach not only with the execution of the medium but with the psychology behind it.

The chiaroscuro paintings are some of my first portraits, some dating back when I was in art school. I return to them often, especially when doing commission work. Two of my big inspirations for these paintings, although widely apart historically, have been Caravaggio and Gregory Crewdson. Although one was a painter and the other is a photographer, I find that the dramatic quality of light in both of their works narrates the piece as much if not more than their subjects. It directs us to the psychological and often unsettling undertones that are lurking just beneath the surface of their subjects.

On the lines of meditation, whether they are my own or another artist’s, I like to view portraits as paused moments rather than representations of an individual. That way I feel more present with the subject, like I am suspended in that moment right there with them.

I like the dramatic effect as well as the tension that directional light can have on a subject standing beneath it. While the light shifts across the body or the face, it alters our perception of what we are seeing and how we feel about it.

I try to portray many states of mind, but I must admit I’m a sucker for melancholy. I have always found it more interesting than other emotions because it isn’t obvious and you have to dig a little deeper within yourself in order to connect with it. Perhaps as you

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, 2014 wire, paper, led-spot, mural (200 x 170 x 150 cm)


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Katy Unger

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The interesting thing about my palette over the years is that while my paintings may look quite different in terms of color, my palette has not varied much at all. Except for my ink paintings and some blues here and there, my base colors are and have been the same for about 10 years: yellow ochre, phthalo green, naphthol crimson, and titanium white. It is incredible how many shades and colors can be created from those alone.

That is an interesting question. I think that while it may not be an obvious correlation, one’s personal experience can’t help but be tied to their creative process. At the same time that I was working on a series titled We the People which was deeply rooted in themes of anonymity and identity, my father was in the midst of a profound and life altering transition from male to female. This experience, while very personal to her, enabled me to question my own perception of identity and gender roles, and there is a kind of unity in the anonymity and the sexes of that series that I can see now has a deep connection to what was going on with me internally at the time, not just in terms of my art. As for We Dream in Color, the first piece of the series was painted shortly after moving to Los Angeles. It is a portrait of myself with one hand pressed against the surface and the other hand pressing a paintbrush against the surface with drips of paint trailing down the canvas. It is a mirror reflection of myself set amidst white, empty space. Reflecting on it now, that painting was not just a gateway into a new series, but also a symbolic representation of myself, as an artist, in a new and unfamiliar place.

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Katy Unger

I would be lying if I said the expectation of an award or an exhibition didn’t have an influence on my process. It has a large influence because it is a huge motivator in terms of production. Feedback is important for me too, because it helps me know my market and audience and encourages me to put myself out there and step out of my studio and into the world. But I do think that it is important for myself and all artists to remember that above all, you create for yourself because you enjoy it. If you forget that, what it is the point?

Thank you for the thoughtful questions and interest in my work! Have really enjoyed sharing my answers with you. At the moment, I am wrapped up in a few projects involving painting, stop-motion animation, and illustration as well as continuing on with my latest series. For updates on current happenings and exhibitions, please visit: www.katyunger.com

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Lives and works in Los Angeles, California

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Jana Charl

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video, 2013

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Lars Vilhelmsen

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An interview by and

, curator curator

My curiosity and desire to study and analyze human behavior has been an integral part of my artwork. I explored a broad liberal arts education, concentrating on interdisciplinary studies with a focus on art and psychology. Encouraged by my art mentor at the University of Redlands, California, I attended Waseda University, Tokyo, for one year. Nonverbal communication trumped verbal which created the perfect environment to focus on a largely visual experience. I was especially inspired by patterns and color combinations.

Jana Charl

Although I grew up in an environment where art was always an important part of my life, my parents viewed it as a hobby and not as a profession. As a consequence, I struggled with allowing myself to pursue a career in art. Instead of studying for a Masters in Fine Art, I attended the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California San Diego. During my second year of studies I took a leave of absence and did not return. After completely changing my environment by moving to Zurich, I felt freer to explore my identity as an artist. I worked at a top advertising agency as a graphic designer and art director. A copywriter introduced me to polymer clay and curated my first international group exhibition at Ars

Photo by Jessica Klein

Futura Galerie, where we created 1000 polymer clay sculptures. Studying international relations and living abroad (Nuremberg, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; Zurich, Switzerland; and Pesaro, Italy) contributed to my international awareness. My aesthetics have a multi-cultural influence based on visually absorbing, both consciously and unconsciously, my surroundings. Daily encounters and observations in my current Los Angeles environment are translated into

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Jana Charl

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Jana Charl

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my works of art. In particular, living in a bodycentric, image-conscious city has shaped my signature incorporation of stylized bodies. My first public installation, Venus of Adams Square on view now (May 3rd - July 28th, 2017; the proposal can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/178079167), is of an oversized Venus on a throne surrounded by floating flowers. I created the work from my own wardrobe and fabric I’ve collected, mainly from downtown Los Angeles’s fabric district. The resources readily available in this city also shape the work I’m able to create.

Serving as a visual example of my statement is the mixed media painting Locked In. I built and painted the wood box; mounted a photo that I printed on canvas; painted graphic bars with acrylic on canvas and glued them onto the wood and sewed them onto the attached wire mesh to represent words (similar to a commercial art technique of using blind text as a placeholder for actual text). Then, I attached found objects; sewed edges with wire; and painted and sewed on my signature female figure. As a result, I combined the crafts of woodwork and sewing with fine art painting and photography, along with commercial art layout. As an artist I believe that the more tools I have available to communicate, the more freedom I have to creatively and effectively express concepts and reach varied audiences. I rebel against any restrictions on my creative practice. It is a struggle for me to draw boundaries between the various disciplines

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Jana Charl

and art practices; I would rather blur them. In the representative works selected by the Art Haber team, the stylized representation of the female form is my signature, recurring motif. How I produce the form and incorporate it into

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my artwork varies depending on the materials and technique that I choose. The process of selecting and working with diverse elements is one of the challenges that motivates and inspires my work.

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Jana Charl

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Conveying relevant issues, based on historical and contemporary significance, is at the heart

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Jana Charl

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Jana Charl

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beliefs. Viewer participation is is important to me, whether it is passive observation or an engaging dialog. Ideally, my work stimulates both emotional and intellectual responses. Unconscious and emotional associations based on one’s unique experiences as well as collective ones; along with the conscious, intentional, intellectual layers of meaning and analysis. My use of graphic bars to represent words and sentences came out of a desire to focus on a visual impression unencumbered by words and language barriers. The purpose has evolved into an intention for interactive storytelling, whereby the viewer can tell the story in her/his words. Although I create a title which is the “spirit” or theme, the details of the narration are formed by individual interpretations. Recently I completed a three-month artist residency in Zurich, Switzerland. As part of the project, I set up my studio on one floor of a gallery and the public could anonymously view me from the sidewalk level window or step inside to observe and discuss my work. In addition, there was an artist talk open to the community. I was able to interact with spectators firsthand because I was available six days-a-week while creating mixed media paintings for an exhibition at the gallery. The opportunity revealed the engagement I wanted to provoke: curiosity demonstrated by discussions on both aesthetics and topics addressed. The exchange and involvement went even further with visitors collecting and giving me items to incorporate in my paintings.

of my work. I specifically address feminist issues, perceptions of women’s roles, identity, and gender relationships largely due to my encounters, observations, and consequent

In general, I admire an eclectic mix of individual works of art, rather than a specific affinity to a movement. In Los Angeles there are overwhelmingly frequent and numerous

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Jana Charl

exhibitions along with diverse venues to view artwork. I tend to be a recluse focusing on my own production but can easily step out of my studio to experience others’ approaches.

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I am impressed by the contemporary art scene in the sense of the freedom to explore. However, my work is most influenced by historical figures and works. Both the Venus of

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Jana Charl

Willendorf figurine and Niki de Saint Phalle’s Nanas have inspired my stylization of the female form and “Venus” theme. Beginning with my first exhibition of miniature venuses

ART Habens

of polymer clay in Zurich and continuing to today, as seen in my larger than life-sized Venus of clothing and textiles (installation Venus of Adams Square). In addition, Ombra

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Jana Charl

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Jana Charl

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della Serra (Shadow of the Evening), the stylized long and thin Etruscan statuette, and Alberto Giacometti’s elongated interpretations of the sexes have affected my depictions.

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Jana Charl

At any stage of the creative process from concept through completion, I am inspired by what various techniques can elicit. I especially find inspiration in the selection of materials with the technique as the means to give expression. Implicit in all of my work is that it is made by hand and distinguishable from machine manufactured or computer-generated items. Although all of my works are meticulously constructed, as an intention I do not refine them to the point of perceived perfection. In the case of my mixed media paintings featured, I purposely mix pigments instead of using colors directly from the manufacturer, and I do not thoroughly blend them. To add to the textural effect, I tend to layer the paint unevenly because I prefer a painterly look over a computer-generated solid flat color. Moreover, I do not use aids to create perfectly painted lines and demarcations. I work with my breath to steady my strokes and I’ll paint and repaint until I’m satisfied. Squares are not perfectly square, circles are not precisely round. It is especially important to me, after years of working in commercial art, to distinguish my paintings from digitally created ones.

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Both randomness and improvisation play a part when I’m experimenting with a medium. I would define the “randomness” in my work by the fact that I don’t precisely cut, weave, and sew. Although I am free to depart from an original concept during the process, the result I seek to accomplish is typically planned, by sketching on paper or in my mind. The “improvisation” would be the evolution as the work is in progress or the reworking of a previously finished piece. My process of “disrupting” the canvas is for textural effects and cutting into the canvas is liberating. Selecting and working with a medium or mixed media is a significant part of the brainstorm and development of my ideas. For example, in the proposal for Tables, Chandeliers and Selfies (https://vimeo.com/177848439) I was working with the concept of duration. I had photographed piles of scrap metal for future sculpture projects and one particular photograph of bale feeders for cattle stood out. From that image, I developed the entire project and a connection to the Faena Art Center. As an installation project, in order to fill the space, my ideas interplayed with a mix of media.

Similarly, I weld scrap metal that is rusty, has paint, grease and dirt remnants resulting in splatters and uneven welding beads. I handhold the plasma-cutter torch producing cutting lines that waver with by my breath and heartbeats. All for the purpose of maintaining a certain unpolished crudeness in the final sculptures. In order for my polymer clay sculptures to not be mistaken for plastic, I deliberately leave fingerprints and uneven areas. Experimenting with 3D printing, I prefer the output that is not perfectly smooth, similar to the early inkjet printers that produced pixelated images.

Ultimately, the goal of my artwork is to elicit awareness and a dialog concerning the issues I address. All audiences are not receptive to my style of art and messages. I do not believe in altering my language to cater to a particular audience, especially if it dilutes the message I am trying to convey. For example, I believe my artwork is suitable for all ages and body image is healthy topic for discussion. However, there are parents who feel my artwork is inappropriate for children and will not bring them to my exhibitions (in the U.S.).

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Jana Charl

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At the same time, I am very satisfied when my work is positively received by others. I do appreciate feedback and conversation because I do not want to create artwork in a vacuum. Whether I allow it to impact my artwork depends on how I internalize it. In a productive sense, it can enhance my development as an artist. Finally, I believe that the impact of an exhibition can be delayed as one’s understanding evolves.

On May 3rd I installed my Venus of Adams Square which will be on display until July 28th, 2017, at a mini gas station as part of the Adams Square Mini Park located in Glendale, California (the project can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/217074726). Three large-scale (12 ft x 5 ft / 1.5 m x 3.66 m) prints on vinyl of my painting Sunrise will be displayed as part of a three-month installation in Watertown, Massachusetts, curated by the Mosesian Center for the Arts. The opening reception is on May 19th. May 21st - 28th I will participate in an artist residency called “Paint for Georgia” in Mtskheta, Georgia, which includes two exhibitions. When I return to Los Angeles I will begin planning a landscape installation art project in Central Oregon. More information is and will be available on my website: www.janacharl.com. As I challenge myself by exploring various means to creatively communicate relevant topics, I plan to seek out opportunities, including collaborations, to create artwork which will reach a broader global audience.

An interview by and

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(detail) ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

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video, 2013

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Tristan Rain

4 03 view) ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris , photography, 10 x 177 x 35 cm, (exhibition


An interview by and

, curator curator

Tristan Rain

My training in painting, photography, film, art history on one side, and architecture on the other side has always been for me an important base on which I build my work. While studying art, I completed a degree in architecture. I worked in the field of architecture for a few years, as well as interior design. These were important experiences for me that are reflected in my artistic work.

learning and discovering new topics because it allows you to see things from multiple perspectives. It's always a good thing when you aren't limited by any one specialization. As an artist you should be more than just a specialist. All of these different experiences and approaches have proved useful for my work and allow me to switch easily between the different mediums with which I work. So it often happens that an idea is developed for a photographic project, but finally leads to a group of paintings, or the reverse. For me, everything starts as a drawing. From there, my architecture training

Then there are several personal passions that influence my work process -- archeology, cartography, South American literature to name a few.. I think it's a good thing to never stop

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Tristan Rain

, oil on canvas, diptych, 2 x 146 x 89 cm, 2015 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

and my aptitude for extreme concentration (a vestige of my childhood focus on music, which almost became my profession) are very useful today. Even film plays a role in my thinking and is a major influence for several of my work series. I am particularly interested in the editing of film and the possibilities for manipulating the audience and their way of looking at things. As an artist, having at your disposal such knowledge and the ability to explore interconnections are as useful as they are stimulating.

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And of course multicultural realities are fundamental. I grew up in Switzerland -- a country with four official languages, countless dialects and significant cultural and topographic differences between its regions. I came to Paris in 1995 and it continues to offer pretty much everything I need. I still sometimes go to Switzerland, where important friends and collectors live. There are also those incredible art collections in Basel, which I was exposed to growing up. These regular visits are for me useful "going back to

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Tristan Rain

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, oil on canvas, 130 x 160 cm, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

the roots" experiences. And as you know, there is the Art Basel, which offers every year the possibility to see great art, from modern classics to very contemporary works.

Today we live in a multicultural society, and mankind has never been able to travel so extensively or eat ethnic food. Rarely were urban societies multicultural to such a degree. Look at the younger generation. They use very naturally all kinds of things from all possible cultures and are more global then we ever imagined to be one day. My son, SĂśren PhinĂŠas, has three nationalities and inherited four food traditions. I believe that the upcoming society will be truly cosmopolitan, inter-ethnic and postnational. The appreciation of multicultural

I often staying in Berlin, a city that has a stimulating effect on me and I create new works there during every visit. I regularly stay in Stockholm, where my wife comes from, and I enjoy being close to water and boats. It's a beautiful city, built on numerous islands, so different from Paris and Berlin!

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Tristan Rain

, oil on canvas, 130 x 160 cm, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

identity, it seems to me, is fundamental. Art somehow also reflects society. For me personally and artistically, the importance of this exchange -- this multi-layered nature of values and cultures and history, of languages, arts and culinary traditions -- cannot be overestimated. It naturally finds its expression in my creative work.

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Tristan Rain

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, oil on canvas, diptych, 2 x 146 x 89 cm, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

I consider myself as an empiricist. But my deepest artistic roots are both German-Austrian expressionism and cubism, as well as the expression of sentiments but also more theoretic concepts. Emotions and conceptual considerations are balanced, they are both essential. My principal area of research is human perception in a technological, highly-

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Tristan Rain

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(detail) ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

became more and more rational and conceptual. I have developed over the years a kind of "vocabulary" with "words" that are repeatedly used in different ways. Some examples in my work include: the vertical orientation, the limited scale of colors, the textured surfaces (for the paintings), the multiple layers with the lower levels shining through, transparencies and multiple reflections, asymmetries and slightly unstable compositions, multiple visual elements, unusual panel-sized paintings and photographs (for example, , or ).

urbanized society. One of my early ambitions was to find my own artistic language, the creation of autonomous independent work. I don't want my works to make you think of some other artists or influences. Everyone starts somewhere and is building on traditions, but it is essential to find your own way and to be free. But this makes it much more difficult for the viewer and the art buyer. Habits can be very comforting. It's assuring to find reminders of things you already know and appreciate, even on an unconscious level. My wild expressionist emotions as a young artist

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Tristan Rain

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(detail) ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

And when I switch back and forth -- between painting, photography and drawing, or between abstract, figurative and spaces -- it's not a contradiction for me. I explore the same questions of perception and overlays, of an incomplete view of the world, with invisible parts. I merely try to use the respective technique’s own opportunities and limits.

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ART Habens

Tristan Rain

23 4 05Rain Prolitteris Summer 2015 , oil on canvas, 130 x 97 cm, 2015 ŠTristan


Tristan Rain

ART Habens

time considering the work. He has to take time, to confront his own values, to project them into the artwork.This may be a chance to discover himself. A contemporary artwork offers the possibility of changing a person’s view of things and inviting reflection For me, a work of art is only in the worst case an object for speculation.

My work is a fragmented view of things, because we never see the whole picture. I have recently developed a technique that consists principally of small, geometrical, monochromatic colorfields. And I use industrial colors and road paint, enrich my oils with hair, sand, glass and stone powder. My paintings have always been very much based on materials, with very few colors at first sight. That's why reproductions of my works don't always show so well. All the richness and dimension are visible from the original and even then what you see depends on the light and lighting.

One of my private passions is archeology. I’ve never worked in the field, but I love the pictures and plans of excavations. They are geometrical, systematic and they dig down strata by strata. In an archeological context, it means going back in time. The deeper the older. Cultural eras are superposed. It is the same with the contemporary cities we live in. Rome, Athens, Paris, London, and Beijing are huge layers of history and of stories, of fragments and of people who re-used structures and materials. In Paris, you have more then 2,000 years piled on 105 square kilometers and there are some leftovers from every era. I find this very exciting. Even the very well-informed and attentive stroller in Paris will always discover new (old) things. Believe me, I've been doing it for 20 years now. I do the same thing in my work, both photographic and painting.

These are conceptual works, I call them "Cryptochromias." Have a look at " " (2009) or " " (2010-2011) and you may see what I mean. Most “things” are hidden, invisible or even outside the picture, sometimes encrypted in a larger structure. You need time to discover it and to complete your inner picture of it. For a year now I have been working on the series " ". As is apparent from the title, it's about cartography, meaning the perception of space and a scientific understanding of the environment. Maps apply different concepts of translation of a spherical reality into practical twodimensional documents. I use this in my way to elaborate the “Mercator” series. The viewer needs time to experience this kind of paintings. It's one of my aims. We live in a world full of images, fastmoving images, images of commerce, fashion and advertising. This flood of images is reflective of many individual efforts to catch our attention. Come and buy me! Own me and you will be happy! The message has to be understandable by the potential customer in a split-second. The faster, the better. As an artist in such a world you find yourself with an urgent question -- does this world need me to produce additional images? In my opinion, it's affirmative. But when you choose so you must really redefine the images you create. You invent new images of our time, noncommercial images, images that do not sympathize with fashion trends, Images that need more time, images that ask viewers to take more

I had read long ago a quote that I still like very much. I think it is from Jack Yeats: "A painting is an event. An event can be planned, but if it runs according to plan, it is no longer an event." The creative process is a very interesting and mysterious thing. You always want something in particular when you do something. There is an intent, but then there are many layers of unconsciousness too. You can't control them all. The creative process is a very interesting and mysterious thing. It always starts with an idea. I develop a concept, then I try to reduce everything to the essence. To find the “core.” I try to encircle the problem. In this process I make many drawings, sketches, studies, and then a series of

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ART Habens

Tristan Rain

photographs or a painting group comes together -- sometimes both. What I do is intentional. It is critically considered and supervised, but evolves in a natural way. You have to let it breathe. You need accidents to happen, something more than great skill. Mastery and intuition. Yes, you are right it is a balancing act. And, at best, it becomes a work of art! It's also about experience, though. I've been working constantly for many years. My work is very complex, and my work rhythm involves drying cycles and chemical processes that are very restrictive. But I'm surprised by the ease, especially considering all of my expectations. I think I've been really lucky.

I reduced my colors to a very few. Blues and greygreens, grey and black are dominant. Colors are waves that reach your brain and evoke emotions through the eyes. Every color has a different frequency, a different speed. My manipulation of color helps to makes apparent things that typically wouldn't be visible so easily. For (2003-2014) or example “ � (2004) in natural colors wouldn't show the same things. You would just recognize things you already know. For me, however, the form of things is much more interesting and important than the color of things. I'm sure you've noticed!

Summer 2015

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Tristan Rain

ART Habens

C-Print, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

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Summer 2015


ART Habens

Tristan Rain

C-Print, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

Summer 2015

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Tristan Rain

ART Habens

No one is neutral. I don't like it very much when art is too political. We are of course influenced by our world, our society, our financial and economic systems, ecological problems, philosophical tendencies. But I consider my art to be apolitical. (There a very few exceptions. Sometimes you cannot look away, even when you know that your ability to change things is extremely modest.) But of course I wouldn't be literal. No, I have more of an aesthetic look on the world. Often an aesthetic look is more accurate than a political one. And what influences me probably more is matters of ecological consciousness and sustainability. How we live with nature, how we use the earth’s resources, how we produce, transport and consume responsibly. The pollution of the air, soil, water and even the food we consume. The massive use of synthetic products. Where does all our plastic go? Have you seen pictures of the “plastic continent” in the Pacific Ocean? But how would I translate this into my creative work? It's more a personal position that stays in the background. “ ” (2014) may illustrate my position. I was spending a few days in Granville, Normandy. It's a beautiful little town with a historic uptown, a downtown and two ports. I was hanging out at the industrial port, I like these places, the doors to the world. And I found piles of fishing nets, rusting fishing material and all kinds of rubbish, synthetic residues, rotting seaweed. All things you wouldn't be able to describe or even imagine. “Les Bandes to Port” came up quite spontaneously when I was ruminating about what I saw. It's my usual style of using multiple layers and signifiers and interpretations. And it just seems very beautiful to me.

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Summer 2015


ART Habens

Tristan Rain

Let me reply first to the question about “messages,” before talking about “beauty,” Of course when you are eccentric enough to create something, it's probably that you think you have something to say. But there are no smart messages for a better world here and I'm not sure that I would have encrypted some kind of messages in my works. These are just my reflections about perception and it's more a surface for individual projections. Now, about beauty (by the way “ ” (2004-2006) is the title of one of my series): The decorative is the complete opposite of art. And beauty and the decorative aren't even kind neighbors! But art means a system of order, concepts, selections and decisions, aesthetic values. I thank you for asking about the importance of aesthetics in my work. I believe that this is almost a taboo today. There are so many very small ideas around in art, funny and amusing, poor and silly. How can so many people in the art market be satisfied with so little? Since most people think that anything that exists must be good or at least acceptable, talking about beauty, aesthetics and stuff like that appears an anachronistic! Paul Feyerabends “Anything Goes” was misinterpreted and did not mean that anything must be accepted because there may always be someone who might find it cool. It's not all relative. Look out. It's a disaster! It's the drama of post-modernism. Yes, aesthetics are very important to me. Aesthetics, both as a philosophical discipline, as well as a search for the beauty in things. I'm particularly interested in the reflection by Shaftesbury and Hume and their consequences. Questions of beauty, taste, quality... That's what artists do. Even for scientists, the beauty of a scientific model is an important factor.

Summer 2015

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Tristan Rain

ART Habens

C-Print, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

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Summer 2015


ART Habens

Tristan Rain

C-Print, 60 x 33 cm, 2013 ©Tristan Rain Prolitteris

C-Print, 60 x 33 cm, 2013 ©Tristan Rain Prolitteris

not randomness, it's a concept and it's well planned. It's the repetition of a view of a common object. Well, it's not as funny as The Kid's misadventures!

Charlie Chaplin once said that a burlesque scene becomes much funnier when repeated many times. “ ” (2013) might be a good example to talk about in my photographic work. These pictures were shot by a camera moving in a predefined way, while collecting multiple views on the same object at different angles. It's

Summer 2015

Concerning the role of memory, I invite you to look at works like “Empire Film Stills” or “Transparencies”. Such series were reflections about memory, history, artistic languages through time and their reinterpretation today. In

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Tristan Rain

ART Habens

C-Print, 60 x 33 cm, 2013 ©Tristan Rain Prolitteris

C-Print, 60 x 33 cm, 2013 ©Tristan Rain Prolitteris

the case of “ ” (2003-2004) and some other works, I shot pictures of projections of movies from around 1900 that I distort by copying multiple times. “ ” (2003-2015) are photographic panels (27x177cm) made through glass and mirrors inside the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London and the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin. Popular clay sculptures from Ancient Greece are displayed in

neoclassical rooms (in the Louvre) and contemporary showcases and lights. Multiple reflections and transparencies as well as all types of significance, memories, cultural periods and cultural codes merge together. What's left of all this? What do we see and understand today? Think about it. It's fascinating.

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ART Habens

Tristan Rain

For many people, the world no longer seems to be material, it has been broken down into a bunch of ones and zeros, and the line between reality and illusion is increasingly blurred. (The cubists must have felt similar when the existence of atoms was proven in 1905.) The new technological opportunities such as digital photography, computers, the virtual worlds of video games and computer-generated imagery just overrun us. I love the story of photography very much. The techniques of the pioneers are incredible, the daguerreotypes, calotypes, cyanotypes, gum-dichromates, albumen-prints and many others are just magnificent. And their possibilities were well explored. Then photography became accessible to everyone, easy to use (Polaroid!) and we thought that those techniques were as far as we could take it. But suddenly photography wasn't a chemical process anymore. How do we deal with it now? What are the features of digital photography? Its possibilities and its limits? I quickly concentrated on the intrinsic possibilities of digital photography. All of my recent photographic works are expressions of such interrogations. “ � (2010-2011) consists of a series of photographic shots of erotic film sequences which, after undergoing extreme compression, were projected into the corner of a room. These moving and ever-changing projections include a time factor. Space and figures seem incomprehensible, objects fall apart, parasitic structures dominate, resulting in compositions that are dominated by the characteristics and limits of digital media. I'm manipulating it from the inside (I'm even writing

Summer 2015 2015 Summer

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Tristan Rain

ART Habens

C-Print, 2010-11 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

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Summer 2015


ART Habens

Tristan Rain

C-Print, 2010-11 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

Summer 2015

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ART Habens

into the code of the file). Some other examples of this manipulations of the digital material are well illustrated by “ ” (2007), “ ” (2009), “ ” (2010) or “ ” (2013). It's a natural development of techniques. It's not a choice between “great” traditions and “trendy” easy-to-use hi-tech. There is a new tool around? Can you get it? Use it! From this point of view, yes, new media could eventually fill the dichotomy between traditional and contemporary. It depends on what you are able to do with it. The technique does nothing, you eventually do. By the way, all artists I like tried just to continue great traditions and the result was always a very contemporary image and vision. Gary Hill simply wanted to find a way to make pertinent, contemporary works with the artistic quality of Velásquez's paintings. Pierre Boulez generalized the serial system Schoenberg had developed to finish what Beethoven didn't have the time for. There is no conflict between traditions and contemporariness.

Yes, I certainly hope that my works interplay with the viewers. Earlier I was talking about my conviction that works of art, as I think of them, are destined to find their place where people live, that the public should live with them. Don't put artworks in a safe-house! I have many pieces in office spaces and conference rooms and it makes perfect sense. But my ideal public sees the work every day at home with different light and moods. It seems it works quite well, and I have received a

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ART Habens

Tristan Rain

lot of feedback on it. Very beautiful and touching stories about how people live with it and what happened over the years. I'm happy that my works are traveling. In fact, my pieces travel much more then I do. And I have often been invited to participate in thematic shows and I like that. But I think It’s time also for some new solo shows. But to respond properly to your question, during the creative process I guess I'm not reacting to feedback. I like feedback, but it shouldn't become a component of decisionmaking. By the way, I'm sure this approach has protected me from silly decisions, You can't imagine the things you hear during the first years of an artistic career! Here comes unsolicited advice for young artists: listen to your inner voice and never let people discourage you! Stay strong in your convictions!Everybody wants your best, …hold it tight!

I'm currently quite occupied with the continued evolution of the Mercator series and I just started preparing the first sketches for a next project. On the photographic side, I'm working on a project about topographic structures in Stockholm. I also would like to try working on a much larger scale. Something comparable to the 8-meter wide corner-polyptych “ ” (2004) I did for an art space. It will be interesting to see what will happen from where I'm standing now. In the autumn, I’ve been invited to present a huge diptych from “Mercator” at the show “Realités Nouvelles” in Paris. And I'm always looking forward to meeting people who appreciate what I'm doing and who are willing to help support my work. I'm not gifted in self-promotion and networking, so I depend on people who discover and appreciate my work. People who can open doors, who can accelerate things, who can make things happen. There are things you can't do for yourself.

Summer 2015

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Tristan Rain

ART Habens

C-Print, 2014 ŠTristan Rain Prolitteris

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Summer 2015

Profile for ART Habens

ART Habens Art Review, Special Edition, Late Winter 2018, Vol.49  

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

ART Habens Art Review, Special Edition, Late Winter 2018, Vol.49  

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

Profile for arthabens
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