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March 2015 Special Issue

ANNA SMETANENKO SYLVAIN GRANJON CLARA FEDER RYOTA MATSUMOTO AMANDA KARLSSON HEIDI CLAPP-TEMPLE NATALIA GROMICHO JAY KIM & MINAH YIM Natalia Gromicho


SUMMARY

ARTiculA Action ART Feel free to submit your artworks, mailto: articulaction@post.com

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Natalia Gromicho

IN THIS ISSUE (Portugal)

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" I understand my current performance as a growth, I highlight my last work, without public treatment, without a way to be analyzed, this is the way that i want to take, to use bold colors, use aggressively the brush stroke and spatula."

Clara Feder

(France)

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" I conceive my artpieces as safe places, reconnecting us not only to ourselves and to our light. My art has an empathetic purpose, putting the scattered pieces of our identity back together."

Heidi Clapp-Temple

(USA)

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"When looking at Heidi’s photographs the viewer is privy to a world they have never seen before. Her artwork endeavors to create tangible representation of the invisible world that lives inside our minds."

Amanda Karlsson

(Sweden)

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"I often see my motives as actors in a room, or space that I created. These actors, or objects, are not the most important part of the basic feeling that I am trying to convey. Instead, it is the space surrounding them. "

Ryota Matsumoto

(Japan)

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" The artworks of Ryota Matsumoto develop and demonstrate the hybrid/multi-layered process, where varying scale, juxtaposition of different forms, intertwined textures/tones are applied to reflect the spatio-temporal conditions of our ever-evolving urban and ecological environments. "

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SUMMARY

(France)

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Sylvain Granjon

"I was in the circus … until the accident". That is a reasonable version of how Sylvain Granjon replied to my "tell me about yourself" question last summer in Arles. "

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(Ukraine / The Netherlands)

Anna Smetanenko

"I paint segments. Elements of a whole, the details. They layer up and structure periods of a time, experiences, paths we all go through. Some [paths] build their voices louder for it is the right now and light shines upon them. The picture builds up into visible experiences of an artist’s mind. "

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(South Korea)

Jay Kim & Minah Yim

"In terms of aesthetic, we see a lot more arguably “distorted” and “displeasing” imagery and sounds presented to the world since most artists gravitate towards presenting new ideas or using new methods to communicate in different ways. "

(Denmark)

Johannes Deimling

“A stone gathers moss when it is not moving, when timecancreate its tracks and change itsidentity. Motion and still stand(or pause) are in constantinteraction andcreate a rhythm like the heartbeat which nobody knows exactly why it has started and why it actually stops.”

(The Netherlands)

Svetlin Velchev

"When I look at art I do not really judge, but needto feelthe power of it and what kind of vibe it has.To accept it I somehow have to relate to it, try tounderstand why am I watching this and what themessagewould be about."

(Denmark)

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“ I show the world around me, whether seen in Denmark or on my many travels. I have a free and openattitude to photography as a medium, and I often experimentwith various artistic effects. Reality of photography issuspended and combined into new contexts.“

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Else Vinæs


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(Ukraine)

Anna Smetanenko


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An interview with

Natalia Gromicho An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator articulaction@post.com

Hello Natalia, and welcome back to ARTiculAction, our readers had already the pleasure to get to know your stimulating artist production in a previous issue, just about a year ago: in this little span of time many exciting events have occurred in your career. Would you like to tell us readers something about these new directions of your Art?

Hello again and thank you so much for this opportunity to share my thoughts with ARTiculAction readers. 2014 was really a year of turn on my international career, so many things have passed and influenced my way to express myself. i would like to share with all that i have passed through a lot of different cultures, beginning in New York, painting live there was really entering other dimension, next stop was to show my work in Russia, Moscow! Complete different people, the way they absorve the art was really a excellent experience, then i was invited to show my work in France, Bordeaux on the 10th June, Day of Portugal, on the Portuguese embassy in Bordeaux. A truly honor to represent my country. Also at the same time i was present in “Human Rights?� in Italy, since the curator invited me again to show my art. One of the most important exhibition was in London, at the Hay Hill Gallery that was simultaneously a representing contract for my work. New Delhi was also a markable exhibition since was my first time in India, then i travelled to Singapore for also an exclusive agreement of Asia representation and in the end of the year, East Timor for a solo exhibition about the Human Rights and a live painting for the embassy of Portugal. Yes, the greatest way to grow is to travel, contact with new cultures, experiences, new


Natalia Gromicho

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Natรกlia Gromicho at Belem Garden, Lisbon


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Natalia Gromicho

Library Acrylic on Canvas, 100x120cm, 2014

countries new colors, new architectures, only to be left in the canvas here in Lisbon, the most significant region that influenced my works is the Orient that forever changed pictorial my attitude .

shapes which seems to float in the abstract background, and especially the contrast between the circularity of the suggested by the bright shadow in the center and the straightness of the lines of the bridges...

I would like to start this conversation dealing with your recent pieces as Library and Geisha, which I have found a bit different from most of the works of yours: in particular, I have appreciated the apparent simplicity suggested by the geometrical

I celebrate this year 20 years of pictorial learning and real representation, I think it came time to make the viewer more observer, more in the mood to understand the abstract, and less critical. If a person wants to see the real, see it in a photograph, not in a canvas, with my


Anna Smetanenko

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Geisha, Acrylic on Canvas, 70x60cm, 2015


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Natalia Gromicho

Lost in Singapore

Motherboard

Acrylic on Canvas, 120x100cm, 2015

Acrylic on Canvas, 80x50cm, 2014

work you need to work your brain. My naive phase has passed, all the studies about the drawing were now left a part, I understand my current performance as a growth, I highlight my last work, without public treatment, without a way to be analyzed, this is the way that i want to take, to use bold colors, use aggressively the brush stroke and spatula.

might sound a bit naïf, I am wondering if one of the hidden aims of Art could be to search the missing significance to a nonplace... I am sort of convinced that some information and ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... What is your point about this?

Library is a chromatic study, i started with it and then i passed to other works. it is a work that marked my change. Geisha is a expropriation of the real, i removed the arms, legs, anything that was a way to drive you to a figurative… In your recent Timor and in Lost in Singapore I can recognize that one of the possible ideas underlying this works is to unfold a compositional potential in the seemingly random structure of the space we live in... Even though I am aware that this

East Timor and Singapore, changed my life forever, I refuse to continue to do what we all recognize as good or bad being done. Now I am the creator of what you read on the canvas. The abstract will be the marked line, Century - XXI. To do or say what everyone did? No. It´s not my intention. The works Timor and Lost in Singapore are a mark of what i am, what i passed in this 2


Natalia Gromicho

ARTiculAction

Timor - A new Lorosae, Acrylic on Canvas, 150x150cm, 2014

countries. you really have to see the works carefully to understand what´s beneath of them. For example, have you seen any human figures in “Timor”? Can you look for a garden

and a landscape on Lost in Singapore? They are really pieces that were very hard to produced, but now, the view have to look in to the map, get it?


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Anna Smetanenko

A chegada do comboio Acrylic on Canvas, 60x30cm, 2015

Amanhecer no bairro em


Anna Smetanenko

Tokio Acrylic on Canvas, 2015

Avenida Tokio Acrylic on Canvas, 60x30cm, 2015

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Natalia Gromicho

Window Acrylic on Canvas, 150x100cm, 2014

Nocturno Mixed Tech.on Canvas, 150x100cm, 2014

I can notice that in your recent pieces you have seemingly allocate the tension between the colors on the canvas on a wider area: this creates a multi centered focus clusters that established such a dialogue and an effective symbiosis that give life to a prelude to light that seems to be treasured between intense and sometimes dark tones, as in Poesia ao Luar and in Nocturno: how does the evolution of your palette influences the way with you approach yourself to the process of conceiving a new work?

the color, want to give the observer a vision of something that never saw (abstract). I´m creating forms, chromatic language to surprise the beholder. I'll never hear that work is imperfect, armless legless, is bent. I want to create things that no one saw. “Poesia ao Luar” is a mixed technique that drove me in to this piece. I used real stones on the canvas, and what work have a lot of content, i really don´t want to spoil the viewer… “Nocturno” is one of my favorite works from this series, it is really a reflection of a lot of my deepest thoughts, i really don´t know how the canvas supported my violence on it, you must see this piece physically to understand it.

Now my palette is reduced to between 3 and 4 colors, black and white. I explore the most of


Anna Smetanenko

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Poesia ao Luar Mixed Technique on Canvas, 100x80cm, 2014


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Natalia Gromicho

Natália Gromicho performing live in São Paulo, Brazil

Natália Gromicho performing live in Chiado, Lisbon, 2014

An extremely interesting project on which I would like to spend some words is Live Paintings: I daresay that it urges the viewer to follow not only your process, but even and especially the cultural and politic substratum on which you build your creations: I have particularly appreciated the way this forces us to evolve from being a passive spectator to more conscious participants to the act you perform... By the way, although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naïf, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadayscould play an effective role in sociopolitical questions, as in human rights issues: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behavior... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

Also my objective is to unite people with art, that´s why a organize yearly 2 major exhibitions in Lisbon that have, as central propose, to unite cultures by art! It´s really amazing to see peoples reaction to what I´m creating, for instants, i go back to Live performing in NY and the reaction of persons faces and comments were completely away from my proposal, the action was really what matters to them, not the content. If we go the East Timor, a complete different way, people were interested in what was i creating, what were my motives, trying to understand what was i doing, not in the action but more in what was behind.

I almost cried with this question, i think you have really understand what is my motivation to do live painting and what is being that.

In your recent paintings I can recognize that one of the possible ideas underlying your renewed approach is to unfold a compositional potential in the seemingly random structure of the space we live in... Even though I am aware that this might sound a bit naïf, I am wondering if one of the


Natalia Gromicho

ARTiculAction

Natรกlia Gromicho performing live in Soho, New York, 2014 hidden aims of Art could be to search the missing significance to a non-place... I am sort of convinced that some information and ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... What is your point about this?

I want to force the observer, an integral part of

the artwork, pass it to say the name of the artwork, they must think, i require them to think. My art have other purpose then just have a portrait on the wall and look everyday to it, same thing everyday. No. The viewer have to look in to it, see what his soul have to say about it! If they have bad humor, maybe the painting help him to be in a good humor. it as to be something else.


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Anna Smetanenko

O treino do Samurai Acrylic on Canvas, 60x30cm, 2015

Montanha Acrylic on Canvas


Anna Smetanenko

80x40cm, 2015

CaĂ­u a noite em Tokio Acrylic on Canvas, 120x60cm, 2015

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Natalia Gromicho

Fox Mixed Technique on Canvas, 90x60cm, 2014

Lisbon´s Tiles Acrylic on Canvas, 150x100cm, 2014

It is not only criticizing a painting, the observer have also to work to understand. “Amanhecer no bairro em Tokyo” and “Caiu a noite em Tokyo” are a diptych that are an excellent example of this, they meant to be a travel between the day and night in Tokyo, in the XXI century, and in the distance between the day and the night, many things happen, such as wars, disasters, famine) observer has to think about the rest. I also like to have a reference in the works “A chegada do comboio” (translated - Train´s arriving), “Treino Samurai” (Translated Samurai´s training), “Avenida em Tokyo” (Tokyo´s avenue) that are a particular

collection of paintings created to be part of a major exhibition that is being prepare for a International Foundation with Orient strong connections, they are works that make a passage to the chaos that is lived in cities in xxi century, a lot of speed, rush times, no longer stop… Your renewed imagery seems to be particularly influenced by your native Portugal as well as by the countries you have visite, as the interesting Lisbon, Noances de Pessoa and Winter Lisbon, moreover the capability of discerning the essential feature of a concept and to translate it into a visual, almost tactile


Natalia Gromicho

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Janela Acrylic on Canvas, 115x85cm, 2014 Noite II Acrylic on Canvas, 150x100cm, 2015 image is a key point of your works and plays a crucial role in your process: you seem to reject mere decorative aspects, in order to focus to the inner nature of the stories you tell with your paintings. How much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your images?

selling in my atelier, to a really surprised collector that was there just for enjoying the monuments of the building that is inside my atelier and by the end of our conversation he took 9 of my most intense works (form my figurative phase, until my newest works). An angel with sensitive taste.

I want to create ambients never discovered before, Abstract must be a never visited placed, get it? Risk it until it gets tactile. I have used this technique for long time ago, but now is almost present in my latest works. See for example “Lisbon”, it´s a really different work, it was one of the most fast

“Noaces de Pessoa” is a works with a lot of meaning, “Fernando Pessoa” is one of the most iconic poets from Lisbon, one of my favorites and i have put him in canvas a lot of times, this time i wanted to put just some parts of him, for the viewer to see only a small “Noances” of the poet.


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Natalia Gromicho

“Winter in Lisbon” is a big format canvas, with this “Winter” touch for the viewer to see her soul on it. Belongs to a recently friend that also took some of my markable and historical works, in this case, big format I have appreciated that it can be interpreted and in a certain sense "used" in two different but collateral ways: this kaleidoscopic feature reveals the dual nature of the media itself, which -when works as a noetic instrument, does not give up to his role of evocation, as to suggest us that every concept, however abstract, always keeps a hidden earthly reference... do you agree with this analysis?

After finishing my studies on the regular school, university and other workshops i took my own way on the creative process, is the only way to follow what is in my soul. I think after the studies, and artist must travel a lot, to understand his way on the arts, what is the way that he or she wants for follow to communicate with the outside world. i think i found it, but as always, we are never sure… Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Natalia. 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?

The pleasure is, as always mine, to have you supporting my work. For this next months, i have a lot of things to do here in Lisbon, in a curatorial part, since we are hosting a lot of exhibitions in my atelier, and it´s a really consuming work. Also i will be showing my works in Miami this month, also working with East Timor embassy and Oriente Foundation for reorganizing the “human rights” exhibition, i will be in my first auction in Singapore (really exiting on it) with my manager there, also showing my works in the first time in Shanghai for a solo show and a really challenge proposal, to make a big format live paining exhibition in Macau, i will be there for a month, to build an entire exhibition where the observer can follow the construction of the works, since the beginning until the opening of the exhibition, what a challenge!!! Also im “building a bridge” with Latin America Foundation to support my work on some strategic countries is one of the goals for this year… Thank you again, and hope to see you soon!


Natalia Gromicho

ARTiculAction

Snow on Red Square" 80x100cm, 2014


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Clara Feder (France) An artist's statement

I am a pluridisciplinary artist with a focus on photography and participative projects. Concerned with human fragility confronted to society, my work addresses the tension between modern temptations and the aspiration to a more genuine way of life. I conceive my artpieces as safe places, reconnecting us not only to ourselves and to our light within through photography, but also to our peers in participative installations. My art has an empathetic purpose, putting the scattered pieces of our identity back together. € I use different medias to show, explore, confront, question our modern times fragility. I assemble knowledge, images, stories, live reactions. I aim at : //Linking women in the Arts and their dreams of a world as a better place with Dreamchain, a worldwide participatory photography project questioning the status of women in the art world. //Confronting people€to our most important fragility, Temptation, in the€Wall of Temptation,€a worldwide participatory performance. Then, photographing them and putting them up on a virtual Wall. //Staging and photographing lost beings in unidentifiable landscapes as a metaphor of society's effect on people in the Light Travelers series. //Creating a private meditation space delimited by art where people can experience peace of mind and sel connection within an art «€pod€» in the Light Within series.

Clara Feder


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An interview with

Clara Feder Throughout a process of augmented juxtaposition, Clara Feder seeks to remove the evidence of temporal cause and effect, and ever urges the viewer to question the cultural position of the concepts she explores. In The Wall of Temptation that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she gives life to an intentional non linear narration which condenses the permanent flow of the perceptions of objects and the events related to them, questioning their inner nature in the socio political context they are placed in. So, I'm particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her multifaceted artistic production. Hello Clara, and a warm welcome to ARTiculAction: I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork? Moreover, do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

What usually and formally defines a work of Art is not only the fact that you are producing an artwork, but also the fact that this artwork is going to be viewed. For instance, if you write your diary and never publish it, this is not considered a work of art. Mind you, expressing yourself might be very artistic, but the outcome will not be considered as art because it doesn’t comply with the rules of belonging to the art world (in this case, being published). Of course, when I say this, I speak about what used to be, more than what is, because, as the 21st century stepped in and as the New Technologies became our main source of content, this definition is now blurred in many ways. Take the boundaries between art, fashion and brands; take the stream of personal content in the social networks; take the emergence of Art Brut on the contemporary scene, although the authors of the


Clara Feder

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Clara Feder with Wall of Temptation


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Clara Feder

works had never envisioned being exhibited when they first produced their work. To my opinion, the new art definition - and perception are directly linked to the art market, which has become very powerful in the last decade, and which, as every market, has to grow and extend. It does so in terms of content as well as in terms of geography, including now emerging countries. To answer your other question, what makes a work contemporary is the way it holds a view on society and creates for the viewer a new way of experiencing it. Having said this from a viewer and a market point of view, I want to say more from the artist’s side. As Louise Bourgeois said : “What modern (contemporary) art means is that you have to keep finding new ways to express yourself, to express the problems, that there are no settled ways, no fixed approach. This is a painful situation, and modern art is about this painful situation (...)” She was speaking from her experience, and I think this can be applied to anyone even nowadays. I find there is an incredible tension between the need to experiment and take time in order to produce a good work of art - one you’re proud of and want to share - and the requisite to keep producing new things at an ever bigger speed, in the mayhem we live in. For some time, in the 20th century, there was a deep and profound gap between what was contemporary and the tradition. To me, what contemporary art is about stems from the idea of deconstruction. Of the past, the canvas, the language, the artist, the subject, etc. There have been abusive ways of interpreting deconstruction - some too radical for the public and even for the market. But now, I’ve noticed a new attitude in recognizing that contemporary art can complement, rather than antagonize tradition, and also that ideas and skills are both equally needed to produce compelling work. 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?

There are many technical aspects to my work because I need to go from ideas to completion and find the ways to do it. It takes a long time to get there, because the ideas must find a form and many times I have to learn more and read a lot, in order to do it the right way. For instance, the idea of the Wall of Temptation came to me in 2008, and it wasn’t until 2013 that it could be implemented. The project took many forms and had many titles, and it took a long time to actually make the first Wall (in aluminium) and then the second one (in canvas). I produced many drawings of the project (I draw a lot, mainly with Mind Maps), and I made 7 showcases in wood, glass and mixed media (lottery tickets, figurines, painted letters), then I created a site hosting all of the participant’s portraits, so that they could become a part of the human wall which I had envisioned. And, last but not least, I became as good a specialist as I could in Crowdfunding, and succeeded in funding the second Wall in NYC. As you can see, the technical aspects are manifold. In the Light Travelers and Light Within series, I’m more concentrated on photography, although I did a lot of research beforehand, and I work on the figurines and the setting as well. Each photograph is different, and many of them are done while traveling, in portable studio fashion. The work on lighting can be very exhausting and sometimes, after a shooting of several hours, only one or two photographs turn out to be interesting. That’s because my shootings are my photos, and I do not change them afterwards, except for some very minor details. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from the aforesaid The Wall of Temptation, that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit directly at


Clara Feder

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Wall of Temptation, detail http://www.feder.me in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this

interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

It started in 2008 right after the subprime crisis.


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Clara Feder

Wall of Temptation, detail I was then under the impression - and I don’t think I was the only one - that Finance was manipulating us in a very dangerous way. I wanted to say something about the desire to get rich at a moment’s notice, without providing the needed effort. “The future must be a fruit and not a miracle” Henry Miller told Anais Nin in a letter back in 1934, and I think this truth is the antidote to many a false dream that poisons our world, from being a good consumer to being a company depleting the planet’s resources. So the Wall, by urging the participants to resist Temptation, was my way of asking people to stop and think, giving them/us a chance to “reset” their/our behavior, even in a symbolic way. It was also my way of telling the world of

Finance that we - the little people - were no fools. In 2013, the project attracted the attention of FING, a French internet association that was organizing its annual brainstorming conference. The theme was Occupy Industry! They took to the Wall of Temptation and commissioned me to do it. Eventually, the Wall became a rather simple process. I buy scratchable lottery tickets, I offer one to each participant as I explain she/he has the choice between scratching and not scratching. Then the participant goes to a voting booth, pauses to make a decision. If she/he decides not to scratch, she/he writes their thoughts on the ticket, posts it on the Wall


Clara Feder

of Temptation while I take a picture of her/him, which I’ll later post on the site www.walloftemptation.com. I daresay that The Wall of Temptation urges the viewer to follow not only your process, but even and especially the cultural and political substratum on which you build your creations: I have particularly appreciated the way this forces us to evolve from being a passive spectator to more conscious participant... By the way, although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naïf, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art especially nowadays- could play an effective role in sociopolitical questions, as in human rights issues: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

I took great care in having people really choose what it is they want to do. Therefore, some people deliberately chose not to participate. And some participated and scratched the lottery ticket, even though they knew they would not be able to partake in the final step of the project. True enough, the huge majority did what I suggested them to do, which is not scratching the ticket and writing on it what they felt like writing. But, as you stated, nobody stayed indifferent. I love the fact that it is participatory because I like having a real interaction with the viewer, and testing myself as an artist. This Wall is a dangerous thing to do for me, I mean emotionally. I have to convince people not to scratch their ticket and sometimes I feel like I’m a preacher of some kind. I’m very involved, I can’t stay aloof. Sometimes I’m hurt and weary, but on the whole I’m very happy, very surprised by what people come up with, all those beautiful sentences and these extraordinary behaviors. Sometimes I feel the Wall can be a redemptive space for them. Some people came and participated because they wanted to

overcome their addiction to alcohol, or to gambling. A girl came back a day after she scratched her ticket and asked me if she could participate again, if I could give her a second chance for her not to scratch it. Of course I did, and I was very moved. So when you ask me if Art can change the world, this experience makes me say yes. Of course to a certain extent, because it may seem like a drop in the ocean, but I believe contemporary art is about asking questions, thinking, interacting, and I think that eventually, it gets to people’s heart and thought. For some people it can be radical while for others, it is more of an undercurrent process. This is why it is crucial to be exposed to a lot of Art. Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impressed me and on which I would like to spend some word is entitled Light Travelers. Its intrinsical intellectual interactive nature takes such a participatory line on the relationship between the viewer and the artwork itself: the way you create a distortion in the perception of reality at first seduces the imagery of the viewers, on a limbic level, but on the other hand it alerts about the chance of a hidden incongruity that affects the way we perceive the outside world... and the inner one: so I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I think creative processes are always deeply linked to who we are (our persona and our history). It is a way of expressing things that sometimes we don’t even know are inside us, and through the process of creativity, you suddenly discover something about yourself, and what comes out can be a real surprise at first. If you take the example of the Light Travelers series, it clearly proceeds from a very ancient


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Clara Feder


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Tired Of This Ancient World#2 from Light Travellers


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Clara Feder

La Vie En Rose from Light Travellers

strata of my psyche, which I think we can all relate to. That persistent impression, when you are a child, that you are displaced, or misplaced, and the world is indeed strange and sometimes even alien, and you have to gather your courage and energy to venture into it. An impression that nobody translates into language at the time, for lack of it, but that can be found in many representations, from Hieronymus Bosch to Michelangelo when he paints his autoportrait on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as a peeled off skin, or the Surrealists, or Francis Bacon, or many other artists. The Light Travelers series says something about this inquiĂŠtante ĂŠtrangetĂŠ, as

Freud put it a century ago. It is about our wandering into this strange world, and coping with it while trying to find a safer spot where to exist. Another aspect of your work that I would like to discuss is the subtle but effective investigation about the emerging of language due to an extreme experimentation, and what has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to objects, re-contextualizing the concepts behind them: in particular, Light Travelers metaphorizes the feeling of


Clara Feder

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Selva Obscura from Light Travellers

loneliness and strangeness one might experience when living in Chinese megacities, which are indeed a lively objectifications of what the French anthropologist Marc Augé once defined as Non-lieus... I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

The Light Travelers series was formally inspired by Chinese mega-cities because they seem to provide an infinite space. If you go up in one of those gigantic towers, you’ll see an endless forest of buildings. And if you do so at night, you’ll see lights and colors as if you were dreaming. Night in Shanghai, for instance, really has me in awe. On a more spiritual level, isn’t finding the light in the dark what we all wish? And searching for that light is indeed a very lonely business, whether you are in a big city or not. The Light Travelers are roaming in a space, both inwardly and outwardly. Outside they are in a big,


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Vermeer's Friend from Light Travellers

Clara Feder


Clara Feder

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long walk in a strange place with light luggage. Psychoanalysis - which I undertook for 15 years is such an inner place, and so is any creative process. And so are museums, galleries, some films and books as well as good conversations with intelligent friends, and anything that can act as a mind opener for any of us. But all this “looking for” hopefully means some “good findings” once in a while, and I believe that can only happen through time and effort. Sometimes it takes years to see the light. The Light Travelers series is trying to achieve a recognition that the path and the process are primary, time consuming and lonely, but really worthwhile because you can find the light, or some light, somewhere. It is a fight against the Non-lieux’s inner and outer meaninglessness, and an attempt at finding a purpose to it all. It objects to the false promises of our consumer’s society and the crowded social networks we live in, which are generating endless Non-lieux.

Thus Driven Forth from Light Travellers

anonymous, strange and meaningless city, deprived-of-History Non- lieux, where they go unnoticed and alone (which is more or less what we all feel when we are in such surroundings). And inside, they are in their inner world, seeking their own truth (which is also a lonely travel). Therefore “encrypted” is the right word. That is what the Light Travelers series is metaphorical about : our quest to find the lost encryptions, whether they are inside or outside of us. It is like a reminder of what “looking for” means : a

And I couldn't do without mentioning Light Within, a work that has particularly fascinated me: I have appreciated that it can be interpreted and in a certain sense "used" in two different but collateral ways: this kaleidoscopic feature reveals the dual nature of the media itself, which -when works as a noetic instrument, does not give up to his role of evocation, as to suggest to us that every concept, however abstract, always keeps a hidden earthly reference... do you agree with this analysis?

Light Within is the logical step further from the Light Travelers, with providing a new space, the antidote of the Non-lieu, where you can fuel your soul with sense and renewed spirituality. I was inspired by the altarpieces in Europe (12t to 18th century) and I began to study them. There are many in the Louvre, for instance. I was struck by their spiritual side, with the gold color representing god’s realm, as well as by their mundane aspect such as having a portrait of the work’s commissioner on the door of the altarpiece. But the religiosity of it, if it appealed


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Light Within Pieces for enlightenment

Clara Feder


Clara Feder

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Clara Feder

Light Within Pieces for enlightenment

to my love of art history, didn’t fit with my idea and need of contemporaneity. After all, what I wanted was to create a space delimited by art that would enable the viewer to meditate. And find a spark within. A purely gnostic re-creation, therefore not religious. The making of such a space, as you suggested, has a double function : first to protect against the “temptations” and the actual sound and wifi

waves of this fast paced connected world, by enabling a retreat physically delimited by actual doors; second to meditate, with the help - or guidance - of what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious, images and myth belonging to a common worldwide consciousness. Here, I must say I thought of guiding the meditation, because I’m aware it can be very hard to disconnect from the world,


Clara Feder

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already gone, and each time I make a new piece, I use a worldwide myth such as the creation of man and woman, or the trinity which is found in any cosmogony. So, as you can deduct from above, I do think abstract thought and earthly references are not only complementary, but also make the most powerful artworks. It's almost obvious that not only travelling, but the concept of travel plays a crucial role for you that has allowed you to get in touch with a culture as great as different as the Chinese one. It might sound as a specious question, but I cannot do without asking if in your opinion the unavoidable syncretism that goes along the globalization process could degenerate the cultural assets of a culture, whose key factor was once the patient evolution through the centuries, and that it is now compelled to a process of hectic mutation... This will for sure provide us of a different kind of inspiration, but I suspect that we will irremediably lose something of fundamental: maybe the same thing that has fired up our passion with that culture itself…

and a powerful representation might help. But of course, I have nothing against meditating in front of a candle or a blank wall. I just chose a different approach, more based on my study of Quabala and Sufism, ironically reminding me of the iconoclast/iconodule fight that lasted for centuries in Middle ages in Byzance. This series is still in the making, although some pieces are

First of all, the concept of travel is more than a concept to me. It’s an actual situation. I do travel a lot for many reasons. I am a traveler (alas not light!), and I can measure how this has changed my conception of the world. I’m very grateful I got to know China and its great civilization, and I have great hopes that the world, at a point not too remote, will turn more spiritual, and less materialist or religious. Am I influenced by my favorite book as a child, Homer’s Ulysses ? Yes, and on more than one level. But when you study the Greek and later the Romans, you find out that they were the first to globalize the world, and that since them, this is all the world has done: getting more and more global! Important landmarks such as Galileus assertions, the recognition of America’s discovery, and the landing on the moon have enlarged our conception of our planet and therefore of ourselves. The next


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Clara Feder

Open

landmark is what we just went through: the age of internet. The art market, because of globalization, became a market. A tremendous change that we haven’t started to measure yet, because it is so recent. For now, it means that everyone has to adapt at a fast pace, and that there is no turning back. Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would pose you some

questions about your relation with your audience: during these years you have exhibited in several occasions, and you recently had the solo LIGHT TRAVELERS at the Noeli Gallery, Shanghai... it goes without saying that positive feedbacks and especially awards are capable of providing of a support which although is not absolutely necessary, is surely important: I


Clara Feder

was just wondering if an award -or just the expectation of positive feedback- could even influence the process of an artist... and I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

To me, positive feedback and everything that goes with it is what enables me to go on this

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incredible journey of being an artist. At the beginning of my endeavor, I thought nothing of it, and little by little I realized every single praise and recognition were helping me and my work. It is no secret that being an artist is a hard path. So being commissioned by FING enabled me to perform the Wall of Temptation for the first time, while the second WoT in New


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Clara Feder

York was tremendously boosted by the successful crowdfunding I achieved on the European KissKissBankBank platform. Similarly, being commissioned by the Grobet-Labadié Museum in Marseille to install my work - Paul and Virginie Remix - on its three floors was a great boost to my creativity and career. The same can be said of being selected by Noeli Gallery in Shanghai, and having my work collected by Mrs Myriam Ullens, among other private collectors. So, for me, there is a genuine relation between business and art. Which, by the way, has always existed as far back as the antique world because artists have been commissioned by rich and powerful mécènes since ancient times. And of course, I do not know a single artist who has not been influenced by it in the course of his/her life. In a very interesting book, Painting and experience in fifteenth century Italy, Michael Baxandall tears down the 19th century myth of the poor and free artist, explaining that much of the 15th century artist’s time was devoted to contract negotiations. These contracts even stipulated the type of pigments that should be used, which characters should be depicted and in what fashion. Hence, Fra Angelico’s genius was set against a series of requirements related to a commercial environment, a fact worth considering. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Clara. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

When I last came back from Shanghai, I realized that in a year’s time, I had had 5 major exhibitions in 3 different continents and that it was time for me to concentrate again on my production. So, apart from exploring and making new Light Within pieces with different medias, I’m in the process of launching a new series about women in the Art World as a participative chain. The series is called Dreamchain.

Clara Feder and the first two nominees, Marie-Hélène

I take photographs of women belonging to the art field and carrying their dreams for a better world. They nominate each other to eventually form a chain of portraits. They appear in a long frieze, carrying their dreams projected on a suitcase and enlightening the darkness around them with their aura. The frieze will be given to an NGO related to women rights, as a will to support and include women at large. Everyone will be able to follow the evolution of the project on a website. This new project questions the status of women in the art world


Clara Feder

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Grinfeder and Melissa Unger

analogical and poetic manner, non discursive and yet narrative. The artworks are created with old fashioned techniques, and do not proceed from computer generated images. Dreams are actually projected on the suitcase, thus creating an analogy with psychoanalytic projection and the idea of an idealised future, utopias from past centuries. It is inspired by my realization that gender discrimination was indeed making it hard to emerge not only for me, but for so many women artists. It might be a late realization, but I was glad that as soon as

I made it, I found many organizations and new developments on this vital subject, suchas the Tally Gallery project by Micol Hebron, a crowdsourced project giving actual numbers , extracted from galleries all around the world, of male and female artists - instead of the vague assumption that more male artists get represented than their female counterparts. Dreamchain will be available to watch online, on May, 1st at www.dreamchainproject.com.


Marta Kosieradzka

I see my dance research, learning new techniques and creative work as a personal path of development as well as a contribution to the society and a way of sharing my thoughts and comments on surrounding world with other people. Both artistic freedom and discipline are eqally important to me in creative process. Besides dancing I'm also a visual artist ( I've graduated from graphic department) and I'm searching for the influences and connections between different art forms to find my own language and way of communication with the audience. I create photographs and drawings, I’m inspired by people, their stories and characters and city as a moving, living organism.

Marta Kosieradzka


PeripheralARTeries

An interview with

Marta Kosieradzka An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator

Marta Kosieradzka's practice is marked with an intense multidisciplinary feature: by an effective combination of dance, music and visual arts she she brings a new level of significance to each discipline, conveying the creative potential of movement and still images into a consistent and coherent unity: her works overtly play with the unheimlich nature of gestural movements, revealing that images tend to exist in continuum, residing somewhere in memory, whereas sound tends to evoke the present moment. It is with a real pleasure that I would like to introduce our readers to her stimulating works. Hello Marta, and a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. To start this interview would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid multidisciplinary training: you studied Graphic Techniques at the European Academy of Arts in Warsaw and you refined your education in Dance in several institutions: how much have these experiences impacted on the way you currently conceive and creates your artworks and on your evolution as an artist?

I definitelly see dance as a visual art form that’s why it makes perfect sense to me to combine fine arts and dance. I’ve started my professional art education from learning drawing, painting and traditional graphic printing techniques in my home town- Warsaw. After obtaining a M.A degree in Graphic Art and a dance teaching diploma I’ve decided that I want to deepen my knowledge of dance that has been my passion for many years already. I went to study dance in Austria and then in Belgium where I’ve decided to stay and where I live until now. I really appreciate the fact that I had a privilige to


Marta Kosieradzka

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Marta Kosieradzka


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Marta Kosieradzka

study many different art forms and techniques. Dance is a very technically demending art that asks a lot of training and discipline and very often dancers are trained to be skilled craftmans and not necesarrilly independent artists. In graphic art education there is a lot of space for developing personal style and a free and open way of thinking. Dancers almost always work in a group and are tought to be a part that perfectly suits the bigger picture that is beeing drawn by a choreographer. Painters or drawing artists are creating their own, independent world and vision. For me that combination of two different

points of view worked perfectly and showed me what I want to do and gave me many different tools. Weather I draw a picture, make a photo or create a dance performance I have the same intention and process, just that I use a different language. I’ve decided to put most of my attention into my practice as a dance artist because I see this art form as a one that contains all others in it. Whilst performing or choreographing I’m creating a multidimentional experience, it is not only something that you can see with your


Marta Kosieradzka

eyes like a painting hanging on a wall, but something that you can experience with all your senses. The difference between creating a dance and drawing a picture is also that dance is far more personal, it involves your full self: body, mind and spirit. When you go on stage you can have full contact with your audience and eperience that is happening here and now, that would not be a case if you’d hang a painting in a gallery. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our

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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?

Inspiration for my pieces most of the time comes from the things, ideas or experinces I had that really interested or moved me in some way. I’m not an artist that starts from a lot of thinking and outlining a theoretical concept. I’m a person that likes phisical and sensual experiences and for me practical work is the


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Marta Kosieradzka

most important. Very often I just find something that triggerst me in some way and I start from that, but afterwards it develops to a compleatelly different thing as I work on it. In the beggining I deffinitelly take a lot of time to find out how the idea that I have for the piece relates to the body and how can it be shown/expressed by it. I’m searching for a state of the body that is resembling my idea. Sometimes but not always I’m also creating a stage character that I’m trying to embody and what does that character experience during the performance. I see a creation of a dance piece like sketching on sheets of papers, noting many different ideas and impressions that after a long process make sense together. I belive in a wisdom of the body and that it contains everything that we cosiciously or unconsiciouslly experience during our lifetime, so I try to stick to that in the process of creation. I also take a lot of time to study and get to know new movement techniques and deepen the ones that I already know, so I see my work as an ongoing everyday process.That is not only working on a specific task but also searching for elements, inspirational things in my daily life and practice of my craft. During the work on a particular performance I try to widen the view an a subject as much as I can, so I search for inspirational texts, paintings, musical compositions, books, anything that can broaden my experience. A lot of my works are inspired by other art works that I refer to as a starting point. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Windmills in the ocean, an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit your website directly at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x260eat_bi rthbirdbabyblue_creation in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. In the

meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

‘’Windmills in the ocean’’ is a dance film that I made in a collaboration with two video artists Vincent Pieraerd and Marnik Boekaerts. It is based on my performance ‘’BirthBirdBabyBlue’


Marta Kosieradzka

that I’ve realized in the frame of a programme for young choreographers '' 20 Jeunes Choreographe pour Brussel 2013’’. The performance was merging two art disciplines: dance and music, exploring transformation from organic, basic life force that drives us into emotions, creativity and search for inspiration.€The creation of the piece

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initially started from an inspiration taken of a painting ''Little Girl with a dead bird'' from a collection of Royal Museum of Arts in Brussels. Later it evolved into a landscape created around images connected to longing, searching for freedom and breaking the limitations. Dialog between thoughts, internal world and physical reality. Transformation from an unconscious


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Marta Kosieradzka


Marta Kosieradzka

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state of mind towards a poetic language that allows to speak out and reveal freedom of expression. In different stages of work on the project musical landscape was developed simultaneously with the choreography crating a dialog between movement and sound. Through experimenting with different sounds, recorded music, instruments finally evolved to the stage when all the music is produced live during the performance. Dance is constantly interacting with voice, word, poetry and instrumental music creating an independent universe of movement and sound. I’ve used a text of Patti Smith as one of my main inspirations during the process : ‘’ let us geather on the summit of a cool volcano…plunge into the infinite pit in a jet spitting an ec-static dialogue of sound until the attar of our being permeates the red field…blood, tongue and new noise- a sonic dart-from deep in the heart of…’’ (Patti Smith) At a certain point in the process I wanted to broaden the context that I was working in and use video as a tool that allows to create more abstract forms than a live act allows. I also wanted to find a location that would fit the atmosphere of the piece when I came across a beautiful old magazine an old town in Antwerp. The place visually fitted the choreography in a perfect way and helped to show the choreography in a new way. I’ve also enjoyed a collaboration with Vincent and Marnik, they had their own view on my performance and they’ve entered the process with their own ideas.They've synthetihised the ideas and themes that I've been working on during my process and transformed them into cinematic images. Working with the video allows me to relate to my visual arts background and helps me to take the choreography out of it’s usual theatrical context. I have been particularly impressed with the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to the act of dancing, especially in Future, in which you seem to re-contextualize the main idea behind gestures and movement: and I would go as far as to state that in a certain sense your works force the viewers' perception in


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order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

‘’Future’’ is a part of a trilogy ‘’ The three oddest words’’ , dance film based on the poem by polish nobel -prize wiining poet Wislawa Szymborska. Three words described in the

Marta Kosieradzka

poem: future, silence and nothing were turned into three choreographic scenes each one set in a different space and location and performed by different dancer. The poetry of Wislawa Szymborska leaves the questions without giving precise answers and triggers the mind and imagination to look at everyday subjects in a new way. It is also very sober and simple in it’s form and because of that I see a possibility in it to connect it to dance and movement creating a bridge between those two art forms. The words that are very definied and have a lot of conotations are transformed into an abstract and poetic language of dance which brings the


Marta Kosieradzka

words and their meaning into a different context. The choreography is strongly connected to the locations where the scenes were shoot and the movement is defined by the space and the context it brings to the dance. ''Future'' is a film about passing of time, we impatiently wait for the future to come and although it imediatelly turns into past. The poem questions the meaning of words, their importance and precision of how they describe world. I think this is also one of the aims of creating an art piece- to question existing things and as you say decipher their hidden side, or reorganise their existing order.

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This can especially apply to dance, because in our culture today we have forgotten that spoken/written language is not the only language that we have. In many ways we've denied the body and it's expression and became compleately unaware of it. This is also why very often people see dance as something very abstract and far away from daily life. For me the body is never abstract, it is obviously the only tool we've been given to communicate and experience the world therefore movement is just a part of our human nature. I think it's important to remark the multidisciplinary nature of your artistic


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Marta Kosieradzka


Marta Kosieradzka

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approach: for example in Handful of dust you have highlighted the relation between music, dance and environment: experimenting with dance as well as with visual arts, you seem to be in an incessant research of an intimate symbiosis between apparently different disciplines: while the performative aspect of your approach provides the viewers of what I would define an augmented perceptual experience and if I have been asked to sum up in a single word your artistic production, I would say that it's kaledoiscopic... while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

''Handful of dust'' is inspired by the portugese music fado, which origins lay in melancholic feelings, life of the poor and longing for something unreachable. The music is usually linked to the portugese word ‘saudade’ which symbolizes a permanent, irreparable loss and its consequent life lasting damage. In the project we want to research and take a closer look at fado, it’s many faces and characteristics. Not only the sad, melancholic one, but also a more playfull side of it . The dance is inspired by the feeling and rhythm of fado and also by characteristics and expression of the fado female singers, their body language. In the music cruelty and deep dark emotions are mixed with softness and playfulness of a child, we want to bring this feeling to the dance and live music, performance. During the work on this project I’ve researched the character of a traditional fado singer that is just by it’s name associated to a café somewhere by the shore in Lisboa or Porto. I wanted to see again what would happen if I put the fado singer in a busy, chaotic city of Brussels. How can I find a place that would remind me of the nostalgic, emotional images of the sea pictured in fado songs. This is how I found a roof situated above the busy city center of Brussels that for me


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Marta Kosieradzka

symbolized the border that cannot be crossed, the edge of the roof is like the border of an endless sea, city is like unknown waters. So I think that symbiosis and collaboration of many different art disciplines in my work comes simply from curiosity and constantly asking the question ‘’what if…?’’. I wouldn’t say it comes from wanting to express the same concept, but definitely from the search for synergy and relationship between everything I see, hear and experience in my life and that triggers my attention. Your practice is intrinsically connectde to the chance of establishing collaborative relationships with other artistsI do believe that interdisciplinary collaboration today is an ever growing force in Contemporary Art and that that most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project... could you tell us something about this effective synergy? By the way, I can clearly remember the well-known Peter Tabor's quote, when he remarked that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between several artists?

Indeed collaborating with other artists is very important to me, whenever I want to create a new universe that is united I need to work with other people that might have skills in the areas that I don't have. Through working with musicians, video artist, designers I constantly learn and I'm beeing challenged to step out of my comfort zone and see the subject from another perspective. Artists who are really devoted to their practice tend to focus very much on one particular aspect of the world, weather it's sound, or movement, or the image. The viewer sees the whole picture when he is looking at the art piece. In order to create a new reality, an independent world that appears


Marta Kosieradzka

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Marta Kosieradzka

on stage or in a video we need to look at it as a whole, every detail is important to let the thought of the artist be visible for the audience. Collaborating with people from different art disciplines also helps to reach much broader audience, not only people who are interested in dance, but maybe also those who would normally never thought of watching it. In the creation of my solo ''BirthBirdBabyBlue'' I've worked on developing music and dance simultaniously, so that it would grow organically together. This kind of process takes a lot of time obviously, but I definitelly think it's worth it. It

has led us to many discoveries that we've both did not expected to find ourselves in. On other occasions I've just let another artist to take my existing work and transform it in their own way, like it was with ''Windmills in the ocean'' that I've mentioned before. In the initial phase of working on the film trilogy ''The three oddest words'' I was looking for people who would fulfill my vision that I've already had for that production. I wrote a scenario and from the beggining till the end with the help of a composer Adriano Fontana and film maker Eva Campos Suarez we


Marta Kosieradzka

consequently executed our plan. But this was the only time that making a plan before I start really worked for me... In my most recent collaboration I've entered a world of improvised jazz music that I didn't really know very well before. I'm working on a film project that will be a collaboration between me and a Polish jazz band ''Olbrzym i Kurdupel'' and a film maker Eva Campos Suarez. I've learned a totally new way of seeing the act of 'writing' dance or music. By listening to that music I had imediatelly a clear picture of what I want to do and which character I want to

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portray in my film, it was like I was sucked into the world of jazz music just by listening to it... Your work is intrinsically connected with the chance of creating a deep interaction with your viewers, urging them to follow your process and pushing them to not play as a passive audience: as you have remarked once, you see your process and your work also as a contribution to the society and a way of sharing my thoughts and comments on surrounding world with other people: although I'm aware that this might sound a bit na誰f, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadays-


could play an effective role in sociopolitic questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

Yes, of course I belive that Art can stimulate people's behaviour and really change their view of the world, otherwise, why would we ever want to show our works to the audience? I see now a lot of performances or art pieces that deal with the subjects that are popular or known as 'controvertial' and it's sort of 'fashion'

to be talking about them. Often those works seem very artificial to me. When I watch an art piece I want to have a sort of conversation with the author. I want to know his thoughts and opinions, I do not want to hear slogans and things that I already hear on TV or radio and that are politically correct. So in other words I belive in Art that is an honest statement of an artist and I think only then it can really change or touch people and make them think out of the box. Nowadays I also see a contradition- one one hand we live in a world where we can share


this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience? I think the most important quality for a creator of any kind is sesitivity and ability to observe surrounding world as well as himself. I hate when people say that artist ''express themselves'' throught dance, painting or another form. I think this is absolutely not true. If we look at the greatest masterpieces of all times, we think it's something really beautiful, divine and great above all measure. I really don't think we could say the same words about their authors, could we? So if they would be only 'expressing themselves' could those masterpieces ever be produced? Of course anything we observe in our life and anything that we drive inspiration from gets 'filtred' through the prism of our own luggage of experiences and this we can never avoid. During my working process I try to relate both to the things and ideas I observe as well to the ones that are directly a part of my life experience.

freely any information and talk about whatever we want, but on the other hand it is very superficial. It is hard to find a person which talks openly about what is important to them. And this is why I belive artists have an important work to do. I have highly appreciated the way your approach reveals a desire to create a concrete aesthetic from experience and memories: and as you have once stated you draw inspiration from people, their stories and characters and city as a moving, living organism... so I would take

As one of the most famous pioneers of modern dance Martha Graham has said: ''I did not want to be a tree, a flower or a wave. In a dancer's body, we as audience must see ourselves, not the imitated behavior of everyday actions, not the phenomenon of nature, not exotic creatures from another planet, but something of the miracle that is a human being.'' It is not really possible to become somene else that you already are, but still I see the role of performer as someone who should be open to everything that surrounds him and should be able to channel it to the audience even though it might not refer to his direct experience.


Some of my works that I've mentioned before were inspired by works of other artists or stories that I've heard but there was probably a reason in me why those particular things grabbed my attention. ''BirthBirdBabyBlue'' was inspired by a painting ''Little girl with a dead bird'' of an unknown painter from 16th century that I've seen in a Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels. Old painting might seem as something very distant for a person who lives in 21th century but still it was an art work that has struck me imediatelly when I saw it and later became a great source of inspiration in which

I've found a lot of meaning and references to my own life. Other works were based on a very direct experience, like for instance my solo ''An object''. At that time I was studying in a foreign country where I lived alone in a very small student room where the only furniture were a table, bed,cubboard and a chair. At a certain point I felt really lonely and disconnected from people. Then I started to think about the objects, which meaning they have, which stories they bring. I had a chair but I was dreaming to have someone sitting on that chair keeping me


company. So that's how the piece was made, just by going through a very common daily life experience. Besides producing your stimulating artworks, you also teach: have you ever happened to draw inspiration from the works of your students? By the way, times ago I had the chance to interview Yotam Zohar, an interesting painter and experienced art teacher from the New York scene who once stated that our culture trains people to be visually illiterate...

I think art education is very important. I cannot express my gratitude to all the teachers that I've met on my path and how much their teaching affected my life and my choices. I would definitelly not be who I am today and not be doing what I'm doing. Therefore I know how important it is to inspire students and give them a solid technical base that they can build on. I work with many different kinds of people af all ages, mostly amateurs. I can definitelly refer to the opinion of the artist you quoted and it's not only that the


culture makes people visually illiterate but also trains them to be very unaware of their body and all of it's dimentions. This is something that is bother me a lot...Dance is one of the most organic and natural things to do and in our times it has been neglected. The body is beeing seen as a sexual object or as another item that you can have to get you more money, better job or higher social status. We've compleately disasocciated it from spiritual, emotional or even intelectual values. I really don't belive there is or ever be a computer or a machine that is so perfectly made and so worth of studying as a human body...yet we put more attention to technological news than we do to our own body, the only thing that we really own... Our culture values technical, analitical and scientific skills and pushes creativity, sensitivity and art aside. Very often children who have artistic talents feel very unworthy and neglected at schools and have no chances to develop. Later they become frustrated and unfulfilled adults. This is why I find extremally important to encourage and guide people in exploring art, I think this can really change societies and change the world. Definitelly teaching takes me out of my comfort zone and helps me from beeing an artist closed in a very hermetical world of art. Now, as usual, I would pose you some questions about your relation with your audience. During your over fifteen years career your works have been extensively exhibited in several occasions and you had many solos... It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award -or just the expectation of positive feedbackcould even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

I had a privilage to perform in many different places, also those non-theatrical like museums, galleries, historical monuments or even on the street. Those spaces create a possibility for very close contact and an interraction with the audience, you can see them, you can hear them, you can even touch them. It's different than performing in the theatre where the stage is a symbolical place that separate perfomer from the viewer. Nowaydays dance is definitelly reaching outside the thetres which I find a very positive thing. There are more and more site specific projects that explore the relationship with a particular space. I've made a site specific video project ''Tunnel'' where the choreography was performed in a tunell for pedestrians that runs under the river Schelde in Antwerp. During rehearsals and shootings we've got so many people, citizens of Antwerp telling us how much the appreciated what we do, some of them wanted to discuss, some wanted to join, some just watch or even sing us a song so that we have music to dance on! I find it incredible that just a simple act of dancing in a public space can relase so much openness, curiosity! For me every encounter with the audience is different and each one is intensive for me and very important. I think dance is a language and as we all know it doesn't make much sense to talk to youself, you always need someone who listens and answers in one or the other way. I enjoyed very much sharing my art works with my friends and getting their opinion on it. During creation process it's easy to get very closed in your own imagination and focus on working without thinking what do you accually want to communicate and which tools you're going to use. About business and art I really don't have an answer to that...I think every artist knows how extremally difficult is to find money or sell your work. This goes especially for performing arts where there is no ''product'', there is nothing that people can buy and take home, we're only


selling short experiences. I see more and more projects beeing sponsored by crowdfunding campaigns, I did that myself too, maybe this is a link that in the future is going to connect dance to other sources of sponsoring than traditional state subsidies and institutions. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Marta. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. How do you see your work evolving?

As I said already before I belive in collaborations of different artists, so I definitelly want to continue doing that. So far I've tried out working on smaller projects with the video art, music, fashion. My dream would be to create a perfomance in which all those things could come together to create a full evening thetre performance so this would be definitelly something I'm aiming for. After all the experiments with video work, site specific performances and working in non theatrical spaces I'd like to try to go back to stage again.

I'd like to continue developing as a performer as well and search for more interesting encounters with different types of audiences. At some point I like to find a way to combine my graphic art practice with dance, but I don't have an idea how can I do it yet, but there is hopefully a lot to discover there for me. I'd like to also find a way or a systhem that would help me to organise and support my work financially, that would help me a lot to have more structure and develop my works better.


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Heidi Clapp-Temple (USA) An artist's statement

Heidi Clapp-Temple is a photographically based artist currently residing in the Tampa Bay Area of Florida. She holds a BFA in Fine Art Photography from Syracuse University. Throughout her 25 year art career she has worked in various art mediums in addition to photography; including sculpture, painting, drawing, and jewelry design. Her work has been exhibited and published extensively. When looking at Heidi’s photographs the viewer is privy to a world they have never seen before. Reality has been turned inside out as she delves into the unseen. Her artwork endeavors to create tangible representation of the invisible world that lives inside our minds. Drawing from personal experiences and of those around her, she stages visual narratives depicting emotions, dreams, and memories. Believing that words are unable to fully communicate those things we can't see yet know, she has created a visceral language in an attempt to take the conversation to a deeper level. She uses photography as her vehicle and voice. Entwining truth and fiction together she creates artwork about the complexities of our existence. Often her work addresses private internal thoughts that many people aren't comfortable talking about in an attempt to de-stigmatize them and bring them to light. In bravely doing so, she establishes a bond with her viewers. Above all, her work is an empathetic and honest examination of our human condition.

Heidi Clapp-Temple


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Over Board from Brought to Light


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An interview with

Heidi Clapp-Temple One of the features of Heidi Clapp-Temple's work that has at soon impressed me, is the way she effectively challenges the viewers' perception, accomplishing the difficult task of leading us to rethink about way we perceive the outside world, but also, urging us to investigate about the existence of unexpected relationships between opposites aspects of the reality we inhabit in. Through an incessant process of recontextualization, her refined photography provides the viewers of an extension of the ordinary human perception, in order to manipulate it and releasing it from its most limbic parameters.€ I'm particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her multifaceted artistic production.€ Hello Heidi, and a very warm welcome to ARTiculAction: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a BFA of Fine Art and Photography that you received from about twenty-four years ago from the Syracuse University: how did this experience influence you as an artist and on the way you currently conceive your works?

Thank you so much for this opportunity to talk about my work and processes. It’s hard to believe I got my Art Photography degree that long ago. My experience at Syracuse University had a profound impact on€me as an artist. Syracuse has 2 different photography schools; the College of Visual and Performing Arts and Newhouse School of Communications. I received my BFA at the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). At Newhouse they don’t have a fine art curriculum; their end goal is for you to become a commercial photographer and work in that field. At VPA, however, their focus was on

Heidi Clapp-Temple

making art via all of the fine art mediums; photography being considered as one of them. We weren’t taught to use photography to make pretty pictures. Every image had to have an intent and meaning. A student could create a beautiful photo but if there was a lack of meaning behind it, it€was considered “fluff” and not real art. Photo technique was considered secondary, although in order to create the images we had to have a good grasp technically on how to achieve it. We used medium and large format cameras almost exclusively.€There was a great disdain of creating art for monetary and commercial purposes. Actually, in their eyes that would disqualify it. We were never expected to


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Attain from Brought to Light

use our degrees as a primary means of income and actually make money with them. We would have to earn a living doing something else. I think ideologically it is sound, but in reality it

was indeed hard for me financially after graduating. I took on different jobs that I didn’t enjoy just to be able to make a living and create art. It was a very difficult balance.


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Heidi Clapp-Temple

Observe from Brought to Light

Not Today from Brought to Light

Another important thing worth mentioning is while I was in school from 1987-1991, everything was done with film. It was pre-digital while their current curriculum is mostly digital. Film and paper supplies cost me an arm and a leg! I worked a part-time job while going to school fulltime to be able to pay for the supplies. Many of the students there came from wealth and didn't have to worry about financing. Had it not been for my scholarships and student loans I wouldn't have been able to attend Syracuse at all. I am excited to say that I will be paying off my final student loan payment next month! Despite all of this, I absolutely think my art education there was worth every penny. My artistic practices today are directly tied in with my experiences there.

your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?€

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

I have always created scenes for the camera. I have a background in theater and I am an avid movie watcher. I particularly like watching insightful documentaries and independent films. Typically my work is pre-conceptualized; I have at least a rough idea in mind ahead of time. I work with models and props to create narrative images. In some of my work I combine multiple images together to achieve certain effects. My work is all digital. Digital photography has given photographers so much freedom. We can take as many photos as we want for essentially no cost. The biggest issue is having enough storage space for all the image files and of course that costs some money. I like to shoot a lot. I tend to take "insurance" shots by using the bracketing method. Through this, I determine the correct exposure through my camera's exposure meter. In addition, I will take a slightly under and


Heidi Clapp-Temple

Swallowed from Brought to Light

slightly over exposed shot. Sometimes I will combine the exposures to get the correct tonality in the final image. Nowadays in some cameras there is HDR (high definition resolution) in which the camera will internally create the multiple exposures and combine them to achieve an evenly exposed image. While I don’t feel that’s always accurate I will still manually bracket my exposures. Often times I will take at least 100 different photos each with minute differences just to get that perfect “one”- I can become quite obsessive with it. A lot of photographers are "camera bugs" and are really into their equipment and what's the latest and greatest out there. That holds little interest for me. I will purchase a camera based on reviews and specs and will be content with it for years. However, with the rapid advances in digital technologies it makes sense to upgrade a camera for more megapixels for instance. As€for other equipment I would say hands down my most important piece of equipment is my tripod.

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Happy Place from Brought to Light

I make a lot of long exposures that aren’t possible to do hand held. It is necessary to use one in low light situations as well.€ In the beginning of my career I did a lot of experimental photographic processes in the darkroom. I would sandwich together multiple pieces of film in the enlarger or use two or more different enlargers for each piece of film to create a final image. A lot of that was left to chance and I would need to do repeated prints until I got everything aligned in the way that I wanted. There was no way to "preview" what it would look like ahead of time. I would discover the result after I created the print and I wasted a lot of costly photo paper working that way. I€started working with Adobe Photoshop back in 1997 and I absolutely love that program. Photoshop allows total control of the creation process. What you see is what you'll get when you print the image. A lot has changed in the Photoshop program over the decades that I have been using it. For example, early on, you could


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Heidi Clapp-Temple

Nether from Upon Waking

only undo one step of your work, so you were forced to save the image many times as different image files as you worked in case you needed to go back more than one step to change something. My hard drive filled up very quickly so I had to constantly create zip disks and CDs. I was elated when they introduced the history capabilities soon after which gave the ability to go back as many steps as you wanted to without needing to save the image over and over again. Also in the beginning it was painfully slow. I had the maximum amount of memory in my computer but it would crash all the time when working with my high resolution images. You need to work with large image files to create a good quality print. It really

makes me appreciate how technology has changed and made my production a lot quicker. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Brought to Light, an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit directly at€http://www.heidiclapptemple.com€in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?€

In my current project Brought to Light, I work in an entirely new way. I create table top sets behind


Heidi Clapp-Temple

Transition from Cautionary Tales

a large sheet of white paper. I start off with a sketch and then will render it into cut paper shapes combined with glass and other objects to create a composition. I then backlight the sets with a photo light and photograph them with my camera set up in front of the white paper. This technique creates opaque silhouette shapes on the white paper and see-through shapes when I use translucent objects. I like the freedom I have working in this way. If I want to have an owl in an image, I don't have to seek out a real one to photograph and then digitally add it to the artwork. It is completely hands on and that excites me. It is very labor intensive creating the sets, but I love to “make things”. ( I actually started out as a sculpture major in art school. ) It takes me

anywhere from 20 to 40 hours to create an image this way. I challenge myself with this project to achieve all effects right in the camera. Using the camera is really just a way of documenting the scenes. The post-edits I do are just technical corrections in color balance, contrast, tones, etc. € Brought to Light is actually an offshoot from my Upon Waking project in which I took photographs of natural light patterns and reflections. One morning I was in the bathroom and saw this incredible light shadow cast onto the inside of the bathtub. I ran and got my camera and photographed it and created the piece “High Tide”. For days I started making photos of fleeting light everywhere in my house


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Heidi Clapp-Temple

Family Web from Brought to Light

and then I started combining them together.

light in€a controlled studio setting so I wasn’t

That was great fun. I then wanted to work with

limited by the few hours or even moments of


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Denial from Brought to Light

My Savior from Brought to Light

perfect daylight. I started thinking about the endless possibilities. For quite some time I was feeling the need to work in a more hands on way. Instead of finding people, places and things to photograph, I can just make them. Most of my production hours are spent creating my sets, playing with light, shadows, and composition. The way I worked in previous projects was primarily with digital manipulation, which meant most of my production time was spent sitting in front of my computer. It has been very freeing getting away from that way of working.

would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I would go as far as to state that Brought to Light takes such a participatory line on the conception and especially on the production of art. In particular, your investigation about the concept of constructed realities in a way that has reminded me of Thomas Demand's works: as you have remarked once, photographing a purely fictional construction is a way of giving it a permanence and credulity set, and moreover goes beyond its intrinsic ephemeral nature. So I

I think for some artists it may not be necessary to have a direct personal experience, but it has to be inspired by something they feel very passionately about. For myself, I am inspired by direct and personal experiences in addition to the experiences of those around me. I care deeply about other people and have a lot of empathy for their situations. As a way of relaying these experiences visually I create narrative scenes that are a blend of real and imaginary. I think this combination can create more psychological impact on the viewer.€The interesting thing about photography is the idea that a camera captures the truth. Sometimes things seem even more real in photographs. In this instance photography works as a device to give credulity and authenticity to my temporary and fabricated


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Heidi Clapp-Temple

Watching from Cautionary Tales

Brought to Light scenes. Using this device also delivers validation to the experiences themselves. Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on me is entitled Cautionary Tales: the images from this conceptual series generate a symbolic effect, jog memories of experiences from an inner, even limbic dimension. I have appreciated the way you accomplish a deep investigation about the relationship between perception and memory: while you stimulate the viewer to create a space consistent to the sensation of spatial and

temporal misallignment you do not seem to suggest the existence of such an inertial system of reference related to perception process:... could this be a subtle metaphor of cultural relativism?

You definitely raise some interesting questions. Is it possible for another one to relate to somebody's experiences if they haven't had them themselves? I think that depends on how empathetic the viewer is. My goal is to bring out empathy in people. My work is generated from a female emotional perspective. So, I do wonder how relatable that is to other people, especially


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Slither from Cautionary Tales

men. But, I think that the issues that I talk about like self-esteem, relationships, memories, and emotions are relatable to everyone on a basic level at the very least. In my Cautionary Tales series there is an intentional blur of lines about what is real and what is fictional. I am trying to depict an emotional state of mind. That's a real challenge because we have personal associations with everything we see. I try to be careful about being too specific or symbolic with my imagery. That being said, in my pieces "Slither" and “Swallowed” I use a big black snake to create a sense of dread. I believe that’s a rather universal feeling and response to having one unexpectedly slither out in

front of you. On a personal note, I have had lifelong nightmares about snakes. It feels authentic to incorporate them in my artwork. I try to depict€emotions that are intangible and invisible in a tangible way. At times I am intentionally vague because what I am talking about is ephemeral. Like a dream, there are elements of truth mixed in with a subconscious narrative. The environment plays an important role in this series. It sets the emotional tone. I tend to think of these images as dream "stills". €I don't want my viewers to feel lost when they look at my images. I hope to illicit a feeling of recognition, similar to the experience we have of knowing something but not


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Heidi Clapp-Temple

being able to put our finger on why, like deja vu. I think that is the inertial system of reference we all share as human beings. Maybe it's an unconscious collective that we all are all part of. I think that Cautionary Tales urges the viewer to follow not only your process, but even and especially the cultural and politic substratum on which you build your creations: I have particularly appreciated the way this forces us to evolve from being a passive spectator to more conscious participants... By the way, although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naïf, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadays- could play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

I do see my work as cultural because I am talking about the universal human experience of memory, empathy, and emotion. €I believe all art is political in that it intends to engage society. Of course that engagement can be on any number of different levels. Art that is created with a specific message can be hugely impactful on society. Shepard Fairey's art is an excellent example of this with his Obama Hope art for example. He created these iconic images that really framed a political message and played a big role in Obama's campaign. There are many artists who create work about human rights that have directly influenced political change. There is no exaggeration of the power that art can have. I think people respond to what they see more than what they hear. Vik Muniz's Pictures of Junk created collaboratively with the workers in a Brazilian junk yard is another example of the many artists who have brought about positive change with their art. His work brought awareness to the plight of these workers and sparked a reform in the recycling industry in Brazil. €Work like his is very inspiring for me.

I have created several pieces lately with a feminist perspective. "Not Today”, "Soul Food”, and "Attain" address the pressure of feeling we need to achieve€impossible standards of beauty.€So many women I know beat themselves up for not looking good “enough”. There is too much importance placed toward outward appearance. I think this affects men as well, but not to the degree that it does women. There are certainly more eating disorders in women than men. It’s really sad that there are so many unhappy women when it is due to something superficial. I certainly look back at my younger days with the perspective of being middle aged now and I feel like too much of my time and energy was wasted on trying to achieve a pointless goal.€ In Moments In Between I can recognize a subtle but effective investigation about the emerging of language due to a process of selfreflection, and what has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to objects, re-contextualizing the concepts behind them: and I would go as far as to state that in a certain sense your works force the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

I am always looking for signs of encrypted meaning all around me. I sometimes think there is a deeper meaning to things and that they can be signs. It can border on being superstitious but I think it is human nature to do that. We are always hoping for a sign to help us out. I think a lot of things make a subconscious imprint on us, maybe without us even realizing it or giving credit to what it was.


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Unquiet Mind from Cautionary Tales


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Heidi Clapp-Temple

Flitting from Cautionary Tales

The Mask from Moments in Between

Yes, I do like to re-contextualize objects as one of my methods to create a visual language.€ My Moments in Between piece “Transition” would be a good example of this. It is about a boy standing at the precipice of becoming a young adult. He is leaving childhood behind, which is why I show only the back of him. Behind him is a discarded toy dump truck floating in the swamp, a remnant of childhood days. I chose the location because it is a place where there are no other people and although beautiful it is kind of moody and dark. I think it works well as a visual to represent uncertainty and self-reflection. There is an aura

of sadness which reflects the way I feel when I think about the time when my son isn’t a child anymore. I also remember feeling that way as a 12 year old as I started to realize my childhood was over. The exploration of the blurry boundaries between Memory and Experience is a recurrent theme in your works, and I have appreciated the way you extract what I would define the unrevealed narrative behind the oniric dimension in Upon Waking: where indistinct shapes seems to


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Paradox from Cautionary Tales

Hornet Head from Cautionary Tales

act as cornerstones for the fulfillment process of the viewers. This has reminded me again Thomas Demand, when he stated that "nowadays photography can no longer rely much on €symbolic strategies and €has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead": what's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

psychological elements can definitely push the medium further. That’s what I am trying to achieve with the medium. It gets tricky because we have associations with everything we see. With Upon Waking, I shot a lot more abstractly. The viewer can’t necessarily discern what they are seeing. I wanted it to feel like when you first wake up and you are trying to remember the details of your dream and the more you wake up the more the details start to recede- like trying to grab for something that is just out of reach. In this body of work I steered away from specific narratives and tried to keep it very free-form.

€I think that photography is inherently narrative, every image tells a story. Utilizing that narrative device as a way to talk about


High Tide from Upon Waking


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Heidi Clapp-Temple

In general I have a narrative in mind, but try not to pre-visualize it too much ahead of time. When I do, I get overly set on making that image in my mind work, even if turns out not to work. I get too invested in it and it doesn’t allow the creative process to flow and naturally evolve. It takes a certain head space and time to work like that. I try to work for about 6 hours at a time with minimal interruptions. It’s almost like being in a trance sometimes. If it weren’t for obligations, family, and friends I could see myself working every waking moment. It forces my obsessive nature to stay in check. Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a but cliché question, but an interesting one that I'm sure will interest our readers around the world... During your long career you have exhibited in several occasions, and I think it's important to mention that you were recently awarded from the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts: it goes without saying that feedbacks are capable of providing an artist of an important support, which is for sure not absolutely indispensable, but that can stimulate to keep on with Art: I was just wondering if the expectation of positive feedback could even influence the process of an artist... €In particular, how would you define the nature of the relation with your audience?

If I were to create artwork based on receiving positive feedback from other people it wouldn't be authentic. My goal is always to be honest regardless of other people's reactions. I feel the need to be true to myself, my message, and what feels right to me. That being said, of course I love positive feedback on my artwork. It’s especially exciting to get good responses about a current project I am working on. It’s very rewarding and encouraging. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Heidi. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your

Soul Food from Brought to Light

future projects. How do you see your work evolving?

Right now my Brought to Light series is really resonating with me on some important levels. It’s like exploring a new world. I envision my next project as a combination of more dynamic light work like I used in the Upon Waking series, with Brought to Light-style set ups. As you have seen, I have done various projects in vastly different ways. Once something starts to feel stale I no longer become interested in doing it that way anymore. I always fear that there will be a day when that happens and the light will just go out… maybe there won’t be any new ideas. There are no guarantees in life. I am thankful every day for my creativity and that my brain continues to work in this way. Thank you again for your in-depth questions. It’s helpful to take a step away from the process of making art once in a while and consider it from different vantages.


Un-nest from Brought to Light


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Amanda Karlsson (Sweden)

I was born and raised in Sweden, surrounded by the wild, deep and almost fairytale forests. With people shaped by the fixed nature, they thus become fixed individuals, separated from whats not already known. I used to hate the separation from the outside world, always seeking a larger experience from life. Now, this separation is something I am constantly seeking for in my artworks. I often see my motives as actors in a room, or space that I created. These actors, or objects, are not the most important part of the basic feeling that I am trying to convey. Instead, it is the space surrounding them. For me these are emotionless areas, they still aren't empty, but they contain a lack of human emotion. For me, this is to keep, let go or use. Mostly I seem to preserve it, I have always been driven to the old folklore melancholia. The more romantic kind when you actually enjoy your own misery. That is why I so often turn to graphite in my works. I enjoy the sensitive lead pencil and the ability to convey sharp details but still keep the light touch. A really useful material to work with when trying to do both realistic drawings and include abstract shapes, the graphite creates a dialogue between these two for me. The realistic becomes abstract because of the surroundings, and the abstract questions the realistic shapes. When I turn to my oil paintings I use it slightly differently, still keeping the melancholia and separation from the outside world, but also to add a separation between the people or objects I portray and the canvas. Often I want it to feel like these motives just accidentally stepped in to the picture. I believe in deconstructing and rebuilding; to use a moment, preserve its visual importance, and then remove the rest. This makes it possible to add the empty surroundings. Creating emotion with emotionless space. My motives are often people, maybe its because human beings inspire me, or maybe its because I find it interesting to see how humans interact with each other. Portraits don't really get to me, neither to watch nor to create. My pieces often contains several people that don't seem to be aware that they are a part of an artwork. The eyes turning another way looking for something beyond the viewer. Like children, they have such an ability to observe and observe only. When I am using children in my works I often get the feeling that me and the motive are involved in a gathering observation, not something in the artwork, but something close by. We are still separated in two different worlds but, the viewer, become interested in something that is not told in the canvas. This is really interesting because I, as the creator, feel completely powerless in this realisation that I myself is being drawn into this. On the other hand, I also enjoy it. In the beginning of creating an artwork I often start with the title, then I can decide the basic mood and the first impression that the viewer should have. Often in a slightly humorous way because, when using humour the title is a suggestion, not a demand. I don't want to decide what the viewer should receive, nor feel, I just want to use the title as a suggested direction to go in. Also, I really enjoy mixing humour and romantic melancholia, it creates a bit of dark humour. This separation of dark humour and scenery in itself gives me inspiration. I don't live in the Swedish forest any more. This exclusion from the outside world has passed and still I find myself creating it. Or re-enacting it to lead the viewer through my eyes, but never to be too obvious. Thus, art isn't fixed, nor is it personal, its a creative perception that lies beyond the individual work. My goal is to make art that require the viewer to respond.


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Oh,Love, oil on canvas,50x60 cm


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An interview with

Amanda Karlsson An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator

Amanda Karlsson works focuses on the tensions between memory, space and perception of subjectivity in the modern age. The empty, emotionless space is a recurrent feature of her imagery and it sometimes seems to raise the question of the role of the individual in our ever more complex worldwide reality: the viewers are not forced to enter an unknown realm of emotions, but gently invited to explore the apparent emptiness and fill it with their personal experiences, to embrace Karlsson's intimate take on reality and to discover our unsuspected ability to bring a new level of significance to well-acquainted concepts as space and memory. I'm particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating works. Hello Amanda, and a warm welcome to ARTiculAction: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? In particular, raising in what you have onced defined a wild, deep and almost fairytale environment has for sure impacted on you, and it may have been a springboard for your investigation about the concept of outside world and the inherent idea separation. Would you like to tell our readers soething about this crucial aspect of your evolution as an artist?

Hi! And thank you. Well, I was born and raised in the big forest part of of Sweden, quite close to Norway actually. It's a bit in the middle and basically what you know about it is its forests. It has a city and all, but the wild stoic sourroundings becomes a part of your personality somehow. Because you couldn't

really just whisk of to one of the bigger cities where apparently everything happened. After school I stayed for a year to work before I went off to bigger and better things. And I'll guess I felt a bit left behind during that year. Thats when I started to have negative feelings about the surroundings, and by that also about myself. Is this separated area that keeps holding me back and so on. After some time I actually left and went to study art at a school quite far from where I was from. I spent those years exploring, doing different types of art, sculpture, drawing, graphic design, doing a bunch of portraits I never was comfortable with. Then I moved to Berlin, finally. In the middle of the part I was separated from for so any years. But then my art evolved quite drastically. I finally made peace with myself and therefor could start to accept the separation and look at it from an outside perspective. I think that was very beneficial to my artistic career. 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 really think I do to much preparation for a work. Whether is a series of paintings, an installation piece or a sculpture. I always write something before I start. Its often How? and Why? Otherwise I dont feel like its this process im now comfortable with. After that I have a very clear and structured way of working until I actually get to the creating the piece. Sometimes I just google my way to find what I need. Other times I put together some kind of photoshoot and take pictures to base the paintings on. Then I can basically start working. When painting I do tons of layering. My bigger paintings has at least ten layers of oilpaint beneath the finished product. This ofcourse takes a while so I would assume that one oilpainting takes at least a month from


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sketching to finished piece. After that I evaluate what I wrote before I started and change the things that needs to be changed. This is all super serious text, so when deciding about the title I always come up with something silly, really cant help it, it just happends. This above is of course when im doing a series of paintings. If I do an installationpiece, sculpture or a single painting I start the same way but the silly part comes in much faster and I have another kind of process. Then I dont really have to be so focused and the work keeps on changing while im doing it. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Oh, Love and Expecting a couple of extremely interesting works that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit your website directly at http://amandakarlsson.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 interesting paintings? What was your initial inspiration?

These two were two single pieces I did about two years ago. Before I actually started working more project based. Expecting came from idle searching online for an apartment in Berlin. Quite busy times where neither me, or my partner knew where we were supposed to live, work or just be. Felt quite rootless at the time. So I think that showed up unconsciously in my works. Big dark areas and often just focused on a small detail. I have kept this alot in my present works. The superrealistic type where you take out everything that doesnt matter and just leave what you need to show, or say. Unstructured times call for structured work. Oh, Love I did a bit later on. When life was more put together. That one actually has a background story, I was thinking a lot about relationships and well, love, and how people can get so lost in on another. So lost that yourself, your being, just fades away. After a while your nothing but a siluette of what you were supposed to be.

More shortly, its about toxic relationships. Not really a happy painting with silly title but I still can see something a bit promising in it. I love the way you juxtapose human figures, often in such an attitude of submission on a background space suggested by a simple line: this combination seems to speak us of human fragility in comparison with an environment that appears impenetrabe and a bit hostile... In this sense I think that your works invite us to extract a subjective vision of the reality we inhabit in: maybe to decipher it, in order to snatch some details that, although hidden, are of crucial importance for our lives: do you agree with this analisys?

Absolutely. Although would like to add the fragility to the moment, to decipher a day passing, not just your own timeline but the outside of yourself and see all those few but important things happening around you. So yes absolutely a subjective version of reality. Im often trying to encourage people vieweing my works not to think about what to me as the artist this piece is trying to tell. I dont want to tell my life story trough art. I want my works to be applicable to everyone. Another works of yours that have particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words are entitled May I Fight You? and The Prey: your approach encourages a semiotic discovery of the visual: and this is clear in particular in Accidentaly Entering An Empy Canvas: I definitely love the way, by heightening the tension between reality and perception, this conceptual work explores the concept of language and of direct experience... so I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

First of all. I was talking about before how I tend to start something writing and also finish it with


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Expecting,, 2013


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May I fright you?, oil on canvas, 60x80 cm

writing. The titles are a big part of the finished work, even though they can be silly or simple I always use them as a suggestion for in which direction the viewer is headed. I im not a big fan of leaving people stranded, hiding between the Its up to the viewer what to feel and think about this piece. In my opinion, its lazy. Of course you cant use art as in how you use books, but you can be

subtle. Discreetly lead the way, I do this by using the titles. Oh, and about the actual question. I really dont think direct experience is necessary. Art is often quite personal even if you want it or not, even though I try to step away from that, and if you try to create something without knowledge you'll tend to subconsciously get the experience while struggling with it.


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The pray, oil on canvas, 20x20 cm

Your paintings often avoid explicit explainations, but you always offer a point of view or at least a direction towards move to search: a subtle but important feature of your works is a very effective dark humour that in springs in That's when he lost his sweater wearing privileges and especially in It's all about perspective, which I have to admit is one of my favourite piece of yours...

Haha I actually think thats just my scandinavian side that shines trough. The humour is quite dark up here, you somehow enjoy your own misery and find it a bit romantic. Iv'e noticed I do that a lot. For me its somewhat in the contrast between the absolute solid piece of art and then the contrast of something that gets your mind to wander in the direction I want it to go. I think that humour and espeacially the


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darker kind can be interpreted in so many different ways. Ive seen people taking a couple of my pieces as incredibly emotional, just because the direction the title has lead them in is something they feel strongly about, when sometimes for me its a play with words. I really love that, get that dialogue starting. Its all about perspective got sold last year I think and the buyer wanted to see me after the exhibition and discuss it because he needed to talk about it and what the piece meant to him. Mostly because of the title actually, a title I used because of the different sizes between the old man and the small house. It then started to mean something else after that. I really do love that, that art intreracts with the viewers, that the viewer is as important as the actual work. Your recent wors seems to be more and more conceptual, as Red House With White Edges and Better Each Day: moreover, I can recognize a going-over and incresing hermetism in the way you carefully choose the few object that are represented: would you like to tell me something about the narrative behind these projects?

I think thats mostly based on an old painting of mine, a house is not a home (Ill attach a photo to the email) thats when I started to explore those really bright colours that you often find in childrens toys. Using those and not use any shadows or trying to make it look realistic was really something that got to me. Espeacially when you add another field carefully detailed. For these two works it was a bit of a try-out using this not only in painting but in other materials as well. I also did a couple of tents in the same material as in red house with white edges but i didnt use any colours in that one and it quickly became quite a boring piece. I need the contrast between. About the objects that I used for these its often decided after I add the hard and clear lines using the colourpatterns I decided beforehand. So that the abstract part decides about the figurative part. Your works are intrinsically connected with the chance of creating a deep interaction with your viewers, urging them to follow your process and pushing them to not play as a passive audience: as you have remarked once, there's a point when the


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Accidentaly entering an empty canvas, 2012


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Red house with white edges, 2014 viewer becomes interested in something that is not told in the canvas... By the way, although I'm aware that this might sound a bit na誰f, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadayscould play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

It sounds perfectly reasonable. Art is kind of the

only way you can show to others how you perceive the world. Its amazing that you actually can do that. And, by that, knowledge is power and power controls the world. Not just that as the creator of something you can change other people, I believe it can open a dialogue and by that be able to discuss sociopolitical questions. We have a massive feministic movement in Sweden right now that im oh so proud to be a part of and one of the discussions was about your period. This has been under the radar for so many years and


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The Hunter, 2013

Better each day, 2014

been labeled as disgusting by people that doesnt experience it. After this has been on topic there has been so many artworks about menstration and by that also a big discussion that changes the shame people felt before about just being a human. Thats why im writing so much before I do something. I dont want my art to be my personal therapi session where people can react to things I felt or experienced. Art can be so much more than that. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and besides the interesting oil painting s that we have admired in these pages, you also produce drawings and stimulating installations, as Slaughterhouse playground and Ultimate Existence, so I

would like to use this occasions to ask what's your point about this fruitful contamination... By the way, while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

I tend to use both the installation pieces and the paintings the same way. Its not really a big difference to me, although one is in 3d. I want to use the painting medium to feel like its a scene going on the same room youre standing in. That you can be a part of it if you like or you can idly stand by, but you are a part of it and you have to react to it. With Installations its the same, its there, youre there, react to it. I just finished I project called You Humble Me. Its five big oilpaintings and a installation, and I think that could describe what I do with both disciplines. Its about relationships in general and that being human means being dependent


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Ultimate Existence. Installation at Alexanderplatz- Berlin, a collaboration project that was later filmed used for exhibition purposes


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Slaughterhouse playground Installation from a residence that took place in an old slaughterhouse in Sweden


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on one another, always. Relationships does not necessarily mean self-sacrifice, self-sacrifice does not mean addiction and dependence doesnt have to be destructive. Love is a constructive force. Its a series of five oil paintings where completely different relationships are portrayed equally. When these were covering the walls of the gallery it felt as an installation, you were standing between people holding on to one another. Then I decided to add a sculpture. Its basically human figures made of chicken wire and then fully dressed. While using the both disciplines sculpture and painting it made a installation, you were standing between all of it, and that was my final goal. To not make the viewer the outsider but gracefully force something. I think I needed the sculpture for that because paintings can create this gap inbetween. I want the viewers not the be separated from the works but the be a part of the separation suggested. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Amanda. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

I have some discussions going on about 2015. One of them I cant really say anything about yet and another one is involved with the sculpture/Installation I was talking about before. Hopefully it will turn out to be 20+ human figures made of chicken net. Otherwise I just finished the exhibition You Humble Me here in Gothenburg and will get to work with my next soloexhibition which opens in 2016. Will also be a part of a couple of group shows inbetween. Next couple of paintings will actually gonna take a turn towards lego-landscape and the text im currently writing on adresses gender issues in an early age, so you can just keep a look out on my webpage for those.


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Ryota Matsumoto (Japan) An artist's statement

The artworks of Ryota Matsumoto develop and demonstrate the hybrid/multi-layered process, where varying scale, juxtaposition of different forms, intertwined textures/tones are applied to reflect the spatio-temporal conditions of our ever-evolving urban and ecological environments. They are created to act as the catalyst for defining speculative changes in our notions of cities, socities and cultures. His drawings explore a hybrid drawing technique combining both traditional media (ink, acrylic, and graphite) and digital media (algorithmic processing, scripting and image compositing with custom software ). The algorithmic and generative processes are applied to create lines, curves and multi-dimensional forms. Then they are redefined and reconfigured with traditional painting/drawing techniques that add colors, textures and details to compositions. Ryota Matsumoto is a principal of an award-winning design office, Ryota Matsumoto Studio based in Tokyo. He is an artist, designer and urban planner. Born in 1972, Ryota was raised in Hong Kong and Japan. He received Master of Architecture from University of Pennsylvania in 2007 after studying at Architectural Association in London and Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art in early 90’s. His art and built work are featured in numerous publications and exhibitions internationally. His current interest gravitates around the embodiment of cultural possibilities in art, architecture, and urban topography. Ryota Matsumoto

Marked by the Atlas of an Endless Spin Cy


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An interview with

Ryota Matsumoto An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator

Ryota Matsumoto is not just an interesting artist, but also an accomplished designer and urban planner: the deep symbiosis between elements from Architecture, Design and Technology allows the viewer to perceive the subtle but undeniable continuity between tradition and modernity. Through a refined approach in which techniques from opposite disciplines as graphite drawing and algorithmic processing, merge together in an harmonious combination, he gives life to a multi-layered experience and effectively stresses the way in which our perception of abstract shapes depends on cultural perspectives It is with a real pleasure that I would like to introduce our readers to his stimulating works. Hello Ryota, 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 in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art?

Hello, Thank you for giving the opportunity to talk about my work. I always perceive art as a means to mirror and reflect socio-economic and cultural substrates in the past, present and possibly future from one’s unique point of view. I believe the most successful art transmits ideas and values inherent in our culture across the wide span of space and time. That is why great works of art manage to stay relevant for a long time to come. In the ideal world, we could examine the past, interpret the present and even conjecture about the future strictly within the framework of single piece of art.

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To a large extent, Contemporary Art could be defined as fine art that manages to explore timeless themes with the use of current technologies or drawing techniques. Of course, there are also impending issues of multiculturalism, globalization and ecological concerns that we might need to address with particular emphasis in order to meet the criteria of Contemporary Art, but I always consider a guiding principle that defines art, remains the same for centuries and Contemporary Art is no exception for sure. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a very solid education, and after your studies at Architectural Association in London and Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow, you degreed with a Master of Architecture from University of Pennsylvania. How have these experiences impacted on your developement as an artist


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the High Overdrive and Its Undefinable Consequence Mixed Media 141221 79cmx119cm

and on the way you currently produce your artworks?

I believe all the schools help me establish my own perspective and identity for working in the creative field one way or the other. I’d also like to point out that every school has their own unique direction and strength in pedagogical approach that is attributed to their culturally diverse student body and specific geographical location of the school. These school characteristics allow me to learn and explore the various facets of creativity and innovation in Architecture and Art. At any rate, the most important lesson that I learned from my

education comes down to always being open minded to new and different ideas. It definitely supports my broad outlook on life as well. 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 use several different mediums and always avoid being overtly systematic. So I take on a different approach for every work. As far as


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common factors among my work are concerned, I always employ a hybrid technique that blends traditional techniques with digital media. That is actually the most crucial aspect of my work. The hybrid technique allows me to add a warm human touch and layers of texture to a precision of digital drawings. I usually need a few days for preparation. However, I take an improvisational approach to my painting occasionally. In that case, I am less preoccupied with technical and compositional issues. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from "Hollow Ghosts for Those Restless Spirits" that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit yur website directly at http://ryotamatsumotostudio.blog spot.it/ in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production... In the meanwhile, would you like to tell us something about the genesis of these works? What was your initial inspiration?

I believe one of the most important aspects of creating art is intuition and the other aspect is one’s personal experience and individual background. In my case, my over twenty years experience in architecture and urban design play the pivotal role in my creative process and inspiration. With this work, I am inspired by the relationship of people to architecture in modern urban settings and also captured the snapshot of the rapid changes of cityscapes with the depiction of

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the Intersection of Infinite Planes, Medium: Mixed Media, Year: 2014, Dimensions: 27inx47in

various forms in the assembly/disassembly procedures. One of the features of the Intersection of Infinite Planes that has impacted on me is

the way you effectively challenge the dichotomy between the perception of the real and the oniric dimension...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


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the Indistinct Notion of an Object Trajectory Mixed Media 141210 75cmx56cm

dichotomy and contrapuntal relationship among organic and inorganic, structural and amorphous as well as small/personal objects and large structures. These polar opposite elements could integrate with each other and morph into totally new structures in my paintings. My direct experience can be defined as a springboard for triggering initial inspiration. Then my imagination takes it further beyond my experience. a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I’ve often worked with contemporary ethical and aesthetic values of cities and their rapid developments which can be characterized by

Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and maybe because I have a scientific background, I'm always delighted to come across an interesting example of how Art and Technology can establish an effective symbiosis, as in the interesting "Those Who


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Those Who Affirm the Spontaneity of Every Event Mixed Media 140821 84cmx119cm

Affirm the Spontaneity of Every Event", where you have created a rich combination between traditional materials as ink, acrylic, graphite and digital media so I would take this occasions to ask what's your point about this fruitful contamination... By the way, while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

The hybrid technique comes naturally to me

since I’ve worked as a designer and an artist for quite a while. The confluence of seemingly opposing techniques are aimed at achieving both earthiness/warmness of traditional painting and delicate complexity of digital art in my work. I think we can no longer rely on onedimensional/ traditional representational systems to decipher and depict the intricacies of our contemporary society and the humanization of digital technologies are certainly indispensable for venturing into the new paradigm of fine art.


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the Hanging Gardens of Ancient Creek, Mixed Media 141207 84cmx119cm

Another interesting pieces of yours on which I would like to spend some words are entitled "the Hanging Gardens of Ancient Creek" and "Stretched into an Infinite Vapor of Spectral Resonance": one of the feature that has mostly struck on me is the dynamicity, the sense of movement that you have been capable of impressing on the canvas... and I have highly appreciated the nuance of intense red which, combining with vivid tones, creates an interesting synergy rather than a contrast, and especially on the neutral background: by the way, any

comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

I have tendency to use the color of stark contrast to create the sense of movement and dynamism to the overall composition. That being said, the subtle difference in color is also applied to express a sense of depth and to give the clarity to figure-ground relationship. I have highly appreciates the way your multilayered approach is capable of bringing an high level of significance to abstract shapes:


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and I would go as far as to state that in a certain sense your works urge the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

My artworks embrace and transmit everdiversifing interdisciplinary views on the urban milieu in which we live in today. At the same time, there are also more personal works which are generated from their own narrative structures to stand on their own as individual entities. So I’d say most of my work are often layered with multiple meanings and are also very much open to anyone’s interpretation simultaneously. As you have stated once, your current interest gravitates around the embodiment of cultural possibilities in art, architecture, and urban topography: I can recognize in this a socio politic feature and although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naïf, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadays- could play an effective role in sociopolitical questions, as in human rights issues: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

I am much more interested in the psychological effects of art and how it changes and affects one’s aesthetic experience. To a large extent, this also involves how people relate themselves to art in the context of their everyday lives. I wouldn’t go so far as to say art is able to steer one’s view towards sociopolitical agendas.


Space Station Talks Visualized From Orbiter Mixed Media 150111 71cmx118cm


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You are an accomplished artist and a principal of an award-winning design office: during your career your works have been shown in several occasions: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if the expectation of a positive feedbackcould even influence the process of an artist... do you take the audience into account when you are planning or creating a piece?

It is almost impossible to please everyone with my art. Hopefully, it appeals to a certain people and that is something I might take into consideration, while working on a piece. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Ryota. 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?

It is always my pleasure! I’ve been working on a collaborative project with both industrial designer and architect for a while. There will also be exhibitions of my work in Italy and the United States this year.

Our Perceptions Lay Bare as Incongruent Swashes Pass Overhead Mixed Media 150226 77cmx119cm


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Sylvain Granjon (France) An artist's statement

"I was in the circus … until the accident". That is a reasonable version of how Sylvain Granjon replied to my "tell me about yourself" question last summer in Arles. My heart soared with the prospect of pictures made by someone who has been communicating to a very different - non-photographic - audience; there was the possibility of magic. I want to make special mention of my encounter with him, whose reminded me that it's delight that is at the heart of photography, and that is what engages me." W.M HUNT Halsted and Hunt (New York) Gallery Director, collector and author of "The Invisible Eye" (Actes Sud) After nearly 20 years travelling the world playing street festivals as an actor and acrobat, Sylvain changed course to pursue his other great passion: photography. As well as formal portraits, he specialises in photographic compositions (mises-en-scène) which incorporate collage, cut-outs and hand-colouring but contain no digital manipulation (the DOUCE AMÈRE series, MR ZUPER , ZIDIOMATIKS, TRACKS). He is represented by the TAGOMAGO Gallery (Paris and Barcelone)

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An interview with

Sylvain Granjon An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator articulaction@post.com

Sylvain Granjon is a photographer and his works focuses basically on a creative immersion into an imaginary world, and on the idea of relationship to time and childhood. However, when investigating about the way perception depends on cultural perspectives, his photographs can be also viewed as allegories of the passing of time and a contemplation of the present time. In particular, his recent TracKs (nouvelle série) that we'll be discussing in the following pages, condenses the permanent flow of the perception of time, and the events related to them, questioning its intrinsically ephemeral nature. So, it is with a real pleasure that I'm introducing our readers to Granjon's artistic production. Hello Sylvain, and a warm 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 the contemporariness of an artwork?

Hello, and thank you for your interest. First of all, I’m French, and you know that French people are not good in language!!! So, sorry for the readers, if you don’t understand every thing, it’s my fault! Well…. It’s not me who’s looking at the photograph; it is the photograph who is looking at me. That’s what I think. The definition of the work of art is impossible to explain! For me it must be personal, it must come from inside, it must be a need, it come from a source, but the source of this creativity is difficult to pinpoint. Something makes me

want to create, something natural and instinctive. Something organic. 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 think that it’s not a strory of technical aspects but a story of creativity€! In my past life as a comic acrobat and in my photography now, I have worked in just the same way. I take exactly the same approach to the production of photographs as I took to the creation of shows. It is desire which has always compelled me to create. The desire to play, to surprise, the desire to strengthen and refine my ideas. Just as a show has to be roughed out, performed and toured, a photographic style comes together slowly, by research, by experiment... I see myself as a craftsman who works his material with his hands in the traditional way. That’s why I worked in analogue, medium format, with my old Rolleiflex Camera, print myself the pictures and hand colorised them… I cut-outs, I do some collage, used glue and strings Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from the aforesaid TracKs, an extremely stimulating project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit directly at http://www.sylvaingranjon.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

TRACKS is a recent serie. But, all my series have the same genesis (Mr Zuper, a miniature superhero condemned to


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Sylvain Granjon (photo by AurĂŠlien Cohen)


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Granjon’s direction and his daughter’s modelling collaborate elegantly and are able to evoke ideas of searching for a lost childhood without being obvious or controversial. This combined with the signature soft-focus, vintage quality of the postproduction creates just the right balance between elegance and eeriness, sadness and playfulness. The simplicity with which the photographer has realised ‘Douce Amère’ is what makes it so powerful and able to surface strong emotions of sentimentality. It is a collection which really does not wear its heart on its sleeve as the meanings become more profound and apparent the harder you study it. On first inspection it can look like harmless, playful photography, but the closer you get, the deeper the intensity of the child’s gaze, and the more alert you become to the significance of the props, be they enlarged facial features, dolls or ripped photographs. (from Alice Brace (Tribu Magazine), talking about Douce amère


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live his life trapped in a flat, to the illustrations which transform French idioms into literal images (Mr Sylvain's Zidiomatiks), to when I put facemasks on my daughter (Douce Amère), I always talk about myself and my relationship to the world, about the sometimes poignant events that every human being has to deal

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with, and of the need to manipulate objects and use grotesque gestures if one is to "succeed" in life... My artistry is an unfolding self-portrait. It evolves with time, to the rhythm of my chance encounters and personal exploits. What is life, after all, if not a spectacular performance?


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Sylvain Granjon

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is your recent ZIDIOMATIKS. Humour plays an important role in this series, and I have appreciated the way you have manipulated the images intentionally reveals the human intervention... Manipulation in photography is not new, but digital technology has nowadays extended the range of possibilities and the line between straight and manipulated photographs is increasingly blurry. Do you think people’s perceptions of what a photograph is are changing as a result?

I have to say that there is no digital manipulation

in my work€!It’s a princip for me, in my series, I work like a «€Artisant€» No photoshop. Only hand coloring, collage, cut outs… But I’m shure that a lot of people in my audience, don’t realized that there is no computer intervention. Collectioners yes. A buyer or a collectionner, appreciated a lot that my pictures are hand colorised, printed by my self in my B/W labo, analogue process, limited edition (no more than 10 ex) etc… For Les Zidiomatiks, it’s a game. A game with the words and expressions (french at present, but I’m working on english expressions)


Sylvain Granjon

A game with the public who have to find the good expression, like a child game. I made this serie at the level «€first degree», like a naive person (or a child, or a clown) trying to illustrate a usual imaged expression. I like the way 1000 Pieds Sous Terre takes such a participatory line, both towards people involved in the photos and to whom recognize the everyday situations you have captured with your camera. Your works are strictly related to the chance to create a deep involvement with your audience, both on a on a emotional level, as well as on an intellectual one: so I would take this

"I was in the circus … until the accident". That is a reasonable version of how Sylvain Granjon replied to my "tell me about yourself" question last summer in Arles. My heart soared with the prospect of pictures made by someone who has been communicating to a very different - non-photographic - audience; there was the possibility of magic. I want to make special mention of my encounter with him, whose reminded me that it's delight that is at the heart of photography, and that is what engages me." W.M Hunt (New York)


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From the ZIDIOMATIKS series

Sylvain Granjon


Sylvain Granjon

From the ZIDIOMATIKS series

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Sylvain Granjon

occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The visual image is an inseparable part of my being. I clearly recall the first time I discovered that I could express myself through the visual image. I was a child of ten. At school I was bored. I was a very average pupil. One day in the playground, when nothing was going on, I started to do a mime , to invent a story without knowing where it might lead, but with a certain dramatic flair and some visual gags thrown in. A small group of kids immediately formed around me, they looked at me with curiosity and they laughed. From then on, I gained status, I became someone different, in their eyes a "somebody", and given the laughter and appreciation that ensued I was asked to do it again. I had that day found (without yet realising it) the key that would open the door to my

artistic career. Thanks to visual art I had learned how to counter my inability to express myself in writing. At the beginning it was a physical art, an art of motion, of my own body movement. Circus, comic scenes, acrobatics. I call this the living image. Then, by a natural process of time and chance, I moved on to a fixed image, analog, crafted, manually produced, coloured by hand, cut-out, stuck down, composed. I call this the static image. There always seems to be a sense of narrative in your series, as in the interesting Mister Zuper. How much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your images?

The discovery, or revelation of this creative potential is for me a source of energy. Do we not have to constantly invent new things to keep our audience in suspense? It has guided all my artistic choices for the past 30 years. It is, simply put, humour and the cult of personality.


Sylvain Granjon

From the 1000 Pieds Sous Terre series

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Sylvain Granjon (photo by David Chantoiseau)


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Sylvain Granjon

In my shows, I played fictional characters in often farcical circumstances, anti-heroes whose everyday reality would be turned upside-down by a chance event. In my photography I (re)place ordinary people, who are looking for distractions that will stave off boredom, in a series of adventures. In particular, one of the most convincing aspects of your work is the way you manipulate images in order to bring a new level of significance to them: and I would go as far as to state that in a certain sense your works force the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

I’m not shure that an artist have to reveal something! But, in my case, my material is me and perhaps that my personal concerns, when they passed throught the photographic medium, concern a largest public? At the heart of my live shows and my experimental photography is the way that others see us, the admiration it provokes and the self-mockery. Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a but clichÊ question, but an interesting one that I'm sure will interest our readers around the world... During these years you have exhibited in several occasions, so I would like to ask you what are the main differences that you had the chance to notice between the European scene and the Asian one... By the way, how would you define the nature of the relation with your audience?


Sylvain Granjon

I had never exposed in Asian€! Sorry… but I want€! It can be pretentious , but I’m shure that Japonese people could like my serie DOUCE AMERE.

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First for the style, purified, simple, photos in black and white, unique model (my daughter) all on the same principle, analogue technic.


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Sylvain Granjon

And then for the sens, the idea of relationship to time and€ childhood. Perhaps someone from Japan will read this article€!!

like to tell us readers something about your future projects? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Sylvain. Finally, would you

I have few exhibitions in preparation (2 near Paris and one in Belgrade in March)


I have a photographic Residency in Lisbonne in April with my photographic Collectif (www.collectifperiscope.com) , we’ll go there at 4 photographers. Each of us have to choose a Portuguese writer and a book and make 4 little photographic stories with that.

I worked on a new serie, who will be finish in Juillet 2015 for Arles Festival. I can’t say exactly what is it, but I can tell you that it’s a Love Story, and…I play all the characters€!


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Anna Smetanenko (Ukraine / The Netherlands)

Anna Smetanenko is a multidisciplinary artist, from Kyiv, Ukraine, currently studying Fine Arts in Netherlands. Everything started at the age of 7. Anna read Ukrainian stories about endless sunflower fields, which inspired to write her own fairy tales. “I paint segments. Elements of a whole, the details. They layer up and structure periods of a time, experiences, paths we all go through. Some [paths] build their voices louder for it is the right now and light shines upon them. The picture builds up into visible experiences of an artist’s mind. The disturbance, the answers; I work on each work over the series of different states. An artwork can start as a need to speak of buildup inner non worldly sentence or a phrase and continue through. It is transference to the revelation of unconscious.” Anna works in different mediums: “I like the float between all of them, where every skill is like having enough fingers for inner translation and reflection”. From poetry and violin, to painting, photography and 3D shaped imagination.

Anna Smetanenko


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Installation "Just Crimea memory"


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An interview with

Anna Smetanenko Through a vivacious multidisciplinary approach, the Ukrainian artist Anna Smetanenko drags the viewer along an incessant exploration of the intersection of various realities that she builds and deliver with a provocative and multi-layered narrative. A versatile use of the camera is just one of the ways she effectively underscores the human subjectivity and individual perception at the basis of her work, whose honesty and authenticity issue from a remarkable sensitivity and a refined sense of the aesthetic. So, it is with a real pleasure that I'm introducing our readers to Anna Smetanenko's artistic production. Hello Anna, and a warm 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 the contemporariness of an artwork?

Hello Articulation and thank you for the welcoming. To define something is to particularize, to shape out the static of the solid ground. It is to say “this is how it is”. Perhaps one of the beautiful and intriguing things about art is it’s complexity. Artwork or art in general cannot be taken out of the context of the time, society\ culture it was made in and the eyes of a beholder. Sometimes the eyes of a viewer can bring out new angles or personal undertones to a work of art. Even an authentic work of art comes out of the mind and eyes of a person who is at least in a slightest way, but entwined with past or current social consciousness. Another add on to the complexity of art is that it changes with time it is viewed in. Meaning changes over years and centuries.

Anna Smetanenko portrait by Ekaterina Limareva

Therefore it is difficult to define art by its own generalization. Art is made for variety of toned reasons and the “why” behind a piece is quite an important aspect. Contemporary work of art is a such that on a conscious level observed and noted the history of art and its role, function and with the same techniques sees through the nowadays society. It is a metaphorically shown direction of where to look, with hints (though better not) of what to see. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from the aforesaid On the


Anna Smetanenko

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Evocation of a lost territory to the memory

mountain in Eski Kermen and Every day is a repudioation of a day, an extremely stimulating couple of works that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit directly at http://annasmetanenko.wix.com/artworks in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

On the mountain in Eski Kermen€was inspired by in that time recent event of Crimea

annexation and my nostalgic memory of the last visit. Another work of such matter can be found on my web page, titled “Just Crimea memory”. It was a moment of bitter realization that in no time soon will I be able to climb the magnificent mountain again. It is located 400 meters above the sea level and has distinctive view of Crimea nature and culture. It can be metaphorically seen as the difficulty Tatars had throughout their history of climbing towards having their our culture and roots saved within the influence of such a complicated history. Since the occurrence of recent annexation their characters will be sharpen even more and


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Anna Smetanenko

Through the glasses of my kind

Every day is a repudiation of a day before

national consciousnesses risen. I wanted to portray that with a look of a horizon from the historical location of Eski Kermen. € €Every day is a€repudiation€of a day€is a work about trying to break free from previous misconceptions and improving personality traits we all have. It consists of many chaotic layers where colors disturbingly don’t match. For the last, top layer I had to go back to the old sketch as a time origin when a certain event took place. This artwork is about how at certain times a simple thing can bring us indeed felt happiness, however had it to occur other time, the perception of happiness wouldn't be as bright. There is a lot of swirling dynamics in the painting due to the cold colors surrounding it, as the view gets fixed in its most chaotic moment.€

Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words are your entitled After the fight and MH 17. I definitely love the way you have manipulated the images intentionally reveals the human intervention... Manipulation in photography is not new, but digital technology has nowadays extended the range of possibilities and the line between straight and manipulated photographs is increasingly blurry. Do you think people’s perceptions of what a photograph is are changing as a result?

Definitely. And it is only for the best. Photography started out as a documentation tool for science and shortly was disposed to portrait photography. Nowadays the range of using the camera is getting wider with every


Anna Smetanenko

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Captions 3 On the mountain in Eski Kermen


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Anna Smetanenko

MH 17

day: from documentation of previously unseen moments of the wild life, crime scenes, chemistry labs to selfies as a pop culture femomena. I think photography is becoming as commonly used material\ tool as the written word. It’s history is much shorter, however the

usage from regular daily life to science and arts can be seen in comparison to written word that comes in letters, sms, literature, adds, correspondence, journalism, etc. As painting started out as primitive communication tool and church propaganda, it is only natural that


Anna Smetanenko via dark room chemicals, nowadays with Photoshop and other programs. Photography itself in a very raw sense is working with light, which constantly changes.€€€€€ I would define After the Fight a dynamic painting: the red background works as a springboard to the opaque that light that burst out of the canvas... such nuance of red that has suggested me such a tactile sensation, a feature that I can recognize in MH 17 as well... to by the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

MH17€consists of mash between photographed painting and layered with manipulated photograph, while After the fight is a painting. The tactile sensation you are referring to is interesting for, technically, the painting you are looking at is a photograph. After the fight€pallet consists of raw unmixed colors. The painting is about Maidan clashes where people used any tools they could find to protect the barricades. The shields were made out of the cardboard and Styrofoam, newspapers and magazines that people had in their household were used to protect legs from minus temperature. Mixing the colors for this painting would've added an artificial look to it. My palette changes with accordance to each painting. Occupied Crimea shows clear references to recent events. Many contemporary artists, as the landscape photographers as the Edward Burtynsky and Michael Light have some form of political message in their works. Do you consider that your pieces are in a certain sense "political"or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

photography function grew bigger. Except that photography moved sort of the other way around: from science usage to our daily communication ways. Photomanipulation is quite natural for photography. With the old cameras it was done

In a way it is possible to call a piece that was inspired by political events, a political work of art. However, an action made by the piece is of higher matter here. The artists you are referring to give awareness to known subjects, such as oil digging, however they show the “behind the scenes” of known to us facts. Their works have


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After the fight

Anna Smetanenko


Anna Smetanenko

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Anna Smetanenko

Occupied Crimea

the action of revealing new aspects of a known subject matter. While Occupied Crimea is a passive painting, only stating the fact of political interference. Therefore I would call it a neutral political work. I like the way No tunnel such a participatory line with the viewer and I can recognize that your works are strictly related to the chance to create a deep involvement with your audience, both on a on a emotional level, as well as on an intellectual one: so I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Creative process actually can be separated

No tunnels, Light is raw. The circulation of the world, The riot in the blood. Human fog curled Rotation of light bulb. Presence, absence, Circle in a dot. The clew traveled Beyond and within, It is tasseled In the between.

from personal experience. However, the starting point, the origin of the pulse is in most cases a highly personal experience. In order to


Anna Smetanenko

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Anna Smetanenko

Maria

produce something that speaks to an audience, the creator has to be touched on many emotional and thinking planes. For me, the trick is to discern the right experience without having too much of deductive thinking that nullifies the potential of the right seed. Best approach is to think about it as a garden: let the ideas grow, without having to question them. I usually write many different things that come to my mind and look through pages later. In the matter of time viewed and working in context, the old one might just sparkle.€ There always seems to be a sense of narrative in your series, as in your

interesting Portraiture pieces. How much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your images?

For the Portraiture series I leave a great deal to the chance. I always ask models to bring some of their personal belongings and don’t tell them how to pose, but rather have them spotted in a moment. Other images can start as an inspiration for a more detailed research afterwards. Or be done firmly within days-weeks. However, I think that time plays an important role in my works. I am not afraid to work on several pieces at a time via different approaches, too. Spontaneity and


Anna Smetanenko

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Jules

mistakes are very enjoyable. Bringing new moods and undertones to the work which originated from quite a different sound is the liquidity I enjoy.€€ Besides Fine Art Photography works, you also produce stimulating scupltures, as the interesting Memento Mori and in particular Plaster: in particular, I have appreciated the symbiosys between the opacity of wood and the brilliant mirrors adds to the overall ambience an engaging feeling, in a way that has reminded me the early works by the British multidisciplinary artist Tracey Emin. Multidisciplinarity is so a crucial aspect of

your approach and it's remarkable the way you are capable of creating such an effective symbiosis between elements from different techniques, manipulating language and recontextualizing images and concepts: 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?

Art shouldn't be categorized into mediums, every one of them is equally important. Art is one consistent language and as we live we enrich vocabulary and find new ways of


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Anna Smetanenko

Still performance "From ice age to plastics"


Anna Smetanenko

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Anna Smetanenko

expressing the wanted. As I come across unknown words I stop by to find their meaning and usage. Same with mediums. Whether one is working with wood or paint or lights, he\she discovers the benefits of every materials, when it is best used, it’s strength and own connection with material, quite an important

aspect. As an idea comes to me, it is only half dressed with medium. The rest is for me to fill in. There is no such thing as association-less material. Artist should be careful in choosing the right tools, which is like punctuation or intonation: details and approaches that can change the whole meaning.€


Anna Smetanenko

Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a but clichĂŠ question, but an interesting one that I'm sure will interest our readers around the world... what are the most relevant difference that you are experiencing between the Western European scene and the Ukrainan one where you are from? By

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the way, how would you define the nature of the relation with your audience?

I think one of the main differences between Western European art and Ukrainian is that the second one, generally speaking, works with social-political€consciousness. Ukrainian art


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Anna Smetanenko

revolves around aesthetics€and social€behavior\ mind set. Artists work their message around€revealing€or seeing through the past historical context (being part of Soviet Union) and deconstructing it’s impact on€the€modern day shift in people’s mind. While Western European art is more€individualistically€driven. It works, in general terms, more with human€consciousness€of art itself. Art became a€conceptual€playground and field to€exercise€\deconstruct\€stretch€philosophy. Art here, in Europe, is€autonomous, questioning and working with itself.€ Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Anna. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Thank you so much for your questions, it is my pleasure. Actually, my works are taking quite a new turn now. I want to work directly with experience and awareness-perception mode of a beholder. That involves exploration of a new medium and neurophysology. I find studies of our hardware- the brain- quite interesting and inspiring. The more we are aware of how things in the brain work, and best respond to, it’s abilities in different environment, etc., the more fitting settings can be found. I believe that humans are highly skilled potentials which we just have to find and dive into. We all posses enormous possibilities within ourselves, especially if we just find the right stimuli: from environment, self awareness or meditation and brain games. Tools that make one aware of such things, is what my future works are about.€

An interview by articulaction@post.com


Anna Smetanenko

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Jay Kim & Mina Barbara Bervoets

A still from Die Bekehrte


h Yim


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An interview with

Barbara Bervoets Jay Kim & Minah Yim Hello Jay & Minah, and welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? By the way, do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness? Jay & Minah: Thanks for welcoming us! We are so excited to present our work and share our thoughts with the ARTiculAction viewers!

We think art means a work creation by a person(s) that stimulates senses of whomever experiences it on the other end. Minah: I think what makes an art work “contemporary” is simply an art work that is being created and presented to the world “now.” As art imitates life, art works that I’ve seen lately seemed to be influenced a lot by pop culture and utilized new technology using computer programs, reflecting the new generation of artists. Jay: In terms of aesthetic, we see a lot more arguably “distorted” and “displeasing” imagery and sounds presented to the world since most artists gravitate towards presenting new ideas or using new methods to communicate in different ways. The question of dichotomy is a tricky one, because today’s new thing can be tomorrow’s tradition. Traditions tends to reflect universal notions that majority of people perceive as certain idea, whereas contemporariness can vary depending on

Jay Kim where you are, what era you live in and how you think. Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that particularly impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks?

We both grew up in Seoul, Korea and lived in the same neighborhood and went to the same high school during our teenage years.


Jay Kim & Minah Yim

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Minah Yim Minah: I think Jay and I both knew we wanted be an artist and a musician in our early teens, but kept it quiet until we went to college and acquired freedom to actually explore our dreams: This is very typical for many Korean kids in our generation. Because of the oppressive social climate, lack of individuality, and family trauma of our own, we both have certain bitterness towards the environment we were put in.

Jay: However, we feel extremely lucky to have actually tried and kept pursuing our dreams despite of everything that could have gone wrong. I think those emotions we have inside of us - resentment, sadness, gratification and contentment - are reflected in our works as we try to listen to our intuitions foremost when developing and producing our projects.


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A still from Die Bekehrte

Barbara Bervoets


Barbara Bervoets

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Jay Kim & Minah Yim

A still from Die Bekehrte

Before starting to elaborate about your artistic 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?

Minah: Since I am interested in transferring music into visual projects, I usually start from listening to the original music and how it feels before analyzing or interpreting. I think the initial instinct and impression you get from an artwork is probably what you have the strongest connection to yourself and most likely to inspire you to develop into a good project.


Jay Kim & Minah Yim

interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, and I would suggest them to visit your vimeo page at http://vimeo.com/66731583 in order to get a wider idea of it. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this work?

Minah: Jay was looking for a musical work that she wanted to make into a video art piece, and I suggested this beautiful and haunting German art song, Die Bekehrte, by Hugo Wolf that I had been singing for a while. Romantic german art songs are fascinating because of their settings in the woods and mystical/supernatural qualities that are closely connected with the emotional state of the character. One of the features that has mostly impacted on me of Die Bekehrte is the your use of close-ups reminding me of Krzysztof Kieslowski films... Moreover, since the first time I happened to watch this video I had impression that your use of saturated colors is not merely aimed at achieving extremely refined composition: your cinematography seems to be deeply influenced by the emotional potential of the black and white: could you better explain this aspect of your style?

Then, as a performer, I rely on the text and try to sympathize with the character who sings for at least a month. This process gives me deeper emotional insight to the material and then again inspires the visualization. Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from Die Bekehrte, an extremely

Jay: It is true that my work has hidden meanings but I wanted to make it very clear of its duplicity. The original old German song "Die Bekehrte" has beautiful melody and lyrics (written by Goethe), but also it has dark sadness at the same time. When I heard this song, I questioned by myself, Who sings this song? I could create narrative short love story with this song, but I want that audience watch my work and create their own story of the woman who sings the song in my work. That's why I just make the woman sings the song on a actual stage with a pianist. Because she wears a nun's habit, there's ironical meaning when she sings this love song. We don't know who is her true love, it's not clear why she is singing


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Jay Kim & Minah Yim

A still from Circus

this song on a stage. Her actual face is hidden under her mask as its meanings are hidden. I wanted to create both sophisticated and rough image, and black and white is perfect for my vision. When images are in black and white, I think we can see details more clearly. Also contrast of black and white is very strong and powerful, so I liked to work with those things in

my work.€Besides, due to the use of black and white, it looks like old story, we can't guess when it happened. I like that ambiguousness.€ Another interesting project of yours that has particular impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Circus: I have particularly appreciated the


Jay Kim & Minah Yim

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very interesting. Most of them had creepy looks, and those dolls inspired me a lot to make "Circus". They were telling their own story and I felt like I was in their circus. It portrays my fantasy, so I used a dreamy, weird dimension instead of clear images. 7) The performative aspect of your art practice is strictly connected to the chance of establishing a deep, intense involvement with your audience, both on an intellectual aspect and - I daresay - on a physical one. So I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process both for creating a piece and in order to "enjoy" it...Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Minah: I believe personal experience renders into your work whether you intend to or not. As I mentioned above, we trust our “feelings” more than anything and the emotional being that we are relying on morphs through experience after experience. So yes, I think experiences are inevitably connected to one’s creative process. In terms of “enjoying” it, I don’t think experiences are indispensable because I believe everyone has a channel to sympathize with the core emotion of an art work and a good artist should be able to find the channel and open it for the audience.

Fellinesque touch that suggests such a reference to a dreamy, oneric dimension...

Jay: I always have fantasy about circus. All vivid colors and various characters are fun and exciting, but ironically I have a fear of them at the same time. I visited the Doll's Museum in San Francisco one day, it was small place but

8) I do believe that interdisciplinary collaboration today is an ever growing force in Art and that that most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project... could you tell us something about this effective synergy? By the way, the artist Peter Tabor 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?

Minah: Our work is an exemplary case of interdisciplinary collaboration between visual art


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Jay Kim & Minah Yim


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A still from Circus


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Jay Kim & Minah Yim

A still from Falling Blossom

and music as Jay has background in film and television art and I am a classically trained opera singer. I know from various stage experience that the synergy between different fields of practice breaths very special energy

into the project which I believe leaves a powerful impression to the audience. I bring musical and theatrical element to the project and Jay interprets and filters my performance through her camera and post production. We


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And I couldn't do without mentioning Falling Blossom: this interesting work has reminded me of McCarthy's painting-as-action works and demonstrates a playful yet utterly subversive sensibility. How did you develop your visual imagery?

Jay: I had worked with Korean traditional dancers and their choreography represents Comport Women's grief and longing in the history of World War II. I was inspired by their stage, and I also wanted to create new type of video art to speak for them.€I am living in 21st century and Comport Women are also still alive with their wounds. I can't imagine how they were suffer in those days, but I tried to create abstract images to represent their feelings. I remember one of woman who survived from Comport Women said "We were all flowers, but not allowed to blossom."€ All images are actual dancing clips, but I manipulated those with kaleidoscope effect and vivid color to make them look like flowers. Now, as usual, I would pose you some questions about your relation with your audience. During your career your works have been exhibited in several occasions and I think it's important to remark that you have been awarded as well... It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award -or just the expectation of positive feedback- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

discuss a lot about the intention and ideas about the project but when it comes to individual specialities, we leave each other for our own interpretation.

This is a difficult question to answer. We don’t know if we trust awards or reviews which are usually given by savvy critics of the particular field. It could be tempting to produce work to satisfy the appetite of the connoisseurs and be deceived by the desire to be recognized from them.


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Jay Kim & Minah Yim

A still from Falling Blossom

Minah: I tend to trust more of the response from the audience than critics because I think they are more likely react from their guts instead of their heads or egos. Important thing to keep in mind as an artist is not to look down or look up the audience and create your work according to your standard and taste. I believe this keeps you honest and more likely to speak true to the audience as well.

Jay: Business is another tricky part as it IS a significant part of Art if you want your work to be known to the world. Promoting your work can feel very degrading at times, yet if you have genuine confidence in your work, you have more chance to convince your client without feeling like you are begging for recognition or even money. You just need to be careful not to make art just to sell, but have the purpose in bringing beauty - whatever that means in your heart - to the world and to yourself.


Jay Kim & Minah Yim

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts with us, Jay Kim & Minah. 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?

Minah: Since we liked working together a lot in Die Bekehrte, we would like to make this kind of collaboration a regular thing. I am planning to putting together a stage performance piece

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with a song cycle by Libby Larsen called Try me, Good King: Last Words of the Wives of Henry VIII. It is a set of five songs that five wives of Henry VIII sings, and I get to perform all five queens of Henry VIII in this fifteen-minute song cycle. Jay will be filming the process and the performance and interpret through her lens and filter. We are very excited about this!


BBB Johannes Deimling A rolling stone gathers no moss is a new cycle of visual performances which BBB Johannes Deimling started in 2013. In these performances the artist focuses metaphorically on motion and uses very much the language of poetry to create these visual pieces. Following the fact that our whole life is based on motion as a consequence of a variety forms of repetition (e.g. breathing), Deimling creates performative statements talking about the coexistence of motion and its end. A stone gathers moss when it is not moving, when time can create its tracks and change its identity. Motion and still stand (or pause) are in constant interaction and create a rhythm like the heartbeat which nobody knows exactly why it has started and why it actually stops.


Krista Nassi

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Around the world #8, Cyprus InternationalGold, Performance Art Festival, (background detail) Nicosia, Cyprus 2013

Mixed Media on canvas, 2012 Business & Pleasure 7 Mixed Media, 2011

photo: Monika Sobczak

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An interview with

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

Thank you and it is a pleasure to be here. Bertold Brecht stated “Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.”. I do agree that art is not a mirror but I believe in the force art has towards the shape of the reality. I would add the anvil to the metaphor of the hammer as it is tool which executes the given force. In combination with the anvil who transforms the force into shape both are getting into a productive and creative dialogue which is to me one important aspect of art. Still a common opinion is: art is something which is shown in museums, galleries and art institutions. According to Marcel Duchamps manifesto of the ‘creative act’ these objects are seen as the leftovers of a creative process where ‘art’ is no longer vivid. Duchamps idea was that the actual process of creating an art piece is the art and what is left is the trace of this act. In other words: not the painting is important, but the act of painting or not the sculpture is important, but the chiselling or hammering on wood or metal. This anti-materialistic statement is pointing on the act of doing art. A lot of artists enhanced these thoughts and expanded them into another ways of producing and perceiving art, the art work and the role of the artist. Here I would mention as one example Alan Kaprow and of course the concept of the Black Mountain College in the near of Asheville, North Carolina, US.

BBB Johannes Deimling

Around the world #8, Cyprus International Performance

The works presented in museums and galleries are in fact senseless or ‘dead’ if no one would go there and look at them. The audience, or the viewer are playing a distinct role in transforming and an art work into art. For my understandings it is not the art work which is the art, art appears within an active dialogue, in between the work and its perception. In this sense art is non materialistic. Following this thought art cannot be alone, art needs to be seen, perceived and needs to get into a dialogue.


BBB Johannes Deimling

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Art Festival, Nicosia, Cyprus 2013 | photo: Monika Sobczak

Art is a social and educational issue. A painting for example which got sold on the art market and is stored since then in a collection’s basement lost its soul as no one else can see it and has the chance to get into a dialogue with it. The market which is designed to own and trade art works is stealing the essence of art production as art works needs to be shared in order to offer the important dialogue which transforms it into art. The beauty, the fascination and the value of art is to me not measurable through money, status or connections.

Art is something very naive, fragile and disappears at the first attempt of wanting to understand it. With the appearance of Action Art, where artists were explicit focusing on the creative act and create art works which are not directly sellable, the awareness on what art was changed radically. Joseph Beuys’ idea of the Social Sculpture is still for a lot of artists a possibility to create a direct dialogue between the arts and the public. This thinking was also adopted by Performance Art a process based art practise with


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BBB Johannes Deimling

its ephemeral nature which celebrates the creative and active moment ‘NOW’. My understanding of art, art production, - philosophy and - perception is marked by these thoughts. Trying to expand and extend these thoughts in my daily work I wonder if nowadays art philosophy is able to formulate a similar statement or movement which can influence the work of artists in the future. Every art which is seen today as ‘traditional’ was at the time of its appearance contemporary and revolutionary. And every art which is today labelled with the term ‘contemporary’ will be in the future traditional. Categories are important for humans as they need to understand, but it is not important for the arts. Art follows its naive and organic nature and will always develop, renew, expand, explore, experiment with the time in which it is created as art has the urge to communicate, to reflect, to research and to respond. This implies that an artist is not anymore only a specialist in one discipline or handcraft, but in many - not only art related - fields. The intersections of various interests and professions opens new fields in which art can be active. The more art is intersecting the more it offers and provokes a dialogue. The nature of this dialogue is to widen the knowledge and to ask new questions.

Around the world #8, Cyprus International Performan

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that particularly impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks?

There are a couple of experiences which have influenced my art practise and I feel that still things are happening which are influencing the way how I produce my works. But of course some events which I describe now were milestones for me.

a rolling stone gathers no moss #6, Espai d´art contemporani de Castelló, Castelló, Spain 2013 photo: Monika Sobczak

I must have been 4 or 5. I remember sitting in the kindergarten in the ‘painting corner’. I took a paper, a brush and watercolours. I started with blue - as blue was and still is my favourite colour. After I took Jennifer Sims yellow for no particular reason.


BBB Johannes Deimling

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a rolling stone gathers no moss #6, Espai d´art contemporani de Castelló, Castelló, Spain 2013 photo: Monika Sobczak

ce Art Festival, Nicosia, Cyprus 2013 | photo: Monika Sobczak

I was completely thrilled by the fact that both colours yield into green. This visual sensation caused a huge fascination in colours. How much this has made an impact on me I can still see in the folder of my kindergarten paintings as I painted an enormous amount of pictures based on this phenomena. I remember very well my enormous fascination for collages when my art teacher introduced the topic in school. Supporting my enthusiasm he gave me a book and told me to have a closer look at it. It was a book about the German artist Kurt Schwitters and his ‘Merz’ - Collages, which became essential in my progress as an artist. As a young man I did a lot of collages inspired by Schwit-

ters’ works. I loved the possibilities to bring all kinds of materials together which I found, bought or collected and didn’t had to stick to one medium. Similar like the combination of blue and yellow I felt a huge potential of intersecting materials. I didn’t spend too much time waiting to create the next one as to me the process of doing this work like collecting the materials, the process of trying out and finally gluing them on the paper or cardboard was much more attractive to me than the product itself. I have never visited an art academy and don’t made any degree in art. I am a pure autodidact driven by curiosity and the enormous fascination and potential of creativity. My early studies were based on almost daily visits in the local library in my hometown Andernach, where I went very often and took books from the section “Art”. Looking mainly at the images of the books I tried basically to read them visually. I started trying to copy some of the paintings and drawings I saw, to study the form and colour language (For example: Martin Kippenberger, Sigmar Polke or Anselm Kiefer). I followed those aesthetics which I liked, names and styles were not that important at that time, but more the variety of visual possibilities. As well I went to all the exhibitions I could get into and tried to talk with


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youth, TJG – Theatre Young Generation, Dresden, Germany 2012 | photo: Monika Sobczak

artists in order to get more names of other artists and watch more books to see more and different images. My self-studies and the important conversations with my art teacher at school led me to go deeper into the world of Action Art as the joy of doing was for me already at that time much more bigger than the satisfaction after finishing the work. My parents were very supportive and allowed me to paint, glue and experiment in my room – even though it was often smelling a lot. Seeing my fascination in art and knowing the complications of this profession they asked me to do something of which I could make a living before I really start to dive deeper into universe of art. I decided to

a rolling stone gathers no moss #5”, 'Abierto de Accion', Centro Parraga, Murcia, Spain 2013 | photo: Monika Sobczak

study pedagogy and later on communication. At this point not knowing that this will influence my practise and my way of thinking a couple of years later. At the age of 18 I made my first public exhibition in a cafe in my hometown. I exhibited drawings and paintings. I felt a certain sureness about what I did and thought. I was sure that art should play a big role in my life. This sureness is still the motor of my artistic activities and till today I simply never stopped this process, this curiosity and this fascination. I still feel a similar sensation when I do my art today and if I would feel that this sensation would be gone I would probably do something different. Jennifer Sims


BBB Johannes Deimling

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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 your creative process ?

My main medium since years is Performance Art and Action Art. Even though I also draw, write poems, make video works this art form is to me the most adequate form to articulate my visions and visual concepts as it per se a process oriented form of art. The process implies that there is no goal to reach, but more a way to go, so even there is a presentation of my performance the process is still going on, guiding my thoughts and decisions even within the performance itself. This is because in Performance Art the ‘production’ is trying to sculpt the unknown. I never rehearse my performances before the public presentation, so even I conceptualize and think a lot of how the work should look like I have no concrete knowledge about how it will actually be. The absence of rehearsal is a distinct separation to other performing arts (theatre, dance, music) and focusses on the uniqueness of the creative act with all risks of failure. This requires that I need to take the process always with me in order to keep my awareness within the public presentation as high as possible. a rolling stone gathers no moss #3”, PAO Performance Art Oslo Festival, Atelier ANX, Oslo, Norway 2013 | photo: Monika Sobczak

The combination of curiosity and fascination in all kinds of artistic expression is each day an inspiration for me which can influence my concept of art. I get inspired by architecture, music, poetry, stories that people tell me, food which I eat or discover, objects which I find or see in shops, landscapes, sounds in the streets, politics, history, so almost everything which catches my interest and curiosity is part of my artistic research. I am like sponge which absorbs everything which comes along my way and try to include it into my artistic process and language. So even by writing these words I get inspired which can influence the way how the next art piece is produced.

BBB Johannes Deimling explaining ‘The Jar’ task to his students”, Oslo, Norway 2013 photo: Monika Sobczak


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BBB Johannes Deimling

To begin the creative process I form single images. The so called ‘acted images’ (agierte Bilder) consist of reduced, simple actions often with only one object, one material or one gesture. A visual alphabet of acted images accrues, allowing me to literally and visually write my art that is performance. Using the technique of collage I combine several acted images that allows me to play in a cinematic way with all of the visual elements by deconstructing the course of actions and putting the parts anew together. During this process various intersections appear in which unpredictable new images emerge. The term for this working method would be: ‘performative collages’. The quality of this working method is that there is no end result, each performance is unique which cannot be repeated and creates new questions which opens a new research. An open and free field of choices, responsibilities and possibilities. The process itself becomes the technique. “It’s not the action that makes the performance” is the title of a recent published catalogue of my work (an online version is available directly here: http://j.mp/PPLxX9). The title of this publication is a statement which includes the thought that even the artist and his body is a main focus in performance art, it is not the only quality. The combination of the present body with various artistic components (size, shape, colour, light, space, sound, ...) - and very important - time creates this holistic universe of a performative art work which - if it comes altogether - creates this ‘magic’ moments in which art is in direct conversation with the present audience. In all my works and as well in my philosophy I am looking for simplicity. “simplicity of complexity” is a term which describes my research on things, situations and moments. I am looking for an artistic language which can be understood by a lot people and not only by some. Looking on my work one can see that I use all day materials and objects. Transforming those simple elements in my performative works tries to shape an insight of complex subjects or feelings. The centre of my interest is the image as I see my-

a rolling stone gathers no moss #8,

performed together with Lotte Kaiser, Savvy Contempo

self as a visual artist rather than a “performer” or “performance artist”. The visual image transports and transforms my artistic vision. It is a great pleasure for me to have Monika Sobczak (www.mmonikasobczak.com) as my personal photographer who is following me since more than 4 years. Performance Art and Photography are sharing an interesting intersection. Both art forms are interested in moments. In this collaboration the Jennifer Sims moment is one integral meeting point of both art


BBB Johannes Deimling

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a rolling stone gathers no moss #8, performed together with Lotte Kaiser, Savvy Contemporary, Berlin, Germany 2014 photo: Monika Sobczak

relation with the audience and the artistic, aesthetic action and much more the atmosphere in one moment. This cooperation produces ‘after images’ which are more than only documentation of that what was happening. It is a dialogue between two persons and two art forms.

rary, Berlin, Germany 2014 | photo: Monika Sobczak

forms and creates something that is pointing beyond the two forms. My working method creates a tension which is needed for the intensity of the presence and focuses on the artistic action. As I never rehearse my performances the failure is always present. For Monika Sobczak this is a challenge and set’s her profession in a similar state. While not knowing what will happen next she is in a similar attentive moment like I am and tries to catch the moment that I am creating. Monika Sobczak needs to read and follow the acaction and to capture the spatial composition, the

Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from a rolling stone gathers no moss, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, and I would suggest them to visit your vimeo page at https://vimeo.com/bbbjohannesdeimling in order to get a wider idea of it. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this works?

Since more than 20 years I am working with the concept of cycles or series in my performative art practise. ‘What’s in my head’, ‘Blanc’, ‘leaking memories’, ‘Around the World’ and ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’ are just a few titles of cycles in which I include several performative collages. The given titles are often metaphors for topics or themes which I cannot specify or extract in one art work. They are more like fields or landscapes on which I need to look from different perspectives in order to grasp their holistic meaning and potential. In several performances I try to shape this territory.


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all saints, place a l’art performance, session 7, Paris, France 2011 | photo: Monika Sobczak

This work is highly process based. Even though each piece of a cycle is standing for itself, each piece is transporting the experience of the performance before.

keep on evolving, changing without letting time impose its traces, on the other to be a perpetual wanderer implies do not have the capacity to settle down some necessary roots.

“a rolling stone gathers no moss” is a new cycle of visual performances which I have started in 2013 and have presented over 11 performances since then. In this cycle of performances I focus metaphorically on motion and use very much the language of poetry to create these visual pieces. Following the fact that our whole life is based on motion as a consequence of a variety forms of repetition (e.g. breathing), I try to create performative statements talking about the co-existence of motion and its end. The English proverb “a rolling stone gathers no moss” can have both a positive or a negative acceptation, on one hand being in a constant state of movement means to

Simple wooden chairs, a metaphor for the English proverb, are appearing in all of the performances within the cycle in various forms (piled up on a heap, standing in line or circle, …) and formally creating a repetitive form through the whole cycle. Other elements and materials are changing according to the stage of the research and process of the cycle. There is a connection between the single performances which underlines the quality of a series. It is mainly done by used materials or symbols which will be reused in one of the next performances. For example the swing I used in #2 appeared again in #3, #5 and #8. The white dress I used in #8Jennifer appearedSims in a different context in #9


BBB Johannes Deimling

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Or during the performance #10 – which I presented at the CREATurE festival in Kaunas, Lithuania – a choir with more than 20 young people appeared suddenly and were singing the anthem of Europe (Ode to joy). In all of my artistic works I try to talk about something which I cannot explain in words. If I could I would write or talk about it. I try to articulate through my visual language feelings, emotions, moments connected with my research on a broader topic and offer them in the shared moment of the public presentation to my audience. It is not important that the audience understands what I am doing, as I am not producing a direct narrative, but more important is to me to offer a dialogue about the unknown and that what they see and how they respond to it. all saints, place a l’art performance, session 7, Paris, France 2011 | photo: Monika Sobczak

and the melody I used in #9 was sung by a choir in #10. Different to other cycles in ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’ I am challenging myself with different tasks which should bring me out of my comfort zone as a performer and condense the created atmosphere. In some of the performances I build in one element which is embarrassing for me and in some performances I take other people to perform with me. In the performance #8 - which I have presented at Savvy Contemporary in Berlin as part of the ‘Present Tense series’ curated by Chiara Cartuccia - I performed together with Lotte Kaiser, a 15 years old teenager. I know Lotte since a few years as she took part in a few workshops I gave for young people and knew that she was able to do the performance with me. Her appearance was very important for the concept of the performance as I was using a memory and a picture of my great grandmother as the source of this piece. Lotte at one point taking the position of the shown photograph of my great grand-mother became a link between future and past.

Another interesting work of yours that have particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is Around the world #8... By the way, I can recognize that one of the possible ideas underlying this work is to unfold a compositional potential in the seemingly random structure of the space we live in... Even though I am aware that this might sound a bit naïf, I am wondering if one of the hidden aims of Art could be to search the missing significance to a non-place... I am sort of convinced that some information and ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... What is your point about this?

“Around the world #8” is the last performance of this cycle and was created for the Cyprus International Performance Art Festival in Nicosia in 2013. Indeed the cycle is metaphorically dealing with space. The circle is a major form in these performances (similar like the chairs in the cycle “a rolling stone gathers no moss”) and is not an illustration of the world. The circle creates an empty space within its round line. This space we can see as the unknown as something we would like to discover as we might have a feeling what could be in the middle of it.


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Around the world #8, Cyprus International Performance Art Festival, Nicosia, Cyprus 2013 | photo: Monika Sobczak

All what we can do is to circle around the emptiness and perhaps we are able to shrink the circle, but each circle will be empty in the middle. In this emptiness is laying a lot of hidden information’s which indeed are encrypted as we mainly feel them and no words can describe them, therefore we use Art as a transformer to articulate them. The cycle ‘Around the world’ tries to find intersections of inner spaces within the human nature as all humans have common sensations, needs and desires about how they live on this planet. These personal, inner spaces are often in a conflict with political or economic interests. Encrypting your inner space allows you to react on the changes within societies, countries and global connections.

In the songs of Bob Marley (one of the research fields for the cycle ‘Around the world’) one can find a lot of thoughts about the roots that we shouldn’t forget as they give us security, stability and knowledge about ourselves. Those roots Bob Marley is singing of are metaphors for the inner space from which we create our identities all around the world. Besides producing your Art, you also gained a wide experience as a teacher: since 2012 you hold the position of associate Professor for Performance Art at NTA – Norwegian Theatre Academy at the Østfold University College: as you have stated one, although not everybody needs to get a performance artist”, to underJennifer Sims stand performative processes is a vital know-


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a rolling stone gathers no moss #2, performNOW!, Winterthur, Switzerland 2013 | photo: Monika Sobczak

ledge which can inspire one self, life and society and of course all other art forms... I sometimes happen to wonder if Art could play as a substitute of Traditional Learning: so I couldn't do without mentioning PAS | Performance Art Studies that our readers can get to know at http://pas.bbbjohannesdeimling.de

Art and education are in my opinion twins and when they are together they have an immense force. All started in 1996 when a friend of mine who worked as an art teacher in a high school asked me to give a workshop in Performance Art for her pupils as part of a project week at her school. Until this time my studies in pedagogy and communica-

tion were separated from my work as an independent artist which often caused quite a confusion inside of me. With this first teaching opportunity an incredible interesting process started which completely changed my direction in so many different ways. Teaching and Performance Art practice have a lot in common. The situation a teacher – in any subject – creates is very much the same alike the situation an artist creates who is creating a performative piece of art. Both are trying to point on something which is unknown until the moment the actual teaching/learning or creative act happens. Both are sharing a space within a certain time frame with people. Both are trying to transfer an experience. Starting from these simple similarities I started to


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The logo of PAS | Performance Art Studies, http://pas.bbbjohannesdeimling.de

research within the intersections of art practice and education now since more than 17 years. Teaching Performance Art became more and more important as young generations of artists were interested in this art form, but didn’t had a direct access or connection to this art form. Still in Europe for example there are just a few academies offering a BA or MA in Performance Art, but the interest in this art form in the past years has increased enormously. Performance is for young artists therefore important as it has massively influenced the production of art and perception of art within the past 30 years. Even though Performance Art is experiencing a boom right now, but still it plays a marginal role in the market – which perhaps is not the worst thing to happen. The strategies and philosophies of performative art practi-ce are useable for all kind of art practices. It can be seen as chameleon which has the potential to adjust in each artistic and as well non-artistic process. In 2008 I founded the independent, educational project PAS | Performance Art Studies of which since then I am the artistic director. The aim of this project is to provide interested people a comprehensive form of teaching on Performance Art, eve-

cleaning memories, city gallery, Bydgoszcz, Poland 20

rywhere in the world and always in coope-ration with Performance Art festivals, art aca-demies, museums and galleries. I have to admit there is too little space for to say more about this project as it has grown enormously since its foundation. But the readers are invited to look at the website of PAS | Performance Art Studies (http://pas.bbbjohannesdeimling.de) and get in contact with PAS if they have any further questions or are interested in taking part in one of the studies. Since 2009 I am researching and working as well with the intersection of Performance Art as an art form and the school as a system of education. Young people (in the age of 13-19 years old) can gain from a performative experience not only artistic skills, but more social competences and a problem solving mind set which is helpful as well Sims outside theJennifer arts.


BBB Johannes Deimling

13 | photo: Monika Sobczak

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cleaning memories, city gallery, Bydgoszcz, Poland 2013 | photo: Monika Sobczak

It is a pity to see that in most societies on the globe public education is following a typical hierarchic order. First are mathematics and languages, than the humanities and at the end the arts. The economic direction education takes is dangerous as the following generations might lose their humanistic competences. There is no public school where art is taught on an equal level like mathematics. The systems are targeting on the head and see the body only as a vehicle to carry the head. We have bodies and we have an amazing knowledge about the body as an immense powerful tool. We know for example that experiences are mainly captured in our bodies and connected to our brains by body based memories. This simple and known fact should call our attention off the importance to connect the rest of the body with the head. Why not educating people to use first their bodies and after their brain intelligence?

This would allow us to follow an organic and holistic structure of education which I recommend. No apple tree produces first the apples and then the tree. Art education is the most important education and we will hopefully see in the next years an immense revolution in education which is following an organic and basically a human approach to education and with this a new entrance to knowledge and behaviour which focusses on the creativity of the individual talent in a dialogue of the society. In public education the physical education of the body is mainly covered with sports, which is at the first sight good. But under different viewpoints, mainly the social aspect, sport is focusing on the success of a single person, the one who can run or jump better. Sport is excluding those who have not a sportive body, because they are not well shaped or simply have not the condition for the different disciplines. Performance Art or better said a teaching in perfor-


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Around the world #3, NTA - Norwegian Theatre Academy, Fredrikstad, Norway 2012 | photo: Monika Sobczak

mative processes allows everybody to gain physical experiences. In Performance Art it is not needed to have a special body that can achieve the goal. A handicap or a specific look as well as overweight or skin colour are not an issue at all, but much more usable as strength in the artistic articulation and rather a potential than a handicap. The person with his or hers given body conditions are the centre of attention and nothing needs to be changed for to pull out ones strength. It is all about transformation, to turn those so called handicaps into tools from where a physical understanding of oneself can start to grow into an understanding of the own and the social body. We can only take from what we have experienced otherwise we would respond only with illusions or

pretending to know. Our whole life is based on made experiences and therefore it is very important to transfer those made experiences to others as no one needs to have made the experience of war to know that this is a cruel thing. But personal made experiences are burned in our bodies and in our minds and prevent us of doing mistakes and foreseeing dangerous situations. They make us masters of the experienced situations or moments. Some of us will have made the hurtful experience by touching a hot iron even the parents warned us before. Not seeing the heat raised a curiosity and by touching the hurtfulness became immediately Jennifer Sims and experience that we will never forget. In a creative process we have only the chance to use


BBB Johannes Deimling

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Around the world #3, NTA - Norwegian Theatre Academy, Fredrikstad, Norway 2012 | photo: Monika Sobczak

that what we know and have experiences with and with them we are able to experiment. If we would disconnect the creative process from the experience we would stay on the level of illusion, fiction and interpretation. This might be a possible way, but this would generate a hypothetic knowledge which is not based of real made experiences. If I would give a lecture about how does it feel to fly an airplane I can just guess as I never have done it. I could ask pilots, sit in a fly animator and could try to come as close as possible to that experience, but actually I would be not able to really talk about as I have never done it. The cycle “Blanc” started in 2000 and is inspired by short notes in newspapers which are describing horrible and tragic situation in just a few sentences

Those so called ‘fillers’ are often connected with death, suffer, violence, struggle, ... . The distance of reading about those extreme situations creates a sensation which inspires the imagination as those well composed words creating images in the head of the one who is reading them. But those sensational journalistic words are not at all delivering even a tip of experience, they are preventing us from doing experiences which means here as well being really interested. This all goes along with the fact that there are just a few witnesses left who made direct experiences with the second world war and here in the future interpretation will take the role of made experiences or eyewitness reports. Blanc is a cycle of long durational performances which are often a couple of hours long. Laying still


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and moving in slow motion generates a certain atmosphere in which my body undergoes various stages in which I collect at the moment of the performance a certain body and time experience which I directly give back to the viewer. During these years your creations have been shown in several occasions, in many different countries... It goes without saying that positive feedbacks are capable of supporting an artist: I sometimes happen to wonder if the expectation of a positive feedback could even influence the process of an artist, especially when the creations itself is tied to the involvement of the audience... 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 don’t have expectations on how people perceive my works. If so I probably would be very often disappointed as expectations can be fulfilled or not. I do have expectations towards my own practise which generates the offer towards someone which implies that I need to formulate my offer in a way, so that the other is able at least to receive it. If I am in France for example and speak Polish I cannot expect that people understand me, but I can expect from myself that I learn French in order to be understood. The question here is: What is positive? I don’t know all the people who are coming to my performances and I don’t know with which feelings and experiences through their days and lives they arrive to see my work. If I do an action that someone likes or dislikes is to me the first step receiving a reaction. If those reactions are generating a dialogue I am already happy as I don’t follow a narrative in my works which creates an understanding of a certain issue. I think my art is not made to be understood or made to please people but designed to provoke any kinds of reactions, questions and opinions. This is what will extend my art work and this is my minimum aim. Looking on a positive or negative impact would blur my research, my articulation and my positioning’s. But of course it makes me extremely happy if people who have witnessed a performance by me are inspired.

Around the world #8, Cyprus International Performan Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts with us, Johannes. 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 happy that my schedule is quite filled this year and that I have the chance to continue working on my cycle ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’ which I will show in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia and Canada this year. I will continue working on this cycle until I decide to find an end, which I cannot foresee now. Jennifer Sims


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ce Art Festival, Nicosia, Cyprus 2013 | photo: Monika Sobczak

With PAS | Performance Art Studies we are going in October this year to Calgary, Canada as we are invited by the M:ST festival to realize a PASyouth studies with teenagers which will present their performances developed within the studies as part of the festival. This is a really rare opportunity made possible by the festival organizer Tomas Jonsson to let teenagers perform at the festival where established artists are presenting their works. This is for me not only a nice gesture, but more a statement to offer the audience an insight about the process

of performative works which will be in the dialogue possible to witness. I am sure there will come some more projects up in this year, so the readers are welcome to visit my regular updated website in order to stay informed about my activities and hopefully I can welcome the one or the other to one of my performances or studies. Thank you very much for this interview. An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator articulaction@post.com


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Svetlin Velchev (The Netherlands)

Svetlin Velchev is an independent performer/choreographer based in The Netherlands. His current residency is Rotterdam,after an extensive dance education in NUTI Sofia and CODARTS Rotterdam. Since 2008 he has been part of Cultural Centre OT301 Amsterdam where he is still working till nowadays. At the moment he is also involved with the dance organization CIRCLE Rotterdam as well as with the development and coherency of his personal work. In 2012 Svetlin founded MANIFEST Dance Company, which has a mission to extend arm to broad audiences, inspire other artists, provoke interest in young or non-pro auditorium and provide cognitive understanding for dance in the ordinary public.


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Svetlin Velchev, photographer Theo van Prooijen

Gold, (background detail) Svetlin Velchev, Mixed Media on canvas, 2012 Business & Pleasure 7 Mixed 2011 photographer TheoMedia, van Prooijen

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Svetlin Velchev

An interview with

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

Hello there! Thank you for the kind invitation as I am feeling thrilled by your interest in my work and to talk about art with me! To tell you honestly - find it difficult to define what contemporary art is, especially nowadays when so many subjects, concepts and ideas has been explored in many ways and repeatedly used as an inspiration and theme. Even for a trained eye of an expert is not easy to understand what the current state of art is actually about. I know it must have certain qualities and social functions, but still very often they are simply not there or just hard to notice.The audience have seen so much stuff that its getting harder for an artist to be innovative and original, but luckily not impossible of course. Generally it is not certain anymore whether life imitates art or art imitates life. Art can be everything and nothing. Sometimes we have so much art flowing around us outside on the street and on the other hand a lack of it inside the museums and the theaters. Most important for an artwork perhaps would be the strong coherence by which is executed. It just has to make sense even if it is only in the imagination of the artist. Another important aspect would be I guess the means of expression and if that fits to the context of what you want to communicate across to the public. Clarity and personal signature for me plays major role in an

Svetlin Velchev, photographer Theo van Prooijen

artwork and that is what makes it significant, memorizable and recognizable. When I look at art I do not really judge, but need to feel the power of it and what kind of vibe it has. To accept it I somehow have to relate to it, try to understand why am I watching this and what the message would be about. I do not think there should be any actual dichotomy between the traditions and the contemporariness - the one can only support the other. Besides if you want to create good contemporary art you should be familiar with the art history and traditions even if you decide that they should remain obscure. One cannot only invent , one may as well recycle or remake and that has to do with the past and what has been established by recognized artists before. If you’re unaware you


Svetlin Velchev

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Monologues, Contemporary Dance Platform DI U&A, photographer Richard Beukelaar

might trap yourself at doing something already done, thinking that you are discovering when actually you are just repeating what is already existing. I guess what makes an artwork contemporary is the intention behind it, the social or political charge of it and how that resemblance to our daily life literarily - something that can easily connect to everyone at this moment of time. Something that the society is going through right now, contemporary art would reflect on.

Our decade is way different from what it was in the 90’s, technology develops rapidly and values are changing constantly, therefore is very easy that one stays behind with criteria, tendencies and approach to his creation. Would you like to tell us something about your background? After studying contemporary dance at the NUTI National School of Dance Art Sofia, you moved to the Netherlands where you are currently based and you studied at the CODARTS Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Rotterdam: how have these


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Svetlin Velchev

experiences -and especially moving from Bulgaria to the Netherlands- impacted on the way you currently create your pieces?

I am born and raised at Sofia, Bulgaria. Being involved with theatre, art and performance from the age of ten when I started studying in my secondary school, which was profiled with animation, puppetry and drama by Small Puppet Theatre “SLON”. After a couple of productions with them I was genuinely directed towards what I was found to be good at - movement and dance. That is how when I became 13 years old I got into a professional ballet / contemporary dance school NUTI. The follow up was an engagement with the National Ballet of Sofia for three seasons by the time I’ve graduated from my education. By 18 I was sure that I will not continue with the classical ballet as it was completely not of an interest for me. I knew it is a strong foundation for my further experience in dance so I appreciated it, but did not want to be focused on. I had friends dancers, which were also eager to discover the modern dance, which was not yet introduced that much to the Bulgarian art scene, so we’ve end up as a small collective chasing a common dream, all curious in the same direction and as a fellowship we’ve created several experimental performances like ‘Something else’ and ‘Metamorph’ under the umbrella of Dance Lab ‘Elea’, which was founded by the Bulgarian choreographer Elissaveta Iordanova together with us. A short while after that I had as well some very enlightening exchange with European companies from abroad like the Cypriot ‘Amfidromo’’, the Italian ‘Fabrica Europa’ or the Swiss ‘Cie Linga’’, which I think contributed to shaping my taste and opinion about what contemporary dance is and could be, seeing so different and super inspiring examples of it wherever I went. When our young experimental company ‘Elea’ separated I had some time to reconsider what do I want to do and should out of my dance career further on and since there are not much

opportunities for such an artists in Bulgaria, the question was really if I want to continue doing it there or somewhere else, where I could get the sufficient amount of information and knowledge in order to grow. All I needed was a possibility for implementation. Meanwhile figuring that out, solution was on its way. I was working for two seasons at the National Musical Theatre of Sofia, dancing at Miss Saigon and Czardasz Queen. We went on a European tour for few months, after which I didn’t return to Sofia, but left to Amsterdam, where eventually I stayed and organized my life for good. Coming to live in The Netherlands has a deep impact just as much as a turning point in my life and really think it changed my future. I got a chance to seek for what I mostly wanted - art, freedom, independence and knowledge. Quickly became part of an art collective, named OT301, where I am till nowadays and where in the embrace of my colleagues and the building’s strong statement and ideology, I found support and understanding. Two years later, after quite intense search of the right school and unsuccessful auditions, at 2009 I was accepted and followed the Choreography Studies of the Rotterdam Dance Academy CODARTS, where I’ve graduated successfully in 2011. Even though I have never considered myself a good student as I was quite rebellious, I have managed to finish it. I had the urge to express and was always interested in making my own pieces not realizing I took it less seriously in the beginning of it all, but very soon after I knew why I want to do it and what I wanted to share. And you can see somewhat that in my creations now - they always has to expose free spirit and will. I only needed back then clearer vision and style. Since my years at CODARTS I am getting closer to the essence of my art. Surrounded by inspiration and access to plenty of data sources everywhere really gave me a push in a proper direction and I just became more literate and


Breaking Habits, 24UUR Cultuur Rotterdam, photographer Max van Pelt


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Svetlin Velchev

Dialogues, Het Huis Utrecht, photographer Richard Beukelaar

could easily put my ideas into exploitation. Trying to highlight the qualities I have and enhance everything I have created. While still being a student at Rotterdam had to cover my living expenses and education, so I worked parallel as a tech for the quite known Bulgarian performance artist Ivo Dimchev. We toured on some of the best festivals across Europe where I have seen some very fascinating performances including his own ‘Som Faves’ and ‘Lily Handel’. I would need another interview to tell you all about that experience as it was tremendous. Next time.

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 artwork is a fusion from light, sound and bodies in space and its all about creating a movement or moving image out of those elements, under a specific theme or concept. Rarely using text or speech in my performances. We were once singing in my performance Serenity


Svetlin Velchev

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Monologues, Het Huis Utrecht, photographer Richard Beukelaar

from the program Mind in Motion, but that was one-time case. I am much more intrigued by the symbiosis between the design of the lights, the choreography and the music, merged together and used to achieve powerful visual effect and specific atmosphere, which carries symbolic, metaphoric or personal values. Sometimes I can be elaborating with props or stage-set, but that varies by the different occasions. The performances I make are rather abstract and open for interpretation. If I choose to be using narrative it is most likely to be an absurd work as one of my shows All is everywhere was. In terms of being diverse I try to

reinvent myself with each next project, using different types of media from photography/video to installations, projections, dance on location or the traditional stage performance. You might as well refer glimpses of the underground subculture and the hip-hop street culture in my creations. To start up a creation always happens I think in a way that it is mostly depending on what the assignment is, what is the initial inspiration, how much time there is to prepare it, how long the final result should be and what all the rest of the circumstances would be regarding performers, rehearsal space and deliverance. These are factors which would influence my idea and decisions.


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Svetlin Velchev

Dialogues, Het Huis Utrecht, photographer Richard Beukelaar

In many cases the period of preparing the actual piece is short, which can either make the work more exciting or tough to complete. However from the moment of having an idea to the moment of really getting onto making it and how might take some time so that really evolves first in my head until it seems ready to come out. Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from Monologues / Dialogues (2014), an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, and I would suggest them to visit your

website directly at http://www.svetlinvelchev.com in order to get a wider idea of it. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this project?

Monologues / Dialogues is a spectacular show in two parts with a bunch of incredible artists participating - a result of the initiative ‘The Boiler Room’ by Contemporary Dance Platform DI U&A which is organized on a monthly basis at Utrecht, The Netherlands. It is a project, which has already statutory terms and conditions for making it. The artistic director


Svetlin Velchev

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Breaking Habits, 24UUR Cultuur Rotterdam, photographer Max van Pelt

Iris van Peppen invited me in December 2013 after one of their shows to participate and create one of the next editions so that is how I got to present it in May when the premiere took place. This rather alternative project is almost considered as a curatorial - it is an art experiment of improvisational meetings between musicians and dancers where they share skills and contribute to an unconventional ways of expression and performance experience. So I decided to invite a group of vibrant artists dancers, musicians, dramaturges, a photographer and a graphic designer to come

together and create the work. I came up with a principal idea,structure and frame for the show, so that I put it all into a certain context. And that was explicitly the theme of Contradictions as a nature of reality. Monologues / Dialogues is the two sides to every story. Containing and opposing each other at the same time, both of the perspectives which neither one of them exclude the other - they eventually contradict each other. So you can as well see that in the complete stylizing of the work - in the flyer design , in the show construction, in the artists cast - that there are


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Svetlin Velchev

Breaking Habits, 24UUR Cultuur Rotterdam, photographer Max van Pelt

always two meanings and it is not said, which is right or wrong, because we need both for balance. Monologues / Dialogues has been officially selected to be presented during the next edition of Baku Biennial ‘Aluminium’ in December 2014, which was the greatest accomplishment for this creation so far. Another interesting piece of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is Breaking Habits: by the way, Choreography is intrinsically based on artistic cooperation, and I do believe that this is today is an ever

growing force in Art and that that most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project... could you tell us something about this effective synergy? By the way, the artist Peter Tabor 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 several artists?

Breaking Habits was last year CIRCLE production for Breaking Waves Festival Bergen and later on


Svetlin Velchev

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Breaking Habits, Breaking Waves Festival Bergen, photographer Max van Pelt

presented during 24 UUR Cultuur Rotterdam in September 2013. The official first performance was taking place on the beach at Bergen during sunset. Inspired by the title and the theme of the festival, Breaking Habits is symbolizing the urge to let go of old unconscious patterns and explore one's self-awareness.This dance piece has an architectonic composition based on choreographed improv. Full of meandering spirit, the essence of the work is defined by the habitual actions of the dancers, which are struggling to overcome these, forming different spatial structures through beautiful movement sequences. Wanted to express strong emotional

intelligence leaving everything behind and look ahead to new horizons, challenging myself to take different approaches and risks - something we shouldn’t be afraid to do. Peter Tabor said it well - I was completely influenced by the collaboration with the performers and their affiliation, as they brought the piece to its final destination. The right synergy was there. One of my main responsibilities is of course not only to guide and direct, but also to listen and perceive anything that could perhaps suits the process., the idea and the piece.I really prefer to share responsibilities and evoke


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Svetlin Velchev

Street Fighters, photography Svetlin Velchev

conversation with the artists I am working with, so that we all leave our footprints at the creation. Each of my works is practically characterized by the people participating at it and this is very important to me - to give the freedom of one’s artistic talent and personality. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice: and I have been asked to sum up in a single word your artistic production, I would say that it's kaledoiscopic In particular, I have highly appreciated the way you are capable of establishing a so deep symbiosis between Art and Choreography... 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?

It is indeed and I like your comparison to Kaleidoscopic. Also because of the geometry of it, which is so inspiring to me and a visible feature of my work.This is very much an image, which is tangible to my creations and my attempts to perpetuate several layers to complete a visual artwork. For me in our contemporary times multitasking and


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Street Fighters, photography Svetlin Velchev

multidisciplinary are keywords to art. If we say that these disciplines are options supporting the quality and resonance of my show then they must be by any means used. As an artist I am trying to bring excitement and complexity too, through the integration of each aspect bulging the concept of the piece. Dance is only one of the elements as the rest of the equally important ones - costumes, light and sound to fulfill the bigger picture. Not to be misunderstood though the best way I create is to first have plenty and afterwards subtract of what is unnecessary or too much, keeping it simple, accessible and pure.

And I couldn't do without mentioning Street Fighters, a dance video that you captured in the streets of Sofia: I have highly appreciated the way it reveals the freshness happiness of people who, as you have remarked once, are still doing what they love and happy with what they have... maybe I'm going wrong but I can recognize such a subtle sociopolitical criticism in this: I mean a constructive criticism... and although I'm aware that this might sound a bit exaggerated and naive, I'm sort of convinced that Art could play an active role in moving people awareness... what's your point?


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Svetlin Velchev

Street Fighters, photography Svetlin Velchev

Street Fighters is a very spontaneous video project pulled up completely out of the circumstances surrounding it - the places and the people, which consist of. Inspired by the street underground culture, I have even a little bit of a sentimental attachment to it as it was filmed out of the blue in my home town Sofia with close friends, which I know well and spend long time with. I was impressed by their persistence to do what they want and are good at, which I as well admire very much. I was visiting Sofia during the Christmas holidays and for some reason had a revelation - I

remember how striking the struggle of the youth was, how powerful the instinct for survival, the absence of justice, the beauty of uncertainty, the specific street sights of the city and the typical atmosphere were, which you might even sense through watching the video. And still on many levels people remain warm-hearted, empathetic and compassionate. So I felt like capturing and sharing this so special and unique spirit. And as you said above, there is a touch of a criticism that non of that is ever revealed in any way - there are not only negative sides of a poor country to focus on - there are as well talent, strength, love and


Svetlin Velchev

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Dialogues, Het Huis Utrecht, photographer Richard Beukelaar

dedication, which no one seem to notice. And that is a shame. Nah, you are not exaggerating - I absolutely share the opinion that good art can affect the publics opinion, broadening their views and open their minds and hearts. Your performances are strictly connected to establish a deep, intense involvement with your audience, both on an intellectual aspect and - I daresay - on a physical one, as in the extremely stimulating Fresques. So I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part

of a creative process both for creating a piece and in order to "enjoy" it...Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I believe so and completely agree on providing an intense inner involvement of the audience. No matter what situation I put the audience at to observe and perceive, its very valid that their imagination should be activated. I cannot say that there is much interaction with the public or provocation of any kind during my shows, but the connection is most certainly established. And I hope that everyone can enjoy his personal journey


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Limitation Sky BIACI 1st International Biennial of Contemporary Art Cartagena de Indias, photographer Rita Szili-Torok

watching my stuff. I only wish anybody can find and recognize himself for a moment in my world. I mean there must be something about my art that should resemble to anything in the life of the artists I work with or the audience attending the performance to be able to touch their hearts and minds. It is all an ongoing process. I want to energize the viewer. The creativity and the direct experience are walking hand in hand, depending on each other.

Cartagena... It goes without saying that positive feedbacks are capable of supporting an artist: I sometimes happen to wonder if the expectation of a positive feedback could even influence the process of an artist, especially when the creations itself is tied to the involvement of the audience... 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?

During these years your creations have been shown in several occasions, in many different countries and I think it's important to mention your recent participation at the BIACI 1st Biennial of Contemporary Art

Yeah! I am very glad for the chances I got and grateful for the experience last couple of years the times right after I’ve finished my studies at 2011. See The Netherlands is in a transition period of the cultural sector since then and for


Svetlin Velchev

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Fragment #3 BIACI 1st International Biennial of Contemporary Art Cartagena de Indias, photography BIACI Colombia archive

quite sometime already as that started exactly the same time of my graduation. So hasn’t been fun all the time and ain’t much easier earning a living either, but I guess that was all worth - in the end beliefs, effort and constancy pay off. On a small land as Holland with so many good artists the aim is not to be just good, but to be better. Been part of small to big scale events, made shows at remarkable venues, presented work on some of the well known local festivals like Fringe, Balkan Snapshots and State-X New Forms. My previous dance video Breathe On got to be presented in Honk-Kong, L.A. and Berlin. And last, but not least my recent exhibit of both of my solo works Fragment #3 and Limitation Sky

during BIACI 1st Contemporary Art Biennial Cartagena De Indias at Colombia. Feedback and constructive criticism are best for me. In fact I can’t really deal without them. I learn to listen to the valuable opinions and expertise of people without prejudices. Sometimes people just judge for the sake of it, but I believe only in the honesty and good intention of somebodies objective remarks. I easily compromise in the name of the perfect solution and not afraid of change. I also believe in the power of mistakes as I think mistakes like anything else happens for a reason to tell us something right. For every artist is important what the public thinks or feels. Communication is a teacher for the artist, because creating a


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Fragment #3 BIACI 1st International Biennial of Contemporary Art Cartagena de Indias, photography Makers Magazine New York

dialogue can be very helpful. And each work can be oriented towards specific target group or either reach to a wider range of audience, which I most definitely prefer. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Svetlin. 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?

Thank you too, the pleasure was all mine! Hope you get to hear more from me in the near future.

So after the launch of my latest work Monologues / Dialogues in May, I have been invited to perform it during the next issue of Baku Biennial at Azerbaijan upcoming December. 2014 was a prominent year for me and looking towards even a better one in 2015.

an interview by Dario Rutigliano, Curator


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Fragment #3 BIACI 1st International Biennial of Contemporary Art Cartagena de Indias photography Barbara Krulik

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Else Vinæs (Denmark) an artist’s statement

In my photos I show the world around me, whether seen in Denmark or on my many travels. I have a free and open attitude to photography as a medium, and I often experiment with various artistic effects. I am particularly fond of working with montage, exploiting the many possibilities of Photoshop. Reality of photography is suspended and combined into new contexts. I often print on canvas. I have been a photographer for 25 years, and my works have been exhibited in Denmark and abroad. It is a unique feature in photography as compared to other branches of visual arts that the camera can register an object in great detail. Anyone working with photography will know how to take advantage of this, but for me the process really only begins here. It is the final result – and the final result only – that counts. The greatest moment is always just now. I am a member of the arts photographers’ group Vingesus (”Whirr of Wings”). For members of the group the camera and digital processing are tools in a creative process, just as brush and canvas are the painter’s tools and notes are the composer’s. Visual arts in whatever appearance is characterized by one common feature – the desire to create and to convey an expression. Members of the group wish to step aside from conventional photography and show reality that never existed and never will. Our pictures do not appear as objects or any reality registered by a camera. Instead, objects are separated and combined so that reality is suspended and a new and fictitious reality is created. The arts photographers’ group Vingesus does not seek harmony and beauty. The group seeks articulation and wishes to show how photography can express itself in new manners. For further information please visit www.vingesus.dk

Else Vinæs


Krista Nassi

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Gold, (background detail) Mixed Media on canvas, 2012

From Identity Lost


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Else Vinæs

An interview with

Else Vinæs Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future, And time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present All time is unredeemable. What might have been is an abstraction Remaining a perpetual possibility Only in a world of speculation. What might have been and what has been. (From Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot 1935)

Hello Else, and welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?

Else Vinæs

To me a work of art can be defined as the expression of human creative skill and imagination. The artwork may be characterized in terms like mimesis, its reflection of life, expression, and communication of emotion or other qualities. To me, the process itself is very important. A work of art is universal as an instrument of awareness. The work must express a feeling.

In my photographs I interpret the world around me, working in the field of tension between fiction and reality, searching for the tracks and traces that we leave behind. Using experimental as well as conventional means of expression I seek to create a visual language where fiction and reality merge into one new whole. Art should be the eye of the viewer, reflection is important.

Contemporary art is not only characterised by the fact that it is created in our own time and often with unconventional means of expression. It is also created in an interaction between the artist, the spectator and forms of art that already exist. Modern artists are experimenting with new ways of seeing things and with new ideas about the nature of materials and functions of art. Over time, there has been a tendency to move away from traditional narrative styles of art towards abstractions, so characteristic for much modern art. I do not think there is any discrepancy between those two periods of art.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly impacted on the way you produce your art nowadays? By the way, I would like to ask your point about formal training... I sometimes happen to ask to myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle an artist's creativity...

I have a degree in literature from University of Copenhagen, but in terms of art photography I am self-taught. However, I have been studying paintings, photographs and the history of art for a long time.


Else Vinæs

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From Nærvær/ Presence

I have worked seriously with photography for 25 years. When I read poems and novels a lot of pictures arise in my mind. Literature is often an important source of inspiration for me. As a photographer you often discuss your works with other photographers. These kinds of discussions are often very inspiring and rewarding. Through the years I have worked with photography as an artistic expression whether in the darkroom or at my computer. In the beginning I made experiments using various analog techniques. Now I only work on a computer with all the possibilities that it gives me.

Formal training is important, but as an artist one must be sensitive. An honest approach to a subject is the most important thing. 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 photographs may be entirely manipulated, representing a staged reality with a wide range of


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Else Vinæs

From Nærvær/ Presence

expressions where reality is suspended and a new and fictional reality is created. Or my photographs may be based on harsh realism, showing the beauty of decay and disaster whether that be in Chernobyl or in an abandoned building far out in the countryside. Reality is suspended and a new reality created by natural objects. Camera and digital possessing are tools in a creative process. Using experimental as well as conventional means of expression I seek to create a visual language where fiction and reality merge into a new whole. My raw material is often found on my travels. When I am away from everyday life I feel more ‘awake’ and open to my surroundings. It is impossible to tell how much time I spend on making a series of

From Nærvær/ Presence

photos. Returning from Ukraine I waited two month before I studied my photos from Chernobyl. I cannot analyze my photos when I am too much involved. I don’t count the hours when I am working at my computer. Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with Nærvær, an interesting project that our readers have started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, and I would suggest to visit your website at http://www.elsevinaes.dk/billeder/naervaer/ in order to get a wider idea of it... From Nærvær/ Presence

In the meanwhile, could you take us through

Jennifer Sims


Else Vinæs

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From Nærvær/ Presence

details, and with the special atmosphere of the place you can imagine history from the past 120 years. The buildings were used as a hospital during both World Wars, and later on they were used as quarters for Soviet troops until the early 1990s. As far as I know the place has been put up for sale, but I don’t know what price they ask.

your creative process when starting this stimulating project?

Nærvær/Presence and Identity Lost are based on motives from Beelitz near Berlin. At the end of the19th century an epidemic of tuberculoses occurred in Berlin. Several sanatoriums were built in an attempt to cure the patients. Beelitz, where 1200 patients could be treated, was the largest. It is located in the middle of Brandenburger Wälder south of Berlin. Endless galleries lead to fashionable halls with decorated columns. Light is “floating” through those wonderful derelict buildings. Here you can discover fascinating motives in structures and

I have visited Beelitz several times, but I cannot explain what happens at my computer afterwards. Each work consists of photos from more than one building. Nærvær/Presence also contain photos of old rusty cars from Sweden, and in Identity Lost some kinds of ghosts appear. I find it important that the viewer/spectator is free to decide for himself where to begin and where to end in the field of tension between fiction and reality. Over the past few years I have worked with prints on canvas to emphasize the atmosphere of some of my photographs, and to some series I have used a special kind of glossy photo paper. Although it might seem apparently static a feature of Identity Lost that has particularly impacted on me is a subtle reference to a dynamic human element: so I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process, both for ceonceiving an artwork and in order to enjoy it... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience? By the way,


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Else Vinæs

From Identity Lost

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 believe that personal experience has a big influence on the creative process. My personal background, my feelings at the time, my impressions on the spot and circumstances in general are important for my choice of photographic motives. In places like Beelitz or Chernobyl I get a kind of feeling of the people who once lived there and who may perhaps return – who knows? I don’t think I could have created the same kind of photos when I was younger. Maybe other artists can distance themselves from previous experience,

From Identity Lost

Jennifer Sims


Else Vinæs

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From the Petra series

but I find the theories by Freud and Jung important in conceiving art. I cannot imagine the creative process being disconnected from experience. It is also very important that the the viewers use their own experience and feelings in their interpretation of works of art. Another interesting works of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words are from the Petras series: this work has reminded me the concept of non-place elaborated by French anthropologist Marc Augé. And even though I'm aware that this would sound a bit naif, I'm wondering if one of the hidden aims of your Art

could be to search the missing significance into a non-place...

The Petra series is different from some of my other photo series. There is not a living soul or for that matter a dead one – a statue – in any of the photographs. Marc Augé coined the phrase "non-place" to refer to places of transience that do not hold enough significance to be regarded as "places". He has an example from the new Metro in Copenhagen. Petra is a place of emptiness. There is only red and yellow rock and the burning sun. Petra is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan.


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Else Vinæs

From the Petra series

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812. In 1845 John William Burgon described the place as ‘a rose-red city half as old as time’. Even if Petra is all man-made you don’t really feel it that way. Petra is a non-place in the sense that it no longer has any function – apart from being an attraction in itself. Moreover, its original function remains unknown. Could be tombs of ancient kings or perhaps a large complex of temples. We simply do not know. But in terms of its own natural and/or man-made beauty Petra is definitely a place that holds a lot of significance. Ancient structures have collapsed. Erosion has taken place through many centuries due to flooding and harsh weather conditions. Improper restorations of ancient structures have added to

this mixture of natural and man-made beauty. One could say that nature is reclaiming Petra in a slow but steadily ongoing process, thus demonstrating the weakness of man – who incidentally is absent in my photos from Petra. A feature that I recognize in your work, especially in Antelope Canyon, is the perception of the common in our environment and the challenging of it in order to create a new multitude of points of views: I would like to stop for a moment to consider the "function" of the landscape, which most of the times in your works do not play just as a passive background... I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, Jennifer so we need -in a way- Sims to decipher them. Maybe


Else VinĂŚs

From the Antelope Canyon series

that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

That could well be the case. In a place like Antelope Canyon one can feel the impact of ancient times, of peoples and cultures that have passed through the place since the dawn of ages. Peoples and cultures known or unknown to us today, maybe expected or maybe unexpected, but all long gone. Every time you take a photo, something new and hitherto hidden or unknown is created, even if you stay for a long while in one and the same place. Light is changing, colours are changing, shadows are changing. This applies to Antelope Canyon as well as to your own back-yard and creates a lot of artis-

From the Antelope Canyon series

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ARTiculAction

Else VinĂŚs

tic opportunities whereever you are. The interaction between man and nature is important for revealing the unexpected sides of both. That is why landscapes are not merely passive backgrounds, to use your own phrase. Instead landscapes are active partners in a ping-pong with humans, often gaining the upper hand. And I couldn't do without mentioning SporTjernobyl, an extremely interesting series that I have to admit is one of my favourite project of yours... I appreciate the way you have been capable of establishing such a synergy between the recall to the disaster and a simple, immediate idea of beauty... as you have remarked in your artist's statement, "reality of photography is suspended and combined into new contexts"...

You are quite right. I did not want to describe the terrible things that happened at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Pripyat is a ghost town close to the power plant where the disaster happened in 1986. The area has been empty since then. It bears the marks of ravages of time and traces of deliberate destruction and vandalism. Nevertheless the buildings are deeply fascinating. In the hotel trees are growing in the rooms and out of the windows. In the concert hall is a lonely piano that played its last note many years ago. In the school books are scattered around and somebody have amused themselves with ravaging

From the Spor - Tjernobyl series

the woodwork room and the library. In the nursery teddy bears and rattles are scattered around.Gas masks lie all over the place. In the Soviet Union they were prepared for a bit of everything, just not the blowing up of a nuclear power plant. When I started working with my photos I found a lot of subtle colours in the midst of the destruction, and the idea of beauty you mention in your question was born.

From the Spor - Tjernobyl series

So far your works have been exhibited in several occasions and as your recent exhibition at the Fotogalerie Friedrichhain in Berlin... It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, I


Else VinĂŚs

ARTiculAction

From the Spor - Tjernobyl series

Thank you for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Else. 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 was in Cuba this January and came home with more than 4.000 photos. I am working on some of these photos now, and I intent to have some of them printed on wood. Others may be printed on tiles.

was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... what' your point about this? 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?

Not in my case. Place of exhibition or awards have no influence the process of my work at all. I enjoy discussing with my audience and I had a good time both in Oslo and in Berlin at the openings. People took plenty of time to study the exhibitions. I look forward to participate in the opening of NordArt.

In June I have an exhibition in central Copenhagen, and I look forward to meeting people there. I have planned other exhibitions in Den-mark over the next couple of years. My husband is also a photographer, and we often travel and work together. The next place to go may be Cyprus or Egypt, but we have not decided yet. I am certain that you will meet us somewhere, some day. Finally, I do appreciate the invitation to answer your questions and allowing me to share a few of my thoughts with a community of art lovers.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator articulactionart@post.com

ARTiculAction Art Review March 2015  

submit your artworks to: articulaction@post.com

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