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September 2014

Special Issue

Marjan Moghaddam (photo by Jun Liu)


SUMMARY

ARTiculA Action ART Feel free to submit your artworks, mailto: articulaction@post.com S E P T E M B ER

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

IN THIS ISSUE

Marjan Moghaddam

(USA / Iran)

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"I approach my work as an artistic collaboration with the computer, in which I explore the sublime and metaphysical aspects of digital ontologies, in recognition of its nascent and Golemic potential. In this paradigm, I see a reflection of our own evolutionary process and our potential expansion"

Ryders Richards

(USA)

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"Constructing a white wall over the top of a white wall in a gallery speaks of duplicating an aesthetic that becomes invisible through it’s cultural ubiquity and function: meant as carrier rather than as content. "

Cornè Akkers

(The Netherlands)

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"Making art is a form of life for me. It is often an unpredictable round journey from the inside out. It is the process that requires constant renewal by forgetting the moves already learned, it is the conscious choice to avoid the routine."

BBB Johannes Deimling (Germany)

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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.

Steve Wilda

(USA)

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"My work often centers on isolation, total stillness, often a brief glimpse of time, the flash of a captured moment. It can also be eternal, a subject’s final memorandum. The tranquility can be transformed from their decayed vestige to a subtle grace by incorporating a contrasting element, a life form, something contemporary. Bringing the concept full circle."

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(USA)

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Catherine Danae

"I live in two worlds, art and dance. This new self-portrait reflects just that, along with personal remonstrance. In this work I have taken on the roles of choreographer, composer, and sculptor and set up the pieces to fall perfectly into place for you to feel uncomfortable, but to also find the beauty and calm encapsulated by the ragged cardboard sculptures."

(Romania)

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Adrian Jugaru

By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, Jugaru makes work that generates diverse meanings, thus challenging the viewer's perception. Associations and meanings collide in his pieces.

(Sweden)

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Madeleine Alm

"When I do a new piece, it always start with an image in my head. I try to sketch it down just using pen and paper, and as I do so, I usually add and subtract things from my original idea."

(Montenegro)

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Milena Joviceviv

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

(USA)

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Jana Charl

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

(Turkey)

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

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Çiğdem Menteşoğlu


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Marjan Moghaddam (USA / Iran) an artist’s statement

As a computer-based artist and animator, I have been working with new emerging technologies since the 1980s, employing technological and visual innovation with a distinct signature. I approach my work as an artistic collaboration with the computer, in which I explore the sublime and metaphysical aspects of digital ontologies, in recognition of its nascent and Golemic potential. In this paradigm, I see a reflection of our own evolutionary process and our potential expansion beyond our current modes of existence in Post Humanist ways. This to some extent is the natural and inevitable journey of art, which has historically explored these greater existential ideas throughout the ages, and is now transposing them into a technological dimension. I am actively engaged in rethinking form for painting in the Post Millennial era, in a manner that reflects our hybrid digital and physical life. Working with still and animated projects that I describe as digital paintings, I define a pictorial space that is 3d CG and cinematic, with text and special effects. In contrast to the over-commercialization of new media and the resulting shallow culture it has produced, my works insist on a deeper dialog in which global, personal, political, technological, and philosophical dimensions interact poetically and powerfully in sublime narratives. The resulting work is sometimes akin to high fidelity, cinematic, Postmillennial, illuminated manuscripts with special effects.

Venus and Her Adonises, 2012. Digital Painting, 50� X

wood feature films, and VJ culture. I also write textual streams that are embedded in various pieces, using found text, personal chats, deconstructed writing, essays, poetry, and storytelling. These writings are inspired as much by the Sufi poetry of my Persian ancestry, as they are by contemporary social media style text. Each piece employs meticulous, high-fidelity, digital visuals, emphasizing miniature details and rich embedded worlds that are revealed only when the pieces are seen up close and in-person, as a physical approxi-

I work primarily with 3d modeling and rendering on the computer, using Motion Capture of improvised dance and direct audio-triggering of various parameters, working with the same technologies employed by commercial CGI, video games, Holly-

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Krista Nassi

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21” Edition of 10, 89” X 37”

mation of computer-based fractals or zoomable maps.

and animate my characters for both still and time-based projects, using keyfra-ming mixed with human motion data, in addi-tion to audiotriggering (a form of technological synaesthesia in which sound drives visual deformations). These bring performative aspects into the digital process which imbues it with a living, shamanic quality. Other channels of motion or textures may be entirely computer-generated, using fractals and procedurals. Backgrounds and vignettes mix physical and digital hand painting with fractals, Gold, (background detail) in addition to scientific and data images from NA-

I take a hybrid approach to the creation of my visuals, mixing artistic techniques with generative and algorithmic ones, allowing a reciprocal process in which human creativity interacts with its machine counterpart, a process that reveals its own inherent metaphysical dynamics. For instance I model my 3d characters using figurative sculpture mixed with generative techniques, in what I call a 3D Digital Cubist style. I then pose

Mixed Media on canvas, 2012

Feels So Good, 48” x 60” Acrylic 5


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Embrace with Interference, 2012, Digital Painting, 50” X 20” Edition of 10, 60” X 30”

SA, USGS, and other research institutions, as a painted form of digital and data-driven impasto. My own experiences as a political refugee of Iranian descent, who lives in New York City, form the basis

for some of the political and feminist dimensions in my work, as I create space in my American narratives for other cultural personas that blend into a global stream of ethnicity and nationality.

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The primary thematic premise for these narratives is a heroic, political, global, cathartic, and expressionistic premise in which imagined worlds of great monumentality mirror a collective and individual

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zeitgeist that is emerging out of our contemporary hybrid machine and human paradigm.

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An interview with

Marjan Moghaddam Hello Marjan, 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. Art to me exemplifies the highest state and form of creativity within any society, and as such it represents each historical era’s particularly unique contribution to the mimetic and genetic evolution and expansion of our civilization. By “highest” I’m referring to all aspects of the work, from the conceptual and philosophical, to its form, material, process, innovation, function, technique, impact, style, and aesthetics. And if I had to further define highest, I would explain it as elevated or advanced as in beyond the routine or elemental and rudimentary levels of a particular function. I also lean more in the direction of the Sublime in Art.

Marjan Moghaddam (photo by Jun Liu)

Would you like to tell us something about your background? You were a student at NYIT during the Alvey Ray Smith era of pioneering Computer Graphics innovations, and you have been working with the technology since then: how has this experience -an amazing experience, I daresay- impacted on the way you current-ly produce your artworks?

I had watched great destruction as a result of reactionary traditionalist forces, a drama that sadly continues to get played out in the Middle East and also occasionally even here in the US till this date. For me technology promised a different world, in direct contrast to the destructive traditionalism I was escaping, and the pioneering and progressive aspect became an important tendency for me in my work, which I have kept till this date.

I think for me it has come to define a purely idealistic, visionary, and pioneering approach to the technology, which to a large extent also came to define early computer art, and also the early Internet 1.0 era and generation as well. At the time I landed at NYIT in 1979, I had just left Iran, my country of origin, as a political refugee after the Islamic Revolution there.

Interestingly enough I actually mention that in my David & Goliath painting and David & Goliath Still Can’t Fight animation, that the west had the myth of Oedipus, the son killing the father, and the East had Rostam and Sohrab (Persian myth), the father killing the son. So the patricide of the west became progress, and the infanticide of the east became 8


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tors and write papers about their artistic practice to introduce these techniques into CG for more lifelike results. Even back then scientists and engineers had to go and mine the work of artists to be able to bring life into CG, because technology alone couldn’t deliver it. What I was doing in the 80s was very punk, feminist, expressionistic, visual and figurative in stark contrast to the abstract and geometric computer art then. I was animating with chopped up and reassembled video of performance artist Vava Vol for instance, in a piece titled PMS, and you couldn’t possibly do something that was more radical in the computer scene at that time, which was mostly made up of male engineers. By the 90s I was using fractal animations, as a type of new landscape I called “Chaoscape” in installations and even performance by having them projected on me, in my “Contemplation of Chaos” piece which I also showed at Password Ferdyduck, an early computer art show at Postmasters Gallery. I also collaborated with the legendary, late, electronic musician Lefferts brown who did the amazing music for this series with ARP synthesizers. You can see some of this work on a short ZDF piece on me from that time (https:/ /www.youtube .com/w atch?v=t_A_ncQ_RU&index=27&list=UUuvsl_jrkkuthq0xwuTW EFw) And then I created a whole virtual version of that performance with a 3d avatar of myself for the early web, as the featured digital artist for the launching of the Dotcom Gallery and International Forum for the Digital Arts in ’95-‘96, which was the first internet-based, fine arts gallery. It’s interesting to note that all this work back then was totally nonobject based art. Animation on the web was so rare at that time that I actually ended up as one of the first 100 people to do gif89a animation on the web, and my websites went viral, even though we didn’t use the term then. New York’s Silicon Alley back then was very heavily involved with art, unlike today, maybe because everyone was such a visionary, so people from Prodigy Inc. and even Josh Harris CEO of Jupiter Communications were supporting my work.

traditionalism. But increasingly technology is dissolving that, so both the east, or at least parts of it, and the West, are embracing technological advancement and progress simultaneously. After NYIT, I didn’t really have access to the VAX super computers anymore and I was working with early Paintbox systems, commercially. It wasn’t till later in the 80’s when the Amiga came out, with a demo of Andy Warhol digitizing Debbie Harry, that I started to actually make art at home on an Amiga computer. But even then, my work was different, because I was doing figurative work, when most early computer art, which was created mostly by scientists, was abstract or geometric at that time. In terms of commercial animation, people like John Lasseter had just started to study Disney Anima-

By the late 90s I was doing my Adorations series, which was the first time I tackled high resolution 3d 9


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CG for large prints. I had interviewed legendary cyber punk authors William Gibson and Bruce Sterling for a magazine, as an excuse to meet them and talk to them. I loved the premise of the book, an Artificially Intelligent program going back in time to discover its origins in a re-imagined Victorian England in which Babbage’s Difference Engine had ushered in a computing revolution paralleling our own. For me, it became an interesting Post Humanist premise, what if the same AI at a future point, was searching its origins, visually and artistically in all the technological extensions of the body and humanity, e.g. motorcycles, phones, and even Pacman? And here I have to add that I’m not just a product of art history and art theory, but also very much communications, cyber and computer theory, thus the Norbert Weiner references. The mother and child pairings, hinted at this Post Humanist evolution and also classical painting as the origins of representative 3d Euclidean space, which was also a technological mandate of sorts for realistic 3d CG back then. “Adoration of PACMAN” from this series won an ASCI award in 1999, other pieces were widel exhibited, and later I did “Adoration of Telephone”, it took me literally 6 months to model a 3D head that I knew would fill a 40” composition. I had done plenty of 3d CG character work professionally, since in addition to my fine arts projects, I worked in commercial high end CG production for almost 3 decades, but I knew this would call for a much higher level of visual and lifelike realization. Getting a natural gaze for a 3d CG character was really tough back then. The first Final Fantasy movie had just come out in 2001, and despite all the impressive character modeling and animation, everyone was critiquing the unnatural gaze of the characters. I found myself really studying classical sources to get the gaze right, and modeling the head polygon by polygon for 6 months. And not only was I pushing the technology and theory of the time, but I was delivering a lifelike head and gaze that was sublime, with a CG head that had an embedded keypad and fractal dermal pigmentation, representing an AI. The finished piece went into Siggraph 2003 Art Gallery, and then travelled to galleries and museums all over the world for se-

Exhibition, David & Goliath 2012 Digital Painting, 50” X 25” Edition of 10, 78” X 39”

veral years as part of Siggraph’s 30 Year Anniversary Computer Art Gallery. After this I eventually moved on to the visual music series in the 00’s, creating animations, performances and stills out of early audio-triggering technologies. VJing software had just started to implement this technology, but I was interested in taking it much further than just 2d processing, by actually bringing it into the 3d CG pipeline from the modeling, to scene, to finished animation as a way of experimenting with a blend of human artistic elements and computer-generated ones, and a form

Jennifer Sims

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early Glenn Branca, he had the same sort of explosive and unpredictable quality. Once again, at a time when most people were doing ambient electronic tracks for computer animations, I was using jarring, dissonant, and improvised guitar. These pieces made it to many festivals, and it’s a bit hard to appreciate how unusual they were at the time, because of their influence and subsequent prevalence today. For instance, Computer 69, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFq_szPkhgo &index=33&list=UUuvsl_jrkkuthq0xwuTWEFw) which I did in 2006, was in over 20 international festivals, at the time. I remember festival directors would just email me and ask for it directly. So much used the look and movement of it since that its now alost a standard CG visual, but when I did it in ’06, it was pretty rare and unusual. Just last month I saw a friend, a younger digital artist, use a background that was very similar for her Twitter pic. I don’t think she even realized she was referencing an early piece of mine.

of technological synesthesia. In addition to the animations I also performed live with a laptop, improvising with some of this technology that I had developed, and a lot of the grants that I got back then were for this work. Interestingly enough, recently IFAC picked Red Sonica Whisper, and a few similar sonically sculpted pieces from this older series to sell on its online gallery at 1stDibs.

This all brought me to Scab, 2009, which was I think possibly, the first time a 3d CG character was driven both by Motion Capture of improvised dance and audio-triggering simultaneously. I did the piece based on my own experiences of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which itself was a pretty novel premise for a cutting edge CG animation, then, or even now. When it made it into Siggraph 2009 Computer Animation Festival and DVD Review (Best Of), I was really shocked. It had this jarring music, a blend of Adam’s guitar and Lefferts Brown’s percolating ARP synethesizers, and a subject matter that was not typical for CG. I had originally expected it to be shown in art galleries, because I never thought CG contexts would go for it, yet they did, much to my surprise. Afterwards someone from ILM who was one of the organizers that year, congratulated me privately for doing a piece like Scab and innovating so much technologically and stylistically with such a powerful emotional premise. It meant a lot to me, because he understood how much work it took, and people with my skills usually don’t do this kind of work.

For some of this series I collaborated with Williamsburg avante jazz guitarist Adam Caine, whose dissonant guitar improvisations reminded me of

And with my recent Of Revolutions series, I’ve been continuing to innovate, by bringing in a very uncompromising socio political and emotional mes-

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Shot in Iran, detail, 2012 Digital Painting, 55” X 20” Edition of 10, 89” X 32”

sage into a highly expressionistic series, in direct contrast to some of the current trends in contemporary art and also in digital and technology art.

This series also continues to push conceptual, technological, stylistic, and aesthetic boundaries. I’m also a tenured and Full Professor of CG and Animation at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island

Jennifer Sims

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Shot in Iran, 2012 Digital Painting, 55” X 20” Edition of 10, 89” X 32”

University, so I have continued to remain active throughout the years with research and development in the field as well. So I haven’t really stopped pioneering; I’ve just gotten a lot better at it after 3 decades.

artistic in this type of work, because it’s very generic and dead, and it doesn’t really advance the art form in any way shape or form. The medium is still very new; it’s not as if we’ve tried everything, so that we could say it doesn’t matter because we are post it. It matters, and we’re still emergent, not post anything.

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?

For the figures I model 3d CG characters in what I call my Digital 3d Cubist Style. In the same way that Cubism at the start of the last century reduced figures and objects into their most basic geometric 2d forms, I use a similar, but 3d premise, by building figures from basic Platonic solids, such as cubes, pyramids, spheres etc. I’m also referencing contemporary figuration styles such as Transformers, Bots, Mechs, or the space suits of Halo (video game). They also represent the way our identities and humanity is quantified as it is transposed into digital space.

I’ve used different techniques for different series, so I will concentrate on the current “Of Revolutions” series from recent years. I worked with a dancer, Yu Chien Chen, who improvised dance and martial arts movement which we developed together and Motion captured as data that I then applied to my figures. For me there’s a huge difference between an artistic performance as movement art, versus using a stock motion or walk cycle from a commercial library. I see many CGI animations in galleries and museums that rely on stock walk cycles and stock 3d characters from commercial libraries. For me there’s really nothing

After modeling, I then create elaborate virtual sets with analog and digital painting and this is where I either stage stills or elaborate animations as part of redefining form for digital painting. I deal with both still and animated constructs for digital painting. I do the text in a purely spontaneous, stream of consciousness sort of a way, grabbing 13


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Sometimes Up, Sometimes Down, 2014, Animated Digital painting. 1080p HD, Single Channel Video/Computer Animation with Music. 3 Minute Loop. Musical score by Kyle Bobby Dunn.

my social media posts or chats and texts, Wikipedia entries, or I write poetry, prose and even essays, mostly in English, but sometimes also in Persian. I usually work in smaller magnified regions, so the writing is informed by the visual space around it. That’s how I create all the miniature worlds in the large physical pieces, working in 4” segments at a time, for a 90” piece. With the animations the writing happens with the motions, so if a movement triggers a cinematic memory I bring it up as text.

or Marilyn Minter use in their Video art. And this is an extension of the slow motion that started with Sam Pekinpah’s cinematic hyper violence, and then evolved into the Bullet time of the Matrix, and is now a very contemporary temporal adjustment in media art. I then show this work either as large archival prints on Digital C or aluminum, or as 1080HD animations. And another recent innovation is that I felt very frustrated with the limited bandwidth of Media Players and Blueray for high resolution HD, so with the help of engineer Bradley Laboe, I have developed a small custom computer (only 3”) that can playback my 1080HD animations at 50 MBps, so that you can see all the high resolution and miniature details that I put into these animations. I’m very happy with this setup and just did some shows with it at Select Art fair. I finally feel like I have Jennifer Sims the quality that I demand.

It’s interesting because a collector recently asked for a frame from “Sometimes Up, Sometimes Down” which she had seen at a show. When I asked if she wanted a particular line of text, she said it wasn’t the text so much as the feeling the movement evoked with the text, and that’s exactly what I aim for. I also slow down the Mocap data as a mathematical scalar operation, which makes them slower than the Phantom Gold Video camera that Bill Viola 14


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David & Goliath Still Can’t Fight, 2014, Animated Digital painting. 1080p HD, Single Channel Video/Computer Animation with Music. 14 Minute Loop. Musical score by Kyle Bobby Dunn.

Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from Venus and Her Adonises and Embrace with Interference, an extremely interesting couple of projects that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, and I would suggest them to visit http://www.marjan.com/html/Gallery.html in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of these works?

The time factor for my pieces can be several years. For instance “David & Goliath Sill Can’t Fight” was 25,000 frames which required 6 months of continuous rendering on a donated Render Farm, which I did spread over a year. The full production happened over the course of several years. The still paintings have taken as long as 6 months sometimes, just rendering something like “A Scattering of the Desiring Machines” at 90” as a single image can take a week, and I have to do that many times as I tweak and refine. But that’s also very much high-end 3d CG, especially when you are just one person doing everything, instead of a team of 200 people like some of the bigger Hollywood or video game studios. But for me, process informs my work greatly, as a result much of it emerges from doing the work myself, as opposed to getting other people to do it, and that’s why my work has such a strong personal, emotive, and visual signature.

I think it’s very interesting that you picked these two pieces, because they both deal to some extent with relationships. “Embrace With Interference”, started with a hugging or embracing moment suggested by the Mocapped improvised dance. I then modeled (sculpted) the character that is a pyramidal figure mixed with a vector version and point cloud data which I use for special effects and dynamics. This pose became a powerful symbol for the non-physical aspects of a relationship, from online pickups, to how 15


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relationships evolve through chats and texts, and how an entire relationship can now take place mostly outside of physical space, so here we are, embracing noise as opposed to something physical. Embedded in the stylized, black and white, background, noise pattern, are short snippets of text, chat, comments, and poetry about relation-ships. I did this piece from what I thought was a quintessentially feminine perspective, but it’s very popular with men when I show it, especially Millennials, who seem to really connect to it. This piece was also selected for inclusion in “All Night Bookstore”, a fine arts book collaboration between visual artists and writers put together by curators Lee Wells and Kaytie Peyton. Rebecca Nissan, a young writer, wrote a short story about an online relationship based on this piece for that book. Venus and Her Adonises, was pretty much what I call a straight up Feminist piece for me. The piece was also in the Backlash show in Soho 20 gallery in Chelsea in 2012, which was an outcry by Feminist artists against the attacks on female reproductive rights in the US. For me there’s no way to address reproductive rights without simultaneously addressing sexual rights. I started with the Venus and Adonis premise, which for me is about the cougar aspect of femininity, as a contemporary feminist paradigm, because its sexual desire past fertility years, so it’s purely for pleasure, as opposed to an unconscious procreative urge, or the procreative desiring machine as I call it. And perhaps this is really the hallmark of my generation that many early pioneering computer people started to get into anti-aging and life extension in the 90s as another form of coding and hacking another information system. This then became its own theme within Post Humanism, which then spread to the general culture, and now body hacking and anti-aging are established and mainstream as Post Millennialism.

Venus and Her Three Muses, 2014, Animated Digital

Single Channel Video/Computer Animation with Music. 6

which means “Oh life”, while in the US women say “Oh My God”, it’s as if in the east we gasp for life, and in the west, for god, during orgasm. And being Eastern and Western, I’m aware of both experiences. So the piece developed many levels of meaning, and once again, I’ve seen both men and women take many pictures of this piece when I show it, and then read and explore it quite inten-sely. The Adonsies have embedded “dick pics” you can only see in the physical print (too small to see in the photos of it), and there’s also a headless, life size nude selfie of me in it, which I took when I turned 50, in fact it says “Venus with a digital camera at 50”. Many of these ideas I then conti-nued to work with in the animation “Venus and Her Muses”, which has a Jennifer suggestiveSims sexting session,

So the piece tackles this subject from many perspectives, bringing up my own personal experiences with aging, abortion and childlessness, alongside sexual desire and pleasure freed from the machine in the Deleuze and Guattari sense. But as I was doing the stream of consciousness writing with this piece, other ideas came up, like how in Persian women say “Akh Joon” during orgasm, 16


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painting. 1080p HD (21 X 9),

Minute Loop. Music, temporally adjusted rendition of Davinyl’s “I Touch Myself”. 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?

while the figures dance a la Mannerist Muse paintings, I should add I’ve always wanted to animate paintings, haha. I’m also very much re-appropriating the patriarchal premise of muses, clearly the same applies to women artists freed from sexual and reproductive oppression. Another interesting works of yours that have particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words are from the the David & Goliath series... 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

I strongly believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, so the compositional potential that you speak of can communicate tomes in a particular era. I deal with everything as an information system, not just computers, from the physical universe to culture, art and also us, as biological systems, and as an expansive consciousness that has entered into, and is experiencing everything, 17


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David & Goliath 2012 Digital Painting, 50” X 25” Edition of 10, 78” X 39”

in a biochemical construct called the brain and the body. So on many levels yes, myths are encrypted into us epigenetically speaking, we now know that, not just as a Jungian metaphor, but as actual gene expression. David and Goliath is mimetically and genetically encrypted into us and many cultures that contain what I call the Abrahamic code, and my piece is about the evolution of this meme/gene, or even possibly base algorithm we’ve been iterating as revolutions, be it political or for that matter artistic or personal. Which brings up the question,

is our current standstill because we are stuck, are we remixing it, have we subverted the myth, are we beyond it, or are we transcending it? I think that many of these hidden aspects that you mentioned are fully driving all aspects of our experiences, whether we’re aware of them or not. And maybe I pick up on this because I’m operating from a spontaneous and stream of consciousness premise, the way the Surrealists did it, and using so many symbols, that I’m sort of channeling the zeitgeist. I think when Jennifer you look atSims archaic Homo Sapiens, they 18


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reality or arguably even the Divine as Plato would have it. Or perhaps to use science fiction as contemporary mythology, its Arthur C. Clarke and Kubrick’s 2001, in which a highly evolved alien species triggered a major evolutionary shift in our primate ancestors and we’re still connected to this multi-dimensional, alien source somehow (a popular meme on You Tube). And then the Reflexivity theory of the 80s and 90s has become what Robert Lanza calls Biocentrism in our world today, so we recognize that consciousness is at the center of our experience of the universe, and that the brain may not originate consciousness, but rather, receives it, the way a computer or TV displays media it did not originate. But where does it come from, that could be the “non-place”, or a quantum realm we get hints of, theoretically, but not actually; we see signs of it. “David & Goliath Can’t Fight”, was also in a political art show titled AgitPOP in Chelsea, curated by Anthony Haden Guest, and also the Mykonos Biennale, in addition to public art shows like the Dumbo Arts Festival in NYC. It was just showed at Gallery Vanessa in Paris, last month, and is at the LA Film Festival this month. So the series connects synergistically with similar threads in contemporary art. So some people are engaged in deciphering these ideas, even though it’s not mainstream right now. I have to say that I have highly appreciated the deep synergy between Art and Technology that you have been capable of establishing in your works, as in the recent Scattering of Desiring Machines and David & Goliath Still Can’t Fight: as you have stated once, “I aim to achieve the sublime in art with computer-based tools" ... and I'm sort of convinced that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between art and technology and I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?

appear as pretty simple beings/systems, until about a 100,000 years ago, when both art and burial practices, both of which hint at a non-physical place outside of this world and life, evolved. Now people like Dr. Michael Newton and other psychiatrists who have done past life regressions, seem to suggest that this is when reincarnating souls, or nonphysically-based consciousness, entered into early Homo Sapiens, and what they brought with them into these bio systems was art and burial practices, which is symbolic of creation and a metaphysical

Thank you, that synergy is very important for me. I grew up studying classical art, in addition to science and math in Iran, in primarily international schools. My father, a great man, was an intellectual of sorts, with a real love for classical art, science and philosophy, so these were important influences 19


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for all of us. My younger brother who sadly passed away 2 years ago, the late Dr. Baback Moghaddam, grew up to become, first a punk rock guitarist, and then a mathematical genius who was a star of the MIT Media lab in the 90s. His research and work became highly influential in the field of Facial Recognition, in fact his ground-breaking PhD dissertation on the subject has the highest number of citations of any paper in the field till this date. He was also part of the algebraic geometry group at MERL, working with this new discipline, and a total genius with it according to other renowned mathematicians who spoke to me after his passing. He was a Principal Scientist at JPL NASA at the time of his passing. Needless to say, a very big part of me died when he passed away, and I’m still not fully over it yet. The reason that I bring up Baback, who was like a twin sibling to me in childhood, is that his first love was music, and he was an avid photographer and loved art, and his field, Machine Vision, involved aesthetics, visuals and even art to some extent, using math and computer technology. And I, as an artist use computers, technology, math and geometry, plus elements of generative and algorithmic visuals, and I was heavily influenced by him as well. So I think that was really our upbringing, which reconciled art, science and technology, in addition to our culture of origin in Iran, where the art has a very strong geometric component, and where mysticism, art, music, science, medicine, geometry and algebra have historically interacted more comfortably, and didn’t quite undergo the modern western separations as radically. But we both dealt with the potential sentience of AI, him from the scientific side, and I from the artistic, and that’s something that comes up in “Breakaway God of Revolution: I Am Not Crowdsourced”, which is really about how codebased and Golemic we are.

David & Goliath Still Can’t Fight, 2014, Animated Digital

But also much of the great works of western art from the Renaissance were technology art of their era. Davinci was very much the art and technologist of his time, and even Michelangelo, although he’s seldom ever aknowledged for it. I once read in a journal that laser caliper measurements of the Medici tomb showed that all the dimensions were divisible by the irrational square root of two, now

that’s not an accident. Even Man Ray or Nam June Paik were advancing the technological aspects of their respective media. So this idea of art and technology was inherently interconnected both in the east and west, until they separated in the post-modern era, when science education started to omit more art, and art education started to omit more science,Jennifer as a resultSims of specialization and advan20


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painting. 1080p HD, Single Channel Video/Computer Animation with Music. 14 Minute Loop. Musical score by Kyle Bobby Dunn.

ced education in a complex society. But this also created artificial divisions that don’t make sense to many practicing artists; especially techno-logy based ones such as me. And I’m also an academic, so I deal with not just art history but also media history. So yes, new media art is bringing back and reconciling some of the inherent interre-latedness between both again.

By the way, it goes without saying that modern technology -and in particular the recent development of infographics- has dramatically revolutionized the idea of painting itself: this forces us to rethink to the materiality of the artwork itself, since just few years ago an artwork was first of all -if you forgive me this unpleasant classification21


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Sometimes Up, Sometimes Down, 2014, Animated Digital painting. 1080p HD, Single Channel Video/Computer Animation with Music. 3 Minute Loop. Musical score by Kyle Bobby Dunn. a manufactured article: it was the concrete materialization of an idea...

But there are aspects that are totally non-material also in completely new ways. For instance I did “Digital Mobile Selfie Portrait”, as a new type of a self-portrait that represented me, not just as a physical form, but as data sets and customized feeds in what I termed the Mobileverse. In fact, this concept was so important for me to articulate, that I then wrote an essay explaining it, which was then published to the Think Tank web site for the Mobile and Humanity Conference in Chicago. The digital painting then went on to win the Audience Choice Best of Show Award at the Microsoft Center Art show for the conference this last Fall, and was part of a travelling exhibit for a few months. But the concept, in brief, was that I am no longer a physically-based persona, because my Golemic representation has now evolved beyond me, and is behaving independently of me in the Mobileverse, in your newsfeed and other ones, based on your specific customizaJennifer Sims tion.

I agree. While there’s a heavy focus on materializing the digital in digital sculpture, there is also a reverse movement simultaneously, that is moving away from the material with non-object based art and augmented and virtual reality, these have been inherent tendencies since the early days of computer art, it’s all pretty routine at this point. I think many aspects of materializing the digital, especially in terms of digital sculpture are a necessary technological development in our time. But other aspects of it are driven by market forces and manufacturing interests which are using art to push 3d printing into the consumer and home markets and make it as ubiquitous as 2d printing, and those can have a negative impact by limiting what art has to say. 22


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Mobile Selfie Portrait 2013, Digital Painting, 27” X 36”

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Breakaway God of Revolution: I Am Not Crowd Sourced, 2014, Animated Digital Sketch. 1080p HD, Single Cha

So I, as a data set, have become the hero of a thousand faces that Joseph Campbell spoke of, in this Mobileverse. I also explain the selfie pose itself as a metaphoric arrangement of the data based on the gestural aspects. So it is a type of crowdsourced identify and reality that’s also merged with the machine and elements of Artificial Intelligence that are increasingly mediating this crowdsourcing. None of these social media and crowd-sourced as- pects were anticipated in Second Wave Cyper-punk or Post Humanism, although both included non-object art, so these are all recent Post Millennial paradigms. So what you see in the painting is a totally nonphysicalized version of me, as selfies embedded in the various mobile panels, and also, what I see and experience through my customized feeds.

And when you take my animation “Sometimes Up, Sometimes Down” which has been shown as part of a group exhibition of digital art curated by Lee Wells at several galleries and at Cutlog Art fair during Frieze NY week most recently, its technically a 1080HD file as part of a playlist of other 1080HD files, on a USB stick, that then gets played and projected in galleries either off a laptop or media player, in other words a group art exhibition on a USB stick, take a moment to consider that. Your art practice 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 Shot in Iran and Breakaway God of Revolu-

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nnel Video/Computer Animation with Music. 6 Minute Loop. Musical score by Kyle Bobby Dunn.

tion: I Am Not Crowd Sourced. 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?

can personally identify with the ideas in the work, there’s a deeper connection, than when they just intellectually grasp it. “Shot in Iran” tells the story of a violent massacre of soldiers that I witnessed during the Islamic revolution in Iran. The autobiographical story then becomes other transgressions, the subsequent breakdown of my family, and the evolution of these experiences over the decades. These reverberate through my experiences as a political refugee in NYC, which is also very much about this new multi-ethnic, global diaspora that most developed countries now host. And for me, even if I did traditional painting, I couldn’t do this piece that way and have it be “now”, it’s only when I do it in this digital and CG way that references the hyper violence of Holly-

I think there’s always a personal dimension involved in the work, because we’re never fully as detached or objective as we try to be, body dynamics always create a personal aspect and differentiation in terms of how we experience everything in this world. I think the personal aspects make it more compelling, what would Jospeh Beuys’ felt and lard installations be without his personal experience? Also, when the audience 25


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action movies and video games, that it becomes a quintessentially “now” artistic statement imo. I describe the process of moving beyond this experience as forgiveness in slow motion, which really requires time, and getting to the other side, which is an alchemical transformation as Carl Jung would say. But the piece has a major impact on viewers, I’ve seen people moved to tears at shows, and it’s perhaps one of the most emotionally powerful and intense works that I have ever created. I remember showing it at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, a great venue and forum for digital art which has been a decades’ long labor of love on the part of its director Rex Bruce. During the show, a man came up to me and identified himself as a published poet, and he told me that the piece had all this violence in it, yet it had this great serenity that made him want to crawl into it and soak it in, and he asked me why that was. I told him it was the sublime in art, in very much the classical way in which Kant or Schopenhauer dealt with the sublime, and that’s a bit different than the contemporary Techno Sublime of a merely mesmerizing, looped CG animation. It’s also not the pleasantries of the New Age, you can’t get it from that, this only happens with work that has these extreme, yet profound juxtapositions in it, and perhaps more than Eggleton’s beautiful and ugly, but also violence and serenity. But Kant and Schopenhauer didn’t live in an era of wall-towall, realistic, hyper violence in movies and games, or terrorist beheadings on You Tube for that matter, in which everybody experiences their powerlessness before terrifying things from the safety of their chairs all the time. So you have to go beyond merely evoking just visual terror, or a type of Terribilita in terms of Renaissance and Baroque art, and bring in many more levels of ideas that come in to play philosophically, visually, culturally and also Post Millennially, which is about this technologically facilitated diversity and simultaneity in our hybrid digital and physical world. This is what I tried to do in this piece, especially with the poetry, prose, and metaphoric and allegorical imaging in it. And strangely at this show, everybody thought I was a man, because they didn’t think a woman could do this kind of work. Well, women can,

Scab_FemaleFigureFrame

because we are complex, not one-dimensional, and so is our aesthetic, we don’t all do flowers, birds, and dolls, you know. At the same show I recall a group of young men who came in during the opening, which was part of LA Artwalk and gets thousands of people. 26


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Captions

They very much looked like gang members and converged in front of this piece, which made other viewers very uncomfortable; because they stepped away a bit fearfully perhaps. On some levels I understood why they picked this piece to look at, because they too understand violence personally, but I was surprised to notice that they spent a lot of

time reading and absorbing it and then the most amazing thing happened, because their expression and whole body language changed, it was like they suddenly opened up to the same greater and unquantifiable thing that this particular type of sublime art puts us into contact with. This is the power of the personal aspect for both the artist and 27


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the viewer; it brings people from so many different worlds together to experience it in meaningful and transformative ways. But things have changed, especially as Lyotard’s postmodern concept of the sublime as “representing the unrepresentable” has evolved into this generic form of abstraction in our world today. At some point this representing of the unrepresentable became so much ambiguity and so much diffusion that the work no longer takes a stance or communicates anything specifically for fear of alienating someone or something, and that’s where it is at now. This of course makes sense, because work that is this diffuse has the highest market share in terms of sales, for dealers can pitch it in different ways to different collectors based on their interests, and a wider group of art critics can project any ideological agenda or theory on to it, regardless of whether the work warrants it or not.

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Computer 69, animation by Marjan Moghadam, music by Adam Caine. 3 minutes, 2006

This is about commodification and financialization of art as yet another investment market, so there’s no room for the personal in this kind of art or for that matter the sublime.

In fact when I joined the Occupy Wall Street Art show at the JP Morgan building down in Wall street, during the original Zuccotti park occupation in 2011, I did “David of Zuccotti Park”, which was one of my CG figures in a video game-style, combat contrapposto of sorts, after Michelangelo, with political slogans handwritten all over it. Like the Florentine utopian state of course, Zuccotti collapsed, but the ideas may potentially change our world too, the way Renaissance Florence did.

Your recent and extremely stimulating “Of Revolutions” series explores the theme of uprising on a personal and political level often deal with socio political aspects of our everyday reality: even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art 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?

But you can barely see this socio political potential of art by looking at what is in the galleries and art fairs right now, or at least here in the US. And I think it’s ironic, that I, as a digital and technology artist, have decided to tackle it head on, because this is what many expect non-technology artists to deal with. And much of technology art right now is also beholden to corporate high tech sponsors, so there’s more of a focus on the gimmicky wizardry of technology, as opposed to depth or socio political content. Or, there’s all this generic and decorative Glitch style of abstraction, all of which makes me ask the question, is this really the highest expression of

I totally believe art can play a significant part in the cultural and potentially cataclysmic changes that we are going through now, and truly steer people as it has in the past, historically. In fact, many of the greatest works of art in the West, such as Michelangelo’s David, and in the East such as Ferdowsi’s Shahanameh (Persian illuminated manuscript with calligraphy and miniatures), even Picasso’s Guernica were highly heroic pieces of socio political art, that did steer people.

Adoration of Telephone

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Unfortunately, new media art is not immune from these market forces, and if anything it may be feeding it as Astra Taylor has pointed out in her book “The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age”. Her argument, which I agree with, is that the internet and new media have resulted in a very shallow culture, in stark contrast to the idealism of the original pioneers, which I was a part of. This is because, as she puts it, the digital economy has a tendency towards monopoly that makes commercialism less visible and more pervasive. And if you were to take the idealism of Mitch Kapor’s original essay on the internet as a utopianist global village, and fast forward it to our era of web-enhanced NSA spying, and an internet awash with kitten videos, epic twerking fails, and technological monopolies that threaten the very populist aspects of W3 Consortium open source ideals, you kind of have to agree that something went seriously wrong in this trajectory towards a greater utopian web. And much of this banality and mediocrity is promoted by the Corporate State, propagated by the media, and now sadly dominating contemporary art. There has been a type of conceptual, political, philosophical, emotional, and visual neutering of art that has been driven simultaneously by market dynamics, in terms of the new investor class, and in the case of the US, by the toll the Culture Wars have taken, in the way art in public spaces or museums must now avoid any kind of “triggering”. And avoiding potential triggers could include many things. Let’s take a moment to consider what if Beethoven’s 9th had to tone down the brass section because it would be jarring to some, or Soutine’s Meat Carcass had to be avoided because it could scare and upset children or Animal Rights groups? What if Kiki Smith’s Pagan Goddesses or Carolee Schneemann’s feminist art had to be omitted for fear of offending Christian Fundamentalists? And of course a Diego Rivera mural could potentially have the US Tea Party declaring a Communist invasion. But a lot of this neutering is already happening, and this explains the popularity of abstraction right now as really the best and safest expression of what the new investor/collector class wants, and also what curators who want to hold on to their jobs in economically challenging times are showing.

Scab Male Figure Frame

This is the Zombies On the Wall that NYC art critic Jerry Saltz recently complained about in an article of the same name. But almost every period in art history that saw an excess and celebration of the banal and mediocre was then followed with an explosion in the revolutionary and uncompromising, in terms of idealism and vision. 30


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It’s really the Hero’s journey of art. And this is what I’m more interested in. I have a higher purpose than delivering current trends in the art market, and for me it is about meaningful and sublime work, and also innovation with technology art.

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and portraits were the height of popularity with collectors, in academia, and also the museums, but that isn’t what we celebrate from that era, instead it’s the revolutionary work of the early modernists, which advanced culture and civilization, not the generic routine landscapes and portraits. History is made 50 years into the future as they say; the rest

At the turn of the last century, traditional landscapes 31


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is the usual filler for the mimetic engine. The current young darlings of the auction houses are like the celebrated salon painters of the late 19th century who dissolved into historical obscurity, they are not the revolutionaries of that era like Manet, Gaugin or Van Gogh. During these years your work has been exhibited extensively at various international galleries, museums and festivals and moreover you have received numerous grants, such as Rockefeller Fund, NY Department of Cultural Affairs, Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Experimental Television Fund... 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?

Red Sonica Whisper, 34X21

But I have to say when there is reciprocation I did not anticipate it’s a huge reward for me personally. For instance when I did David & Goliath, I wanted to create this monumental digital painting that was my personal experience and global commentary about our moment in history. And I thought that perhaps I would get to show the work, but can’t say that I expected it to “sell”, because of its premise. But someone from the high tech industry saw it online and was very impressed with the quality and vision, which he thought he was not seeing in the digital art at the galleries.

I’m really grateful for the exhibition, granting, and even collector support that I have received. Considering that I’m in the minority on almost every level; ethnically a minority in the US, a woman artist, a technology artist, dealing with art of the sublime, with political and emotionally charged content, it’s an outright miracle that I’ve gotten this far, and perhaps a testament to the fact that the art world is not exclusively at the mercy of these new market dynamics.

He chatted me online to buy it, alongside another piece, and then I told him about the embedded text etc. which is not visible in the pictures on the web, fully expecting him to cancel the order. But he didn’t, he said he wanted it as is. When the pieces arrived, he emailed me: “LOVE. LOVE. LOVE”. He even sent me pictures of the pieces hanging in what he calls his music room. That really meant a lot to me, because it gave me hope for art’s future. Some people are gravitating towards the same meaningful and revolutionary ideas in our world that are outside of the establishment, whether they be collectors, curators, artists, lawyers or writers etc. It’s almost like an early modernism again, because you don’t see it reflected in what is popular. The corporate oligarchy hasn’t shut down everyone yet. The free and revolutionary spirit is alive and well, despite everything.

But usually I try not to think of an audience, because then I edit myself for that audience and lose my ability to operate on other levels. For instance a certain well established dealer told me that he thought “David & Goliath” and “Scattering Of the Desiring Machines” were, despite being digital, two of the most powerful contemporary paintings that he had seen, but he also told me that my work really didn’t fit into what he was showing at his gallery. That’s of course hard for me as I set out to start the next pieces from this series, because I’m human and I too get tempted to do things that deliver the market, but I have to step back and remind myself that I have a higher purpose and put it out of my mind.

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Exhibition, David and Golia Can't Fight

And the revolutionary media of our world can also be the true revolutionary spirit of our world at the same time, and that is what I’m trying to do.

Art store, separately from my gallery work. I’m also approaching Venus from another angle in the new pieces, a bit of a departure. So, I think it’s safe to say there will be more innovation, politics, feminism, expressionism, revolutionary and also more art of the sublime, in other words, more of what I do.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Marjan. 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?

And Thank you for this interview, I have really enjoyed this thought provoking, timely, and important conversation, much appreciated.

Well I’m currently building a home Mocap studio for better and faster integration of Mocap directly into my 3d scenes. I’ve also created what I have termed prints for the 99%, lower cost prints in direct response to people who complained that they couldn’t afford my pieces and really wanted some, and some of these will be sold through the Amazon

an interview by Dario Rutigliano, Curator articulactionart@email.com

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Constructing a white wall over the top of a white wall in a gallery speaks of duplicating an aesthetic that becomes€ invisible through it’s cultural ubiquity and function: meant as carrier rather than as content. The new white wall produced uses the previous wall for support, essentially acting as a large-scale painting “hung” on the wall, identically referencing the previous construction. During the construction a “Home Depot Orange” rectangle, the dimensions of a piece of sheetrock, is painted on the original wall as a reference to the ubiquitous DIY hardware store and, more interestingly, to function as a conceptual, minimalist, color-field painting. The shape is a symbolic marker of high modernist painting inevitably acting as a “frame” or “model” for content, the orange shape absorbing focus and contemplation with its graphic vacancy. Meanwhile, the shape speaks of the ease, cheapness, and speed of construction and labor, which are both its creator and€ its death. In building over the orange rectangle€ several moments occur referencing Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado.” Through manual labor the immurement of the living painting renders it visually inert and secret, but no less potent conceptually. This work will remain while the gallery rotates exhibitions, in a small way providing persistent historicity, yet necessarily invisible and unknown behind the larger “painting” of the new wall, whose constant utility discourages€ investigation. Ryder Richards

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Redaction of Labor II [2014] Gold, (background detail) One pint of “Home Depot Orange,” 2×4’s, sheetrock, plaster, paint, labor Mixed Media white on canvas, 2012 Business & Pleasure 7 Mixed Media, 2011 Ground Floor Gallery, Nashville, TN

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An interview with

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

Thanks for the welcome! As for what defines a work of art as soon as we make a definition an artist will challenge it and break it. However, there are ingredients that make some art stronger: intent and concept are necessary for me. While casual works can be art I think good art comes from focused consideration. Interestingly, many contemporary artists try very hard to remain neutral, or “zero-sum” as Boris Groys says, in their practice. This basically means that while conceptually developing the work artists embed the piece with contradictory ideas that cancel each other out as a way to echo our pluralistic culture: offer multiple truths to weaken the hegemonic voice. Yes, as a teacher and working artist I see a dichotomy set up between tradition (or craft) and contemporariness. There have been several articles written about the ‘de-skilling’ of the arts, where traditional methods and ideas are systematically eschewed in favor of “the new.” This is another hallmark of contemporary art: it has placed itself on the frontier of time, as if riding a wave of newness (Bourriard), which means traditional ways of valuing work are disqualified simply by not being new. So, while we are in this highly flexible post-modern period where anything can be art, traditional or contemporary, it is always interesting to view what museums, galleries and the capitalist economy deem to be valuable.

Ryder Richards, with completed Redaction of Labor II

Would you like to tell us something about your background? By the way, you hold a Master of Fine Art in Painting that you received about ten years ago from the Texas Christian University. moreover you have studied abroad, spending a creative time in Germany, Spain and in Italy, where you attended the Lorenzo de Medici Institute in Florence... how have these experiences impacted on the way you currently produce

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my mind to new ideas and nuances. I think at first my reaction to new places was to mimic them and their art. Later it was to highlight my own difference, but I am increasingly interested in the overlapping values created by globalization and the increasing struggle of nations to hold onto their identity rather than be homogenized or standardized. I don’t know if I would have grown as a person enough to recognize this increasing struggle if I did not travel and read, which brings us back to the point about formal training. When I started school I wanted to draw like Michelangelo, hence the trips to Italy. What I found out is that you can teach yourself how to draw if you work hard enough, or you can take very formal education and learn a specific skill set, such as portraiture. For some artists the skill set is so seductive that they cannot give it up to be creative and they become technicians. Stifled creatives. In my experience, academic training offered a set of tools based on several different, clashing viewpoints, that requires a certain flexibility of the mind. In many ways this training with contradictory methods encourages creativity, but many artists also find this academic structure to be stifling, unable to offer selfaffirmation or fulfill inner desires. My advice to them would be to remember that the academic system is not about you: it is other people’s ideas and techniques, which can become tools for you to put to use later.

your Art? By the way, I would take this occasion to ask your point about formal training: I sometimes wonder if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...

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? 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 was raised in Roswell, New Mexico where the fabled UFO crash happened, so while other places may pale in comparison in terms of pure zaniness, the contrasting values of different countries open

Oooh‌ Good question, because it varies with each

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Redaction of Labor II {process image of "Home Depot Orange" painting}

project I undertake. I start with an idea, which often comes from an amalgamation of reading, novels, movies, personal experiences and conversations. For instance, a recent series I completed pulls from Thomas Moore’s “Utopia” and David Flynn’s research on Isaac Newton’s assertion that the Dome of the Rock is the center of the temporal/spatial world, while also including references to “8 1/2” by Fellini, the hubris of Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse, and the elitist practice of occult (hidden) knowledge.

through a 2x4 to represent a human time scale of erosion, or dangling 100 iPhone Earbuds to play a Shepard’s tone as a way to comment on the individual role in the collective body. Outside of idea generation, I want my work to be well-crafted and well-designed. It doesn’t matter how good an idea is: I am being lazy if I cannot figure out how to make it look good. This means I typically spend months casually researching an idea, making drawings, doing SketchUp models, playing with it in Photoshop and then I get down to creating it. I seldom make something without having planned it out.

I also participate in a collective, Culture Laboratory, that develops shows based on a theme, then the members make work based on that idea. This has lead me to create works that are often disparate from my typical practice, such as hand-sanding

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Redaction of Labor II {process images}

start from Redaction of Labor II that our reader have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to visit your website directly at www.ryderrichards.us in order to get a wider idea of your recent production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this work? What was your initial inspiration?

it had all the qualities of recent colorfield paintings I saw in New York. The contradiction between making a functional frame to display information that has no meaning unto itself and a rectangular shape that signified a very meaningful minimalist painting struck me as comically profound. The best part is that I had to paint over the expensive paint because we had to leave the projector running all the time or people would assume it was a meaningful painting. You gotta love the art world.

Redaction of Labor II developed from my time repairing walls in galleries. My previous endeavor, Redaction of Labor I, was while I was working in the US Pavilion in Venice for the Architecture Bienale. A projection screen needed to be painted with some expensive paint, so I did that and realized

So, the best part is that the short lived painting became embedded in the wall at the US Pavilion, my labor and effort masked as the wall was returned to it’s original function: an empty ‘canvas’ to be repeatedly filled with contemporary ideas.

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Ryder Richards sanding plaster on Redaction of Labor II

or trapped by the gallery structure (institutional critique) by the means of free artist labor (social economics). And the most interesting part is that the work becomes virtually invisible as it melds with the architecture, reducing the common attention grabbing spectacle of art to zero.

For Redaction of Labor II Ground Floor Gallery in Nashville allowed me to build a sheetrock wall over their existing wall. While this action in itself is ridiculous enough to be considered profound I took it a step further by painting a “Home Depot” orange rectangle on the wall that is the size of a piece of sheetrock. The “painting” offered a vibrant, minimalist painting that references the DIY culture we live in. I then put to use my free manual labor skills learned in the art world to “bury” this painting, a reference to Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado.”

One of the features that has mostly impacted on me of this stimulating project, and that I have recognized in Obligation as well, is the way you have been effectively capable of re-contextualizing the idea of environment and the mutual feedbacks we established with it: so I would like to stop for a moment to consider the "function" of the background suggested by this work: which is clearly far from being just a passive background

For me, the piece acts as a cathartic hybrid as the language of high modernism (a minimal rectangle) takes on conceptual meaning through color and size (conceptual minimalism) and becomes swallowed

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Obligation [2014] mirrorball, astro-turf, paint can, motor, chain and locks, light

And 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?

architecture implies a value, often with socio-economic intent. In Obligation the background is the ubiquitous minimal gallery white cube, which implies that the objects within should be considered as “art” and looked at in all earnestness as some sort of metaphor. By introducing a reflective element (mirrorball) the piece expands throughout the gallery, re-employing the typical spot lighting and vacancy not as isolationist elements but as active participants. This allows the piece to portray a spectacle of spiraling light, reflecting ourselves and the gallery situation into a series of active fragments that are both hypnotic and suggestive of exuberant partying. I am quite interested in this idea of spec-

Yes! The subliminal influence of our surroundings is a major theme in my work, the real and artificial context which generates meaning. This developed for me originally from looking at the role of violence in the SouthWest as a form of “environmental determinism” which led me to consider the role of architecture as a control mechanism issuing forth signifiers of importance. Basically, each decision in 41


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Utopia: Binaural Purification [2014] 5-gallon buckets, three ceramic purification filters, water pump, mood lights, video proje

tacle as a means to draw our attention through reflecting our Nature, often base desires, back at us. However, the party spectacle on its own feels incomplete as it functions on a limited scale in life, a temporary hedonism allowed because we have fulfilled other mundane obligations. Inserting astroturf and a paint can implies the anchor point of drudgery that both allows the hedonism and exacerbates the polarity: it highlights the artificial chores and obligations of a theoretically responsible citizen, most of which have no humanist value and are arbitrary signifiers of socially standardized consumers. So, to answer your question I do feel that artists can offer observations that decode or reveal connection we often take for granted. I feel that our outer-nature influences us and often reflects our

inner-nature, setting up value cycles filled with complex feedback from artificial, encrypted coping mechanisms. Another project of yours that has particularly impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Utopia: Binaural Purification: as you have remarked, the piece is a study€ in the complexity of thought necessary to produce ideas versus the purification of ideals as a redaction of complexity and€ the€ resultant loss of€individuality... I have found this concept extremely stimulating, and maybe since I have a scientific background I can recognize a lot of similarities with the way scientists nowadays use to conceive their ideas, and in particular, it has reminded me the inner circular feature of induc42 5


Adrian Jugaru

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Utopia: Binaural Purification [2014]

The more complex issue in the piece is that anyone smart enough and ambitious enough to develop a ‘perfect system’ is operating on an intellectual level that precludes typical human concerns. The piece references this by having Gamma Hz sound (a brain frequency reflecting high cognitive problem solving) playing in the top bucket, and as the water filters downward becoming more pure the bottom bucket plays Delta Hz sound (a brain frequency aligned with deep meditation and out of body experience where people perceive all matter as already interconnected and perfect.) The implication is that a duality must exist between intellectual isolation -the life of the mind- and communal concern for both individuals and the society.

ction, speakers, amps, Gamma and Delta binaural sound 7′x3′x2′

tive/deductive reasoning... I daresay that this work in a certain sense reveals the hidden channel of communication between several discipline that stays behind the way we conceive ideas...

Thanks! The piece definitely embodies several ideas, most notably the cyclic nature of processing information as it applies to individuals and collective bodies. The primary system is the DIY triple water purification cycle, which uses ceramic filters in the 5-gallon buckets to purify the water, but once the water reaches the bottom (as pure as possible) it is pumped back up to the top where it re-starts the cycle. This closed system echoes the structure of any Utopia: it must be self-sufficient. Lemon Dops

There are a few other ideas embedded in the work, such as Masuru Emoto’s research on water, the oddity of hypnotic videos on youtube, and the pulsing “rave” lights that signal a need for communality and spectacle while also offering a soothing, seductive pull on the viewer. In general, the piece pulls from sociology, architecture, doomsday prep, and psuedo-science much more than from art or art history. The smoking man, digital, 2013 43


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Ryder Richards

iComm [2013] 100+ iPhone 3 earbuds, 10 amps, 10 mp3 players, wire, wood, acrylic, Shepard Tone By the way, sounds play a crucial role in this work as well as in iComm, and it challenges the viewer's perception of the space around him, and I think that it could force him/her - by altering the perception of reality - to create such an artificial panorama... how much do you draw inspiration from our reality? I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

sound alters, which means that the physical experience is profoundly different than the intellec-tual or documented experience. This dissonance between physically knowing and intellectually perceiving naturally references practice vs. theory, conceptualization vs. manifestation. iComm was developed to be theoretically otherworldly, drawing heavily from science fiction and digital sound as inspiration, but the physical reality of how it had to be constructed means it ceased to be artificial as I worked on it and became tangible, experiential.

Hmmm‌ good question. Using iComm as an example personal experience is highly valuable if not indispensable: as one moves towards and through the piece the volume and timber of the

Yes, I draw inspiration from our reality and my personal experience, but lately I have been shifting more towards un-reality or the unknowable as much more fertile, mysterious territory to explore.

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Texas: Striking Skins [2014]_ 3 snake skins and my father’s belt Olm Space, Neuchatel, Switzerland Skins I noticed that while showing clear references to your native Texas, it sums up in a single image what I dare to define as the ecological footprint on behavior: the way our different cultures use tools transforming them into symbols... although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naïf, I guess that if somewhere in the world a rose had been used as a whip, it could have been perceived as a metaphor of operant conditioning... So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion Art -besides just describing perceptual and behavioral process, could in a certain influence

This could be because of my recent time in my hometown of Roswell, where the famous UFO incident is still discussed. In this case, investigating the unknown, direct experience is both impossible to gain and yet the unknowing surrounds us all the time providing a very rich creative area that references reality and non-reality simultaneously. And I couldn't do without mentioning a couple of works that are from my favorite ones of yours: Texas: Stance of Contemplation and Texas: Striking Skins. Starting from Texas: Striking

Texas: Stance of Contemplation [2014]_ mark making performance using cowboy boots Olm Space, Neuchatel, Switzerland 45


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Ryder Richards

Conversations from the Museum of the Uninformed [2013-14] installation image BLUEorange Gallery, Houston, Texas them... or even steer people behavior: what's your point? Do you think it's just an exaggeration?

I definitely think art has the ability to steer behavior. In the same way that good comedy can enlighten us to obtuse behaviors, using laughter to push us through our initial righteous indignation, art can show contradictory truths as a means to comment on unseen or investigated areas. I sometimes think good art has to be a bit more sly about setting the hook than comedy or music or television, but I also hope it’s power can be more enduring.

I like your term, “ecological footprint on behavior.” I often reference “environmental determinism,” which very, very loosely of states that “the land makes the man,” or culture. Texas: Striking Skins uses a couple of very loaded symbols to imply that the environment contains a swift, violent danger to those who do not heed it’s rules. The irony of using leather skin to discipline skin, or the use of skin at all in a modern age, signals an entrenchment in values developed during a different time. The belt seemed unique to me because, as you mentioned, in daily life it served as a tool, but could quickly become an odd disciplinary device. This caused me to have a warped fascination, fear and envy of the thing, just like many children are drawn to snakes because of the danger.

I think it's important to mention that you are the co-founder of the RJP NOMADIC GALLERY, a traveling art gallery and of the national collective CULTURE LABORATORY: 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 these effecti46


Adrian Jugaru

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I Could Love You Less: The Critical Self Consciousness of Hyper-modernity [2014] temporary gallery space, light, art, 106″x126″x101″ Dallas Biennial 2014, Dallas, Texas ve synergies? 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?

tance. The Culture Laboratory grew out of the RJP, with a focus on more national and international engagement. After working with them in a kind of hybrid physical/digital relationship I was invited to The Art Foundation. We had 3 or 4 members focussed on events for Dallas, and Dallas responded in kind: a large format book we produced was accepted into the collection of the Nasher Sculpture Center and we curated an exhibit of Dallas artists into Boom Town at the Dallas Museum of Art. In a very unique way, these major institutions opened their doors for local talent and have helped boost many artists careers into a fantastic trajectory, which comes in part from a willingness to set aside personal ego in favor of comradery. I don’t know if I can place enough emphasis on collaboration. Many of my best friendships and greatest art world experiences have happened while worThe smoking man, digital, 2013

About the synergies: they are fantastic! Collaborative practice forces growth and experimentation, it makes artists stay in touch with reality and other humans in a way that makes art relevant rather than solipsistic, or at least it engenders conversation rather than isolation. In the RJP Nomadic Gallery developing an arts outreach program our of everyday resources strips away some of the prevention of the art world, while still encouraging high-level thinking. It also has bonded the 3 collaborators in ways that Dops transcend casual acquainLemon 47


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Executive Order 13526 (file 644) [2013] graphite, pigment on paper, 15"x22" ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

king on collaborative projects. But, outside of all the awesomeness of friends and success that comes from it, it is also a healthy practice to work in the arts on a give/take compromise situation occasionally, where we realize our individual genius is not always as genius as we thought.

Positive feedback is awesome! I do not make art just for myself: that would be selfish. And I might be very selfish, but to ask someone to look at my art means it should offer something to that person. I exist in this world as part of it and I feel that my art must offer more than my comfort or entertainment, and it needs to offer more than theory. I know that feedback has at times influenced my process. If someone I respect tells me that I am really onto something I will spend a bit longer and dig a bit deeper on that particular project or idea. That seems prudent to me.

During the past ten years your artworks have been exhibited on many occasions, and you recently had your solo Conversations from the Museum of the Uninformed... moreover I think it's important to remark that you have received several scholarships and awards... 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 important for you is the feedback of your audience? Do you

Jennifer However, I think manySims artists develop careers in 48


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I Could Love You Less: The Critical Self Consciousness of Hyper-modernity [2014] Dallas Biennial 2014 Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Ryder. 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?

this fashion, replicating a single facet of what they do because of the acclaim it generates, which can often allow for future opportunities while also becoming formulaic or singular in focus. Not that everyone always has to be breaking paradigms, but a flaw of paying too much attention to audience reaction is that we tend to become populist artists rather than self-aware, interesting investigators.

I always seem to have a few things going on, a solo show in the Spring in Fort Worth and a couple new collaborative ventures are in the works. I’m going to stay quite about those until the time is right, but there are some exciting things happening!

As for the genuine relationship between business and art I think artists like Jeff Koons are completely honest about their art as a business strategy. It is as fascinating to watch as it is galling, making me happy I have not discovered a genius for art business.

Thank you for the time and excellent interview questions!

I am still into making things, so when the business side visits it is welcome, but it is not really something I am overly concerned with. It will come when the time is right.

an interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator articulactionart@email.com

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ARTiculAction

Corné Akkers (the Netherlands) an artist’s statement

"A good painting is a visual story that keeps on capturing the beholder's eye. A story can provoke new feelings time after time. Insofar pure realism does not exist because the impression it causes depends on circumstances, settings, illumination, interpretation, taste and the mood of the viewer. My work is ' alternative realism ' - realism with an alter ego. In my paintings colour, nuances, form, light and colour intensity are carefully tuned to the story to be told. The choice is yours to follow my story, to recognize and to acknowledge it."

Corné Akkers Corné Akkers (1969) was born at Nijmegen, The Netherlands at a time where no one has witnessed Woodstock and the man on the moon. As a child of creative parents and a product of the sixties, he was raised with art in great abundance. The result was a continuous painting and drawing rage from early childhood on. He also quickly took a keen interest in nude studies and portrait art. After devouring high school and raw law studies, there was time for a career in the management consultancy. However drawing and painting never ceased to be his primary passion in life. At the beginning of this millennium an old dream awoke, causing to drag lingering arty dreams to higher grounds. In the meantime a love was born of oil paints. After following several drawing and painting courses, it was time to let a broader audience meet his art.

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Krista Nassi

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Gold, (background detail) Cubistic Sitting Nude (2014) Mixed Media on canvas, 2012 Feels So Good, 48” xx 60” (73 80Acrylic cm) Vulture

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Corné Akkers

An interview with

Corné Akkers Hello Corné, and welcome to ARTiculAction. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art?

A work of art lies between craftsmanship and imagination and can never be either of them in the purest form. An idea without the skills to lay it down will not recognized by others than the artist himself. The last question is hard to answer. In the past many art movements came into existence coexisting until today. Just like in music these are confusing times. There seems to be a niche for every kind of art and since there are so many niches, it is hard to distinguish great comtemporary art from kitsch or decoration. Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training in artistic disciplines could even stifle a young artist's creativity...

I am a strange kind of artist just like a whale is not a fish. I started off making drawings at an age of 2 years old and never quitted, except for a couple of years after law school. My parents always were supportive of the kind of art I was doing and took me to each and every museum and gallery when I was young. I never had a formal training and that is due to an artist who I've met in the 80s when I was about to choose a study after high school. He told me that, since at that time art school was all about free expression and craftsmanschip was considered to be out-of-date and since I already could do portraits and model paintings, I should do something else.

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The artist himself was a law drop out and regretted that fact ever since, letting him no alternative than to scrape together every penny with creating and selling art. He advised me to paint and sketch on the side and I did just that, until I went professional some 10 years ago. So I could not tell you whether a formal training could stifle. I think it might and I am glad that it never influenced me in a bad way. I would not have liked to pay good money for a bad product. 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?

It depends on the piece that I'm working on. Oil paints obviously need more preparation than my sketches. I do a lot of prestudies for an oil painting, for example in pastel and graphite. It enables me to lay down an idea in a very quick way and test it. Since I invest a lot of time in my oil paintings, I want to make sure that the basic theme is sound and will not have to be adapted when I am half way with a painting. By the way, do you visualize your works before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin?

Sometimes but like John Lennon said: "Life happens when you're making plans", when you have a basic idea and you start to work on that, very often that idea brings forth another idea that is better. Not always does the main theme alter but some elements in it might. I get visual images often though, especially when I am sleeping in the dead of night. Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from Mill De Vlieger and Elementary Particles, that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: an I would suggest to our readers to visit your website directly at http://corneakkers.com

CornĂŠ Akkers a photo by 'Studio Brugman' at 'Voorburg, Netherlands'

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ARTiculAction Cubistic nude 07 (2014)

CornĂŠ Akkers

elementary particles (2014)

molen de vlieger 09-06-14 (2014)

(50 x 65 cm)

(50 x 65 cm)

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 pieces? What was your initial inspiration?

a painting or a drawing because it almost looks like a photograph and this always makes me sad. A piece like 'Elementary Particles' is to remind people not to expect the apparent when they are confronted with art and that they have to seek and interpret the art piece actively.

Living in The Hague and having the Gemeentemuseum here, it is not possible to escape the ever presence and influence of Piet Mondriaan. Before he went cubistic, he did a lot of beautiful landscapes like 'The Red Mill' and 'Mill in Sunlight'. Mill 'De Vlieger' was to commemorate these paintings.

I noticed that you often elaborate traditional themes and I would say that you draw inspiration from reality rather than abstract imagination, as in the stimulating Utah and , but at the same time I daresay that your work place a new gloss on traditional themes, as in Cubistic Nude... do you think that there's still an inner dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

The basic idea behind 'Elementary Particles' was to accomplish that half of the spectators could not recognizing the woman hidden in the piece and half of them seeing the woman right through the particles with some effort. Sometimes people admire

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Cubistic nude 07 (2014)

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flowering trees (2014) (65 x 50 cm)

imagination rather dull. Imagination on itself has no value and the mind without a kickstart caused by reality cannot come up with an original idea other than a blurred and often symbolical image. Unlike my hero Mondriaan I like figuration above all other things, even when I abstract such figuration to its minimum. Besides that, I like to present figuration in an alternative way, just like a musician plays the notes syncopationally around the beat rather than to play them on the beat. 'Utah' came into existence at the same time as 'Elementary Particles' and many recognize a little boy sitting in it. That's fine with

me, because it still is a rock in Utah and a little boy couldn't do any harm. As to 'Cubistic Nude', it is an attempt to link traditional academical stuff to contemporaniness. If there would be dichotomy, it should not be there. How could we ever not link something new to tradition? How could The Beatles or The Stones ever come up with smashing songs if they would not have drawed inspiration from choir music and traditional Liverpool fisher songs? Something present always spawns something new. It also is a big boo hoo to

Jennifer Sims

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marilyn monroe (2014) (60 x 80 cm)

those who in their comtemporary minds think that playing the piano for a live audience by hammering their fists on the keyboard is as good as any pianist who took the effort to actually perfect playing the piano after years, even when it sounds atonally like SchĂśnberg's pieces. A lot of comtemporary art nowadays is a soulless blur without meaning.

in polder landscapes. It is an impressionistic piece that suits the possibilities of pastel rather well. Marily Monroe is one out of a series that I planned some time ago. It's a search for a new kind of cubism, linking traditional portraiture to something new that is neither traditional cubism nor to be compared to any other contemporary style. Some time ago some guy accused me of not following the traditional rules of cubism and suggested me to try out broken cubistic divisions like George Braque. Since it irritated him, I knew I was heading for the

Flowering Trees is a tribute to my birth ground. I grew up a couple of miles from those trees and between the river Waal and Maas where I come from (Nijmegen, Netherlands), you see many fruit trees 57


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Gemeentemuseum 1 (all: 65 x 50 cm)

Gemeentemuseum 2 (all: 65 x 50 cm)

the right direction. I do not try to follow any rules. I set the rules.

row at the entrance. The sun hit the rectangular planes of the buildings dividing them in an equal amount of dark and sunlit planes. That was just another reminder of Monet's lesson that the light on something is more important than the actual object casting light. The simple geometry of the drawings is only attractive in the minds of the viewers if they subconsciously recognize the image of light on the Gemeentemuseum and attach it as a refreshing dressing to their symbolical thoughts of the actual shapes of the buildings in a geomectrial way. Recontextualizing the idea of environment to me is to tease the spectators' minds and to offer them a glimpse of a differernt way of looking, not confusing figuration or one's ideas on what the nature of an object is, with the light shining on it and the shadows that surrround it. Our inner nature has to return to the basic nature of a child that believes that mommy, playing peekaboo, does not exist any longer when she dissappears behind the couch. Rationalizing beyond the peekaboo game is just like not getting what real art is all about.

Another interesting series of yours that has particularly impressed me and on which I would like to pend some words is entitled Gemeentemuseum: in particular, I would like to stop for a moment to consider the "function" of the simple geometry suggested by these pieces: most of the times it doesn't seem to be just a passive background and one of the features that has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of re-contextualizing the idea of environment itself... 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?

I have come to see tonality and atmosperic depth in landscapes to be the dominant factors rather than the actual shapes of the forms. The Gemeentemuseum series foreshadows a more elaborate painting and the theme delved into me when I was visiting an exhibition at the museum, waiting in a

8) Now let's deal with the tones of your pieces: I would focus on Japanse Tuin and in particular on Golf & Country Club, an extemely stimulating work that I have to admit is one of my favourite 58


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The attention always will be drawn back to the center of the pastel in spite of the tonal battle of the trees hovering over the middle. The leaves in the middle below keep on pushing the attention upwards like a primitive arrow. And I couldn't do without mentioning your nude studies an especially your portrait series: I noticed that most of them, far from being just a detached description of a body or of a face, seems to claim the viewer's attention in order to discover a deep emotional involvement and sometimes even such an inner struggle... so I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part

Gemeentemuseum 3 (all: 65 x 50 cm)

of the recent pieces of yours: far from being the usual deep yellow that we should expect to see, it's a thoughtful nuance... and what has mostly impressed me is that it is capable of establishing such a dialogue, a synergy with all the other tones instead of a contrast... By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

I am a burgundian and I like rich flavours and textures. I also like complemetary and half-complementary contrasts. In the Golf & Country Club piece yellow parts battle with the purple road and the blue trees with the orange in the leaves. I like these simultaneous colour contrast effects because they work all the time every time, although they can wear out the eyes if not dosed in the right quantity. I simply cannot deny the autum such colour schemes. I think that this palette will not change over time and certainly is what I started off with. The 'Japanse Tuin' (Japanese Garden) is all about encapsulating a bandwith of warm colours (Japanese acer tree, red bridge and the lady's bag) between layers of exiting tonal varied greens, just like a sandwich.

The Japanese garden (2014)

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Jennifer Sims

flowering trees_(2014)_(1024_x_771)

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Utah, (65 x 50 cm)

The Hague Forest (50 x 65 cm)

tive process could be disconnected from direct experience?

because their minds would be occupied with the testing of the ressemblance of each portrait.

I can neither confirm nor deny such need for disconnection from direct experience. It grew on my hero Mondriaan who wanted to disconnect the essence of art from direct experience and feel for aesthetics, deriving all art from human beauty. Personally I like to think in a more Fellini-way, that is in each and every spheric direction and just like in quantum mechanica I like to think of a world of art in which I can swith from aesthetics to sheer abstration, so both can be present and true at the same time. Maybe my choices will considered to be incoherent one day but I do not mind. With regard to the portrait series: I did name them 'sans titre' deliberately because I did want people to catch my drift on an emotional level rather than offer portraits to them that are recognizable as movie stars,

During these years your artworks have ben exhibited in several occasions, both in your homeland and abroad, and I think its remarable your show at Flowerport in Shanghai, China... 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 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... 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?

Since I quitted by parttime job as a business lawyer some years ago, I decided to only radiate light rather 61


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Cubistic Nude 05 (2013)


Cubistic Nude 06 (2013)


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than to look for the light. Therefore the feedback of an audience is not so important for me. However, I am glad that I am a selling artist so I will be enable to prolonge my trade. Art classes alreay enable me to create my own work and accept commissons as few as possible, so I can make whatever I want to make. I find the relation between business and art rather bothersome. I always felt visiting galleries with my portfolio degrading the true nature of an investigating artist that has to find art rather than to sell it. Therefore I never did that. Then again, business must be an integral part of an artist life besides art, I guess but we all have our own faults, at least it is mine. I have difficulties selling / presenting myself. That's the part I hate most. That's why internet comes to my aid. I can post my work and if people like it, they can buy it. No sales arguments needed. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, CornĂŠ. 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 pastels and drawings that I post on the internet are daily stuff. Next to these I keep on working on big pieces (oil paintings) that linger about as W.I.P.'s in my hallway and on easles across my apartment and in my studio. It's just that I have so many ideas that I want to capture them on a daily level, so they are out of my head, safely trusted to paper for the time being. I also keep to do lists. When a couple of big pieces are finished, I empty this bucket list and delete obsolete and on second thought not so brilliant ideas and adding new ones. I have a couple of big themes that have to be worked out. One W.I.P. is a room full of people who are scared to death by the spectator. Who will be more afraid: the spectator that will be freightened by the painting but he has no right. The people in the painting are scared of him!

An interview by articulactionart@email.com

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Pastel Study 04 (2013)

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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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BBB Johannes Deimling

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. 70


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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 71


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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. 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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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 Schwit73


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youth, TJG – Theatre Young Generation, Dresden,

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

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.

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

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 74


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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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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.

a rolling stone gathers no moss #8,

performed together with Lotte Kaiser, Savvy Contempo

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.

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

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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. 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?

rary, Berlin, Germany 2014 | photo: Monika Sobczak

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.

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 77


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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 78


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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. 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?

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.

“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. 79


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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.

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-

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. 80


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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

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.

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-

Starting from these simple similarities I started to 81


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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.

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.

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, eve82


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cleaning memories, city gallery, Bydgoszcz,

13 | photo: Monika Sobczak

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.

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.

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?

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 perfor83


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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.

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

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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.

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.

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

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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 86


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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.

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.

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

Thank you very much for this interview. An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator articulaction@post.com

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Steve Wilda (USA) an artist’s statement

Age is being. No one, nothing is immune to ageing. Time, the process of ageing and its ramifications are paramount in my endeavors as a fine artist. Throughout my life’s experience being an artist, it was necessary to make transitions and evolve as a creative thinker and creator, albeit delving backwards. I firmly embrace the presence of the past into the present. Graphite’s subtleties and its ‘black and white’ nostalgic ambiance enthrall me, with its timelessness quality. My work often centers on isolation, total stillness, often a brief glimpse of time, the flash of a captured moment. It can also be eternal, a subject’s final memorandum. The tranquility can be transformed from their decayed vestige to a subtle grace by incorporating a contrasting element, a life form, something contemporary. Bringing the concept full circle. ‘Artistic Regeneration’ is a still life series I am currently painting that’s quite extensive, various themes using disregarded items. A prolonged life to the long abandoned. These could be considered unorthodox, a curiosity, beyond what is expected or accepted as artistic presentation. Decay and ruin are generally not a viable art focus. I don’t see beauty in them per se. Through their character, texture, muted color and undocumented history, they evoke an intense passion and fascination. Upon close scrutiny, the irregularities of oxidized formations, parched shards of wood, frail, frayed fabric are abstractions, until the whole is revealed into something fairly recognizable. Somewhat fairly recognizable, the viewer is not certain they belong there, witnessing an anomaly, being in rather unfamiliar territory. The artwork, requiring either a graphite or paint approach, the underlying essence remains intact. The natural process of time, aging, whether it’s a rusted hulk’s surface, the cracks of an inanimate doll, the wrinkled skin of the elderly, they collectively reveal the culmination and reflection of their lives. All this principally engrosses me, but not totally, there must be the occasional departure. The delicacy, beauty, splendor of nature, in its winter snow, cloud formations, elegancy of one posed, these are additionally motivating in my realm of the well worn. That’s when the art has no hidden meaning, beauty for what it is. Steve Wilda

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

Feels So Good, 48” x 60” Acrylic Vulture

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Steve Wilda

An interview with

Steve Wilda Hello Steve, 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?

It’s the creative unveiling of concept, execution, and end result of visually expressed emotions. Contemporary art can be eons away from traditional presentation, in art forms and mediums alone that weren’t available ages ago. Yet, artists today can be directly inspired, influenced by past artists, art periods, their work having a similarity. Contemporary and/or traditional, either approach generates assessment, a focused response in the eye of the beholder. Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any particular experiences that have particularly impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, since you are basically self-taught, I would take this occasion to ask your point about formal training... I sometimes happen to wonder if a certain kind of training could influence too much a young artist's creativity...

Steve Wilda

The passion was always there for black and white imagery, photography. Gothic horror film sets of Hollywood’s golden age intrigued me, the dark, foreboding castles, haunted houses, graveyards,… mystery. Formal training has generally been lacking in the traditional fundamentals, the ability to draw and paint. Expression, originality is important, but the technical skills are vital. We all have influences, mentors we admire, however it’s imperative to develop individual style and not reproduce another’s. By not being formally trained, I didn’t have that interaction of ideas, the ability to receive immediate criticism, access to explore various art forms or techniques, gain extensive art history knowledge. But this did enable me to develop more individually my areas of interests, process of learning, and direction.

The desire to become an artist was clear early on. Freelance graphic work in design, hand lettering, and occasional pencil illustration was instrumental to gain professional experience, discipline. Decades on, changing direction to fine art, I was again extremely drawn to the dramatic, basic value qualities of graphite. Creative expression without color was enticing, challenging, somewhat unusual to use graphite as an involved, extensive medium exclusively. Drawings began with the new millennium and continued for years.

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"When we get a little older…" 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?

having the articles at hand. The common thread is again recovering glistening gems from a century-old trash site, antique markets, now relating together for a certain theme. Titles are always chosen before any brush or pencil stroke, enhancing my motivation toward the artwork’s final presentation to a degree. An involved layout precedes layering techniques used in both the drawings, paintings, taking numerous months to complete. Rarely do I return to make adjustments, each area is intricately drawn or painted to its completion. Patience.

First and foremost, it’s always ‘the discovery’, the revelation, that grand oddity. In remote locales, it’s the exposure to those vehicular personalities, composing in-camera, returning home to be the studio graphite artist.

Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from your Color Art Gallery that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, and I would

The still life paintings are very similar, but different. These are conceptually more creative, in composition possibilities, lighting, perspective variations,

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Steve Wilda

Parade of the Metal Soldiers

suggest them to visit your website directly at http://www.stevewilda.com/color-art-gallery in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of these works?

art exhibitions, having had immediate success with ‘Lemon Drops’, the first acrylic painting in thirty years. Color, as muted/limited as my palette may be, received greater accolades than the pencil work and translates better from across a gallery room’s wall. But it was difficult breaking away from graphite, having such deep admiration for it. It will return, right time, right subject.

The graphite subject curiosities had nearly run their course, there were limitations to transportation peculiarities. My last drawing, ‘Vulture’, the variation of ‘Parade of the Metal Soldiers’, those are two diverse pieces of art, the result of someone’s free afternoon hoisting vehicles onto a train car’s roof.

One of the features of your works that has particularly impacted on me is the way you are capable of re-contexyalize the idea of landscape and of environment in general... 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 still life acrylic work was a natural progression from graphite, although they are virtually the same. ‘Past the Destination’ is as much a still life as ‘Coffee Break’. The process of painting itself is of course entirely different, with color in the mix. The painting series is the direct result of New York City’s juried 92


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Steve Wilda

White Feathered

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?

In my ‘landscapes’, the center of interest solely appears, no extraneous trees, no sky, abrupt confrontation, intimidation, communication with the viewer.

ce in a space, a void, a non-room. Often, upon discovering a subject, mystique or providence will occur, or the artwork will be transformed from its original intention. ‘Brutes’, upon first seeing the trucks, was titled instantly, reminiscent of three threatening muscled men lying at the oceans edge. Returning to further photograph the trucks, upon close inspection on a rusted door, barely legible, lettered ‘L.E. Beach’. ‘Awaiting Redemption’s’ fairly unusual above perspective of an antique trunk interior formed an open book, revealing its contents.

They’re stranded in the midst of an abstraction, unfamiliar ground. ‘The Activist-Portrait of Phyllis’, is an example. The portrait of her primarily is the indecipherable background, not the figure. The core of her being, her psychic ability, belief in reincarnation, her ‘otherworldliness’ necessitated existen-

Creating an ancient, crisp, parched environment was my intention – dry, also surprisingly peaceful, yet ominous. Occasionally this series’ work will adopt spiritual connotations, as of the trinity in ‘Awaiting Redemption’, or ‘The Last Supper’, with its symbolic crucifix presence in the ladle and pot handle.

Jennifer Sims

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Coffee Break

Your art practice 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 Artistic Regeneration series . So I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable 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?

terests, are displayed to some degree on that paper, canvas. Virtually every painting is a self-portrait. Negative occurrences in our lives can enter subconsciously into our creative process, producing positive results. I was unaware that much of my (black and white) work focused on silence, remoteness. ‘April Fool’s Covered’ was the personal burden of issues experienced at that time. People’s interpretation to that piece of artwork was entirely opposite of my intention.

Each painting has to be a page from life, formed from the inner being. Our individuality, every facet from our memory bank, thoughts, experiences, in-

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Barbara Rachko

Scene Fourteen: Kitchen, 2005 Soft Pastel on Sandpaper 6

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April Fools Covered

By the way, referring to the aforesaid Artistic Regeneration series, you have used the effective expression: "a prolonged life to the long abandoned": not to mention that working with found elements is nowadays a very common practice in several disciplines. I love to discover the personal contribution of the artist, which always gives a new life to what seemed once "meaningless"... it goes without saying that also white canvas, acryls tube and pencil, they are all material that already exists... roaming and scavenging through "found" material to might happens to discover unexpected sides of the

world, maybe of our inner world... what's you point about this?

The elements in the still life paintings once had significance in someone’s life. Their obscure historical importance is part of the fascination, the unknown, where these originated from, who had owned them. In some instances these discarded items were buried, retrieved, developed character, their existence extended, preserved into a piece of artwork. I don’t choose the objects, they choose me. It’s instantaneous.

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Brutes

They grasp, demand attention, inclusion as a missing link or as the inception for a future painting.

assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, "in this current technologically mad world, my artistic vision must embody remnants of simpler times. This could be interpreted as my testimonial to the environmental remains, to our detrimental affect on our earth." I would take this occasion to ask your point about the symbiosis between Art and Technology... maybe because I have a scientific background, I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to

I have mixed feelings on this. Yes, as artists we currently have the ability to digitally photograph, reproduce, distribute our work globally. I wouldn’t be talking with you now were it not for technology. Thank you! But purity has been lost not only over the decade’s changing times, but also more quickly by technology. Our ability to communicate instantly by device hasn’t necessarily made us closer. Close is human, not electronic. We’re ‘moving forward’, Captions 10 but are we, for the good of all? 99


Jennifer Sims 5 The Activist - Portrait Of Phyllis


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The Last Supper

During these years your work has been exhibited in several occasions, as at the Farnsworth Art Museum and at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum... 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?

Any feedback from the viewing public, their response, their acceptance substantiates my goal, especially when the content is questionable, uncommon. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Steve. 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?

Displaying artwork is divulging a privacy, of sorts. I’m drawn to my subjects with a passion, my work is very personal, selfish. If others enjoy what I find stimulating, fine, that is gratifying.

The ‘Artistic Regeneration’ series I’ll be involved

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Past The Destination

with for some time, being there will be approximately thirty paintings.

chusetts, autumn 2015, I’ve curated a group of pencil artists.

Titles have been chosen, conglomeration of items in waiting. In the coming years, there are two major exhibitions I’m excitingly looking forward to. At the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, in Springfield, Massa-

I’ll be having my solo exhibit at Branford House Mansion, at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point, spring in 2016.

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How close can an artist get to creating a piece of art that touches all the senses? How can an artist actually pull you into a piece? Can you walk through a self-portrait rather than just look at it? The creation of this performance grew from these questions. I wanted to fill a room with my response to a previously made, full body self-portrait from fall 2011. The self portrait was a peaceful silhouette of stark white shapes pieced together to create my body delicately embracing my abdomen in a quiet contemplation layered with my thoughts on translucent paper. I live in two worlds, art and dance. This new self-portrait reflects just that, along with personal remonstrance. In this work I have taken on the roles of choreographer, composer, and sculptor and set up the pieces to fall perfectly into place for you to feel uncomfortable, but to also find the beauty and calm encapsulated by the ragged cardboard sculptures. In fact, it became a challenge to see in how many ways I could get calm and uncomfortable to coexist in their own beautiful narrative to take you on a journey through this production.


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Gold, (background detail)

In Early Spring, 2012 Mixed Media on canvas, 2012 Performance Installation Business & Pleasure 7 Mixed Media, 2011

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Catherine Danae

An interview with

Catherine Danae Hello Catherine, 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?

Art is something that moves someone, and contemporary art moves it’s audience in ways that can go so far as to make the audience feel uncomfortable. With my background in art history, traditional art has a major focus on beauty; think of the beautiful use of chiaroscuro in Caravaggio’s work or the lively faces in Rembrandt’s work. Fast forward a little bit and think about Manet making his audience squirm with his brazen nude women staring out at the audience, and that is what contemporary artists begin to tap into; the ability to move audiences with not only beauty but with subject matter that people may not have touched before, a new way of using a material or filling a space in a whole new way.

Artist Self Portrait, 2013 Catherine Danae has a BFA in art, a BA in dance and an art history minor from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. She has always had a passion for art and dance and found they intersect well in creating choreography and performance installations. Her achievements in performance installations include In Early Spring presented at Slippery Rock University and Concealment presented at the Associated Artists of Butler County Gallery, both in 2012. Her choreography has been presented in a variety of settings including Van Dyke and Company’s 25th Anniversary Gala in 2010, the PSAHPERD convention in 2010, Slippery Rock University’s Fall Concert in 2010 that included a visual artist on the stage, and one of her latest works received gold and 6th overall at the 2014 Dance Masters of Pennsylvania Performing Arts Competition. When her work isn’t being performed live, Catherine finds joy in the challenge of capturing movement. Whether this is with pieces created on the floor with her hands and feet, like her Motion series, or through the lens of a camera, dance is always involved. This dance behind the lense has led to many self-por-

Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a Bachelor of Fine Art and a BA in dance and an art history minor that you received from the from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania: how have these experiences impacted on the way you currently create your artworks?

I was very fortunate to have all of the creative professors I had in both the dance and art department and they all really encouraged self exploration. I was able to really grow in my years at the university with the encouragement from my professors. While in school I really found that art history had a huge impact on how I viewed art, and gave me a big appreciation for contemporary art. 106


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I really walked away from school firmly believing that when you understand where something came from, referring to art history, contemporary art can be appreciated so much more. By the way, since you also teach at the Joan Van Dyke and Company, I would like to ask your point about formal training... I sometimes happen to wonder if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity…

I actually am very pro formal training. I have grown up formally trained in ballet since the age of three, and now I teach ballet, an art form buried in tradition. You have to know the rules to break them. I love the quote from Cicero, “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.”Now that I am an instructor, I take on some of the ideas expressed by one of my dance professors that children shouldn’t be given a strict ballet class until about the age of seven and apply that to my teaching. My youngest classes containing three year olds has ballet moves but hidden with names like “chickenhops”or “inch-worms” and we play dance games that encourage creativity. As my students get older, I enforce tradition and terms, but with my upper classes, I begin to break the rules, and that creativity they had as little kids is again encouraged. Again, with my art, I greatly appreciate the history that got me to the point where I can, as a woman, create performance pieces that involve the audience. I don’t think think that my formal training has hindered me, but has given me a great base to build from, and I hope I can give my students that great base as well.

trait studies, and her use of the camera and technology has also led to unique experiences in creating site-specific dances for the camera; primarily they include her studies set in Death Valley National Park, which were done in 2012. From these studies arose the short screendance, La Danse du Vent et des Pierres, which was featured at the 2013 Creative Minds Film Festival and the 2013 International Screendance Festival. The site-specific screendance studies, along with In Early Spring, resulted in the first ever Dance Technology Award from Slippery Rock University’s dance department. Catherine stays active in the dance world by teaching at two different studios and setting choreography, and keeps her art resume fresh by taking part in art festivals and showing her work in galleries. This year her photography has already been shown in the Kiernan Gallery’s Expressions: Contemporary Portraiture exhibit, in Tall Grass Arts Association’s Identity Interpreted and Assumed: Self Portrait and her film Overture of Ducks opened a ballet, The Ugly Duckling, a Beautiful Ballet by the Van Dyke and Company.

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

With any of my work, from my self portraits where I dance behind the lens and capture a second of movement, to my choreography, to my performance installations, I put in a lot of thinking time. 107


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Audience Observing In Early Spring,

Sculpture and Video In Early Spring,

Performance Installation, 2012

Performance Installation, 2012

I journal, I sketch, and I visualize how I want things to turn out.

lighting and focus. Then editing afterwards always takes hours.

A performance installation can take anywhere from one to three months to really think out, prepare, install and perform. The goal with these performance installations is to break down the technical aspects of moving to its basics, because I want the movement to be raw.

My choreography, whether for a solo or a group piece, I will spend hours by myself in the studio before actually setting the piece.

While the video is generally very technical and can take a while in its creation for these installations, as there is often projections of video, and the sculptures that are involved often have a rough edge or two. A purposeful, unfinished look that goes with the raw movement.

Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from In Early Spring, 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 http://catherinedanae.webs.com in order to get a wider idea of it. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this project?

My self-portrait photographs generally only capture that quick glimpse into my movement, but, I still put a lot of thought into setting, what I am wearing and things like that. I do all of these portraits alone, so one sitting with myself can take a while to get technically good enough for my taste, such as

This performance installation was a project very near to me, the genesis of this piece came out of mourning. I am not the best verbal communicator, but I needed to share the feelings I experienced during a particularly hard time in my life. Now, I knew I wanted to have dance and art express my 108 5


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Krysta White In Early Spring, Performance Installation, 2012

shing a so deep symbiosis between Art and Choreography as well as between Art and Technology... 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?

feelings, and this sort of performance seemed to be the only way to fully encompass all that I wanted to express. This piece helped me articulate to others how vulnerable I felt by using the video to show it, how raw and exposed I felt through the dancers hatching from the haphazard cardboard eggs, and how panicked I felt through the sound composition that played during the performance.

I definitely think that in pieces like In Early Spring, it would not have been as complete without the dancers, it would have been too static. But, lets say we kept the dancers, and took away the video, well then the dancers wouldn’t have that extra element to base their movement from, the extra images of

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 establiLemon Dops 109


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Untitled, Charcoal Powder on Paper, 2012

And I couldn't do without mentioning your Motion series, and extremely interesting project that you have defined a dance behind the lense: the pieces from this series have been created by leaving arbitrary marks, lines, and prints from my hands and feet... I would say that one of the ideas underlying this work is to unfold a compositional potential in a seemingly random and chaotic structure... Even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naive, I'm wondering if one of the hidden aims of your Art could be to search the missing significance to a non-place... I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the enviJennifer Sims

wide eyes and hopping birds wouldn’t have been there to tie certain feelings together. So if you leave the music, the dancers and take away the sculpture, then there is no material for the dancers to partner with to enhance the paper and cardboard from the video. I needed all of these images and sounds to synergize to create a complete image for my audience. If you truly want to be a multidisciplinary artist, I think you must find this synergy between different disciplines, and I have just managed to fit choreography, sound, video, and sculpture all into my performance installations. 110 7


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Untitled, Charcoal Powder on Paper, 2012

ronment 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?

thing, for some reason, on these rock faces. I was so caught up by the handprints they left behind, and so this series was born. I wanted to just capture movement on the paper, but leave my personal mark with an occasional handprint or foot print.

I would agree with you about trying to reveal the unexpected sides of nature through art and yes, you could say I have tried to do that through my work. My Motion pieces would probably be a good example of that as I am trying to capture something, my movement. This series really began out of a curiosity of ancient petroglyphs and pictographs and the thought that these people were capturing some-

A sort of encrypted message that I was there in that chaotic structure. Now, as you pointed out, this is just one of my dance behind the lens series because it is dance and movement that creates the arbitrary marks and I have set up a camera to record the movement, but in the end, it is the mystery of the movement on paper that is most interesting to me in this series. 111


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Lauren McKee in Concealment,

Concealment,

Performance Installation, 2012

Performance Installation, 2012

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 Concealment. So I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable 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?

video cascaded, and then my dancer in the fabric would move, or breath, and more than one person would jump. They were so wrapped up in the video and their thought, I suppose, that many wouldn’t see the second performer as real until she moved. I think that moment that startled some audience members gave them that personal experience with the art, whether or not they connected to my personal experiences that led to the creation of the piece.

Concealment was a fun one to watch people interact with, because you would see them staring intensely at the scene in front of them, and they would slowly walk into the second “room”where the rest of the

As for me, personal experience is a very constitutive element of creating. When you consider it with my work Concealment, I, like In Early Spring, based it off of emotions I felt in a particular time in my life. 112


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Audience and Ashley Lowman in Concealment, Performance Installation, 2012

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 creation 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?

Now let’s consider my Motion pieces, all based off of my reaction to standing in front of ancient art; they weren’t just images I Googled and then created from. Let’s say we take away that direct experience for me as a maker, then you are asking me to create a piece of art about something to which I am a foreigner. The best example would be me to enter a call a gallery had for art that was focused around science and the wonder of modern science. Sure, I could muddle through a piece and relate it to some element of science, but I have never had a direct experience with it, and so my work would be shallow. Lemon Dops

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Ashley Lowman in Concealment, Performance Installation, 2012

how I edit my own work to suit the opinions of one section of my audience, how I felt about it, then danced in front of the projection of my thoughts. Again, big edits, like deciding not to explore certain subject areas, are done in my case because of my students, though that doesn’t happen very often.

and one of the things I most enjoyed was when the professors and other students in a class would critique our art at the end of a project and we all had an open discussion. I loved hearing what people thought of my work, and I still do. For me, this is a huge influence on my work, and it has definitely stopped me from exploring or trying different things because I know at the end of the day I teach dance to children and if they stumble upon my work, I don’t want it to be some scandal.

In the end, my art is to help me express something, and I will find a way to do it. I love to move my audience, whether it is by making them uncomfortable or by making them rhapsodize over it, just so long as they are moved in someway; that after all, is what art is-something that moves someone.

That’s actually what brought about my self-portraits with the writing in the background, another dance behind the lens series; I penned my thoughts about

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Ashley Lowman and Lauren McKee in Concealment, Performance Installation, 2012

thoughts, Catherine. 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?

just want to keep expressing myself and moving my audiences.

Currently I am setting four solo’s and a group piece that will be performed all year long by a set of students that compete regionally and nationally. I will also be working on different pas de deux pieces for the very classical Joan Van Dyke and Company dancers. When it comes to future plans, I plan to continue to grow as a multidisciplinary artist, whether that is through residencies or perhaps grad school, I really

an interview by Dario Rutigliano, Curator articulaction@post.com

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Adrian Jugaru (Romania) an artist’s statement

Adrian Jugaru (°1985, Odobesti, Vrancea, Romania) creates mixed media artworks. By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, Jugaru makes work that generates diverse meanings, thus challenging the viewer's perception. Associations and meanings collide in his pieces. His mixed media artworks question the conditions of appearance of an image in the context of contemporary visual culture in which images, representations and ideas normally function. By studying sign processes, signification and communication, he tries to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations. His works never trully show the complete structure and most of his pieces are given names so that viewers can see one point of view, although he likes to see his collages as Rorschach tests. This results in the fact that the artist can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. Adrian Jugaru currently lives and works in Bucharest and, so far, he has been exhibiting In Nanyang – Singapore, London and Bucharest.

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

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An interview with

Adrian Jugaru Hello Adrian, 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, and thank you for having me. Seeing art as a mean of communication, I do look for a message in an art piece. It has to talk to me. It doesn't really matter what it has to say, as long as it is not quiet. Contemporary art, well, some of it it's just about bragging, with a a fuzzy discourse, quite vocal. Then again, you can find meaningful art, with a nice, firm structure and a coherent speech. It's always nice to find these elements in a contemporary art piece. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have studied at the Cuza University of Iasi, Faculty of Philosophy: how has this particular experience impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I would take this occasion to ask your point about formal training... I sometimes happen to wonder if a certain kind of training could influence too much a young artist's creativity...

Adrian Jugaru

connections, I question status quo and give different interpretations and meanings, thus arousing new questions from and for the viewers. As far as the formal training, I had none and I really don't think of it as being absolutely necessary. Sure, it may help, but creativity does not depend on a formal education. But, since the act of creating is a personal one, that connects to one's experiences, one's training can influence creati-vity. If it's too much, or too little, well, I guess that depends on each individual. I suppose young artists are more likely to experiment than to follow rigurous steps, even with a certain kind of training involved. Whilst young, you play with concepts and styles, for this is how you learn what you actually like to do and then focus on a particular aspect.

I did study philosophy and I majored in Social Communication and Public Relations. I suppose the educational background has had an influence over the subjects I choose to work with and the way I see the art of collage. It's funny that when I started college I fell into the usual trap, that philosophy is going to provide answers to all sort of problems. But what it does, is that it makes you put some more questions, and this is what I do in the creative process, I question already established 118


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Adrian Jugaru

working space

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?

specifically for this. I'd stay for anything from half an hour to 3-4 hours glueing paper. I can make a collage every 15 minutes, or I could spend the whole 4 hours not coming up with anything that I like, so I leave them be until next time, which may be the next day, or the next week. Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from "drink me sober" and "hush now, little baby" that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to visit your Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jugadi.colaje 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 pieces? What was your initial inspiration?

Most of my collages are quite minimalistic, I only use two or three layers, I like to keep it clean from this point of view. I do use scissors, but, I also tear up paper, I'm quite fond of the rough, uneven texture, it adds to the whole experience of the collage. I don't really have a ritual before doing collages and the amount of time I take setting up is minimal. I just grab my tools and sit down on the floor, most of the time. I put some music and I mingle around photos and leftovers from the last working session.

Being passionate about advertising, some friends of mine gave me this “Advertising in the Mad Men era� notebook, that was packed with all kind of old american adverts. I used to write in it at work and one day, while taking down some notes I stumbled upon an ad for a vodka, that had the picture of the

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Here's your crown, King Nothing, digital, 2013

Red de-construction, hand-cut, 2014

soda. And pretty much in the same time, Bitter: Sweet's 'Drink you sober' started playing on my computer. It was enough for me to create a connection and put together the collage. The picture of the woman in hush, now, little baby came from that notebook, too. That one I remember doing in a sleepless night. I was reading some article in a photo magazine and came across the background photo which was quite intriguing by itself, let alone the adagio I made. The man shouting there gave me an impression of white noise and, in the same time, I was pondering this mom putting her baby to sleep, except the mom was religion, in all kind of forms, and the baby was a medieval scientist looking for other answers than the one gave by religion. Kind of strange, right? They pretty much make no sense separately, but all together they make a pretty good point, I think.

I noticed that many of your pieces, as "the smoking man" and "lust" often reveals such an inner struggle and intense involvement, with clear reference to social elements as the interesting "here's your crown, king nothing", which I have to admit is one of my favourite pieces of yours ... I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolu-tely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

Most of my early period collages are strongly connected to my direct experiences and my inner struggle. This is how and why I started doing them in the first place, it was a refuge and it created a protective bubble around me. My best pieces in the beggining are little bits of my soul, I couldn't have done them outside an intense involvement.

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Thanatos, my love, hand-cut, 2012

If you ask me, yes, personal experience is an important part of the creative process. Later on, I started creating pieces that didn't involve me directly, but whose elements reached me in a way that triggered powerfull enough emotions for me to make something. It's a powerful tool, empathy. You put yourself in the position of other people, you borrow their joy and sorrow, you baith in their emotions, so their experiences become your experiences, they cry through your eyes, they create through your hands. It is as if you become a gholem and the master tolds you what to do and you just do it. And that's quite a direct experience. On the other hand, I have collages that don't necessarily come from that sort of inner

struggle. The pieces just happen to work together and I'd be happy with the result. Another interesting works of yours that have impacted on me and which I would like to spend some words are "thanatos, my love" and "red de-construction": one of the features of this work that has mostly impacted on me is the effective mix of colors that gives life to the pieces: I have been struck with the way you have been capable of merging delicate and thoughtful tone of colors with a deep - I daresay sometimes bloody red, as in "folie a deux" that seems to reveal such a deep tension and intense emotions, a feature that I can recognize in as well... By the way, any com124


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The sketch of the couple kissing came later on in my attention and I wanted to use the guy's face in the beggining. Putting the bits of paper together struck me. There's love, there's death, yes they do work together, I've got Eros and Thanatos right here. After that it was just of matter of cutting and glueing them together. The red-deconstruction piece, on the other hand, was something that I had in mind for my 'Holy-sin' exhibition, the one that gravitates around religion. I already had pieces concerning orthodoxy, catholicism, judaism and I wanted to do one on islamism. So I started browsing the Quran looking for something to use and I stopped on the tabu of menstruation. All I did there was to shift the words into visual, giving a delicate view to that tabu. I find appealing mixing constrasts, both concepts and colors, they do make a great combo and they help me make my point. In folie a deux, for example, I took the psychiatric syndrom and gave it a more romantic perspective, for I am talking about the beautifull insanity of love. The bloody red splash was added digitally on the hand-cut collage, to add to the tension the piece already had. I like to use colors to emphasize different characteristics of my work and red is one of my favourite. I find it to have chameleonic power, shifting inner emotions, not only by using different nuances, but also by the different shapes it takes. As you have remarked once, your Art aims to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations... I daresay that there's such a subtle socio political feature in them: I'm sort of convinced that Art these days could play an effective role not only making aware public opinion, but I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can steer people's behavior... what's your point about this? Do you think that it's an exaggeration?

Folie a deux, hand-cut, digitally retouched, 2014

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

Religion is one of my favourite subjects, I find the power it has on people fascinating. And it connects really well with psychology, thus making a great pair for my pieces. Both Thanatos, my love and red-deconstruction have this religious, psychological background. Thanatos, my love came from nowhere, I wasn't planning on making it.

Art has a tremendous power and can be used both as a peace making tool and as a weapon. I do remember this article on how the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) used art in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, as proof of the creativity and the cultural power of the U.S., unlike Russian art, that was well under the communist ideological oppres-

I just mingled through different photo albums and maga-zines and came across the photo of a romanian cemetery in Ardeal region I think. I found the composition quite rich and I put it asside. Lemon Dops 125


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Flight in bird, digital, 2013 Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your collage practice and I have highly appreciate the way you are capable of creating such a symbiosis between apparently different elements: 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?

sion. Jackson Pollock and Martk Rothko are supposed to have been connected with this CIA maneuvre. Nowadays, artists support different causes through their work. Dan Perjovschi, a romanian artist, makes art with a strong socio-political feature. He has been fighting along the romanian civil society against the cyanide mining in Rosia Montana. Ai Weiwei is more than an artist, is a freedom fighter, opposing the regime in China. Through their guerrila performances, Pussy riot fight for woman rights in Russia and other countries. Artists all across the world support Ukraine and Palestine in the struggle they're been going through. All of them make aware public opinion and encourage people to express their opinion and to make a stand against the bad things that happen.

Symbiosis works for me and not just in the way I see collages. I like music that mixes together elements from different cultures and genres, I like almost weird food combinations. This doesn't necessarily mean that everybody has to be this way, so, creating art by merging together different aspects isn't a must.

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Watching the lady in red, hand-cut, 2014

exhibition in Bucharest

One can reach a goal by minimizing interventions and I suppose concepts can be expressed with elements form only one artistic field.

cult to do it in another way. I find that there is not so much of a dichotomy, but a tension between tradition and contemporariness, a fertile conflict that gives birth to some great art. They don't necessarily have to contradict one another, although, sure, they do that most of the time, but by the means, not by the meaning. Francisco de Goya's 'Great Deeds Against the Dead' and Kennard Phillipp's 'Photo Op' both talk about the atrocity of war, but in different ways. Goya puts it down quite ghastly, shocking, while the contemporary view of Phillipp is more sanitized, more clean, but full of sarcasm.

Maybe I'm going wrong, but in your works I can recognize a subtle but effective mix between modern And I have to admit that was has firstly impressed me of your artworks is this synergy between tracks of traditions and a clear contemporary feeling... So I would ask you if you think that there's still a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness.

I do like to blend those together, old and contemporary, and I'm finding it quite useful for me, it helps me make a point whereas it would have been diffi-

So far your works have been exhibited in several

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occasions, both in your country and abroad, as in Nanyang – Singapore, and in London... It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if the expectation of positive feedbacks- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

Feedback is important, that's true, it gives you a glimpse on the relevance of your work. Then again, feedback isn't necessarily positive. I've had some negative feedback on the religious themed collages, for example. Apparently, for some people, religion is still a tabu and you are not supposed to mess with that. Still, I do appreciate this kind of feedback too, it is far better then ignoring my pieces. And I think one can benefit from negative feedback. It can help you get better and acknowledge the needs of your public. Fair enough, I started doing collages as a mean of healing myself, and they were for my eyes only. Now I want them to reach as much people as they can, from all over the world, with all kind of backgrounds, that have all kind of reactions. Sure, it's nice when people appreciate my collages. I'm glad for each and every one of this positive feedbacks, but I want people to look at my pieces not as being mere photos glued together in a beautiful composition. I expect my collages to provoque, to intrigue and to make people think again. As far as the relationship between business and art, I think that, lately, it has been getting stronger. The use of art pieces in advertising, in promoting brands and events has an increasing slope and, as I see, it, as long as art reaches people, it's a good thing. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Adrian. 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, as well, it has been a pleasure. For now, I am working on a new series, based on english romantic period. I'm planning on taking poems by Shelley, Keats, Colleridge and make collages to work with them. Hopefully I'll be exhibiting them in three months or so. Meanwhile, my FB profile will be updated with my new pieces, no matter what the theme is. Come by, take a look, ask questions, I'll gladly answer all of them. 128

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Madeleine Alm (USA) an artist’s statement

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

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An interview with

Madeleine Alm Hello Madeline, 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?

I guess a work of art is defined both by the artist and the viewer. Personally I like art where I can see the talent behind an image. For instance; skill in drawing, techniques or color choices. Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any particular experiences that have particularly impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, since you are basically self-taught, I would take this occasion to ask your point about formal training... I sometimes happen to wonder if a certain kind of training could influence too much a young artist's creativity...

Madeleine Alm

As a child I used to watch my father work. He worked as an industrial designer and artist, mainly in the auto industry. Ever since I can remember I wanted to draw and design things. I never went to art school. I did apply one year at 16, but when I got turned down I just kept going on my own. I started out working in an advertising agency and just loved being surrounded with creative people.

you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

As a child I always preferred artists that used a lot of details, like in old fairytale books. Guess that impacted me a lot!

When I do a new piece, it always start with an image in my head. I try to sketch it down just using pen and paper, and as I do so, I usually add and subtract things from my original idea. Then I start drawing it again in Illustrator. I'm using the mouse, still haven't gotten around getting a tablet, so it's a bit time consuming. I listen to music and just draw. It's like meditation to me. I can loose hours just drawing and forgetting everything else.

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

Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from Goddess of the Sea and See Me that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to visit http://www.aya.se/art/ in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. 132


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In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of these interesting pieces? What was your initial inspiration?

I love drawing women and I love beautiful things. Again this is something I've been wanting to do since I was a little girl, but my drawings at the time couldn't quite convey my inner visions. Haha, let's just say, that when I learned how to draw, my visions came out more correctly. About the Goddess of the Sea - I love mermaids and sea life - even though I've been terrified of sharks since I was really young, today I admire them and just love their streamlined shapes.

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

Kiss me and Dia de los Muertos are images to me that in a way depict life. There is always going to be contrasts in life, good and bad, dark and light. I like the contrast between beauty and what some people would call the opposite. I have a huge respect for life in any form, and I find so much beauty and magic in nature from sharks to insects.

I noticed that many of your pieces, as Kiss Me and Dia de los Muertosalthough marked with a deep abstract feeling, often reveals such an inner struggle and intense involvement, as the interesting Chrysler Building, which I have to admit is one of my favourite pieces of yours ... I

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Untitled, Charcoal Powder on Paper, 2012

palette! I just like the feel of it, smart, cool and yet a bit magical and again, bringing me back to to the feel of fairytales.

For me all my work is a reflection of what is in my heart. I have no idea of how to create art if not my heart and experiences where involved in it. I love New York and the Chrysler Building, I always have a longing for being in the US. My "Chrysler Building" is my longing to be there, kind of a cosy feeling.

Stargazer is one of my most personal pieces. I've felt like this many times. It is inspired by some beautiful words by Oscar Wilde. "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars". To me it is about not giving up, to take action and always have hope.

Another interesting works of yours that have impacted on me and which I would like to spend some words are Stargazer and Art Deco: one of the features of this work that has mostly impacted on me is the effective mix of colors that gives life to the pieces: I have been struck with the way you have been capable of merging delicate and thoughtful tone of colors that seems to reveal such a deep tension and intense emotions... By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

And I couldn't mention that you are interested in many branches of art and besides the aforesaid artworks you also produce stimulating graphic works: 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?

When I was younger I worked in the traditional way with pen, paper, Sims brushes and canvas. Jennifer

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But as I learned how to use a computer and eventually how to use the tools in the software to draw, it was mind-blowing. I have noticed that some people think of an computer as a magic tool to draw - you just need to press a button and you're done. And sure, some things are amazing what you can do, but for what I do, it is "just" a tool to use when I draw. What I like about it is the possibility to test different colors and to regret/change lines very easily. Maybe I'm going wrong, but in your illustration I can recognize a subtle but effective mix between modern And I have to admit that was has firstly impressed me of your artworks is this synergy between tracks of traditions and a clear contemporary feeling... So I would ask you if you think that there's still a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness.

I don't really think about doing my art contemporary and traditional in a mix. If that is how people perceive it I'm just super happy about that. I think that listening to music, following other creatives online and just keeping up with what's going on the world gives my art a contemporary feel. 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 feedbacks- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

Feedback to me means a lot! Everytime I post something for the world to see, it is my heart on the line. I think the Internet is amazing. I get to see so many fantastic things and people from all over are able to find me and have a look at what I do. It is very humbling to me. I post my work in various forums. Of course I can see what kind of images attracts a large majority. However I couldn't adapt to that and try to make something to fit an audience. I draw from my imagination based on my feelings and dreams and I have to stay true to myself. I think diversity is the best thing ever! I mean if everyone loved strawberry ice cream there soon wouldn't be enough to go around. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Madeline. 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?

Apart from my art images I do a lot of graphic work. Recently some clients in the US. I have just made a mermaid logo for mrs Crystal Hefner, wife of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. She found some sketches online I've made of a mermaid and from there she became a client. Next step for me would be to find an agent in the US. an interview by articulaction@post.com Jennifer Sims

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Milena Jovicevic (Montenegro) an artist’s statement

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

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An interview with

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

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

Milena Jovicevic

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

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

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

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

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iGenesis iDisappearance, Berlin, 2013.

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

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

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


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

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

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Genesis iDisappearance, Berlin, 2013

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

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

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Project Balkans, 2013, Basel

Man games, Arte gallery, Belgrade 2011

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

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

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Milena Jovicevic

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

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

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

Man games, Arte gallery, Belgrade 2011. detail

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

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

Fragile, 170x 250cm

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

Paris, 2004

Jennifer Sims

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

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

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


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

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

PAY & P(L)AY,

Berlin, Germany, 2013


Milena Jovicevic

ARTiculAction

Artist visa, PAY & P(L)AY,

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

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

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Jana Charl (USA) an artist’s statement

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

Jana Charl

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

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An interview with

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

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

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

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

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

Jennifer Sims

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Sisters , 2014 15 x 15cm

Green Diva, 2014, 41 x 51 cm

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Green Vessel, 2014, 15 x 15cm

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Yellow Skirt, 2012, 86 cm

Bitchforked, 2013, 81 cm

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

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

An interview by articulaction@post.com

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Standing in a


Jana Charl

ARTiculAction

Green Vessel, 2014, 15 x 15cm

Bolted Down, 2013, 113 cm

Forest, 2013, 99 cm

She Has Balls, 2013, 127 cm

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Screwed, 2013, 98 cm

ARTiculAction Art Review September 2014  

submit your artworks to: articulaction@post.com

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