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February 2014

SPECIAL EDITION

Jana Charl, USA (Photo by Kireilyn Barber)


SUMMARY

ARTiculA Action ART Feel free to submit your artworks: just write to articulaction@post.com F E B R U A R Y 2

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http://articulaction.yolasite.com/submit.php https://www.facebook.com/articulaction.artreview

IN THIS ISSUE

Priscilla Dobler

(USA) Priscilla Dobler is a visual artist whose work explores the critical issues of her identity’s construction culturally, politically and socially within her Scottish, American German and Mayan background. She primarily works with wood and textile production, with a major focus on weaving.

Els Wiering

(The Netherlands)

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“I like to build constructions that seem light and fragile, while actually they are very strong. While experimenting with material I research contradictions as lightness and heaviness, strength and vulnerability, space and flat plane. In my work I like to use elements in the environment.”

Natasha Papadopoulou

(Greece) “My artwork arrives from an innate need to respond and to imagine perspective ways of interactions between art forms and the visual world . It derives its themes form aspects of popular culture as well as universal images stereotypes, symbols and cliches.”

(Slovenija) “I like to think that my work is a constant evolution, therefore I shift between media as often as possible. The idea directs the use of a certain media not the other way around. I believe that each idea, thought, reflection needs to be expressed in a way that suits it best. “

Willy Branckaerts

(The Netherlands) " The dremer should strive, in relation to every thing, to feel the apparant indifference that this thing, as a thing, summons in him. Immediately, instinctively fetch from every object or event that what is dreamable about it and leave all that is real about it for dead. Behold what the wise one should achieve within himself"

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SUMMARY

(Serbia)

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Marija Avramovic

“The scenes in my works are pieces of personal universe, sights of spiritual and emotional space. At the same time I wanted to convert an observer in to a witness of a lucid dream or oniric state, and of course to remind him of his active participation in our collective subconscious.”

(Sweden)

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Johan Wahlstrom

I paint to keep myself insane. I paint anxiety to be calm.I paint war to have peace. I paint sadness to be happy. I paint the dark to be in the light. I paint death to be alive. I paint a story so that I don’t have to tell a story.

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(United Kingdom / Pakistan)

Uzma Sultan

“Art can be anything and most importantly its the artist’s vision that plays a key role. It is also a reflection of the time we live in like the impressionists did something new for their time taking the canvas out of the studio and using paint straight from the tube.”

(Montenegro)

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Milena Joviceviv

“My work is inspired by everyday- life situations and paradoxes of contemporary society and world we live, that strange place saturated with the media, with an exaggerated production and exaggerated consumption.”

(USA)

88 “My longest enduring fascination is to capture the human form and psyche utilizing multiple media. Often my interpretation of the female form is anatomically exaggerated, emphasizing the curves that distinguish women as well as define feminine beauty and fertility.”

(Turkey)

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“ My artwork is based on personal history, on relationships and memory (dreams, space, geography, land). It is broadly related to memory, dreams, space and connotations. These topics are drawn from daily life as much as from unconscious thoughts. Essentially, I’m attempting to create images according to my own psychological needs. “

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Jana Charl


Peripheral ARTeries

Mi Existencia entre Las Fronteras, 2013 Douglas Fir, import/export cotton fabric, thread, repurposed pallet boards and video projection


Priscilla Dobler (USA)

an artist’s statement

Priscilla Dobler is a visual artist whose work explores the critical issues of her identity’s construction culturally, politically and socially within her Scottish, American German and Mayan background. She primarily works with wood and textile production, with a major focus on weaving. She has exhibited at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, NY, Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY, Catalyst Gallery, Beacon, NY, Masters On Main St, Catskill, NY; Cumulus Nimbus Collective at Chashama Gallery, New York, NY; Issues Project Room, Brooklyn, NY and Collaborative Concepts, Saunders Farm, Garrison, NY. She received her MFA in Sculpture from the State University of New York at New Paltz in 2013. Priscilla currently lives and works in New York, NY.


Peripheral ARTeries

Priscilla Dobler

an interview with

Priscilla Dobler Hello Priscilla, and welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Art is an expressive method of being creative. Contemporary Art to me is something that can be traditional yet has a modern twist and different approach of creating. I do not think there is a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness; I believe they both influence one another. As an artist we all constantly sampling or influenced by one another from different eras and styles. Would you like to tell us something about your background? Besides a MFA in Sculpture, you hold a BA in Studio Art and Painting, that you received from theUniversity of Puget Sound, Tacoma... How have these different experiences impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... what's your point?

Priscilla Dobler

a young artist. If you’re open to experiences and trying new things within your artwork I think formal training can expend and strengthen your work. One must use it as tool.

Well prior to switching my degree to Studio Art and Painting, I studied Exercise Science and International Political Economy for four years. I’ve always been interested and influenced by economic globalization, the competition and monopoly of capitalist economies within the empirical and historical aspects of societies.

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

With that said, I take a lot of my personal, travel experiences and research to influence my work. Having the opportunity to train in painting while in undergraduate helped development my sense of work in sculpture. However, I strongly believe when formal training becomes limited it can stifle

My process involves a lot of sampling and drawing. I use my Mayan grandmother’s hammocks and Scottish grandmother’s designs and fabric to reinterpret traditional craft making into modern methods of creating something new from the traditional aspect of crafting. Cassandra Hanks 6


Priscilla Dobler

Peripheral ARTeries

Mi Existencia entre Las Fronteras, 2013 Douglas Fir, import/export cotton fabric, thread, repurposed pallet boards and video projection

I focus mainly on weaving and woodworking since I combine both mediums in my installations. My work is very labor intensive, the wood working aspect of creating cross cuts, joints takes me weeks since I make every individual cut. Once the woodworking is completed the physical weaving takes depending on the project three month to six months to complete.

between architecture and that of the human body. The initial inspiration behind Mi Existencia entre Las Fronteras, came from my personal experiences between my diverse culture. The corner piece represents a selection of a house, which symbolizes shelter, safety and protection. However, within these structures one can still feel restricted and confined.

Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from Mi Existencia entre Las Fronteras that our readers have already admired in the starting pages of this article: I would suggest our readers to visit directly http://www.priscilladobler.com/#!portfolio/cspv In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this piece? What was your initial inspiration?

A hammock is a well-crafted strong structure that supports and adapts to the body’s weight. The hammock is constantly flexible with horizontal and vertical lines stretching/expanding, yet always comes back to its original shape and form. The soft, malleable thread pulls tightly against the structure of the wall to create a rigid, yet permeable border. Clothing and textile production represent histories of identity and cultures. My embroideries bare all the complexities of the

Jolanta Gmur I have always been interested in the relationship 7


Las Fronteras, 2011 - ongoing Installation


Peripheral ARTeries

Priscilla Dobler

Religiosa Coalescencia, 2013

suppressed the Mayan people’s worship practices. Under his order so many Maya codices and images were destroyed. The Mayan people were forced to Catholicism. The Virgin Mary is the face of purity in Catholicism. The Mary’s melting represents the action of different materials such as lime juice, water, resin and wax melting and coming together.

construction of identity today. How authentic is identity and what makes identity? These tensions and questions represent my personal struggle with alienation, borders and how my identity is created within my culture and universal surroundings. A feature of Religiosa Coalescencia that has mostly impacted on me is your capability of creating a deep intellectual interaction, communicating a wide variety of states of mind : even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I have to admit that in a certain sense it unsettles me a bit... it's an effective mix between anguish and thoughtless, maybe hidden happiness... I would go as far as to state that this piece, rather than simply describing, pose us a question: forces us to meditation...

This piece is beautiful and fragile to me because it’s an action occurring in live time. People are watching the action of Mary’s faces and bodies dissolving in all physical human aspects to nothing. And I couldn't do without mentioning your performative work entitled Cultural Looming: as you have remarked in your artist's statement, your work explores the critical issues of your identity's construction cul-turally, politically and socially within your Scottish,

The inspiration for Religiosa Coalescencia, comes from my interests in the actual history of the Spanish Conquistadors. Bishop Diego de Landa, 10


Priscilla Dobler

Peripheral ARTeries

Cultural Looming, Performance, 2013

American, German and Mayan Background... I can recognize such a socio-political feature in this aspect of your Art…

the next day to give donations for me to continue creating scarfs for the homeless. I do believe this piece show that art not only brings awareness by also changes people’s behaviors and want to be part of something greater that also gives back to the community.

By the way, I'm sort of convinced that Art these days could play an effective role not only making aware public opinion, but I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can steer people's behavior... what's your point about this?

I agree with the statement that art can steer people’s behavior. For example in Cultural Looming, I was weaving scarfs for a whole week, inviting viewers to participate and learn how to weave, engage in conversation and return for at the end to pick up a free scarf. As I express my concerns about the consumption, labor, traditional aspects of creating textiles, poverty and homeless people started engaging in full conversations going out of their way to stop by 11


Peripheral ARTeries

Priscilla Dobler

Religiosa Coalescencia, 2013

Another interesting pieces of yours on which I would like to spend some words are La Historia which I have to admit is one of my favourite works of yours: I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Personal experience is a part of my method of creating however; I do not think it’s an absolute indispensable part of my creative process. I am mostly influenced and interested the action of how history has been recorded or passed down from one generation to the next. La Historia de la Tortilla and Traduccion Oral are two bodies of work that address these ideas of how oral history is recorded through the action of physically mark making into masa or oral telling.

Religiosa Coalescencia, detail Cassandra2013, Hanks

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Priscilla Dobler

Peripheral ARTeries

Mi Existencia entre Las Fronteras, 2013

will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

Feedback is absolutely important to me. I appreciate people’s personal interpretations of my work, I enjoy watching child or adults interact with my work and the communications that arise from them. Can a genuine relationship exist between business and art?...that’s a tough one….has it ever?

, 2013 - ongoing

In Traduccion Oral, I am highlighting what is being lost in translation, drawing more attention to what is happening. When viewers cannot see the full face of the Mayan man telling the story because of the woven structure disconnecting the face, viewers cannot make sense of what is happening but they can ear the story and voice in Mayan. This makes the viewer ask more questions the disconnection is bring more awareness of what is actually happening.

Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Priscilla. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

I have an upcoming textile group show called What is Textiles, at the Kalopsia Galley in Edinburg, Scotland in February.

So far your works have been exhibited in several occasions: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of Jolanta Gmur your audience? Do you ever think to whom

Currently working on embro-idered cotton t-shirts which, viewers can look at on my website under Mi Existencia entre Las Fronteras, selection. I am also in the process of creating one of a kind furniture, a couple of projects still in progress, once completed I will be updating my website. Viewers can send me messages on my website and look forward to the new projects coming within the next few months. 13


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Els Wiering

Lines, Metal strapping, cotton tape, video tape

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Els Wiering

ARTiculAction

Els Wiering (The Netherlands)

I like to build constructions that seem light and fragile, while actually they are very strong. While experimenting with material I research contradictions as lightness and heaviness, strength and vulnerability, space and flat plane. In my work I like to use elements in the environment. I try to use the environment as an instrument for creating new meanings and experiences. Besides physical dimensions, space has a more symbolic meaning, it can be experienced as a metaphor for emotions and associations. The lines and objects in the installation take position with respect to eachother on a temporary playing field. Together they form a spatial drawing. Arised while playing with construction and gravity they are searching for the most appropriate place to materialize. Some of then are connected to the environment, others stand on their own.

Els Wiering 2

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Els Wiering

ARTiculAction

An interview with

Els Wiering Hello Els, and a warm welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Thank you for your welcome. Well, defining a work of Art is a bit hard, but I'll give it a try. I think an artwork is something created with the intention to broaden your perspective somehow by making people think, happy, enjoy, connect. This definition is surely not complete. I found it a hard to define a piece of contemporary art, because contemporary art redefines itself continously. With traditional art we have history to help us to define and interpret it. This is why I find contemporary art so exciting. This lack of context challenges us to make our own judgement about the meaning and quality of n artpiece.

Els Wiering

Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts that you have received a couple of years ago from the Minerva School of Arts, in Groningen, where you are currently based... How have these different experiences impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... what's your point?

double- barrelled about the academy because of this. At the same time I am thankful for everything that was handed to me over there. Without the academy I would not have been able to develop myself in the way I could now. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

I experienced the academy as a haven of experiment and exploration in the first few years. As the education progressed it became a bit harder to find my own ways of expression. Graduating at the academy was quit a struggle, to be honest. I had a hard time to connect with my promotors, who where a bit explicit of what art should or should not be and this did not always compute with what I wanted to create. I'm still a bit

Usually I start with a search for material that invites me to experiment with it. I like to work with materials which are suitable for building light-

Jennifer Sims

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Els Wiering

ARTiculAction

Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from "Lines" that our readers can admire in these pages of this article: I would suggest our readers to visit your website directly at http://www.elswiering.nl/ in order to get a wider idea of it. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this piece? What was your initial inspiration?

The installation Lines also arised while experimenting. I used metal strapping and I was delighted to find this material that is fragile, elegant and at the same time so strong. It really appealed to me and I couldn’t wait to explore the possibilities. First I made this tower to see how high it could be before it would bag by it’s own weight. Then I discovered that this tower got a beautiful shape when

weighted constructions. For me it works for the best to just start playing with the material in an intuitively way, while in the back of my head I keep in mind what I want to achieve. I'm searching for interesting lines, shapes and proportions and try to find ways to transform the material into something new. Actually I try not to think too much at all while doing so. I try something, leave it then and look again the other day to see what should comes next. During the experiments the meaning starts showing through somehow and it usually all falls into place during this process. I want the result to look effortless, but the process is far from that. It is a time-consuming trail- and-error process with every now and then a little breakthrough.

Lines, Metal strapping, cotton tape, video tape

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ARTiculAction

Els Wiering

Lichtvangers (detail) 2010, BB-wei, Leeuwarden

A feature of "Lightcatchers" that has mostly impacted on me is your capability of creating a deep intellectual interaction, communicating a wide variety of states of mind : even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I have to admit that in a certain sense it unsettles me a bit... I would go as far as to state that this piece, rather than simply describing, pose us a question: forces us to meditation...

it is made to be a bit taller then the distance between the floor and the ceiling of the room. The largest tower in this installation would fall down if it was not supported by the ceiling while at the same time it is limited by this ceiling. So it is shaped by the strenght of the material and the environment it is placed in. I found that a appropriate metaphor for the struggle of the last phase of the art academy I told you about before. That is why I decided to make this installation my final graduation work. I combined the largest tower with smaller towers and placed them in a labyrinth of lines where the towers each occupy a position and try to find each other.

What I wanted to create with this piece is a sence of weightlessness and serenity, which I associate with my daily meditations. I believe that medita18


Els Wiering

ARTiculAction

Lichtvangers (detail) 2010, BB-wei, Leeuwarden

disconnected from direct experience?

tion is the best thing you can do for yourself and you could see this work as an invitation to do so.

When I am creating something, it feels like I'm plugging into something inside of me, that is always present, but usually not very manifest for others to see. The scary part of making art is that this turns out to be very visible to others once it is captured in a piece of art. From my point of view I don’t believe that personal experiences can be seperated from what you are creating.

And I couldn't do without mentioning "Treden", a very stimulating piece capable of establishing an effective synergy between the apparently contrasting concepts of fragility of such a thin structure, and the idea of strenghtness that allows it to stand up, facing gravity... by the way, I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be

Another interesting pieces of yours on which I would like to spend some words are “Transparency” and especially “Waterloper” which I ha19


ARTiculAction

Els Wiering

Treden, 2012 Kunstruimte Noordwest, SKPN Groningen Metal strapping, cotton tape

ve to admit is one of my favourite works of yours: elements of the environment are very recurrent in your artistic production, and as you have remarked in your artist's statement, besides physical dimensions, space has a more symbolic meaning, it can be a metaphor for emotions and associations...

So far your works have been exhibited in several occasions: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?

That's true. I tend to use the environment to affirm the meaning of the work. Like Lines, Waterlopers is also about reconciling with limitations that our environment imposes to us.

I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

The funny thing with the waterlopers is that it always makes people wonder if they can really walk on water. While making these pictures people where following the waterlopers all around the place to see if they could really do that and everybody wanted them too succeed.

Oh, I couldn't do without feedback of audience. Other people often helped me to understand my work by giving me their associations and opinions. I try not to think too much about who the audience is or how they will conceive it while I am making it, I just make it. Afterwards Jennifer Sims I 'm searching for the 20


Els Wiering

ARTiculAction

Transparancy, 2011

right stage where I can show it to an audience. As for combing business and Art: I did a few business assignments and in those assignments I got the chance to show versions of my installations, which I already developed in the intimicy of my studio. In that way I can do business assigments while staying genuine.

imbed art and creative ideas. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Els. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you?

Your very welcome. Right now I am experimenting with a varity of materials and I want to create new peaces with these materials. This summer this new works will be visible in the Hage, in a place called 'The Haagse kunstkring (HKK)'. Recently I joined the Dutch Society of Sculptors and during this exposition all the members who recently joined this Society will show their work.

Also, my installations are really suitable for (empty) office buildings. I already made a version of Lines in the University Library of Groningen. The rise of e-commerce, the crisis and changing ideas about consuming has led to a lot of empty shops and office buildings in the Netherlands. I believe there are great opportunities for artists (and more general, for designers and cultural workers) to fill up this gap and contribute to a retaining vivacity in the cities by

Also I will participate in a few art trails in The Netherlands this summer. And besides this I am searching for other possibilities to make more Lines. Thanks to you too! 21


ARTiculAction

Natasha Papadopoulou (Greece)

an artist’s statement

My artwork arrives from an innate need to respond and to imagine perspective ways of interactions between art forms and the visual world . It derives its themes form aspects of popular culture as well as universal images stereotypes, symbols and cliches. It takes the form of a photo performance, a sculpture as a photo and video as a living installation. Here an imprint of a performance unfolds on the continuous line of 37 meters as a photogram. The performance was done in a dance studio in New York, in total darkness with a torch that scanned each move. The idea was to intertwine the disciplines of performance, a three dimensional form of expression, into the two dimensional form of printmaking. Like that the performance relies only on its reproduction on the paper, casting the actual fact in a new form and medium that could not exist without the performance. Nevertheless this unseen performance is evident by its traces on the photographic paper only . The work was exhibited in Hydra school projects , in the island of Hydra, Greece, in Hydra School Projects. There the new challenge was how to recreate another yet performance with the piece in the outdoor space of the gallery . The photogram there was installed like a new dance within the space, using its two dimensional form into becoming again a three dimensional object, utilizing the space's walls and porch.

Natasha Papadopoulou

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Marija Avramovic

ARTiculAction

Dancing in the Dark Photographic work and installation: Natasha Papadopoulou Performers: Natasha Papadopoulou, Catherine Annie Hollingsworth Assistant in installation Yiannis Loukos Assistant in NY studio Isadora del Vecchio

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ARTiculAction

Natasha Papadopoulou

An interview with

Natasha Papadopoulou Hello Natasha, and welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artwork as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Any honest approach on a subject that is filtered by the consciousness of a person can be experienced as an art piece and evidently so we see those many variations of what is considered Art. It a broad discourse that can be looked at, in many directions, who is the receptor is the main question. Personally I gravitate towards, the Neo-surreal, the interplay of contexts and intellectual visual presentations of society structures me understand the world little deeper, the one I want to have a dialogue with. Now if we are to discuss what contemporariness accounts for, as the word states it is as interchan-geable as the moment and in this moment yes there is a tendency for the conceptual rather then the object itself. At the same time in my world, tradition is a versatile form, a base made from transparent crystal, necessary and discreet the same time. And since my tradition relies on a medium so versatile as the image I think this dichotomy as a never-ending source of inspiration. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a B.F.A of Photography that you received from the School of Visual Arts, New York: aside this one, are there any experiences that particularly impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... what's your point?

I studied Photography in SVA under artists like Collier

Natasha Papadopoulou

Jennifer Sims

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Natasha Papadopoulou

ARTiculAction

Schorr and Joseph Cooper and was lucky to be in a broad and open art environment. But it was a steppingstone of what I consider my artwork to be influenced by. Living and working as a photographer in New York for 12 years was far more rewarding. Experiencing many cultures out of their own social structures at once, the loud expression of personality in the streets every summer, the multilayered almost underground realities that only one that lives there sees were more important parts of my education per say. Parallel to building my visual vocabulary those years, I also danced with many groups mainly a group of Haitian dancers (Tambula dance company) and therefore the performative aspect of my work is another impact. So I do not consider that having a formal technical training accounting for my personal visualization of the world, its the person that comes before and after all the formulas thought in art schools. The institution is good for the technical knowledge, exposure and contacts of a free minded artist and unfortunate for those rely on any dogma imposed by it. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

My process relies on instinctive explorations of ideas, I write down many and then I find myself fixed on one or two which most times will end up becoming one, then I start imagining and look for clues in my everyday life that reinforce my original thought, for evidence that my idea is alive. When it comes to production, I plan in advance but I also leave space for chance to manifest, as many of my projects are about experimentation. As for the technical aspects, they simply rely on the needs of each project. For my videos projects I need time to experiment, make mistakes and retry formulas. I am very precise about the finish of my work and that comes from my experience in commercial photography. I believe in technical accuracy, as I like to look at works that account for the title of their medium. For this work here I had done series of photo25

Ex


ARTiculAction

Natasha Papadopoulou

Dancing in the Dark

grams of dance poses before realizing a whole performance recorded on photo-paper. However the actual piece was done in one long night in a dark dance studio, and developed in a photo darkroom days later. The installation was the most challenging because photo-paper is very heavy at this size. Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from your performative work "DANCING IN THE DARK", a 37 meters long photogram that our readers have already admired in the starting pages of this article. Would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

Dancing in the Dark

I was living in NY at the time dividing my time between dance and image-making . I wanted to create a performance for the photo medium only, a never seen action that relied only in its imprint on photosensitive paper, and that could be experienced as a whole. My idea was to obscure the margins of performance in time and reframing them in length.

disciplinary practices, however in my practice I have moved through disciplines in relation to the progress of the visual culture. It is unavoidable for my personality, the more tools I can process to creatively speak, I will use. For example I recently started to use ceramics but only in order to construct props for a video piece. As for the performative aspect of my work and the visual structure they forever remain but evolve. All those disciplines are tools for one single minded work, but as technical as this world has gotten one has to be super strict with his practice not to use the multitude of tools available. Nevertheless i don't consider my practice a mix of artistic fields rather than one than manifests in multiple ways.

Your art practice ranges from Installations, to performance, to photography: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

As an artist I admire both the single and multi 26


Natasha Papadopoulou

Dancing in the Dark

As you have remarked in your artist's statement your work derives its themes form aspects of popular culture as well as universal images stereotypes, symbols and cliches... I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

No and yes there is something very interesting coming up from exploration of outside sources and at the same time yes one has to find a special connection for those in order to become something else than a mere representation of reality or a documentation of it as well. So even the indirect

Dancing in the Dark 27

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ARTiculAction

Natasha Papadopoulou

has to become a fascination, a virtual experien-ce, a new reality, it has to derive form a personal need or question, to connect the psyche with the outside somehow. I think that it's important to mention that you have recently took part to Women With Talents, a collaborative project that you are carrying on with the artist Georgia Kotretsos. I personally find absolutely fascinating the collaborations that artists can established together as you did, especially because this often reveals a symbiosis between apparently different approaches to art... and I can't help without mention Peter Tabor who once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists?

I have to agree with Peter Tabor that a collaboration is a unity of two individual practices and yet a third one. I was very lucky to find Georgia with whom we have similar interests yet very different approaches on our personal practices. WWT came out of a need of women and artists in Greece to collaborate in this very egotistical art world and we aim to include as many women artists in our projects as possible.

Dancing in the Dark

Jennifer Sims 28


Natasha Papadopoulou

ARTiculAction

Dancing in the Dark

We have just finished our first public performance "Spring Cleaning" which took place in Rabat supported by L'appartement22 in Morocco earlier this month. There, we collabora-ted with Touda Bouanani a great artist from Morocco and are very content of the projects outcome as it came to challenge Moroccan society views the role of women in public spaces. More info www.womenwithtalents.wordpress.com Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Natasha. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

I am building an interactive video site coming up soon www.natashapapadopoulou.com I am finishing up a video project "Progress" in the next couple of months and am aiming on showing it this spring. You could see the intro to it on http://vimeo.com/76385759 Last but not least WWT is expected to present a groupshow in the fall 2014 and we have performances and residencies booked for 2014- 2015 . www.womenwithtalents.wordpress.com

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ARTiculAction

(Slovenija)

an artist’s statement

I like to think that my work is a constant evolution, therefore I shift between media as often as possible. The idea directs the use of a certain media not the other way around. I believe that each idea, thought, reflection needs to be expressed in a way that suits it best. My main interest lies in the society and its forms of expression when considering an individual. This relationship forms most of our thoughts and designs our lives. My body of work shifts from painting to photography, video art, new media installations, but often I find that some ideas need to be expressed through different media to form the whole picture. My installations are composed of videos, objects, sculptures, photographs,..

Born on the 13th of December, 1973, in Koper, Jugoslavia at the time, now Slovenija. He finished his A levels at Instituto d’arte Maks Fabiani in Gorizia, Italy. For two years he frequented Accademia di Belle Arti Venezia. He transferred to Accademia di Brera in Milano where he graduated in 2001. In 1999 he was as an Erasmus exchange student at Hoogeshool, 3-D multimedia in Gent, Belgium. 2008 finished a post graduate course at the ALU, Ljubljana, In 2007 he was as an Leonardo exchange student at UCOL, Wanganui school of design, Wanganui , New Zealand. In 2008 he was as an Leonardo exchange student at FH Digital media, university of applied sience, Hagenberg, Austria. 30


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King Midas Room Installation

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An interview with

Hello Vanja, and welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Art is in the eye of the viewer. As time, concepts and socity changes, so does art and what we belive it’s art, changes. So what defines art is the time and space of its creation. Today we can spread our regions of interest and work only according to expresion, what I mean is, there are no rules to obey, so in that respect everything that is made or created with an intention to be an art work is an art work. What defines good or excelent art work is another matter all together. For me it is something that surprises me or inspires me, makes me question, and so on. young artist's creativity... what's your point?

But I think there can’t be a dichtomy between tradition and contemporariness, there can only be rebellion against tradition, but as soon as you reflect upon it or use it as a reference, the connection is present, and I believe that either can’t really stand on it’s own.

I believe that change means growth. I have a very classical training in painting and today, I believe, gives me the confidence of self doubt. Studying art in Italy has a romantic conotation, but it’s really brilliant, becouse you really are sorrounded by works of pure greatnessess. You are easily inspired.

It’s all a part of the same story and what has been already done its a part of us, so in a way we cannot escape it. And why would we?

Both academies have outstanding galleries and you have an easy access to this great works of art. While I was in Milan, I went to Belgium, to Ghent as an exchange student, which was a very important move for me. In a way it opened me up as an artist. I like to exchange ideas and points of views, so for me workshops are great. I belive that it influenced me in a way that I dare to experiment more and you gain experience, you are able to confront yourself with others and that only makes you more rich and open as an

Would you like to tell us something about your background? After attending for a couple of years the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, you finally graduated at the Brera Academy in Milan, Italy: moreover you took part into several workshops... How have these experiences impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a

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ARTiculAction something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

It really depends on the idea for the work. Sometimes it only takes a week from the idea to the finished product, sometimes I am carrying the idea with me for years. I believe that each idea has to be expresed in way that it suits it, not that I try to impose the media on it. It really depends, but I could say that at least two months go into one art work. Usually I make plans and drawings of the idea, sometimes the idea comes and goes and comes back after years. It really depends. I like collabrations between proffessionals from different fields. So also the process changes from work to work. Sometimes I also speak to people from different proffessions, like programmers, technicians, who can help me clearify my idea and specifiy the possibilities and limitations and this sometimes takes me in a completly different direction then planned previously. This collaborations might also be a part of my personality, I don’t know. But mainly I work in the fields of installation, video and photography. Sometimes I mix them all together, sometimes they are separatly a part of one work. Lately I have found an interest in sound, so I am experimenting with sound as well, like in DadaMantra and CunC_livingLab , where sound is used as silence.. .

artist. I also belive that formal training is necessary, even though in todays art practices, formal art training is not necessary. You can come from different fields and express yourself through contemporary art, like different fields of science and humanistic studies. The esthetics today are not rudimental in art, probably also becouse our every day lives have become esthetisized. But I do belive that you have to develope a critical mind and some form of formal training gives you that. When you are a young aspiring art student it may sometimes feel as a restriction, but in reality I do not belive that it is. Studying is never bad or stifling. In my opinion not re examining yourself and an empty sense of confidence stifle you.

Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from your video In-Between whose stills can be admired by our readers in the pages of this article. Would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

It all started with an invitation from the art group Femlink. For the first time they have proposed a project to male artists. The idea was that we do a portrait of female artists of the same nationality. I have decided to do a portrait on the Tandem Eclipse as I feel that their work is respon-

Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers 33


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A sequence of stills from In Between, video

ding to pure female art. The choise of how to present them though, came from the fact that this was their first preformance since my invitation and I wanted to do a portrait through this project. I did not want to use their actual preformance but to shoot them before and after the preformance itself, so I would be in the domain of the private as well as public.

come a work of art. But at other times my work spurs from a complete conceptual idea and has absolutly nothing to do with my own experience. Not the idea itself and not the process either. For exaple my work CunC_living Lab needs the opposite to existe. To become an artistic concept it needs the experience of the audience. They are co- creating the work itself and I, as an artist, am reduced to only play a part of the first user and of the one who prepared the platform for the installation. CunC_living Lab works as a platform of thoughts which together they create a collective sub consciousness. I also don’t hold a preference to either. It’s the idea or the need to express myself that guides my work , in a way.

Also their work plays with the notions and preconceptions of private and public. After that the video took its own path. In a way it became as much my work as theirs, becouse it expresses my view on the matter of private and public, and the mistery that lies in between. As you have underlined once, you wanted to capture was the time before or better the time in between the reality of two everyday individuals to transformation in to an artistic tandem and in to art personas... so I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Another project of yours on which I woudl like to spend some words is entitled DadaMantrasuite in 7 acts and I woudl suggest to our reader to visit the related website directly at http://black.fri.uni-lj.si/dadamantra/ in order to get a wider and more precise idea of it: in the meanwhile would you lead us through the developement of this interesting project?

First it started of as a text and then sound. I feel that the socio- political situation in the world is similar to the situation and era which gave us dadaizem. So I’ve decided to take after the method of Tristan Tzara, how to write a dadaistic poem; you choose an article that you like in the

I don’t believe that it is absolutely indespensable. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. A lot my work though, does reside in the personal experience. It depends on what needs to be communicated and what form it takes on to be34


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DADAMantra, suite in 7 acts, dies saturni

DADAMantra, suite in 7 acts, dies lunae

newspaper or in a magazin , you cut it up, word by word, mix them all together and then you pick up word by word and this is how you get a dadaistic poem. I’ve chosen five most important and most established, in number and in cultural influence, religions of the world. I’ve taken their most important or most used prayers, cut them up, mixed them all together and made a new prayer for each day of the week. I was actually doing the prayers on the exact day. So at this point I had seven collages, one for each day. After that I’ve put the texts into the computer software text to speach and had gained a way how it should be spoken, with an artificial voice, without emotion or inclinations. The sound installation can be exhibited anywhere; in parks, rooms, galleries, train stations… this idea of an invasive, non sensical ”new religion” amused me. And from there, the last phase

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Wordless 1, interactive instalation

was an internet site. The work or the idea started to develope from the notion that today as ever, religion defines and devides us. The position of art in the society today is far less important than it was ever before. It is considered a waste of time and a decoration and it amused me that from art a new connection or religion could rise. Art should be socialy and politicaly engaged.

example like in my work King Midas room work, which is a permanent installation, which was made for the video, I have afterwords made graphics and photographs of the room, which are now like artefacts of the actual installation. Also in DadaMantra- suite in 7 acts I mix media and I cannot imagine it any other way, it would not do it justice.

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, you shift between media as often as possible: your art practice ranges from painting to photography, from video art to new media installations: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

I think that art today is as much a concept as it is the phisycal manifastation,which makes it so much more fun. But I bielive I have to try to keep the balance between both. We can play around with media , ideas , concepts and in that way we re examine ourselves as artists and art it self. From 2005 to now, your artworks have been exhibited in many occasions, both in your native country and abroad, and you also received a grant from the Ministry of Culture. It goes without saying that positive feedbacks and especially awards are capable of suppor-

Yes, of course. It happens often that I try to present an idea or a concept in one way and then it takes me to another media. But quite often, for

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invitation for a 20 century dinner interactive installation

respond to it. Today everything has to be a business, they teach at art schools how to sell and present yourself, but nontheless I don’t think there could be a genuine relationship, becouse admiring art or valuing it is a very subjective relationship.. Also criticisem, even though it is based in knowledge, it’s a subjective experience and represents a relationship between an artist and a critic. I think that the buisness relationship should be between society and art, which has almost disappeared today. I mean this in a sense where society educates and has a need to surround itself with art.

The Thinker, hommage to Rodin

ting an artist... I was just wondering if such expectation could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

We have moved into elite circeles and hermetically closed spaces. We should try to aim to open up art to wider public, but not for the price of quality. Maybe then and slowly, the business relationship would become less obliging. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Vanja. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

In a way it can influence the process. But mainly becouse today sometimes also exhibitions work with themes and like competitions. So it goes without saying, that you adjust your ideas and your work.

I have some exhibitions coming up in the next months. One is a site specific, under the curation of a young italian critic, which really exites me and another one is a collaboration with an Italian artist Giorgio Valvassori. And as I said I have found a new interest in sound and I am currently working on a new sound installation, related to body and I am looking forward to where it can take me. I am developing further a project titled Chewed and am also working on a new video installation on Liberty and its limitations.

For me the feedback is quite important, I also created work, where I could had an immidiate feedback. It is not a conscious decision, but Art pour l’art is simply an impossibile notion for me. Obviously I don’t think of the exact person or type of public when I create, at least not consciously, but I want people to see my work and 37


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Willy Branckaerts (Belgium)

an artist’s statement

" The dremer should strive, in relation to every thing, to feel the apparant indifference that this thing, as a thing, summons in him. Immediately, instinctively fetch from every object or event that what is dreamable about it and leave all that is real about it for dead. Behold what the wise one should achieve within himself" A quote from Fernando Pessoa what is for me the most accurate description of what i do.

Willy Branckaerts

blackbird's bride

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Willy Branckaerts

An interview with

Willy Branckaerts Hello Willy, and welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Contemporary art could never have been without tradition. The old masters and even the cave of Altamira where, at one time, contemporary. But you can ask yourself; did the cavemen put their hands on the wall with the desire to make art? I doubt it. Do i have that desire? Probably, but i’m only aware of an irresistible drive to create. And if my creations are to be defined as art, is something i leave to the public to deside. But whenever someone is emotionaly moved by a painting, sculpture, or whatever, then that person has every right to call it art. Tolstoi defined art as follows; a human activity with the intent to pass on the most intense and best feelings that can emerge in a human being. I find this very well put. But the fact remains that there is no irrefutable, scientific definition of art. So there is always room for interpretation, what makes it confusing but also interesting. There was a big exposition in my home town, called Middle Gate, by the famous Belgian curator Jan Hoet. In this exhibition works of both contemporary artists and psychiatric patients were shown next to each other. And it was striking to see the similarities. It makes you think, doesn’t it? Maybe artists have the ability to enter a different level of consiousness than other people, an awareness, possibly similar to some mental disorder? And maybe art is made at this level? Nietzsche once said; artists are sleepwalkers by daylight. Well, i must say, i daydream a lot. What is fun! Except in traffic.

Willy Branckaerts

Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have studied Fine Arts both at the Royal Academie of Fine Arts in Antwerp and at City School of fine arts at Geel. How have these experiences impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a

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Willy Branckaerts

ARTiculAction

Boardwalk, Olie op hout, Ca 237 x 60 cm

In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

young artist's creativity... what's your point?

It’s possible that art students are stifled by a formal training, but that will never last longer than the training itself.

In the creation manifests the desire for freedom, to breaking with rigid habits and opening new horizons. Art is live. The artwork expresses the authentic intensions of the creator, which is embodied in a particular way in my work. The use of materials ( wallpaper, sandpaper, filler,...)from my occupation as an iterior decorator, may be an immediate expression of the human desire for beauty. The thingly of my occupation is broken in the creation of the artwork. What could be frustrating, traumatic is thus limited to an intense experiance, a leap into freedom, the licentiousness of spaciousness, to self-conciousness.

Every now and than you here artists pecking on their old teachers and school. As if it was a waiste of time. The truth is that too many students waste too much time during their training. And so did i. The work i made in those four years at the academie in Antwerp could have easily be done in two or even one year. But like many art students i thought there was more art to made in bars and pubs. O K , i admit, it was fun. Philosophising in the fuddle of alcohol and pretending to be the next Picasso. But when one becomes more mature, you realize that it is hard work that gives results. I wonder if artists, that have become succesfull and look down on their old teachers, ever ask themselves where they would have been without them.

I will use any thechnique that my purpose requires. If it is one i do not know how, i’ll teach him. The nature of the work is dictated primarily by the aspects of the materials used. The preparation and conception is mainly in my head. The time it takes to create a piece can vary greatly, from less than 2 hours to more than one year. I always work on several pieces at the same time, so i can never say excatly how much time one piece took.

I believe that art teachers try to do their best with the knowledge and means they have. But there is a saying wich says ; “those who can can’t teach, those who can’t can”. Soccer players never score the winning goal on training. But they’ll never win without it.

But what is frustrating is that the mind works faster than the hand. And since i have a business to run, the hand can’t keep up with the mind. Because the mind never stops.

Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? 41


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Willy Branckaerts

Lion Queen, Olie op linne/mixed media, 33 x 24 cm Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from Blackbird's Bride and Boardwalk, that our readers have already admired in the starting pages of this article. Would you tell us something about the genesis of these interesting pieces? What was your initial inspiration?

‘Blackbird’s bride’ was a tough one. It was one of three works that i started making with old wooden panels i found. The other two are ‘exitatio’ and the ‘pope’s limit’. I was not happy with the original concept and they had been standing in my studio for over a year. And on a Sunday evening i came home after a good diner and even better wine, went to my studio and finished ‘exitatio’ in less than 2 hours. A week later ‘Blackbird’s bride ‘ seemed easy to. ‘Boardwalk’ was actually easy. They were three planks that had to be replaced on some windows. They were dirty and weathered, but i saw three beautifull landscapes. I put them up in mu studio, wondering what to do with it. Thinking about the material, wood, I came up with the word ‘board-

I’m not looking for inspiration, i find it. And that is usually on my job as a painter decorator. Somehow i see the beauty in things that have served their usefulness and have become worthless. And they seem to call out to me; give us a new right to exist. It may be the structure, texture, shape or color that inspires me, but basically anything can be used. 42


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Shy Bird, Olie op paneel / mixed media 37 x 28 cm walk’, and the rest looks obvious to me. Some of the people that have, up till now, seen ‘boardwalk’ find it verry amusing, even funny. Which is good because i feel that there is too little humor in art. While admiring Painter on the green I have been struck with the way you have been capable of merging delicate and thoughtful tone of colors with solid shapes, as well as in Lion Queen and especially in Shy Bird, which I have to admit is one of my favourite pieces of yours... By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

Painter on the Green, Olie en was on linnen, 39 x 56 cm

nuances. So sometimes it is possible to constantly discover new things in one and the same work. When i started with mixed media, many years ago, i could get but no connection between the painted parts and the materials used ( in this case old scraps of walpaper).It seemed as if the paper was simply glued on top of the painting and took no part of it. By mixing paint with sand and putty i could also work in relief. Now there was a bond between the combined materials.

‘Painter on the green’ i made on an old rag that i used at work. Completely smeared with paint and putty residues, an abstract drawing had already formed. So this rag was interesting enough to start working with. It would become my base, my starting point. The trick is to take the image that has already been formed and to go in depth and take it to where, or what i want it to be. And when i was working on this piece, i was invited by a company for a golf initiation. So...

When working with different materials you have to ensure a good marriage between them, you want them all to embrace each other. Sometimes this can be done with a simple line that runs across the materials. It should look as if it has always been a whole.

The palette i use is mainly determined by the materials that i use. I don’t like hard and monotonous colors. I want it all to be alive. With many 43


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Willy Branckaerts

Lost, Olie op linnes, 204 x 104 cm

You have chosen a deep quote of Fernando Pessoa as your artist's statement... I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

And I couldn't do without mentioning Lost, Muze and especially The Pope's Limit is the Skyline, which shows a stimulating synergy between the apparently contrasting ideas of circularity suggested by the circular shape and the straightness of the brush strokes on the background: this gives a sense of rhytm to the piece...

The quote of Pessoa determines exactly my feelings in relation to everything. But trust me, personal experiance is inextrictably linked to the creative process. Just like education, social background, etc.. . You can only paint wath yo know.

When the canvas for ‘ lost’ ( wich was originally a cloth i used to cover up furniture ) was glued on a panel, I was stuck with a canvas with a tremendous sense of space. So i painted the black belt at the bottom which gave a firm footing in this space. The figure came later and it got LOST in all that space.

Each artwork is a part of the creator; So when you buy an artwork, you also buy a part of the artist. One could be able to separate personality from the creative, but that would result in a far-reaching mannerism. In furniture stores you often find those things for sale. The kind of paintings you can easily make 10 a day.

Together with ‘boardwalk’, ‘lost’ made the selection of The Wells Art Contemporary contest. Due to unfortunate cicumstances ( two men who sent me in the opposite direction) i failed to turn in my work on time. So i guess it was also my destiny to

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The pope’s limit is the skyline, Olie op doek / mixed media, 120 x 170 cm

get... LOST. The pope’s limit came also through a gradual evolution. Originally the work was horizontal. The wing shape was a piece of canvas on which the wing of an angel was painted. It was found in a dilapidadet building. Muze, Olie op linnes/mixed media, 20 x 40 cm

I got stuck, so i placed it vertically and started recoating it. The vertical strokes contrasted nicely with the horizontal wood. The cicular shape was carved in to the paint at an earlier stage. The vertical strokes reminded me of a skyline. The wing was already of a religious origin, and in this position it looked like a throne to me. After adding the curl, wich symbolizes the staff of a saint, my work was finished and also it’s title.

The pope’s limit came also through a gradual evolution. Originally the work was horizontal. The wing shape was a piece of canvas on which the wing of an angel was painted. It was found in a dilapidadet building. 45


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Willy Branckaerts

I got stuck, so i placed it vertically and started recoating it. The vertical strokes contrasted nicely with the horizontal wood. The cicular shape was carved in to the paint at an earlier stage. The vertical strokes reminded me of a skyline. The wing was already of a religious origin, and in this position it looked like a throne to me. After adding the curl, wich symbolizes the staff of a saint, my work was finished and also it’s title. During these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

No, i have never let let my work be influenced by successes. One can only make what one is. During one of my exhibitions, there was a small triptych in wich i had used some old sandpaper. I doubted for a while whether i would even show the piece. Five minutes after the opening it was sold. And fifteen minutes later i had at least ten requests to make more of those. I never did. But winning an award may equally be important to the public as to the artist. Winning an award gives the public confidence that they are buying a genuine work of art. But who buys art in the hope that it will increase in value enormous, has a wrong attitude towards art. If one is lucky, it is the heirs that rake in the profits. Positive coments from the audiance works stimulatory; it gives you extra energy to keep going. And the nicest moments are; whenever you sell a piece, noting that the buyer is so happy with it. Even thanks you for it. When, years later, they tell you; I still find it so beautiful. It’s the best compliment an artist can get. People that buy art are people who indulge themselves. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Willy. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Next april i have a solo exhibition in Turnhout Belgium. In May i’m taking part in a big art event ‘ Kunst aan de Ee’ in Friesland, the north of Holland. And in September again a small one in Berkhout north Holland. I’m also working on 14 pieces that have to become my version of ‘ the stations of the cross’. These must be ready for my last exhibition, in December this year. Besides that i’m also working on a series with LED lights. Looks pretty busy, doesn’t it. But after a long period of inactivity, i’m gonna make sure to be busy for the rest of my live. I have some catching up to do. An interview by articulaction@post.com

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Marija Avramovic an artist’s statement

… Its about making castles out of blankets and boxes, about first ideas of touch, about hiding and shame, playing and fun. This serie of paintings is based on exploring human body and its nature, and this time approach is coming from ‘other side’ , from inside. Exploration of human structure was my goal, but not in biological or anatomical way. My base was intuition, symbols, collective subconscious... I wanted to create presence and atmosphere of childhood, of memories, using just little reminders of human existance. That presence is pelasant or ominous, but undeniable. I searched for personal emotion and posture in something general and universal, memories of a First Human. The scenes in my works are pieces of personal universe, sights of spiritual and emotional space. At the same time I wanted to convert an observer in to a witness of a lucid dream or oniric state, and of course to remind him of his active participation in our collective subconscious. Motifs like women dress, shirt, tights, gloves, are repeating themselfs- they depict archetypes - wich by the time, take our shape and become personal matrix or mold. In my works, that first layer of clothing, just next to the skin, is creating magical space and personal mold of a body. Also according to the old Slavic heritage some of my motifs are very important in many segments of a persons life. So I wanted my work to communicate on difrent levels – as my own personal and intimate interior, as a ritual or mith from a certan culture, and at the end as something general and distinctive for every human.

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Marija Avramovic

An interview with

Marija Avramovic Hello Marija, and welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art?

Hi, thank you. I think that’s a tricky question for a young artist. I don’t think that art is supposed to have one ultimate definition. Though it could be rather simple i see it as a most honest form of communication or experience. By the way, what could be the features that mark an artwork as a piece of Contemporary Art? As I have read in your artist's statement, old Slavic heritage plays a role in your art practice: so, do you think that there's an inner dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Well, at one point in my work, yes. The question of the borderline between contemporary and classical was a very interesting subject for me. When I made this series of paintings I was influenced by Jung’s theory of collective subconscious, so for me the logical thing was to go back from personal history, to cultural and then general human history.

Marija Avramovic

your MA studies. How are these experiences impacting on the way you currently produce your artworks? I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...

I often used the symbol of a dress, shirt, or, in some later works, just fabric, as something close to people on emotional or physical level, and as well on the level of gender. For example, in Slavic mythology the dress is often shown as a person’s double, or duplicate, and that was one of key points when I made a heavy dress from clay, a dress as a body, or body as a dress.

That search for balance between formal and ‘freely’, is present in different forms of my interests. When I was younger I started with classical ballet, and now I’m part of a contemporary dance studio. It influenced my art in various ways, and expanded my terms of expression. The combination of a very contemporary program in Nancy and a ‘classical’ and ‘academic’ approach in school in Belgrade was an extremely valuable experience for me, because one strict ideology

Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a BA and a Master of Fine Arts that you have received from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade: moreover, you have spent a year at the Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Art de Nancy, where you attended the first year of

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Shelter, acrylic on paper, 210x150cm, 2013

can produce a lot of traps and sideways for a young artist. If we have an idea without enough knowledge for its realization or just plain technique without real deliberation, we won’t be able to make something significant. I don’t think that painting is dead; there will always be a place for good art, but still we cannot ignore the time we live in.

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

Formal training is important because it teaches us to really look, but I think that truly serious works are created at the point when we just forget all that technical stuff they taught us, and start using it instinctively in a service of an idea. That preserves an art work from being meaningless and infertile.

I’d have to admit that I am a messy artist without much respect for technical aspects of painting. It excites me to experiment with combination of materials that I like to use. It’s sometimes the shortest path to dealing with fundamental issues of painting. Anyway, I work mostly with acrylic based colors, I like the promptness it offers, and 51


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Marija Avramovic

Gentle, Acrylic on canvas, 46x38cm

its tolerance of mixing. Also I find it fun to make organic works out of artificial materials. Regarding the time of preparation, it varies every time. Sometimes the idea is clear and easy to interpret, and sometimes it just keeps opening new problems and solutions. Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from “Inner Side�, an interesting series that our readers have already started to get to know and admire in the introductory pages of this article. Would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration? In particular I've been struck with the sense of movement of Touch, an extremely interesting piece of this series...

Sometimes I see inspiration as a slightly overrated concept. I wonder if it exists more on the level of language than in reality, like some romantic legacy

Touch, Mixed technique, 120x80cm

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of the past. Yet, the fact is that every idea of an artist must find its starting point somewhere. Actually, making the Inner Side series, I was under the direct influence of the film Color of Pomegranates, directed by Sergei Parajanov. His film is formed by silence and stillness, by immense and infinite space made of symbols and metaphors, and each frame is a puzzle with a lot of different meanings. Inner side tells about activity beneath the clothes, skin, it embodies emotions. It began with painting of, sometimes abstract, pieces of fabric with traces of organic presence. A motif I used a lot was cranberry, little red fruit, a natural antibiotic and a traditional medicine, and also a form very easy to manipulate in visual communication. As I said dance and movement are important for my creation. But still, as you can see in the painting ‘Touch’, dance is not my theme, it is an incredible way of understanding a body. For me, dance is a good method and starting point for interpretation of sensitivity of body itself, fragility, pain, tension, control. My intention with this series was to provoke that carnal feeling of flesh, sensuality and touch, without literal or superficial interpretation of it.

Always the same nostalgy, 2013 from the sketch book,

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Hide and seek, 60x72cm

A feature of Hidden and especially of Hide and Seek that has mostly impacted on me is your capability of creating a deep intellectual interaction, communicating a wide variety of states of mind: even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I have to admit that in a certain sense it unsettles me a bit... it's an effective mix between anguish and thoughtless, maybe hidden happiness... I would go as far as to state that this piece, rather than simply describing, pose us a question: forces us to meditation...

The mentioned works, as well as Three, were most direct when we are speaking about those mixed feelings that we are facing spontaneously as kids, feelings of joy, shame, pleasure, anguish or just playfulness...

Three, 2013 acrylic on canvas, 100 x 150 cm

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We all experienced them. Kids, I guess grownups too, often like to build some kind of safe zone, intellectual or emotional space where one could feel sheltered. Where one can settle down after a wayward behavior. They have their own special and emotional perspective: if they are hiding, it’s enough just to cover their eyes, and if they don’t see anything, no one will see them. I think that’s fun, and so I wanted to initiate that kind of memo-ries and feelings in the observer. Even though you are right, sometimes it could be unsettling. Another interesting pieces of yours on which I would like to spend some words are from your series Presence and Fresh Flesh Nancy: I have been struck with the way you have been capable of merging intense -but at the same time thoughtful- tone of red with solid shapes... By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

I think I always had affection for those ‘dirty’ colors you can see in those series. Maybe because the lighting as a painting element was never my real occupation, and maybe that’s why my palette came out like this. I love to use just black or white, as a complete presence or absence of colors. The series Fresh Flesh Nancy was a story of touch, how precious or obsessive it can be, so I guess the colors I chose had symbolic meaning. In Presence also, I was concentrated more on that metaphysical atmosphere, sometimes two-dimensional space, with no direct or defined source of light. It’s the same with presence, it is just there, no need to explain how or why.

Dream, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 120 cm, 2013

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Marija Avramovic

Tutorials 1, from the Fresh Flesh Nancy series

Tutorials 2, from the Fresh Flesh Nancy series

Acrylic on canvas, 46x38cm, 2012

Acrylic on canvas, 46x38cm , 2012

And I couldn't do with mentioning that besides painting you also produce stimulating sculptural works and mixed media pieces... As you have remarked, your artworks create presence and atmosphere of childhood, of memories, using just little reminders of human existence: is in your opinion personal experience an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

of youth and childhood. Children hiding, castles made out of blankets are something likea common place, experienced by almost everybody. So I think that’s what makes it easy to relate with a piece. Working on that dress in ceramic I became aware that my personal presence, the direct interaction with the work, was crucial for that sculpture, and that only with my complete involvement the creation of that personal mythology will be complete.

I was questioning that working on Presence. It is an intimate series that requested personal experience. I was using symbols, memories, elements

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During these last four years you artworks have been exhibited both in Serbia and in France, Germany and Portugal: it goes without saying that positive feedbacks are capable of providing an artist of a special support... I was just wondering if the expectation of a positive feedback- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

It is important for an artist to have positive feedback of course, but I don’t see that as the biggest motivation for work. It is great to have opportunity to, at the same time, present your work and connect with people who appreciate or make art. As an artist, I couldn’t possibly ignore reactions from the observers. However, I never found too much pleasure in positive reactions when I was disappointed with my own work. Feedback and reactions are genuine and necessary part of process, but they can be confusing or misleading sometimes, so I don’t want to make them my goal. Of course there is relation between business and art, and it’s about much more then just beauty or aesthetics, like any other business. That’s completely fair and reasonable, and I’ll be rude enough to say that I find it incredibly boring sometimes. Nonetheless, that’s something I have to work on.

Hypochondria, dress, sewing pins and cranberry's, 2013

Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Marija. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

just a proof that a particular body was in it. It is both a body and a frame. In my work Pillow book(diary of my dreams projected on pillow) I was again sharing something personal, my nighttimenature, so that kind of exchanging personal experiences was present for a long time in my art. Now, working on my new projects, I don’t think that personal experience is indispensable. It was at one point, for certain works. At this moment I tend to create something that is maybe more objective, it’s a series of works with a theme of constellations done with needle and thread on different kinds of paper.

At this point I am working on some new projects, finishing the series that I already mentioned, with needle and thread, and filming some video work mixing dance and performance. Also, I am preparing a solo exhibition in Belgrade and some group projects. For more information about my work just visit: http://marijaavramovic.blogspot.com/

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Johan Wahlstrom (Sweden) an artist’s statement

I paint to keep myself insane. I paint anxiety to be calm. I paint war to have peace. I paint sadness to be happy. I paint the dark to be in the light. I paint death to be alive. I paint a story so that I don’t have to tell a story.

Johan Wahlstrom

Keep on Waiting 50x50cm Acrylic, Ink and Oil Bar Stick on Canvas 2013 58


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Johan Wahlstrom

An interview with

Johan Wahlstrom Hello Johan, and a warm welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

To me a work of art tell a story. If painted today it is a story about our lifes in this time and will be part of the history to be told to future generations about our lifes of today. A good painting will have the viewer to either Hate it or Love it! A good painting is showing a part of the artist and is true from the artist. Would you like to tell us something about your background? I have read that a fifth-generation artist and that you started your "second artistic life" in a small village in France -where you moved to from Sweden- under the tutelage of Lennart Nystrom... How has this experience impacted on the way you currenly produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... what's your point?

Johan Wahlstrom

something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

Since I was a kid I was always surrounded with art and I when I decided to focus on painting after finishing my music career I spent a few years With Lennart Nystrom and from him I learnt a lot of technique and more important the way he was living, thinking, working as an artist.

I create my paintings quickly, inspired by cryptic observations/titles jotted on scraps of paper littering my studio. “I decide what titles I will work with each day and set myself into the mood of the title with loud music, and try to paint the title to get the viewers to spin their brains toward the story I like to communicate

Today my influences are more focused on what is going on in the world around, close to me and far away… People that I meet, during my traveling, news etc… I try to be a story teller about situations that we as humans have already met, will meet etc…

Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from your It’s Boring to Die series, that our readers have already admired in the starting pagesJennifer of this article. SimsWould you tell us some-

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From "Its Boring To Die" exhibition at Van Der Plas Gallery, New York, Summer 2013

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

experience, others experiences that have been shared to the artist, experinces that you read about and of course what one as an artist imagine

It's Boring To Die is the title for all my exhibitions since early 2011 and will continue for a few years more. To make a long story short: I am not looking forward to die and it seems very boring to be dead, therefore I want to live my life day to day in away that fits me. To many of people that I meet are living like they are already dead….in a mental way….

A feature of There You Are and especially of Waiting For Godot -definetely one of my favourite pieces of yours- that has mostly impacted on me is your capability of creating a deep intellectual interaction, communicating a wide variety of states of mind : even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I have to admit that in a certain sense your works unsettle me a bit... I can recognize an effective mix between anguish and thoughtless... By the way, I can recognize such a subtle social criticism... I'm sort of convinced that Art in these days could play an effective role not only making public opinion aware of current

As you have stated, "I paint a story so that I don’t have to tell a story"... I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

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Its Time To Settle The Score, 2013 100x100cm Acrylic, Ink and Oil Bar Stick on Canvas

issues: I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can even steer people's behaviour... I would take this occasion to ask your point about this.

One of the main target for me when I paint is to hopefully steer peoples behaviour towards things that can be part of possitive changes that are all the time needed to make the world a better place for us today and for future generations to come. I noticed that red is a very recurrent color in your pieces, especially in a deep, intense nuance, that as in It Is Time To Settle The Score and Are We All The Same seems to reveal such a struggle, a deep tension and intense emotions... Has your approach changed during this last year? By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

Since late 2010 my main colors used are: Red, Black, Blue, White in a mix or solid black or solid blue. Since summer 2013 until today I have excluded the Blue in most paintings and are

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Its Boring To Die, 2011 240x180cm Acrylic and Ink on Canvas

using Black as a base with Red for the strong contrast that I love with red and of course the white that is always there Prior to late 2010 I used a much wider color palette I also had a period 2009-2010 when i used different shades of red and orange as the main for the paintings.

Are We All The Same, 2013 300x160cm, Acrylic, Ink and Oil Bar Stick on Canvas 63


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Johan Wahlstrom

Waiting For Godot, 350x200cm Acrylic on Canvas, 2013

Since 1999 your artworks have been exhibited across Europe and the United States and moreover you have been also -among the othershighlighted artist at May 2013 Fridge Art Fair. It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

I can only paint what is true to me, I am aware of that my kind of art is not the easy sell type of art. My dream scenario with each painting is that there will be only 2 reactions from the viewers: 1.Hate it 2.Love it In both cases neither one of these 2 viewers will not forget my art. And He Went Down On His Knees 100x100cm

Business and art, very difficult to give an answer

Acrylic, Ink and Oil Bar Stick on Canvas, 2013

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Art War, Acrylic on Canvas, Acrylic on Wood, 2013

to if its possible to have a geniune relationship between the two. I have been lucky that a few galleries that work with me they do it due to that they believe in my art. how you can compete in art, being that each person that view a painting will have its own reaction and thoughts about a painting. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Johan: what's next for you?

2014 will be a busy year for me with exhibitions in London/UK, New York/USA, Malmo/Sweden, Capetown, Kotor/Montenegro, Rome/Italy, Stockholm/Sweden Love Has Left The Building, 100x100cm Acrylic, Ink and Oil Bar Stick on Canvas, 2014

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Uzma Sultan (Pakistan/United Kingdom) Hello Uzma, and welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art?

Art can be anything and most importantly its the artist’s vision that plays a key role. It is also a reflection of the time we live in like the impressionists did something new for their time taking the canvas out of the studio and using paint straight from the tube. Also Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ was maybe a surprising painting. Previously Northern European flower paintings were deemed feminine,weak and delicate compared to large bold canvases on classical themes. Flowers were also painted by a male artists think of Monet’s water lilies and Van Gogh’s ‘sunflowers’ and ‘Irises’ Also he made several versions of the yellow and blue ‘Sunflowers’. Moving on to the present age of digital media and photography its apparent use in Contemporary Art is an obvious one. Hence we have multi media performances,web based art and digital photography and more. I’m not going to go too much in Art theory but the controversy of Damien Hirst’s Art in the 1990’s of Pickled sharks and cows in formaldehyde has also paralled with the success of his Pharmacy restaurant in London’s Notting Hill.Success works in mysterious ways. These are the factors that define contemporary Art.

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Abdullah Shah Gazi Mazar, 2011 Oil on Aluminium, 74 x 50 cms

Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a MFA in Painting that you received from The Slade School of Fine Art, London: how has this experience impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... what's your point?

My training at the Slade does form a basis for the progress of my work (also before that I was at Wimbledon and Chelsea School of Art & Design) Also prior to that I started initially at Indus Valley School of Art in Karachi but left to complete my Art education in London after two semesters. That is where I was exposed to and interacted with International artists paticularly at the Slade where I was on the MFA program. And hopefully I played an important part too. At Wimbledon which was a very European Art school with students from Greece, Norway etc. I was seen to be coming from an ‘exotic’ destination like Pakistan( ha ha!) but the Slade had more of an International reputation. Many of my fellow colleagues/contemporaries are now prominent figures in the Art World. I was taught by Tess Jaray who I felt very rightly challenged my work and I thank her for it now. Not to mention how much we learned from engaging with each other and the weekly seminar presentations on which we were marked. We were constantly made aware to think of what ‘contemporary’ is?! So I would disagree with you if you were to say that formal training can stifle a young artist’s creativity!

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

I take random photos of things ideas that are important to me but I‘m not a photographer. These photos are only used as an index or a star-

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ther its canvas,linen,vinyl or aluminium. I just rely on my gut feeling and never know till the last minute whether a painting is going to be on Aluminium or just canvas. There’s no preparatory formal sketch of sorts too. What got me interested in using Aluminium was the inspiration I got from seeing Gary Hume’s paintings as I waned to use household gloss paint like he does on Aluminium panel. That’s when my love affair with using Aluminium support started in Art school. Also I later discovered that some of the dutch still life paintings were on Copper! Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from Oriental Studio, English Lace and Little Girl, an interesting series that our readers have already started to get to know and admire in the introductory pages of this article and I woudl suggest to visit your website directly at http://www.uzmasultan.com/ in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production... In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of these stimulating pieces? What was your initial inspiration?

Worked from a photo in a weekend telegraph maga-

ting point and are quite unlike the paintings. So photorealism is not my intention. These pictures are very often just taken from the camera of my handheld mobile phone. Also the photos that are already given in the media like derived from lifestyle magazines namely The World of Interiors and the weekend newspaper supplements. Peter Wescott's Country house, 2010

My way of working is very direct and based on intuition as to what material to work on whe-

Oil on Canvas, 61 x 71 cms

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zine this is a painting on canvas when I look at it now Matisse’s Red Studio comes to mind but while working on it I had no pre conceptions. English Lace is a late1980’s illustrative picture from a Marks & Spencer packaging. Little girl is a photo of a little Pakistani girl made into a painting. All my paintings are usually actual places... I want my paintings to look like paintings and not the photograph. Its about glamourising everything. The artists I asociate with are British contemporary artist Dexter Dalwood ;his paintings are of places he’s neverv seen piece together immaculate dreamscapes of famous settings.Merging painting with science fiction

Little Girl, 2012, Oil on Canvas,

Oriental Studio, Oil on Canvas, 153 x 110 cm.

55 x 40 cm.

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English Lace, 2013, Oil on Linen, 90 x 85 cm.

concept his sites play on pseudo memory the knowing conviction of non experience. There was a scene a few years ago when someone had broken into the Queen’s bedroom and that’s when it came into the news that the Queen slept on a single bed and had a TV in her room.It was the idea that she was living in sort of isolation.His paintings are virtual reality,their invention second hand from photoshopped magazine pics and their reconstruction from biased written accounts. As you have remarked, your paintings have been made using photographs which you take yourself or from lifestyle magazines, as for "Big Ben" and "Pean Shop": not to mention that nowadays the usage of found materials is a very common practice. using materials with a previous life, I would state that ex71


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Uzma Sultan

Big Ben, 2013, Oil on Alluminuim, 37 x 37 cm.

perience as starting point of artistic production is a recurrent characteristic of your works, in particular the one that we are now taking into consideration: in your opinion, is direct experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process?

Buses, 2013, Oil on Alluminuim, 61 x 45 cm.

version) with a literal meaning of 'mother in law'...

Yes for me it definitely is… The only found material I’ve used are the photos which I find from lifestyle magazines. These two pieces namely Big Ben and Paan Shop are from my own photos. The Big Ben was an inflatable Big Ben that I found in a shop window in London! This was the time of the Queen’s diamond jubilee where Britain was celebrating everything to do with being British and Britishness. Paan shop is from the common Karachi paan spots (beetle leaf) that happen to be dotted around my native city. I'm currently working in Karachi, Pakistan and have been taken in by the witty packaging of consumer goods.This is apparent in Paan Shop and in my work in progress too.There is one which I'm working on is a chilli sauce bottle with urdu text having a double meaning saas (urdu

Another interesting pieces of yours on which I would like to spend some words are from your series Still Life, Buses and especially Ajrak in Victorian Room, which I have to admit is one of my favourite pieces of yours...I have been struck with the way you have been capable of merging intense tones of red with solid shapes... By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

Still life is from a luxury lifestyle catalogue. Ajrak in a Victorian Room and Buses is from my own photos. The Victorian Room is a room from The Geffreye Museum in London (where they

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Ajrak in Victorian Room, Oil on VInil. 104 x 106 cm.

have British front Rooms from 1600 to the present day. I was starting to displace elements in my paintings so I added a traditional Sindhi textile ‘Ajrak’ where the floral curtain is supposed to be. I tend to use pure colours straight from the tube so I don’t really have a traditional pallete as such. If there’s any mixing I just tend to do that on jar lid. The way I paint recalls the highly individualised blooms of Dutch still life painting.The colours are glossy,matte or thickly applied paint. How I apply the paint is very important and of great significant vaue in my work.It is often allowed to drip, melt and soak into each other giving a ‘licked surface.’ Paint forms directly drawn bright patches of colour like candy,gloss paint poured over can-

Still Life, 2011, Oil on Alluminuim, 36 x 36 cm.

vas on the floor to form a stain...They look like depictions of bourgeois living,the idea of luxury and what good life is about… Art is a reflection of the time we live in. Paint is applied clumsily is allowed to drip and parts of the painting is left unfinished. 73


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Empress Chair, 2012, Oil on Canvas, 50 x 40 cm.

And I couldn't do without mentioning a couple of very interesting recent oils entlitled Lace and When in Berlin spring Flowers: as you have remarked in your artist's statement, you draw with the paint and you want the enjoyment of the paint to be obvious and sensuous, as it appears in this interesting work... is painting like a release for you or is it emotionally draining? By the way, does your process let you to visualize your pieces before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin?

These two pieces and also the painting Big Ben were done on my residency in Berlin.

When in Berlin spring Flowers, 2013, Oil on Canvas,

Yes I get totally involved in my painting so much so that the colours are applied and used romantically.

130 x 75 cm.

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No I never really know what it will turn out to be. I get equally excited about the supports of my work which can be aluminium,vinyl,linen,canvas etc. Spring flowers was executed at a time with heavy snow outdoors in Berlin and I came across bright yellow carnations in a German lifestyle magazine called ‘Living at Home’ funnily titled in English but inside in Deutsche. I was also going to galleries in Berlin and came across German expressionism and Willy Jaekel’s paintings at the Brohan Museum. From 1996 to these days your artworks have been exhibited in several occasions: and moreover you have ben recently awarded at Takt A.I.R, Berlin... it goes without saying that positive feedbacks are capable of providing an artist of a special support... I was just wondering if the expectation of a positive feedbackcould even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

Feedback is totally an essential part of the whole process of making Art because one is making work in order to show not for it to just remain in the studio. Whether its positive or negative feedback both play an important part as you want to be able to make good work. There is a fine line between business and Art and we all know about the infamous saying that artists are bad business people as there is no corelation between financial success and creative success. Because you don’t really make it to sell it but if it sells great. I’ve always had a normal job in order to support my studio practice as a lot of artists fulfill their career aspirations in this way and work towards their goal to become professional artists. They quietly work their way up and its done as if almost like a hobby. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Uzma. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Yes I’m going to be part of Liverpool Independents Biennale Jun through to October and hopefuly a show in a gallery in Karachi shortly. An interview by articulaction@post.com

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Milena Jovicevic (Montenegro) an artist’s statement

My work is inspired by everyday- life situations and paradoxes of contemporary society and world we live, that strange place saturated with the media, with an exaggerated production and exaggerated consumption. Everything is poised on the edge between the real and the virtual, erasing the boundary between the natural and artificial, permitted and prohibited, material and spiritual. In this general disarray, where many systems of values have been fundamentally shaken up and devoid of elementary emotions, every kind of addiction and slavery is sold for “freedom”. This society of depression and sedatives, shopaholics, betting addicts, Internet addicts and the most vulgar voyeurism is a very intriguing field for artistic research. The life in harmony with nature and its rules is quite impossible; destruction is key word of our time. World of my work is, unfortunately, very spoiled by this reality. I wish that I could close myself in the studio and paint peacefully, not minding for anything coming from outside. However, there is too much to what I can not be indifferent and it makes me work like this. My works are ironic, subversive. I work in various of media, from drawing to object- sculpture, painting, computer graphic and wall painting. Most of my works explores the stereotypes of everyday life with an emphasis on male- female relations in socio- political context. Consumerism is a phenomenon that intrigues me constantly. It has colored every aspect of life. Everything is for sale and everything is purchased. Everything is measured by money and the accumulation of material goods... In this zone of general madness and vulgarization of all fields: public and private, individual and collective, the body is in the center of all events. The body has always been a favorite theme and mystery for artists. However, in the second half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century the body is exposed in the most explicit and without reservation way, in its most intimate and fragile forms. It is nude, abused, exposed... The body, especially the female, is to such extent vulgarized and abused that I am panic- stricken thinking about it. Ancient Greece was obsessed with them body, but also with the spirit. From this equilibrium could not bear such a deviation, nor this obsession was directed against the body and human as it is today. In my work I explore the body reduced to a function and matrix for the producing of physical, often mechanical pleasures. The current order has placed it among one of items of consumerism which we consume as any other object of consumption … Milena Jovicevic www.milenajovicevic.com

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iGenesis iDisappearance, 2013 Installation,

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Milena Jovicevic

An interview with

Milena Jovicevic Hello Milena, and welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Hello ARTiculAction team, I'm very happy to be part of ARTiculAction review. It is quite hard to explain...Work of art is a unique piece that affect and engage your feelings, intellect, senses...I don't want to define it by some standard language, but by something that work of art do to the spectator. It makes you feel different...sad, happy, disturbed, angry, melancholic, nostalgic...it pushes you to think about things you didn't before or in other way... you can't be indifferent staying in front of it...you feel some kind of magic, freshness, challenge... it must show other perception, vision... In the past good piece of art was mainly focused on great skills of artist.

Milena Jovicevic

changing with it. It can not exist separately. Pieces of contemporary art must focus on idea and skills are in the fonction of idea. The mastery of medium marks the ability to get the point of artist's vision, not an aim. I also think that concept of good art work must be understood on a more global level. If it's universal even when it talks about local problems it's very important.

Some of famous artworks doesn't prove anything but good skills. If, traditionally, skills in painting requires a mastery of composition or color range and color differentiation or mastering of representation of real world contemporary art piece must require much more... here is the dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness I think. There are lots of controversies about that nowdays. I think that contemporary art piece have to comunicate with the time when it was created.

Would you like to tell us something about your rich background? You hold a PhD in Fine Arts, that you have received a couple of years ago from the University of Arts, Belgrade: after graduating at the Academy of Fine Arts, Cetinje, Montenegro you moved to France, where you studied at the Ecole Nationale postgraduated... then you came back to your native country and you earned a MFA in the Academy of Fine arts... How have these experiences impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? In particular, I would like to know your point of formal training: I sometimes wonder if a cer-

I don't mean it has to use new medias and new materials to do so, but to speak contemporary language even if it's against contemporary society. Of course, there are universal themes and appeals but they are treated differently in different centuries and years. The world is changing and art is

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iGenesis iDisappearance, Berlin, 2013.

tain kind of training could even stifle a very young artist's creativity...

and compare myself to others. I think it's very important for young artist to go out, travel a lot and feel other cultures. That's the only way to understand his position in the world and art world. Intensity of such experiences makes us rich, more self-consciousness, more focused. My work is very influenced by all those different experiences, it is more engaged, more critic, help to that. In the region where I come from great number of art professionals still appreciate the skills, more then idea of artwork. That is very strange situation if we compare it to the rest of the Europe. Paris gave me that challenge to think art in a way that I didn't before and it helped me a lot.

I'm happy to have got good formal training in Fine arts in Cetinje. I don't think that training can stifle very young artist if he works on his education and knows what he wants...Training and skills can be helpful, but in the other side they can be very seductive and when you are very young you can feel like it is enough and your work serves you to show your skills. If you work only to improve your skills It can be dangerous. I don't think that I could avoid that problem when I was young without my long education in Paris, residencies in other countries...I could not reach some kind of freedom 79


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

The preparation process and technical aspects depends on the idea. Sometimes I can realize my work very fast because the idea is clear. Idea comes to me suddenly like a flesh while driving or walking...or in the bus, train... I adore driving and I drive very long distances. All those images of landscapes that change very fast gives me some unreal feeling and makes my perception different. I become more sensible to things I didn’t notice before. When something occupies my head I write it down, even in notes of my phone. I constantly take photos of ordinary things...that also remains me what to do...I start with small drawings, then I search the best medium of realization. The preparation is first in my head‌ it can takes one day, one moth or even years. Technical aspects often depends on space. I can be inspired by some elements of the space and I try to adopt the main idea to specific space conditions. I like that very much. It is a challenge. When I think about medium of realization I must feel it, it's not only intellectual process, it is intuitive and very emotional. It can be drawing on the wall or object but also computer graphic or huge painting or everything together. My inspiration often comes from the things and events that disturb me and make me angry or sad. I need that restlessness to be thrown out through my work. I was always intrigued by gender questions. Since I was little girl I felt some unproportional relations between man's and woman’s role in the society. I was shocked by all those situations in the past watching woman doing all those house works, raising children, carrying after his husband like he is not an adult but also a child of her... Some of those stupid situations I feel today are still alive and fresh like before. It hurts. It is not question of feminism or post-feminism, it's just question of truth and fundamental logic. Maybe I'm too sensible because I can feel extraordinary strength of Montenegrin woman through centuries of very harsh (brutal) history and in the other side in everyday life I can feel weakness of man that society will 80

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Genesis iDisappearance, Berlin, 2013

never show. I'm not sensible only to Montenegrin stories, I feel deeply also woman problems in Middle East or India, or anywhere in the world. While studying in Paris I was deeply touched, among others, by Egyptian artist Ghada Amer. I saw all those big paintings that question the woman role in society. I could stay the hours in front of her works feeling that pain and ambiguity between eastern and western society. Those gender issues influence my work a lot. Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from iGenesis iDisappearance and project Balkans, that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest them to visit http://www.milenajovicevic.com/#!projectbalkans/c17ol... in the meanwhile, would you like to tell us something about the genesis of these interesting pieces? What was your initial inspiration?

iGenesis iDisappearance and project Balkans are connected to my earlier works exploring the famous biblical legend

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Project Balkans, 2013, Basel

Man games, Arte gallery, Belgrade 2011

Genesis about first humans Adam and Eve. Both works include wall drawings, drawings on paper and adhesive tapes using the architecture of the space and video projection. Projection consists of video animation called Adam i ... which I realized of drawings drawn in iPhone. I “moved” the ancient legend about the origin of the world from traditional field of painting and wall painting to the terrain of high technology. The little i in the title means and in Montenegrin but it also refers to the media of realization (iPhone). Instead Adam and Eve we have Adam i(and)...Eve is not so imporatant to be in the title. Animation is intentionally made without any sophisticated montage and it looks very naive like very first video games. Work explores ironicaly male- female ralations through relations of first humans. After being created by a woman, not a God, Adam is using all of his ribs to create the rest of the world: other humans, animals, nature....

First woman he created- Eve is just seductive female that decorates his paradise. Quickly, Adam becomes a destructive monster who kills all that is created. Little funny icons from the drawing software ironically support eroticized and aggres-sive scenes of “contemporary paradise”… This paradise becomes very morbid environment. When he distroes everything he hangs himself at the end... The story of Adam and Eve from story of biggining of the world (iGenesis) turns into story of the end of the world (iDisappearance). Just little leaf from Adam’s body survives this catastrophe and will maybe make better world....

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the great divide between women of the older and younger generation. It can be understood also in other society, it's not that hermetic. It’s about an over-dimensioned table football, realized in glass, metal and polyester. The work explores the stereotypes of the female body and the body as a sociological construction. Teams fighting duel in football are not male but female. In this story of the body is also involved a story about malefemale relationships. One team consists of halfnaked female figures with stressed silicon curves. The other, figures of “traditional” women with a carves on their heads and in long skirts. This work asks questions about woman reduced to the function and the female body reduced to the object. It is actually about two stereotypes. One personifies sexual pleasure and other loyalty and home. While the two woman’s teams play against each other in the Men game, according to rules for men, male is not physically present, but he is the one who actually plays and manipulates. I thinks the role of spectator is important. Many of spectators wanted to play the game, but it's not allowed because that it's not fair game. I don't want them to play that game and I stopped them. Art could play an effective role, but I'm not sure that can steer people's behavior... More and more I feel that contemporary society doesn't

Your works are often pervaded with subtle irony as in Men Games and I would daresay that your works seek to challenge art in its conventions of exclusivity and question the audience’s role as passive consumer: I can recognize such a socio political feature in your Art: and I'm sort of convinced that Art these days could play an effective role not only making aware public opinion, but I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can steer people's behavior... what's your point about this?

Work Men Games specifically references gender issues significant to the local community, referencing the patriarchal society in Montenegro and

Man games, Arte gallery, Belgrade 2011. detail

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need art at all but pieces to buy as any other object in consumer society. You can see masterpieces of world's literature sold with pair of strings of some “celebrity starlet�...everything is vulgarized and put in the same trash. As you have remarked in your artist's state-ment, "life in harmony with nature and its rules is quite impossible; destruction is key word of our time": and Uncomfortable landscapes seems to be an artistic witness of this nowadays' feature... so I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Yes, you can see that human is creating constantly and it is a good thing. If human distroys constantly, especially nature and natural balance which is indespensable for normal existence it surely becomes stpupid and controversial. So, conclusion will be that human creates for nothing. It's not about circulation of matter and energy in nature but circulation of money in nature. Work Uncomfortable landscapes talks about distroyed nature, catastrophic disasters, strange flooded towns... I think that personal experience can not be separated from creative process. It is the most imporatant part of that process. I saw some artists that make paintings or conceptual works that don't corespond to their real life. I mean, their opinions, education, mentality don't have any comon thing with theirs works. Art you create must be part of your organic structure, it must breath the same way as you do. Contemporary society creates exhausting, disturbing environment and experiences of your everyday life must affect your work somehow, maybe not your direct experience but experience of other people, people you live with... We are not here to create beauty and works that will decorate walls...I think that art you create can not exist separately from who you are and how you live. Otherwise you are not honest with yourself and even less with public. I wish that I could close myself in the studio and paint peacefully, not minding for anything coming from outside. However, there is too much to what I can not be indifferent...

Fragile, 170x 250cm

Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice: as our readers can view directly at

Paris, 2004

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http://www.milenajovicevic.com/#!work/cgiv you work in various of media, from drawing to objectsculpture, from painting to computer graphic and wall painting as Fragile... while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Honestly, I adore painting and it's my first and longest art experience, I always feel excited when I paint and draw but it's not enough...some ideas and experiences I want to express need to be realized in other medias. Multidisciplinarity comes to me very naturaly, that's the question of chal– enge. Even if sometimes I'm not complitely satisfied of what I acheaved in some works I'm happy to have that experience and I keep searching and researching ... Yes, we could say so, that a synergy between different disciplines is the way to achieve some results, to express some concepts. Multidisciplinarity holds so many surprises and is less predicable than when you stay in one discipline. I think that through various skills and medium artist refreshes creativity. Another interesting works of yours that have particualrly impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words are entitled iAdam iEve and especially and in PAY & P(L)AY, which I have to admit that is one of my favourite pieces of yours...

While exploring the abusing of woman body in our consumer society, I think that you have snatched the spirit of the consequences of the visual saturation toward we are daily exposed to... iAdam iEve are drawings made in iPad tablet, then printed on satin silk in large formats 120cm x 160cm. Famous scenes from the biblical legend are ironically presented throught gender conflicts. Focus is on a constant game of poles, interlacement of senses, wandering of imaginary through Eros as one of the possible paths of understanding and paths to the end. Works PAY & P(L)AY and Education reforms explore the abusing of woman body and body in general in consumer society. Vulgarization of human body becomes normal part of everyday life. “We consume sex on a daily basis 85


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without even knowing or realizing it. Our visual sphere is saturated with re-sexualized objects�. My sculptures such as lollipops and calculating machines talk about that problem using the same visual language. PAY & P(L)AY is overdimensioned custom-made abacus, an ancient tool for calculating purchases and debts. Old fashioned adding machine is modernized by being outfitted with the female anatomy. Everything is for sale and everything is purchased. You can pay, then play with calculating machine made of female breasts. The body, especially female is such extent vulgarized and abused that I am panic-stricken thinking about it. Ancient Greece was obsessed with them body, but also with the spirit. From this equilibrium could not bear such a deviation, nor this obsession was directed against the body and human as it is today. Every-thing is measured by money and the accumulation of material goods... In this zone of general madness and vulga-rization of all fields: public and private, individual and collective, the body is in the center of all events. In my work I explore the body reduced to a function and matrix for the producing of physical, often mechanical pleasures. The current order has placed it among one of items of consumerism which we consume as any other object of consumption In these years your artworks have been exhibited and appre-ciated in many cultural events, competitions, exhibitions across your country and abroad: moreover, you have been awarded several times... It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

Awards can be simulating, of course, but not most important. I'm sure that creative process of some artists could be influenced by expectation of an award but I'm not one of them. I feel dialogues with other cultures that artist can get through grants and residen-cies are much more important then awards. My works originate from the need to express myself in relation to the world around me, its deviations, problems, phenomena, nightmares, joys. It is certainly not my priority to sell or satisfied wide audience, neither to sell works. I prefer talk to smaller audience that will feel my work then do to adopt the work to wide audience. The feedback is very importanat to me. That audience is not always the same and that's interesting. 86

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Artist visa, PAY & P(L)AY,

Sometimes I can feel who will enjoy my work, but honestly I rarely think about that. Relationship between bussines and Art is very unpredictable and usually fatal for the Art, so better to consume it in very small portions. That relationship is not even fair to the dead artists... Artist visa explores the role of money and status symbols in the society, but also an artist role in that society. Artist visa is credit card of sparkling gold plastic, with the lone digit “0” occupying the center. The cards is just plastic, without an active magnetic strip. When I had the opening of the exhibition PAY & P(L)AY in Berlin 2013. I gave Artist visas to spectators. People took them to nearby shops and tried to use them to purchase real items. They urged the shopkeepers to keep trying to put the transactions through saying that gold card is special one, but the cards, without a qualifying bank behind them, couldn’t purchase anything. If you have 0 you are 0 in contemporary society. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Milena. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Thank you, it was a pleasure for me. The next projects are solo exhibition in Retramp gallery in Berlin in April 2014, Festival of contemporary art in Saint Petersburg and residency program in New York... I'm also preparing for collective exhibitions in Italy... An interview by articulaction@post.com

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Jana Charl (USA) an artist’s statement

Delving into the synthesis of unrelated components to form stories is my passion. By sculpting pieces of discarded ranch equipment and scrap steel, which already have a history in their own right, I reveal a new narrative.  My longest enduring fascination is to capture the human form and psyche utilizing multiple media. Often my interpretation of the female form is anatomically exaggerated, emphasizing the curves that distinguish women as well as define feminine beauty and fertility. I explore how women are perceived and address sensitive issues with a sense of humor and playfulness. My artwork has been exhibited and sold internationally in galleries and museums.

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Winter: Women on Pedestals 2013 8 x 8 x 8 cm

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An interview with

Jana Charl Hello Jana, and a warm welcome to ARTiculAction. I will start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be the features that mark an artwork as a piece of Contemporary Art? Moreover, do you think that there's an inner dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

It's a pleasure to be selected as part of the eclectic group of artists interviewed by your team. The ability of a work of art to communicate an experience to our senses defines it. It is characterized by its impact, which can be personal or universal, instant or lingering, and with a life that is temporary or timeless. Other than the temporal component, features of contemporary artwork include: testing the boundaries of what defines art; an exploration of innovative materials and forms of expression; and a blurring of the lines between craft, commercial art and fine art. An eclectic amalgamation of "new" and conventional exists; not limited by past paradigms but rather an assimilation of elements. The desire to differentiate results in a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness. Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences impacting the way you currently produce your artwork? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... what's your point?

Exploring the female identity is the thread weaving the majority of my artwork together. I grew up with three older sisters and had two influential grandmothers. Both of my grandmothers were feminists; one was an activist and the other a multi-talented swimsuit and textile designer. Jana Charl

After I'd pushed the limits of what I could do with crayons and chalk, my father introduced me to acrylic painting. As a child, I learned the skills to build whatever

(Photo by Kireilyn Barber) http://www.kireilynbarber.com

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I wanted in his wood shop. He also taught me how to solder silver which sparked my interests in jewelrymaking and welding. Because I'd already been creating art since early childhood, in addition to being rebellious and naturally challenge-seeking, formal training seemed stifling. I've never liked being told what to do nor what I can't do. Also, I believe passion and innate curiosity are fundamental to producing artwork along with the technical knowledge. Fortunately, I was able to attend schools that truly fostered my creativity and I was able to opt out of conventional art classes by designing independent studies. My parents considered art a hobby and not an occupation; as a consequence, I felt compelled to prove I was capable of pursuing any career. I chose the path of a broad liberal arts education with a minor in art. I have obtained technical skills but in a nontraditional way, and I view myself as a lifelong student with mentors and teachers that I select along the way. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artwork? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on in your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

A supply of materials is essential to my process of creating artwork. I'm a borderline hoarder, always collecting items for future projects. Once I immerse myself in a project I do not want to lose the momentum by hunting for the ingredients. In the case of the steel sculptures, I select discarded metal from a scrap pile at the ranch where I weld in Central Oregon. I'm inspired by what I discover from visit-tovisit because there is no guarantee what will be available. More often than not, the process evolves while I'm working. Sketching ideas on paper or storing them in my mind, is typically the point of departure and not necessarily the blueprint. I try to remain flexible while I'm working, and let the accidents transform into inspiration... but I can be stubborn, impatient and destructive. Only taking breaks as needed, I prefer to 91


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Autumn: Gallery Opening, 2013, 8 x 8 x 8 cm

complete a project by working on it nonstop. If I revisit a work of art at a later date, it rarely is actualized as initially conceptualized. Some works take years to complete due to my tendency to paint over, deconstruct or reconstruct them. Technically, the process varies depending on the medium and the obstacles I encounter: the polymer clay sculptures are formed individual-ly or as a series. Cracking occurred as I pushed the size-limit of solid figures which I solved by building aluminum armatures. While assembling the dioramas, the challenge was to find glues that would securely bind the diverse elements.

Autumn: Gallery Opening , 2013 8 x 8 x 8 cm

Against the safety precautions for welding, I work with metal and mechanical parts which are rusty, greasy, dirty and occasionally have remnants of paint. A welder recently told me "stick to what you know, painting." He didn't understand that incorporating the history of the used metal is an intrinsic part of the story I want to communicate. I choose not to work with clean, new steel. The small explosions, fires, and molten splatters are all part of the process and impact the result. Also, I intentionally maintain a certain "unfinished" cru-

deness to my sculptures by employing only the tools available to the ranch workers, in their environment and context. When I'm plasma-cutting metal or painting with acrylics, I'm highly aware of my breath and the resulting lines waver in rhythm with it. Currently, I'm not interested in laser-cutting the metal for precise and clean lines. Nor do I want my paint92


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Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from your Season Dioramas, an interesting series that our readers have already started to get to know and admire in the introductory pages of this article. Would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

I was introduced to the medium of polymer clay when I was invited to participate in an exhibition of 1,000 sculptures (1993, Arsfutura Gallery, Zurich). Although the hundreds of characters that I’ve created since then can be organized by themes and series, I had never housed them previously as dioramas. The inspiration came when I was in a group show and the gallery owner selected some of my work to showcase in a vitrine at the front window. When the show ended, I searched for a vitrine to make a beach scene with my venuses in bikinis. I attempted to make a 30-centimeter glass cube; however, I wasn't able to seal the box to hold sand and melted my soldering iron in the process. Eight months later, the concept had expanded to include all four seasons, each with a scene examining society's perceptions of women. My interest to proceed was rekindled by a call for

ings to look like they're pristine computer-generated output; thus, texture is an essential feature. Layering the acrylic, varying the opacity, not entirely blending colors, utilizing unconventional tools, and at times adding sand, clay and dried flower petals are techniques I experiment with to create textural effects. Another integral part of the process is the mixing and remixing of colors.

Summer: Venuses at the Beach, 2013 8 x 8 x 8 cm

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entries for a "Small Worlds" exhibition (2013, Target Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia) juried by the scale model artist Thomas Doyle. While searching through my stockpile, I discovered the eight-centimeter acrylic cubes and made the decision to work on the much smaller scale. In addition, I had to ensure each one was safely transportable. The effort paid off when Winter: Women on Pedestals, was selected for the show. A scene inspired by a combination of available materials and a recent trip to the Carrara region of Italy where I connected with marble sculptors. Shortly afterwards, Summer: Venuses at the Beach was selected by 440 Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, for a "Small Works" exhibition. I combined my recurring "ancient fertility god-dess" theme with the California "beach body" images. A visual of your recent acrylics as Sisters and Green Diva that has impressed me is the synergy between the apparently contrasting ideas of circularity suggested by the shapes of the body and the straightness of the lines that pervades the background: this gives a sense of rhythm to

Sisters , 2014 15 x 15cm

Green Diva, 2014, 41 x 51 cm

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Green Vessel, 2014, 15 x 15cm

the canvas: would you tell us more about the evolution of this stimulating technique?

This technique evolved as an effort to develop a style distinct from my father's, which is strongly influenced by Piet Mondrian's artwork. He paints with control and discipline, filling solid colors within the confines of clean black outlines, which evokes little emotion. Both of these paintings were sketched with paint directly on the canvas. I refined the foreground forms to emphasize the curves which distinguish and define women. In contrast, the background is comprised of layers of not entirely blended colors of paint applied with fervor and a dry brush to enhance the mood. If I have been asked to choose an adjective that could sum up in a single word your art, I would say that it's "kaleidoscopic": in fact, as our readers can view directly at your website http://www.janacharl.com/ your Art practice ranges from painting to sculptural works, from graphics to jewelry design... I have to admit that I have 95


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been struck with your capability of delivering on a myriad of projects... while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

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; whether it's through the synergy of multiple disciplines or a single medium. I struggle to draw boundaries between the different disciplines and art practices, consistent with your "kaleidoscopic" description. In fact, the mentor for my art studies in college told me that I had creativity coming out of my pores. Although the contemporary art scene is in a state of flux, conventional and hierarchical labels are still prevalent. I would love to have to lived during the Renaissance (but as a male). As I can read in the starting lines of your artist's statement, "delving into the synthesis of unrelated components to form stories is your passion" I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

In the statement I'm referring to items which I discover that I haven't created but rather incorporate into my creations. The resulting sculptures are directly connected to my experien-ces which are intertwined with an empathy for others, collective experiences, historical referen-ces, and a fascination with story-telling and stories told. Where direct exposure doesn't exist, one's imagination can fill the void. Also, personal experience is not limited to our conscious awareness; thus, it is difficult to truly separate from it. Even as an observer, I'm not sure one can truly be objective and detached. And I couldn't do without mentioning your metal sculptures as Bitchforked and especially Chain Necklace and Yellow Skirt, that I have to admit is one of my favourite pieces of yours... By the way, as you have remarked, "sculpting pieces of discarded ranch equipment and scrap steel, which already have a history in their own right, you reveal a new narrative": even though I'm aware that this might sound or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Both Bitchforked, a carved female profile serving as a handle for a pitchfork stabbing into a machine's worn out blade; and Chain Necklace and Yellow Skirt, comprised of a piece of steel forming the top half of a woman wearing a heavy chain and yellow earth auger skirt; demonstrate Chain Necklace and

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Yellow Skirt, 2012, 86 cm

Bitchforked, 2013, 81 cm

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this role. Each sculpture is a product of "recoding" existing visual information. The emergent synthesis triggers previously unexpected associations, deciphering new meaning. During these last four years your artwork has been exhibited in several occasions: it goes without saying that positive feedback is capable of providing an artist special support... I was just wondering if the expectation of positive feedback- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how important is the feedback of your audience to you? Do you ever think of who will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if there could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art... Basic human nature supports the fact that positive feedback is persuasive. The extent of that influence depends on factors such as one's self-confidence and goals. In the past, I had large gaps between exhibitions because of a fear of losing my passion to create art due to the pressure to appease critics, in order to exhibit and sell it. My graphic design business is the compromise. Its purpose is to earn income which is based on catering to my clients' expectations. Moreover, I do appreciate feedback but whether I allow it impact my artwork or not depends on how I internalize it. In a productive sense, it can enhance my development as an artist. Ultimately the goal of my artwork is to elicit awareness and a dialog concerning the issues I'm addressing. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Jana. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

My motto lately is "nothing ventured, nothing gained" in contrast to earlier times where I waited to be invited to participate in exhibitions. Currently, I'm submitting artwork to calls for artists and hope to exhibit in more international venues. I'm also in the brainstorming stage of a collaboration with marble sculptor Marco Ambrosini. Finally, my goal is to have a solo show in the near future, perhaps in Zurich where I was in my first group show?

An interview by articulaction@post.com

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Standing in a


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Green Vessel, 2014, 15 x 15cm

Bolted Down, 2013, 113 cm

Forest, 2013, 99 cm

She Has Balls, 2013, 127 cm

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Screwed, 2013, 98 cm

Articulaction Art Review February 2014  

submit your artworks to: articulaction@post.com

Articulaction Art Review February 2014  

submit your artworks to: articulaction@post.com

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