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Biennial Edition

CONTEMPORARY ART REVIEW Special Edition Installation • Painting • Mixed media • Drawing • Performance • Public Art • Drawing • Video art • Fine Art Photography

ABY MACKIE BRIGITTE DIETZ CLARE HAXBY PHIL TOY PAULA BLOWER VAL WECERKA SOFIA PLATER NICOLE BENNER FRANCINE LECLERCQ

Narcissus, site specific installation, 2017 A work by Francine LeClercq


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Be that as it may, this catalog or any portion there of may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without express written permission from Peripheral ARTeries and featured artists.


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Contents 132 Citizenshop/ship, 2017 Installation Exploring the multidimensional means of citizenship (Nele Vos)

Special Issue

Lives and works in New York City, USA

Lives and works in Bristol, United Kingdom

Lives and works in Heidelberg, Germany

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Lives and works in Atlanta, GA, USA

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Lives and works in Barcelona, Spain

Lives and works in Boston, Massachussets, USA

Shai Jossef Jungle

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Monique Rutten Wall based mixed media and paintings Opening ChinART Museumkwartier http://www.morutten.com

Lives and works in London, United Kingdom

Lives and works in Reigate, United Kingdom

lives and works in Vienna, Austria

Special thanks to: Isabel Becker, Julia Ăœberreiter, Deborah Esses, Xavier Blondeau, Margaret Noble, Nathalie Borowski, Marco Visch, Xavier Blondeau, J.D. Doria, Matthias Callay, Luiza Zimerman, Kristina Sereikaite, Scott D'Arcy, Kalli Kalde, Carla Forte, Mathieu Goussin, Dorothee Zombronner, Olga Karyakina, Robert Hamilton, Carrie Alter, Jessica Bingham, Fabian Freese, Elodie Abergel, Ellen van der Schaaf, Courtney Henderson, Ben Hollis, Riley Arthur, Ido Friedman, Nicole Ennemoser, Scott Vogel, Tal Regev, Sarah Hill, Olivia Punnet and Simon Raab

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Francine LeClercq Lives and works in New York City, USA

"There is no white picture. And there is no old picture. It is always a question of current experience and current perception." Often consisting of multiples works grouped around a specific theme, my work deals with the questions relating to the perception of art, the arrangement of the work in space, the elements of the work, whether concrete, sensory, intellectual and semantic, and the synchrony between the work, its context and the receiver. The installation [3:2] consists of more than 800 cells measuring 3 x 2 inches in reference to the photographic 3:2 aspect ratio now adopted for the LCD screens of our digital devices such as cameras, i-phones and the likes. A coat of thermochromic ink is applied to the cells, causing a nuance such that they may be perceived as an opaque black monochrome, a blur or revealing the underlying image depending on temperature and location, the proximity of bodies and heat exchange. It is an experiment whereby art is the moment of a mutual dependency fermented by an active participation of the senses.

I Am Your Labyrinth, Installation


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Francine LeClercq Lives and works in New York City, USA Artist Francine LeClercq's work grounds in the process of painting and the “idea” of painting, with a deeper focus on a complementary dialogue between materiality, content, the exhibition space, and the encounter with the viewer. Adressing the viewers to a multilayered visual experience, her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, successfully attempts to trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters walking them through the liminal area in which perceptual reality and the realm of imagination find a consistent point of convergence. One of the most impressive aspects of LeClercq's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of inquiring into the notions of displacement, sequences, viscosity, morphological and semantic registers, curatorial and historical elements: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

scholarship for the School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg. My answer to the exam committee for why I wanted to enroll in the Interior architecture department was that “I needed to solve problems.” I donʼt recall having had drafting or construction courses and later found myselft quite unequiped when I did have to do my first professional internship in an architecture office, but what I learned was the ability to expose problems. I soon realized that if I were to go beyond an utilitarian discipline like architecture, I could create questions without having to offer a permanent solution. This notion of permanence, or rather its antonyms such as variability, instability, alterability and fluidity are the core of my work as they imply a constant remise en cause.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Francine and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid background and after having graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Interior Architecture you nurtured your education with a Master's Degree in Fine Arts, that you received from the School of Decorative Arts, in Strasbourg: how did these experiences influence the way you currently conceive your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the notion of beauty?

And this brings me to my (current) conception of beauty, constantly debating Augustineʼs question of “whether things are beautiful because they give delight, or wether they give delight because they are beautiful”, or simply put, between the effect or the origin of beauty. Having had a classical education, I canʼt deny my appreciation for harmonious proportions

Hello and thank you for having me. I expressed interest for drawing and painting at a very early age and was encouraged to develop my skills through intensive training in private studios and at the Municipal Art School of Belfort. Soon after my graduation, I received full

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Francine LeClercq Photography: Debbie Rasiel


Crossing I, 24 x 24 in., Acrylic/urethane on canvas Sharples/Dyson Collection


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canvas, or in the “DNA” series, through incision in the canvas, leaving the paint in a kind of suspended viscid state. In all cases, my creative process is always an interplay between conscious and unconscious, from investigations within the accumulation of intellectual ressources out of which ideas emerge, to a sudden intuitive feeling of “obviousness” derrived by a culmination of associations that will in turn, have to be validated in the later construction of the work.

sometimes expressed in mathematical ratios i. e. the Golden Section or the canonical sculpture, but these place beauty as something purely objective and I must concede to the emotional effect of beauty, often associated with pleasure. A perfect balance is when I neither attribute beauty exclusively to the object or the subject, but to the relation between them and even more also to the situation and environment in which they are both linked. The question is, can we still speak of the aesthetic experience in terms of beauty- that is a set of established criteria to judge a work? What I find more attractive, is not beauty per se, but the parameters that define it. My interest lies in exposing the system and values of aesthetic judgement not for what it says but for what it doesnʼt.

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected [3:2], an interesting installation that our readers have already started to got to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your inquiry into the notion of art as the moment of mutual dependency fermented by an active participation of the senses is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of [3:2] would you tell us your sources of inspiration? And how did you select your subjects?

Your works convey a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://francineleclercq.blogspot.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up? In particular, are your works conceived and created gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes?

The title of this work, [3:2], reffers to the standard ratio found in camera and mobile devices LCD screens, effectively (in a sense) the new format of our perception. The small rectangular cells, liberated from the wall by impercievable cylinder spacers, are coated with a layer of thermochromic paint forming an opaque film. Filling the galleryʼs walls, the scenario evokes the image of a vaporized display of memories scattered about like gas particles in suspense.

Though I have provided images that at first glance seem to fall into the category of installations, as you have pointed out, my artistic production also entails singular paintings, objects, and architecture. And while the works share visual similarities, I canʼt speak of a formula or a “one size fits all” approach, but of instead of methodology where specific procedures solve different problems within the scope of a particular discipline. To give an example with painting, it is the very material constructs essential to the becoming of the work (the stretcher, canvas and paint) that directly dictate their own creation, whether in the “catalytic” works, where, under gravity and repetitive rotations, paint drips frame the edges of the

The paint has the quality of becoming transparent with the increase in temperature passed through touch as spectators are encouraged to place their hands on the cells, revealing a myriad of old photographs belonging to the galleryʼs past. Utterly dependant upon the visitor, the pieces can open like an album of universal memories, or remains absolutely

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From the “DNA” series Detail of 8 blacks, 4 x 10 in., Acrylic/rethane on Canvas

abstract and unapproachable. Citing the exact measure of our portable mirrors and opposing analogue photographs to them, the works via the concept of traditional painting, expose the ephemeral nature of the novel perception. Furthermore, it asks to challenge the role of the artist as an image maker by transferring it to the viewers. Hence the galleryʼs classic role as a match making box between the subject and the

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object, the see-er and the see-ee, employed to facilitate a tête-à-tête with this contemporary condition and restore, however temporarily an atmosphere of sensation or the sensible. Over these years you been exhibited in galleries and museums in Europe, Asia and the United States an you also has had the privilege to see your work selected by eminent curators such as Peter Blum, James Cuno and Lynne Warren. One

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of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. Your works address the viewers to challenge their perceptual parameters and allow an open reading, with a wide variety of associative possibilities. The power of visual arts in the contemporary age is enormous: at the same

time, the role of the viewerʟs disposition and attitude is equally important. Both our minds and our bodies need to actively participate in the experience of contemplating a piece of art: it demands your total attention and a particular kind of effort—itʟs almost a commitment. What do you think about the role of the viewer? Are you particularly interested if you try to achieve to trigger the viewers' perception as starting

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point to urge them to elaborate personal interpretations? Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context? The viewer is primarily a conscious subject without whom, existence/ any existence has no meaning simply because the relational field for the thing to be sensed doesnʼt exist, a space that opens or is impinged upon the presence of the viewer; in this respect whether in my paintings or installations I always strive to locate the viewer not as an outsider but as an encoded other whose role and thingness is constantly shifting, in other words as mediums go, the spectator is very much a material component of the work. I am always fascinated how the work changes in the presence of one or a number of people. With one individual the work is relatively fixed, as the number increases, it is much more diffused like the swimming decors of Matisse- but I donʼt mean that in a general sense, the decision to place a work on view requires a birdʼs eye view of the situation that is being set up, a conceptual knowledge of the totality of the work that supersedes everything else, the question is how this knowledge is imparted, or at what critical moment the viewer finds itself in the presence of the work, and more importantly at what point do they merge and become one; in other words, by internalizing the viewing subject, the work seizes to be a ʻlook atʼ and opens itself to its engulfing exterioritymetaphorically speaking, if there is a narrative quality to grasp the internal logic, then the work is a door from where the perceiving subject steps out and perceives itself being perceived. We like the way Delft Blue Eyes challenges an inner cultural debate between heritage from the past and traditions that carry on to this day: despite the reminders to traditional figurative approach, your works is marked out with a stimulating contemporary sensitiveness. Do you think that there's still a contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness? Or there's an interstitial area

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[3:2] installation Installation view

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Installation: Mise en [s]cène Last supper: Installation view with IP camera


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Object: Delft Blue Eyes (in collaboration with Ali Soltani) contact lens proposal

say despite its connotations, the longevity of tradition is dependent on the tensions between a long held belief and emerging concepts that constitute a new era- to which it must adapt and evolve. With Delft Blue Eyes, we (myself

where these apparently opposite elements could produce a proficient synergy? If history is an indication, there is nothing more traditional than the will to progress- which is to

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Object: Delft Blue Eyes (in collaboration with Ali Soltani) Plaques from a column, De Grieksche A, after Adrianus Kocx, c. 1690 Rijksmuseum collection

and my partner Ali Soltani) had to work with the collections of Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, an institution dedicated to historical works and crafts belonging to Dutch culture. The competition called for a contemporary object

or work corresponding to a particular collection selected by the participants, so the notions of present and past (or a former present) and with it the manifest issue of a particular culture belonging to its respective

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Installation: I Am Your Labyrinth (1:6 scale model top)

epoch, defined the basis of the work- that is the insertion of something in time which is an uninterrupted continuum within the full breadth of unfolding historicity. Perceived in this way history is no longer a compilation of linear

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succession of distant events, and instead an instantaneous landscape of intensities marked by the peculiarities of a given time that could be interchangeably linked. We took the image of 17th Century Delftware plaques which was the high

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Panoptes, Installation proposal for the Eastern State Penitentiary of Philadelphia

craft of the period and grafted it onto nonprescriptive contact lenses. Both are products that have flourished because of high demand and thus emblematic of their respective culture- on the one hand a product of the Dutch Golden Age

characterized by its distinctly tactile quality attained through the manual manipulation of firing and glazing earthenware- and on the other hand the intricacies of an impalpable digital age represented by a technological veil on the iris

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No picture available [081122] 48 x 64 in. Digital keying paint and thermochromic ink on canvas

that like a chameleon as it were has become one with the object it is fixated on. Thus in the implicit fragility of a crossbred porcelain gaze as the site of perceptual happenstance, a reference was made to Marcel DuchampĘźs notion of non retinal art and the Readymades both with respect to chance encounters and choice, and more importantly by the realization that the navigational path of modernity to progress doesnĘźt have to be one way, nor straight. What is at stake is the notion of progress itself.

work focusses on a complementary dialogue between materiality, content, the exhibition space, and the encounter with the viewer: how do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience and how you see the relationship between environment and your work? It seems to me that with the advent of the internet, the domain of public sphere is shifting or I should say expanding from the exclusively collective spaces of streets and urban squares to the stealth realm of domestic life where it

I Am Your Labyrinth provides the viewers with an intense, immersive experience and as you have remarked in your artist's statement, your

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reincarnates as the virtual space of networks and the world wide web receding into a labyrinthine pixilation of some kind of media screen. On the other hand the casual urbanite is entrapped within a maze of partitioned institutions each catering to a different purpose with relative sufficiency, but the notions of the institution and the public remain at large and whether or not our relationship with art in this artificial construct is tenable. In this sense the reappearance of Ariadne as the eternal liberator that could offer us a way out, served as a narrative geared towards a critic of how we see and experience art and the whole machinery of its

production. As the gallery space was being shared with another artist the construction of a 1:6 scale model of the gallery space not only compensated for the remaining area for the fully site specific installation, it effectively served as a gyrating crux through which the white cube imploded and expanded out, and blurred the normative distinctions between the perceptual and conceptual space. Similarly by incorporating the administrative aspects of the gallery and its reliance on infrastructure in organizing an event such as the invitation cards which were numbered and the mailing stamps that depicted my images of Ariadne, an attempt was made to reach beyond

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the confines of the gallery space and reframe our notions of perception through an installation at large. Despite to clear references to perceptual reality your visual vocabulary, as reveals the interesting Mise en [s]cène, has a very ambivalent quality. How do you view the concepts of the real and the imagined playing out within your works? How would you define the relationship between abstraction and representation in your practice? If you consider the notion of mise-en scène in set design, it consists of the staging of actors on a scene where its formal qualities is founded on a narrative that follows the telling of a story, a theatrical or cinematic likelihood that is mounted in front of a seating audience some distance away. What it shares with other arts is that it posits itself to be seen, designed to captivate the attention of a viewer, it relies in more or lesser degrees on some credence that is conveyed by content, structure, or both. What interests me however is the cross section of this business of viewing, that (emotional) field that holds the two parts, the viewer and the viewed glued to each other. To speak of the real, some years ago I saw a film by Abbas Kiarostami called Shirin in which the camera is turned to the viewers watching some epic Persian love story. We, the real viewers see the movie directly but we perceive the love story obliquely, guessing, through the contorted faces of its audience. I said real because at the end that is all there is, the question isnʼt so much what we are looking at, rather how we are seeing it which I take to be the mise-en scène in my work. The Mise en [S]cène that you refer to, in its literal translation: To put on view- with a bracketed “S” before cène- (French for Il Cenacolo /The Last Supper of Leonardo daVinci), is an installation consisting of six panels that roughly add up to the same size of the original mural which literally flaked off and

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Installation: I Am Your Labyrinth (Announcement cards)

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Installation: I Am Your Labyrinth (Announcement postage stamps)

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is virtually non existent were it not because of the cosmetic mascara of its restorers. You could argue that thing on view is 500 years of kitsch making that draws its credibility from 15 minutes of allotted time given to thousands of visitors that line up to view it. My installation was about this condition of an absence that is summoned by the spectator as a full presence to fill a void as though in a sĂŠance. With respect to the above, if there is an element of representation or narrative in my work, I would say as far as I am concerned, it is tangential rather than figurative or illusionistic, this is as much true in my installations as in my paintings which are mostly the outcome of their material construct. Narcissus inquires into the notions of gaze and perception: we daresay that this stimulating work is about the experiment to make visible volatile phenomena: would you say that the way you provide the transient with sense of permanence allows you to create materiality of the immaterial? I would say perception has a materiality that is felt through a force which like a soul, is in itself unseen but acts through subjective and objective factors. As an artist I have to be sensitive to how I set up a field of attraction. Placement, trajectories and speeds of movement and approach are the primary concerns which help me to decide on a certain arrangement, this is as much true for my paintings as it is in my installations which by necessity share curatorial and choreographic aspects. It is not without risks since the narrative component of curatorial work can easily be confused and be passed for design. With Narcissus, there was the additional element of a referent deeply invested in psychoanalysis that rests not in the content but in the subjectivity of the viewer which is never accessible. On the other hand, the striking aspect of CaravaggioĘźs Narcissus insofar as it related to my preoccupation with painting, was

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uploaded by someone else. Here notions of duration, presence, institution, and censorship were totally challenged.

the latently modern posture of a kneeled figure looking down, utterly immersed, not too unlike a painter mesmerized by a pool of paint on the floor, and quite in contrast with the usual upright viewer in front of the painting. So a choreographic idea presented itself whereas a hybrid viewer/painter submerged in a pitted blackness of paint as it were (the walls were painted black below the standard 60 inches eye level) and guided by some invisible force-field would have to echo the physical genuflect of the mythical character and by diverting its gaze downwards, restore the horizontality of the paintingsʼ production which were done on the floor of my studio.

I have a sense that emerging concepts such as the increasing synchronicity between production, presentation and distribution, or the changing relationship between originals and copies among other, are going to influence the way artists work, from customizing originals, staging copies, or maybe, to just archiving the attempt to create. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Francine. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

British multidisciplinary artist Angela Bulloch onced stated "that works of arts often continue to evolve after they have been realised, simply by the fact that they are conceived with an element of change, or an inherent potential for some kind of shift to occur". Technology can be used to create innovative works, but innovation means not only to create works that haven't been before, but especially to recontextualize what already exists: do you think that the role of the artist has changed these days with the new global communications and the new sensibility created by new media?

Thank you for your thorough questions. As for this last one, future is not something that I can predict. The work may take a path on its own and the question is how I will evolve with it. Lately, I have been interested in “automatic object detection”, a image search tool on the internet. Images are represented as vectors preserving not only their visual information but also their semantic concepts. Playing around with one of my image (model of I am Your Labyrinth), I was able to see it matched with a filing cabinet and even bathroom fixtures! It is a little bit that dreaming where quite unexpected scenarios emerge and supply the subconscious. I donʼt quite know what form (if any) the work will take so I will leave it at that. In the meantimes, I am making objects… with my hands.

In a world increasingly consummed by computer screens and instantaneous telecommunications, I believe the main difference in perception is the absence of the original sense of aisthesis or apprehension by all senses due to the annihilation of locality, temporality and physical presence. Though I am attaching great importance to spatial phenomena directly interwined with current time experience, very interesting perceptual typologies are emerging through technology. To give an example, I just participated in a guerilla project consisting in uploading an artwork that would automatically be seen by anyone logging on a dedicated site but only if you were to be present at a specific geolocation and for as long as another image was

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An interview by Josh Ryder, curator Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

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Installation: Narcissus


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Phil Toy Lives and works in Bristol, United Kingdom 'Toy is interested in systems of knowledge and belief. His practice pivots on the tension between the authority of finite, packaged, received information and the power of intuition, creativity and enigma'. (Kay Campbell in catalogue, 'State of the Art'). 'The cabinet of curiosities was a peculiar and personal ordering of objects from science and the arts that was overwhelmed by the advent of that Enlightenment machine, the Museum. The connection back to mysticism and ritual is a persistent and visible element in Toy's work in which he focuses on the presence of irrational, conflicting beliefs in the context of our rational, scientific thought. (Piers Masterson, 'State of the Art').

all images copyright Phil Toy An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator design by Dario Rutigliano, curator

stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Phil and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. We would like to start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training, and after having earned your BA in Fine Art from Polytechnic (UWE) you nurtured your education with a MA that you received from the University of West of England, in Bristol: how do these experiences influence the way you currently conceive and produce your works? In particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making?

Bristol based artist, Phil Toy's work explores the points of convergence of a variety of media, inviting viewers to question the artificially constructed categories of our unstable contemporary age. In his body of works that we will be discussing in the following pages, he utilises both traditional heritage and unconventional sensibility to trigger the viewer’s and reader’s perceptual parameters. The power of Toy’s noetic approach lies in his incessant exploration of the relationship between beliefs and science, rationality/irrationality, the juxtaposition of order/disorder. He combines technology with abstract ideas in strategic ways that challenge conventions and to generate new practical and theoretical perspectives. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his

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Hello, thank you for your welcome and the opportunity of sharing my thoughts with Peripheral ARTeries. In relation to my formal studies in visual art these gave me the opportunity to not only learn practical skills but to engage in that most important dynamic of

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Phil Toy


Beethoven’s Bucket, from Things Beginning with ‘B’


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I like the expression, cultural substratum because it allows for us to consider one of the central ideas in my work. In addition to my passion for the visual arts and actually for writing as an activity, from early on I have held strong sociopolitical views about how we structure society. Particularly the issue of how we categorise the world. In the sociopolitical dimension, there are so many examples where negative categorisation attacks, I would say, the fabric of humanity and being human. Such examples may be to do with gender, race, religion and a whole other host of signifiers in relation to identity.

relating theory to practice. It is possible to have what appears to be a good idea only to find that when we take that idea into the studio or attempt to realise that idea through a particular chosen medium, the idea may not sustain, may need radical change or even to be abandoned, to be replaced by another. During my BA in Fine Art, I was fortunate in being able to learn a wide range of traditional art practices which required a great deal of time in, for example, colour mixing and colour study as well is learning about chemical properties of various oils, varnishes and pigments. I had an opportunity to learn sheet metal welding, steel welding, aluminium and bronze casting, making plaster moulds, working with clay and resins, and in the process, learned to work with all of the processes and machinery in relation to these activities. From this it can be seen that my BA education was very traditional. However, it provided a background of skill base which allowed me to concentrate on the conceptual elements of my practice and the generation and implementation of ideas. In other words, I did not need to allow the development of an idea to be constrained by lack of familiarity with materials or lack of skills. Also, I would say that, however exciting thinking and conceptual processes are, if we have a range of skills it is inevitable that they will feed into our conceptual range in quite a tactile manner. However, I acknowledge that there are many other skills relevant to contemporary art which are not especially rooted in the traditions of, say, painting and sculpture. Computer skills, video and film shooting and editing have their place in my practice. The good thing about doing my MA which I did through the vehicle of Research (in fact I transferred to the Ph.D. programme for a time during the study), was the opportunity to contextualise my practice, engage in discussions and identify those artists with whom I most associated my own practice.

The results of your artistic enquiry convey a coherent sense of unity that rejects any conventional classification. We would suggest to our readers that they visit http://www.philtoyartist.co.uk in order to get a synoptic view of your work. While walking our readers through your process, can you tell them something about the evolution of your style? Yes, partly the development of my style owes itself to the pragmatics of making art. I mean by this that the range of skills I developed enabled, and does enable, me to work across the categories of two and three dimensions. This characteristic of my work was evident very early during my Foundation Course prior to doing my BA degree. I would often start work on a wall and end up growing materials off the wall down onto the floor into three dimensions. Alternatively, I would start work on the floor in a sculptural or installation manner and progress towards and across a wall. I regard this interaction on the formal level of practice as critical to my work and its development. I have long suspected that the reason for this fascination with the interaction of two and three dimensions is that they symbolise or represent materiality and immateriality; I see

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them as categories that are not mutually exclusive, where both have resonance and importance in how I see the world and my work in it.

interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. When walking our readers through the genesis of Hands of Belief, would you shed light your usual process and set up? In particular, what role does chance play in your process?

Coming back to this issue of categorisation, and my contention that categories are false, in fact, created in order to control people by those who would seek control, the role of beliefs and science or technology may be seen as fulfilling a similar control purpose. It seems to me though that through education, as well as scientific and technological development, we have a growing opportunity to question parameters and communicate instantly in ways that may bypass control systems. It seems to me that when I try to make plans for my life, quite often those plans do not work out; other things happen which may not be helpful, or which might be better for me. Fate, chance, serendipity, the happy accident or discovery, inspiration, whatever words I choose to use, my life operates in this realm as well as that which appears to be in a more objective world. In my work, Evolution, I used old computer monitors, emptied them out, created in them black spaces with black plexiglass in the front to replace the screens; within the stage sets are objects dimly lit, hovering in a dark void. These objects, such as a portrait of Zeus or a plaster ape (referring to our evolution) reinstate a reference to our primitive natures which, in my thinking, still underscores our increasingly computerised and online existences.

Thank you. With Hands of Belief, the core factors in my work can be seen at play, namely, my characteristic interest in the interaction between two and three dimensions, here in the context of a reflection on the role of religions. In this piece, there are six pairs of hands cast in hard micro- crystalline wax. To make the moulds for the hands, I invited people of six different major religious faiths - Buddhism, Catholicism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, to come to my studio. I used alginate to make the moulds of the hands. I have presented the hands, contained in specimen bags, in a circle against a dark disc painted on the wall. I give no identification of which hands belong to which people or their religions. The element of chance in this work, appears in the selection of the people to take part in the first place, in the sense that I had no criteria except that they should be of different religions. In some cases they were friends of a friend and I had never met them before they came to the studio. When viewers see this piece, in addition to narratives they may bring with them, they may comment on how beautiful a particular hand or pair of hands are. This is chance. At no time was it relevant to me that someone’s hands were categorised as beautiful or any other way. A further element of chance, is that the viewer has no way of knowing which hands relate to which religion and, in fact, have no definite evidence that these people were devout followers of their particular face or lapsed followers, or going through a temporary phase of religious identification.

I have attempted to develop my style as a reaction to these thoughts and ideas which revolve around the issue of categorisation, as planets might revolve around an energy source; with, sometimes, a planet heading off in a different direction only to find that it cannot help but return to its orbit. For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries, we have selected Hands of Belief, an extremely

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Hands of Belief

I leave the viewers to speculate on associations and meanings. Ranging from acrylic and oil paint, resins, waxes, to film and photography, your approach

is marked out with a stimulating multidisciplinary feature and reveals that you are a versatile artist capable of crossing from a medium to another. How do you select the

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becomes three- dimensional. In fact, when doing my MA, I posed this very question and spent a good deal of research taking objects and images apart and re-assembling them to observe what would happen. If I am posing a question, then I might use a medium that will allow an exploration of that question. But, I also allow my mind to come up with a direction for the choice of medium, without me deliberately or wilfully trying to make that decision. I am aware that my mind is busy working all the time, whatever task I may be carrying out, or even if I am asleep. It seems to me that thinking of solutions to issues and visualising a direction forward quite often occur during a state of mind somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, usually as I wake in the mornings. At other times I might switch off from the business of making art, close my eyes and allow my mind to drift as much as possible. Using these mechanisms of relaxed awareness I find it is possible to see solutions and images towards realising an idea. Another factor I have noticed in my choice of medium, is that while it is true that my practice often moves between two and three dimensions, when I go through a period of, for example, filming or taking photographs and making paintings, it is certain that I will return to making three-dimensional sculpture and installations. I have noticed this persistent pattern throughout my work, as though there is a constant dialogue taking place where, by choosing different mediums, I am seeking to express my areas of concern. Coming back to the issue of chance, for example, one of my pieces, called Glass Chance, came about when I was listening to the music of John Cage a lot and ended up spinning bottles and recording their positions in relation to a compass, then plotting them onto a black area marked on the wall. I think I chose glass and clear plastic

Royal Flush (detail)

medium to express the idea that you explore? In particular, when do you recognise that one of the mediums has exhausted its expressive potential? I have mentioned my consideration of the relationship of two and three dimension. In my studies, I have questioned the point at which something ceases to be two-dimensional and

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bottles for two reasons: The first being a playful comment on the game of spin the bottle that some people used to play as a party game in some cultures; the second reason being the aesthetic and expressive possibility of the transparency and reflective nature of these objects which deny solidity. Another example, taken from my work, Things Beginning with ‘B’ titled, Beethoven's Bucket has a a small brass portrait of Beethoven on the centre of a Beethoven vinyl record. This came about because both objects happened to be in my studio. All I had to do was bring them together to disrupt the categories, uniting them by nothing other than the letter ‘B’. Another reason for using a particular medium, is the aesthetic range that it may offer. With photography, for example, it is unusual for me to print a photograph simply as an image from a photograph I have taken. Usually, I will print out an image and then put that image straight back in the printer and print one of my other photographs over the top of it or partially over the top of it, again to blur and question boundaries with regard to that which we see. The various media that I work with all offer different qualities and potentials. I can say that there is a sense in which all of my twodimensional work, whether that involves the seductive sensuality of oil paint with its quality of being able to be used thinly or impasto, or photography or sketches, they all seem to serve as study for further work. I seldom regard two-dimensional work that I have made as finished, rather that I have stopped working on it because I can take it no further at that time. I am more comfortable with the idea of a piece being finished and complete in my threedimensional work, albeit noting that quite often that work will have a two-dimensional aspect and/or offer surface qualities that could be seen as two-dimensional. So, we come back

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Evolution

to the concepts of the materiality (material object) and immateriality (two-dimensional, transparency, light) in relation to which recent developments in computer use and technology have offered new possibilities. The other factor that I take into account with regard to a particular medium being exhausted,

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is an accumulating sense that I am pushing too

do not necessarily detract from serious content or meanings in works of art.

hard and change must occur either to the idea itself or to the materials and media that I am

We like the way your works, such as Royal Flush use universal imagery, recontextualising it and addressing the viewers to a wide number of narratives: rather than attempting to establish any univocal sense,

using. In these situations, also, I try to remember something that is actually quite difficult to remember, which is that art can be playful, experimental and fun. These attributes

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We Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

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you seem to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations. When discussing the role of randomness in your process, would you tell us how important it is to you that the spectatorship re-think the concepts you are conveying in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings? Some take a view that a work of art does not exist without the viewer to complete it. That is not my position but I would say that no work of art can dictate the response a viewer might have and it is inevitable that viewers will bring their own experiences and narratives to the occasion of looking at art. Movie makers may well use various techniques to bring about predictable emotional responses from the audience and there are decades of sophisticated filmmaking and study that may be drawn upon in this field. However, my intention is rather more open-ended. With regard to Royal Flush which consists of playing cards making up the winning poker hand of Royal Flush there are a number of layers of meaning available. I made the work specifically for the context of exhibiting in a disused public toilet which was built in the Edwardian era in 1907. There is a play on the word flush (we might say we're going to flush the toilet, that we will flush something or someone away), the arrangement of the cards is that of a cross, and I have superimposed images of people from various social strata onto the cards. An individual viewer’s psychology, faced with this particular work, will work in much the same way as happens when we read a book or watch a film. Specifically, I mean that an individual will tend to identify with one or more characters rather more than others and through this way bring their own experience in addition to other perceptual aspects of the experience, which could include their knowledge of art or their attitudes towards art and society.

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Through discussion with people who have seen my work, I am aware of some of the feedback and points of view they may have, but when I am making the piece I am using concepts that are, as is the case with Royal Flush, targeted to raise issues, and yes, it is important to me that my work raises questions for the viewer rather than simply offering works that may be expressively of aesthetic appeal. A central idea that connects all of your works is the exploration of the relationship between beliefs and science. Do you think that there is an irremediable dichotomy between the irrational and the rational or do you think that there is a liminal area where an unexpected point of covergence is possible? The divergence, or separation, between art and science is a relatively new phenomenon in terms of our history. Historically, our academic forebears sought global expressions of all things, seeking a theory of everything. It seems to me that the last vestiges of that endeavour died in the 20th century which got rid of the meta-narratives, that we can see now, were so destructive. I think that art is widely seen as an activity to do with intuition, instinct and impulsivity, while science is seen as objective, detached, evidence-based with theories and conclusions that can be rigorously tested through methodologies employed. Whereas there is a link between science and repetition of methodology and product, a work of art may draw its value from its uniqueness. Historically, I think many people have sought, through both art and science, greater meaning of the world, wishing for science to explain the universe and why we are here, and wanting art to fill spiritual vacuums, offer a sense of awe and lift us emotionally. Shopping malls and new online realities now offer further options.

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Anthropomorphism & the Future (detail)

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Anthropomorphism and The Future


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that we make and reserve the importance of not trying to explain everything, which, I think, limits creativity. Irrationality is, I think, a mark of our humanity. However rational I may appear to be, I cannot always explain why I do certain things.

In terms of our evolution, most of it has been physical and visceral living close to the land. It is no accident, I would suggest, that many people, when they take a holiday, do so in the countryside or near water, perhaps acknowledging our roots and our connection to them. That I might understand the science behind the occurrence of landscapes or watercourses or wave action does not disrupt my ancient relationship with the natural world. That this notion is being challenged by alternative, constructed existences online is still new. It is noteworthy that some of the important innovations in relation to art, like the advent of the printing press, discovery of photography and computer functioning, have not removed the desire of many people to want what they see as original tangible works of art.

As you have remarked once, it is what we believe that creates our identity. What we believe may not be true. How do you view the concepts of the real, the authentic and the imagined playing out within your works? This is a very interesting question that you ask and, in my view, one of the most pressing of our era. For much of our human history, certain truths have been held up notably in the field of formal beliefs like religions. The world was explained in terms of belief. Throughout the centuries, and currently, the destruction and damage to human life created by conflicting beliefs is immeasurable. At the other end of the scale, so to speak, I might buy an object thinking it to be original, only to find out that it is fake. I might set up an imaginary internal world in anticipation of an important encounter only to find that when the encounter comes it bears little relationship to the imaginary one I created.

Following the separation between art and science in education there are now considerable overlaps with science and art foundations funding joint explorations of the world around us. One way of looking at this issue of rational and irrational is to see them as part of a continuum rather than as a dichotomy. To use a metaphor, they could be seen as two ends of the same stick, but a stick of infinite flexibility so that the two ends may meet at times allowing a flow of energy through an endless circle. That is to say, the rational and irrational live side-by-side, interweaving in ways that may be unpredictable. I have known a number of scientists who have told me that they have often seen scientific progress and discoveries made by chance. In other words a scientist may be studying one concentrated aspect of life only to discover, by accident, an occurrence in their work of considerable importance and application to our lives. Most artists, I would suggest, and I certainly include myself, accept the irrationality of the decisions

Through my work I seek to question the role of the real in order to refocus attention towards a world that is a plurality of perceptions and beliefs which create different realities. If shared experience creates reality, given the diverse ways in which we live, I have to conclude that the idea of one reality is impossible. In the course of my work, in, for example Evolution, I have suggested through the use of primitive objects within the computer monitors, that there is a contested area regarding the history of materiality and the role of science through computers. (With this

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technologically indifferent circuit board with a poetic comment on the human condition. If it is correct that technology can be dehumanising, then its development may pose a threat to our humanness and this is suggested in this work. Anthropomorphism and The Future, which uses a crystal ball as a reference to trying to see the future, invites reflection, I think, on wishful thinking and trying to predict the future and how it will affect things.

work, Evolution, children, and many adults, on seeing it, thought they were looking at screen images and sought to change them by tapping on the keyboards). It is possible to easily construct images and present them as examples of real events or situations. I made a short film called, A Trip to the Mountains in which it appears that someone is climbing a mountain, while people below watch anxiously. At the end of the film, I reveal that in fact I was not filming real events but images from magazines, so creating a second-hand reality. Perhaps the thing that is actually authentic in this is that I make it clear what is happening in the pieces I make so that people are not deceived into thinking they are something which they are not.

I come back to the point that a process of assimilation between art and technology, whilst likely to a degree (witness the fast development now of an ability to produce real holograms) given the acceleration in technological developments and new media, I suspect that the pattern that has prevailed will continue. By this, I mean that major technological developments of the past have not stopped the production of original paintings, sculptures, installation work, performance art, landscape art; the list goes on. What appears to have happened, is that there has been a considerable blurring of boundaries across all these art forms including technological and in particular computer generated dissemination. The initial rush of excitement about the possibilities for computer-generated art seemed to dwindle somewhat, possibly because the excitement remained on the computer monitor and could not be bought and owned, or, recognising the driver that is consumerism and money, used for status and investment purposes. Many artists have tried to subvert the ownership of art by using artforms that are not so easy to possess tangibly. Walking into a desert and making a circle of stones, or creating astonishing light shows, cannot be owned, but of course, they can be if they are recorded in photographs or moving image which can be distributed and valued.

Seeing We Wandered Lonely as a Crowd and especially Anthropomorphism and The Future, we are forced to rethink the intimate aspect of the materiality of an artwork itself, since just a few years ago it was a tactile materialisation of an idea. We are sort of convinced that new media will bridge the apparent dichotomy between art and technology, and we dare to say that Art and technology are going to assimilate each other. What's your point about this? In particular, what is your opinion about technology affecting the consumption of art? Yes, I am actually reminded of debates that have taken place around the general issue of the assimilation of two states and whether or not possible assimilation ends up, in fact, producing a situation of, rather than assimilation taking place, the differences between the two states become emphasised. With We Wandered Lonely as a Crowd, I have photographed a computer circuit board and inserted text into it, juxtaposing the

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Glass Chance

Online galleries and sales of works of art are now prolific. There is no pretence in this

scenario where works of art are products, objects to be bought and sold like any other.

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Georgian Findings (Ten Commandments)


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bastion of a wealthy, white privileged elite, and while this has been eroded in recent decades, I would suggest that the majority of people feel alienated from the art world and would not care to step into a white cube art gallery. Yet art is now readily available across social media. Instagram is a main avenue and many artists post their work here as well as through other media.

Multidisciplinary artist, Angela Bulloch once remarked, “that works of art often continue to evolve after they have been realised, simply by the fact that they are conceived with an element of change, or an inherent potential for some kind of shift to occur”. Technology can be used to create innovative works, but innovation means not only to create works that haven't been seen before, but especially to re-contextualise what already exists. Do you think that the role of the artist has changed these days with the new global communications and the new sensibility created by new media?

Something that is slightly ironic is that while art in all its forms can be disseminated across the globe easily, this, somehow sits side-by-side with the preciousness of art and its value as commodity. In this sense, there appears to be two art worlds perhaps there are several - serving different audiences and meeting different needs. Many artists probably spend as much time on computers, managing images and profiles, carrying out research and writing up proposals, as we do making art.

Yes, the context within which the artist works and within which art is received is fundamental to its interpretation. Quite often the art being produced by a given society is dictated by who is in power controlling the money that commissions the work in the first place. In the past, much of the art produced was of a religious nature reflecting the power of the churches and their wealth. There was a shift to kings and queens and wealthy individuals commissioning bold portraits indicating their self-aggrandisement. It is no accident that the United States applauded Jackson Pollock for his macho, rugged, expressive individualism while totalitarian states produced Social Realism in denial of individual expression. In Western countries it has been either private or state sponsorship that funds the art that succeeds into the limelight. This continues but an important development, it seems to me, across the arts is that any individual can hang a movie online, publish their own book or poetry or art images or produce footage of themselves or other artists in performance as well as using digital manipulation to produce images primarily designed to stay on a computer monitor. This is an important and liberating experience. Art has long been the

Your works are often pervaded with a combination between socio-political criticism and humour, as in the interesting, Georgian Findings (Ten Commandments). Mexican artist, Gabriel Orozco once stated, "The artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you're in. It depends on the political system you are living under”. Not to mention that almost everything, ranging from Caravaggio’s Inspiration of St Matthew to Joep van Lieshout’s works, could be considered political. What is your opinion on the role of art in the contemporary age? Moreover, what role does humour play in your process? With Georgian Findings, I was invited by the curator to look at original documentation from 1775 consisting of a newspaper, a last will and testament and an indenture agreement; this indenture legally bound a young girl to work essentially as a servant in a wealthy household until she reached majority or was married. Looking at the documents, and thinking of the sociopolitical structure of society, it was the closely woven power of the church with

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government that seemed to loom over all. When I thought of the Christian faith’s Ten Commandments, the hypocrisy that was evident caused me to think of writing my own Ten Commandments, and, as you rightly point out, there is humour mixed with sociopolitical criticism. My humour, I would say, tends towards satire and I can say that my interest in satire certainly goes back to my A-level studies in English Literature when I studied 18thcentury satirists like Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. Interestingly, they both died about ten years before the date of the documents I was asked to look at in preparation for making Georgian Findings. This, I think, is a good example of how links and associations are made, whilst rationally stated, perhaps having irrational value. Earlier in our discussion we talked about Royal Flush, the piece using the concept of royalty displayed in gambling cards overlaid by me with portraits of people of mixed social rank. I think, again, the underlying humour here is in the realm of satire as a vehicle for sociopolitical commentary. I certainly agree with you that everything is political; every aspect of our lives can be seen as political whether it is the context for the making of art or the context of an individual seeking to have their individuality recognised. There are many different roles that art can have in our contemporary age, many of them little different from previous ages. The structures and institutions of our age are adept at assimilating anything and everything that artists produce, in order to subject it to the will of the art market and promote the world of art culture within which a large number of people make a living and develop careers. The role of art then, whether I like it or not, assists in fuelling a large part of our economy. Additionally, art has a decorative role; works of art can be found decorating

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Anthropomorphism & The Future (detail)

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Bodies (From Things Beginning with ‘B’)

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cafes, office foyers, public places as well as, increasingly, providing pop- up entertainment and hopefully challenges for audiences. I prefer the notion that the role of art is to allow individual expression through which expression may touch the hearts and minds of many; that it may hold a mirror up to us through which we may reflect on relationships, personal and sociopolitical and economic, that somehow we find liberating. Returning to your question about the role of humour, in addition to my tendency towards satire, we talked earlier about my work process of trying to keep in mind the role that can be played by being humorous and playful. It seems to me that allowing humour to have a role provides a healthy opportunity to look at myself as well as the world around me. Over the years your works have been showcased on several occasions, and will be again in your upcoming solo at the Gallery Zeitgeist, in Berlin. One of the hallmarks of your work is its ability to create a direct involvement with the viewer, who is urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So, before leaving this conversation, we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your work and your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language you use in a particular context? The are many audiences who may see my work, from members of the general public walking by, to those who have a sustained knowledge or interest in visual art, in addition to other artists and peers with who I may have a critical discourse. There is also a less tangible audience consisting of other artists and writers who may, in fact, be long dead or extant but I may never have met them but, nonetheless, have influenced my development. Sometimes, when I am critical of my own work, I have considered it too literal. At

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inevitable outcome. What I mean by this, is that there may be a particular challenge for me in producing a piece of art that cannot be categorised. Of course, this is an impossible task in the sense that, if we see something which is completely beyond our comprehension, we will rapidly search our personal filing systems within our minds to find associations which will permit us to quickly categorise anything we see. That said, I suspect that I want to make a piece of art where chance plays a role so that objects, images or text are selected at random and fused into a single piece or installation that is, somehow, coherent, so that it does not present as surreal or disorganised but allows belief: what do I believe this to be? Another aspect of my work that I would care to develop is the role of text and I would not be surprised to find a satirical edge pervading through those texts. The kind of literary fiction, poetry and other forms of writing that I like present a sense of meaning that is felt, but at the same time, literally out of reach as though there is an invisible bridge of energy connecting different elements that somehow produce a complete picture.

other times, I may have considered it, or parts of it, too obscure. In this sense, there is a debate to be had and a dynamic one at that. When I gave a talk about my work at Spike Island in Bristol last November, I tried to achieve a balance between setting the scene of each piece of work. I talked of the context without over explaining or trying to suggest a particular interpretation. In terms of my own ego and ambition, I am aware that there is a professional audience made up of other artists, curators, writers and collectors and I would care to be taken seriously by them by extending my practice and contributing to critical debate. Interestingly, the exhibition in Berlin is in a privately owned art centre rather than a white cube commercial gallery. The location is superb, so I will take into account how to present work in the space that will reach out to people passing by as much as a more professional audience. In terms of the development of my work, I see it as a kind of research which may take a number of paths and directions - ultimately heading for a focused arena of creative activity - and this process pulls my decision-making and language along behind what is, certainly at times, experimentation which may succeed or may fail.

In my mind and in my studio, I have the elements to start new work but, much like a writer writing a work of literary fiction, once the characters are created and develop form and substance, they might just take over and decide where the story is going. Thank you again for this opportunity to share my thoughts.

In practice, then, there is a dynamic at work which continues to evolve. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Phil. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts with you. As you know, the issue of categorisation is one of considerable importance to me and increasingly in recent times, I have thought that I have not pushed my exploration with sufficient rigour to push it against what may be seen as an almost

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An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator design by Dario Rutigliano, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

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Books, Brazil nuts, Bath Salts (From Things Beginning With ‘B’)


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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Brigitte Dietz Lives and works in Heidelberg, Germany By painting, I try to explore the paradox of the human being living alone in community. Whom are we representing and who are we in reality? Already in our personal lives, we have troubles to answer this question in a satisfactory way. The diversity of humanity is the variety of its individuals. They differ not only from each other, but also show their 'manifold faces'. As a portrait artist, my task is to discover consistently this difference in every personality. My responsability is to pick it out as a central theme. In order to achieve this, not only the facial expressions, the colours and „moods“ are important, but also the confrontation of every personality with their own contexts. The abstract parts on my paintings however, I often begin by softening up the archetypical geometrical forms, I put on the canvas before. After that and within these forms, I create ideas to design the painting. The subleties operate as counterpart of the basic forms. On this stage, my paintings receive the „character“. Expressions and spaces get introduced into the formation. My aim is to excite the observer to „finish“ the painting by himself, to motivate his imagination to create his personal image in a specific situation. The painting works as a peg on which to hang the personal interpretation of the observer. By this means, the difference between the personality and its self-portrayal appears in a specific suspence.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

image in a specific situation: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to Dietz's stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Rejecting any conventional classification regarding its style, Brigitte Dietz's work draws the viewers through an unconventional and multilayered experience. The central theme of her work is the paradox of the human being living alone in community and in her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages she accomplishes the difficult task of exciting the observer to „finish“ the painting by himself, to motivate his imagination to create his personal

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Hello Brigitte and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have been artistically productive since your schooldays, specially supported by your professor Bernhard Epple and later by Traugott Notz. How did these experiences influence the way you currently conceive and produce your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum due to your studies of classical philology inform the way you

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Buber Ben Gurion, from the authentic encounter series


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beings around me, the political consesus? What are the interdependencies of my social surroundings? By posing this question, again and again, I always get different answers. The answers are my paintings. My paintings do not try to be a general truth or rule or wisdom. But they are true too: in their specific moments. In the moment I paint them, and in the moment somebody looks at them with all honesty, paintings deliver a certain truth, that always might be different but are certainly true during this specific moment of looking at them.

relate yourself to art making and to the notion of beauty? Hello, thank you very much for having me. In fact, these are the three main sources that drawed me towards painting. Bernhard Epple, my teacher at secondary school who later on became well known, supported my eagerness to paint. He helped me to develop my artistic foundation. Traugott Notz has been my portrait drawing teacher at an adult education centre since three decades. He shows me, again and again and with all required strictness, my drawing mistakes by drawing portraits from life models. So I am learning a lot by him. And my studies of classical philology, besides learning greek and latin, opened the door to philosophy and classical art fort me.

I do not compare my paintings to a philosophical book for example, where the author claims, that it is true what he wrote inside the book, regardless if somebody reads it or not. I do not claim that for my paintings. Regarding social questions, there is simply no eternal truth, so I do not try to give an eternal answer. Every glimpse of authenticity between human beings is strongly connected with the element of surprise: You can not plan it, but it might happen. I sometimes get surprised by my own paintings,when I look at them after a while. I think this question about athenticity is more or less behind all my paintings.

The results of your artistic inquiry convey together a coherent sense of unity: before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.globalartleague.com/brigitte -dietz.html in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production: while walking our readers through your process, we would like to ask you if you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist.

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries and that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article has at once captured our attention for the way

Well, you already insinuated it. My central artistic concern is less an idea but a question: How am I, a single person , connected to the community, the human

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you have captured subtle aspects of the personality of your characters, providing the visual results of your artistic inquiry with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through your usual process and set up, would tell us how do you select the subjects for your portrait series? The personalities, I selected for a painting, fascinated me somehow. Without that, the portrait would probably not be very „alive“, it would appear „constructed“. I really need that very personal thrill that drives me to paint them. And that can be a problem sometimes: Let us say, you have to paint somebody, for example by a comission. The main challenge is here, to get into a close connection, in order to develop some affection. And the best trick in order to achieve this, is to get engaged with the biography of the sitter. Did you ever read a boring biography? Probably not! So in case, you find a person really boring, and frankly, that happens sometimes on first sight, ask him about his life. And that is how I set up a creative process.With this little trick, it is impossible to paint boring people. Well, at least for me it worked.

Virginia Woolf's Death, Triptych acryl oil collage 2,40 x 1m

Well yes, I work with different materials: oil paints, acrylic, collages. Actually I work with everything you can glue on a paperboard or a canvas. Specially for collages, there is a wide range of useful qualities: the material itself, newspaper, tree bark, metals, potatoe nets etc. If you take a look for example at my Joseph Beuys-collage, you can see that I just used materials, no colours! Actually, I just

You are a versatile artist and your media include oil painting, mixed technique, collage and pastel: what are the qualities that you are searching for in the materials that you combine in your works?

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used materials that were used by Beuys himself in his installations. For Beuys, materials had a special significance, e.g. every day used objects are „basic things“. Some things had a symbolic value like felt, fad or copper as energy source. So just using materials he used for that portrait collage, I figured maybe I could get closer to him and his broad art concept through the materials.

I use collage pretty often. But normally in combination with colours. For example painting my Virginia Woolf triptych, I felt I need big chromaticity. So I used oil and acrylic paints. The faces, I always paint in oil. „Virginia Woolf's Death“ is a huge triptych. I painted it in order to tell her story; about this woman at the end of the victorian era in her intellectual

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Triptychon, Martin Buber

surroundings with the suicide as the inevitable and therefore tragic consequence. In the first two parts of this painting, my collages describe daily events back then. In the third part, that is about the death, I glued the suicide note to her husband in shape of her profile on the canvas. I thought this discreet third portrait would be a contrast to the other two fully painted portrait heads in the

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painting. Because in a way, death is tragically about dematerialisation. In a way, I used extra material, the collages, in a symbolic context in order to express an dematerialisation process. But this paradox-seeming procedure of the use of materials, worked out quite well in this case. So, the material gives me a huge variation of qualities at hand, and I challenge myself to choose wisely. I am

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univocal sense, you seem to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations: would you tell us how much important is for you that the spectatorship rethink the concepts you convey in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings? I think it is not so important for the spectator, to actually rethink the concept. When people are talking to you at exhibitions, you notice, there are countless ways of looking at a painting. I really enjoy these talks, some people try to classify the style, others judge it: too colourful, too big, too boring etc.

constantly collecting materials that I might use for a future painting. I enjoy that.

But sometimes there is somebody who really is wondering and begins to ask questions honestly. Then, the element of surprise we already talked about, kicks in: the viewer makes observations by himself, shows emotions, scrutinized himself. These are really exciting moments, because it enables me, to discover new things and perspectives in my own paintings. As I said, the element of surprise concernes the spectatorship as well as the artist. So, looking at paintings is perhaps more about being interested and open minded rather than rethink an arstist's concept.

As you have remarked once, your aim is to excite the observer to „finish“ the painting by himself, to motivate his imagination to create his personal image in a specific situation. Rather than attempting to establish any

Red is a quite recurrent tone in your pallette and we have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances of your pieces, that are often marked out with intense tones as GĂźnter Grass and Christian Morgenstern . However, other

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works as Welles & Chaplin shows that vivacious tones are not strictly indespensable to create tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a painting’s texture? Selecting colours, I actually do not follow a strict rule or scheme. I am very pragmatic about that: What colour suites a certain expression? For example, the originl sample of my double portrait of Welles and Chaplin was a black and white photography. I became instantly excited by this intimate snapshot: Two titans of world cinema, sitting next to each other with a glass of whine. They both show a cautious body language getting to know each other. That is a subtle occasion. You can not use the colour red for it. Whereas Grass does not make this silent expression. There lies a certain energy in his genius and he shows that, not only in his drawings! While referring to reality, your paintings convey a captivating abstract feeling: how do you view the concepts of the real, the authentic and the imagined playing out within your works? Well, reality is not something that is, but something that happens. If I know something, for example, that this person

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Günter Grass, Acryl, Collage auf Leinwand

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Christian Morgenstern

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suffers from something, that does not mean that it is real. It could as well be imagined. But if that,what I know, happens, then it is real. But an authentic experience includes always an element of surprise, that I can not foresee or plan. Reality is strongly connected with time, you see? Nature itself does not tell us, if something is authentic or imagined. But we know that something is real, when it happens. In German we use a term for it: „bewähren“, that means something like to prove of value. The word „bewähren“ applies „Wahrheit“, and that means truth. So the real differs from the imagined by happening. And that happening is authentic. And only this action decides whether someting is right or wrong, for that specific moment. Your artwork are pervaded with images rich with symbolic features, as Nehru & Gandhi. German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? Morever, would you tell us something about the importance of symbols in your imagery? I have to say, I by myself, am neither a big fan of pure symbols. A painting, conveying its message just via symbols can be very boring to be honest. Well not always obviously. Sometimes it genius. For me, symbols can be very

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Nehru & Gandhi, from the Authentic Encounter series

helpful to underline somethig or to put something in an interesting context etc. And that can be very exciting. But there is no general scheme or rule of how to balance narrative, psychological and symbolic elements. With every new painting there is a new challenge to figure it out. But yes it is a big question.

living alone in community. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under". Not to mention that almost everything, ranging from Caravaggio's Inspiration of Saint Matthew to Joep van Lieshout's works, could be considered political, do you think that your works is political, in a certain sense? what could be in your

In the introductory question you remarked that by painting, you try to explore the paradox of the human being

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B-Site Festival / Error 404 502 410 & “Dust�/ Manheim 2015 / Germany

opinion the role of Art in the contemporary age?

authentic moments. But off course: We in Germany, are alleged free. And we are allowed to express whatever we want to. But, concerning liberty, there are other, very personal qualities too: psychological issues, fashion, economic pressure, moral issues etc. For example, Joseph Beuys tried his whole life to emancipate himself from his determinents. To put it with a lot of pathos: Creating art as well as living a human life, is a lifelong struggle for

Of course, like every human being, the artist too is dependent and connected to his political context, above all concerning the question of liberty and freedom. But to talk about an artist's role, is perhaps a bit too much. Which role should that be? I think for an artist as well as for every human being that is no politician, the challenge is not to play a role, but to find

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chaplin's burden, mixed media (oil, acrylic, collage) on canvas, triptych 240cm x 100cm, 2016

freedom. So if Gabriel Orozco means that by politics, I would partly agree.

Heidelberg, Germany. One of the hallmarks of your work is the capability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we

Over the years your works have been exhibited in several occasions, including your recent participation to the group exhibition at Galerie Melnikow,

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would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process, in terms of what type of

language is used in a particular context? Off course, means of expression affect the viewers. At least, they are supposed to. But what counts is, to surprise the viewer. The problem is as already

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mentioned: To think I can plan a 100% certain surprise would be ridiculos. Because I, the painter, am not the only one who is involved in the painting. The viewer has to invest some energy too. In order to achieve the latter, there are of course possibilities for painters. The first thing my painting should do is awaken the viewer. Everything schematic, structured and 100% planned out, without risks, without being surprised by yourself producing the painting, leads to viewers who fall asleep. And sleeping viewers will not experiences anything surprising. But if my painting on the wall manages it to awaken the viewrs, then, surprising experiences are possible. Even I, who painted it, can be surprised again. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Brigitte. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Thank you very much. Well, I now began with a new series „authentic encounter“, some paintings of this series you already mentioned. In this series, I began to express facets of human cooperation. That is a very exciting topic for me and I think I will stick to it for quite a while. I am eager to see, where this topic will lead me. An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator design by Dario Rutigliano, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

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Albert Einstein acryl oil collage 70cm x 1m

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Nicole Benner Lives and works in Atlanta, GA, USA

My work examines the numerous layers of the body affected by chronic pain, as it relates to spinal health. This includes the physical, psychological, and emotional impact that chronic pain has on different individuals. I engage with the complexities of the human anatomy through objects that exist, or could exist, on the figure. Each piece allows for the consideration of how the object affects the wearer/viewer and how the wearer/viewer affects the object. My responsiveness to the spine as a subject initiates through my own chronic back pain and the knowledge that spinal issues are very common. Most people with back pain are constantly aware of the role the backbone plays in supporting their body and facilitating movement. Comfort/Confine is a full body casing that considers the broad, restrictive isolation placed on the body when an individual deals with chronic pain. I utilize the copper yarn as a reference to the nervous system: an aspect of my own chronic pain that can be debilitating. Here, the body has defined mobility, only capable of reaching where the textile allows. The materials chosen to create these objects are thoughtfully considered to reflect these ideas. I explore how a material references different layers of the body, what properties the material has, how it can be manipulated, and what impact it will have on the body as it is transformed into a garment or panel construction. The techniques and materials I choose are familiar to us through our understanding of apparel and the function of specific textiles. I utilize that familiarity to engage with the viewer and encourage them to question what those garments could mean. The textiles that exist on the body consider what it is like when you are forced into an awareness of your own body. Sometimes that is through pain or injury, but that awareness can also come from places of confidence and self-consciousness. I encourage the viewer to approach the work and consider what awareness they have when imagining the comfort/discomfort of wearing the garments.


Sentience, Incubator Gallery, Kranzberg Arts Center, St. Louis, Missouri


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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Nicole Benner Lives and works in Atlanta, GA, USA Nicole is a textile artist and Lecturer in Textiles at Georgia State University in Atlanta. She received an MFA in Textile Arts from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a BFA in Sculpture from the University of Central Missouri. Her work has been featured in the international publications, Fiber Art Now and Surface Design, and is part of the Crossing Generations: Past, Present & Future exhibition at the 2017 Surface Design Association Conference in Portland, Oregon. Nicole is also a current artist of the 2017-2018 Walthall Fellowship in Atlanta, GA.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Nicole and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid background and after having earned your BFA in Sculpture you nurtured your education with a Master of Fine Arts with emphasis on Textiles, that you received from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville: how did these experiences influence the way you currently conceive your works?

Experimenting with a wide variety of materials, artist Nicole Benner's work rejects any conventional classification regarding its style, to examines the numerous layers of the body affected by chronic pain, as it relates to spinal health. Drawing from her personal experience, Benner addresses the viewers through a multilayered experience and as in her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she successfully attempts to trigger the spectatorship's perceptual parameters, with a deeper focus on a complementary dialogue between materiality, content and the encounter with the viewers. One of the most impressive aspects of Benner's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of utilizing the familiarity of the materials she combines in her works to encourage the spectatorship to elaborate personal associations and interpretations: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to

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Hello, and thank you for having me. When working through my undergraduate degree, fibers and fabric manipulation was formally new to me. I had been sewing clothing and costumes since I was very young, but everything I knew about working with fibers and fabrics was primarily self-taught. Toward the end of my undergraduate studies, I was dedicated to exploring sculptural forms through felting, knitting, and crocheting, while simultaneously researching whatever I could about historic and contemporary textile

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Comfort/Confine Detail, Crocheted metallic yarn


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artists. Moving toward my graduate degree at SIUE, I was welcomed into a community of amazing mentors and artists. There was always a productive and positive challenge brought forth in every discussion, and it was that constant dialogue that kept me motivated. This experience allowed me to fearlessly jump into new ideas, new materials, try, fail, and problem solve confidently. That has definitely carried through to my current practice. Additionally, I had the time and incredible resources to absorb as much as I could about the multifaceted world of textiles. I spent a whole semester focusing primarily on learning new techniques. This led into my exploration of working with a more interdisciplinary approach, because I did not want to focus on one material or process, but explore the same conceptual ideas through different means. This stands true to my current practice. I will find a material I am really motivated by and weave it into my conceptual ideas working with chronic pain and the human anatomy.

brain to hand, and other times I need to experiment with a material and process an idea from hand to brain. In turn, I will spend time working on a piece that I know has a clear direction, while simultaneously experimenting with new techniques in different materials. It essentially keeps both sides of my brain busy, and that is how I enjoy working. I would say it is rare for me to have only one piece in progress at a time. When working on a piece that requires a lot of repetition, such as crocheting skeins and skeins of yarn in Comfort/Confine, I will have another methodical, and tedious piece going as well. This was the case when constructing Brace. With this piece, I was manipulating corset-making techniques into a brace form that extends from under the bust, down to the ankles. The brace itself being made out of aluminum mesh, I was searching for a way to construct the piece safely for a person to wear. So, I very methodically created hand sewn French Seams so all of the rough edges were hidden.

Your works convey a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://nicolebenner.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell our readers something about your process and set up? How much importance does spontaneity play in your work? In particular, do you conceive you works instinctively or do you methodically elaborate your pieces?

I am also particularly interested in traditional textile techniques that we associate with domestic items and clothing. I like to form associations between the object and the viewer with this familiarity, and that is often a jumping off point for my experimentation. You are a versatile artist: the spectrum of the materials that you combine in your works include silk gauze, steel, cotton, organza and we have appreciated the way you explore the tactile contrasts that you obtain with such variety of materials: Michael Fried once stated that 'materials do not represent, signify, or allude to anything; they are what they are and nothing more.' What are the

I would have to say a little of both. When working with a range of materials and techniques, some ideas move fluidly from

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properties that you search for in the materials that you combine? In particular, what does appeal you of fibers? Materials play a key component in my work. I would say they are responsible for half the narrative I am putting forth, at least. There will be times when a material jumps out at me and I spend time considering how to incorporate it into my work, but more often, I am judging a material based on how I associate it with the human anatomy. When I am talking about the numerous layers of the body affected by chronic pain, I often begin by connecting a material with a physical layer: muscles, nervous system, skeletal structure. I look for materials that represent a hard and soft quality as reference to strength and weakness. I am especially drawn to materials that are transparent and allow the human form to be seen when the object is being worn. When working with an ethereal transparent material like soft silk organza, I will establish the “strength” in the technique I use, since the fabric is seemingly so delicate. That is true for Plaited Constraint. The piece is very structured, but constructed from a delicate, “soft tissuelike” fabric. In regard to what about textiles appeals to me, I would say the tactile quality of textiles is something I have not found in other media. When I began working with fibers and felting, I knew it was a medium I was truly in love with. Partially, I believe my deep childhood interest in making clothing and costumes jump-started my captivation. Every aspect of textiles requests that I touch the material, or I am intrigued on a level that requires I get closer to the fabric. So, while I work in a range of materials, textiles and textile processes remain my constant. With my

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Comfort/Confine

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focus on the human anatomy, this media lends itself effortlessly, but I am engaged in the different processes and the rich history of textiles as a whole. As I mentioned before, I utilize materials and techniques as an association between the viewer and the object. Regardless of an individual’s background, every person has an association with textiles that allows them an immediate entrance into my work.

amount of control out of my hands, I found harrowing. So, I refocused that pain into my work, and problem solved how to put these feeling into a piece that would demonstrate the experience I was having at the time. Equally, I was problem solving how I could work from the comfort of my bed. With that, I began crocheting a dimensional form, fitting the contours to my body. Thoughtfully, I was working with a metallic yarn that I had found some months before, and it was the perfect fit for the material relationship I wanted for this piece. I chose to crochet because of the close association everyone has with this technique. Whether it be a blanket, hat, scarf, or stuffed animal, each of these elements is something we associate with comfort. While the yarn is truly soft and light, the metallic quality translates visually to something that may be hard and heavy. As the piece evolved, I knew it needed to not only encompass the body, but extend beyond the feet. On one hand, this is a personal space, a cocoon, and the circular footprint isolates the individual. On the other side, the piece is restrictive, and that pain or loss of control extends beyond the physical and into that individual’s larger space. This was the duality I wanted to create with.

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Comfort/Confine, a full body casing that considers the broad, restrictive isolation placed on the body when an individual deals with chronic pain. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic inquiry is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of Comfort/Confine would you tell us your sources of inspiration? How did you develop the initial idea? While my whole body of work originates from a place of personal narrative, I do research and listen to the experiences of other individuals dealing with chronic pain. Comfort/Confine is a piece closely associated to my own experience with spinal health because it originated while I was dealing with a rough stint of severe back pain. Without getting into too much detail about the medical side of it, disc issues in my lower spine can cause severe nerve pain to travel down my leg. Additionally, it can cause spinal alignment to be off and create severe muscle spasms. At this time, I was focused on a type of pain that controls my whole body, not just my back. Beyond that, it controls what I am able to do all together, and to have that

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As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your responsiveness to the spine as a subject initiates through your own chronic back pain and the knowledge that spinal issues are very common: how would you consider the relationship between everyday life's experience and your creative process? How does direct experience fuel your imagination? As I mentioned in regard to Comfort/Confine, part of my creative process is finding control

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Plaited Constraint, Hand dyed silk organza


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experience is still present. Making is my way to control it. It is a journaling process, and a way to tell a narrative I know many people associate with. I would say, in turn, I am never lacking a story to tell, but maybe my materials cannot keep up! I believe when I am having a stint where pain is minimal, that likely reflects in the work I am making at the time, whether it is referencing strength in materiality, or focusing on a specific physical layer that is very controlled. Ultimately, my experience reminds me of my ability to problem solve, find a positive, and focus on making. We daresay that Plaited Constraint provides abstract feelings with a tactile sense of permanence, to create materiality of the immaterial: how did you come up with the idea of this captivating artwork? As I have mentioned, I like to work with materials and processes that people have an association with. Plaiting is a technique used heavily in basket-making, but it is also used as decorative elements on pillows, and in the small “finger trap� toys so many of us are familiar with. I was able to immediately draw parallels to this technique being traditionally used to make vessels and how chronic pain takes over the body and there is an encompassing feeling of being stuck in one’s own skin (vessel). Part of my practice digs into research about chronic pain in regard to spinal health. It is an issue I deal with constantly, so I never lack reference, but I have also read numerous studies that note 80% of the population deal with back issues at some point in their life. I found that number staggering. Chronic pain tends to be a hidden ailment until it affects your ability

Plaited Constraint Detail

in an uncontrollable issue. At this point, my spinal issues have become a part of my studio practice. I arrange my working space in specific ways to add comfort, and I consciously stretch and make sure I am not hunched over my sewing machine for too long. This is an additional reason I usually have multiple pieces in progress at the same time. I am aware of what I need to do to take care of myself, to prevent or ease pain while still working. So, even when my back decides to cooperate, the awareness and that direct

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Brace Detail, Wire mesh, steel, nuts and bolts

to stand or walk properly. When I was approaching this body of work, I was considering how to shift the emotional perspective of what is happening on the

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interior and bringing it to the exterior. While no one can see chronic pain, the physical and emotional side of this issue move into your larger space. It is reaching beyond your head

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How Would You Rate Your Pain, Silk gauze, yarn, thread


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and beyond your toes. Ultimately, I approach this piece just like the others: I am identifying one more layer of the body affected by chronic pain. For Plaited Constraint, that layer is not as much a physical layer as it is emotional.

to consider the discomfort of the brace, but also the inability to move for fear of damaging the seemingly delicate fabric. I avidly try to find a balance between the abstraction and representation, the emotional and the physical in order to clearly translate a narrative.

Despite to clear references to tactile reality your visual vocabulary, as revealed by the interesting Underarm Brace, has a very ambivalent, almost ethereal quality. How do you view the concepts of the real and the imagined playing out within your works? How would you define the relationship between abstraction and representation in your practice?

You use familiar materials to engage with the viewer and encourage them to challenge their perceptual and cultural parameters. The power of visual arts in the contemporary age is enormous: at the same time, the role of the viewer’s disposition and attitude is equally important. Both our minds and our bodies need to actively participate in the experience of contemplating a piece of art: it demands your total attention and a particular kind of effort — it’s almost a commitment. What do you think about the role of the viewer? Are you particularly interested if you try to achieve to trigger the viewers' perception as starting point to urge them to elaborate personal interpretations?

When talking about the interior workings of the human anatomy, it is not always as simple as drawing a spine, muscle structures, etc. Often, the emotional impact and how I interpret an experience comes forward as being very abstract. I talk about the multiple layers of the body affected by chronic pain. I would say I can easily draw parallels between representation and the physical layers, and abstraction and the emotional layers. Depending on the origin of a piece, I then look for a balance between abstraction and representation to better understand the narrative. In the case of Underarm Brace, I began with representation: a type of brace used to treat scoliosis. Then the abstraction came forward by forcing a delicate material that references muscle and soft-tissue to make up the surface material of the brace framed in steel. It pulls back and forth between functional and nonfunctional. If the viewer was to imagine wearing the object they would have

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While my works originate from a place of personal narrative, I am very engaged in the role of the viewer. While a large portion of the population deals with some form of the chronic pain, I also acknowledge that many people do not. In particular with the objects that exist on a human form, I hope to encourage the viewer to input themselves into the position of the figure and consider the way they would feel if they were wearing that object. Both physically and mentally. Through the familiar materials and the human figure, I try to engage with all viewers so they can input their personal

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Circulate Silk gauze, silk organza, cotton thread, PLA plastic


Circulate


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on how specific fabrics and techniques are used for different items in different places.

interpretation. I enjoy hearing people acknowledge a similar understanding of the piece as my experience, but equally, some interpretations may come from a place of anxiety, or pain that comes from an accident. I find those additional personal interpretations to inspire beyond even my original intention.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Nicole. Finally, would you like to tell our readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Over the years your works have been showcased on several occasions, including your recent participation to Crossing Generations: Past, Present, & Future, at the Hoffman Art Gallery, Portland, Oregon curated by Jane Sauer. One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

I consider the works that exist on the body to be fresh with a lot of room for evolution and growth, so currently, I am doing more in-depth exploration into crocheted forms. Simultaneously, I am focusing on the way these works are activated. The human figure plays such a huge role in these works, and the experience is much different when the piece is on a human vs. on a mannequin. When I collaborated with Arica Brown and Consuming Kinetics Dance Company, I saw Comfort/Confine activated in a way that I am really interested in. Since then, I have shown the video documentation of the performance Molecular Memory, alongside the object and I am digging into how performance and this form of documentation have the potential to elevate the objects. I hope to have more of these ideas incorporated into my portfolio in the coming months.

Chronic pain is a universal physical issue. My work begins from my narrative, but I always say originates, because I want the work to extend beyond me to a place where different individuals can input themselves into the work, and interpret from their perspective. To do this, I believe I have to consider audience reception through different stages of my decision-making process. As I have mentioned in previous questions, drawing people in with a familiarity to materials come from my own experience, but it also comes with research

Thanks so much for this opportunity.

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Aby Mackie Lives and works in Barcelona

Aby Mackie is a Barcelona-based artist whose wall-based sculptures are unified through a materials-led methodology combining storytelling and social commentary. Recurring themes can be identified as materialism, consumerism, value and memory. Each series investigates the interconnectedness of these themes through the language of materials. Often in Barcelona, the contents of entire homes are either thrown onto the streets or auctioned off at Encants Vells market upon the death of a final occupant. The creation of Mackie’s work is driven by the selection and repurposing of objects and textiles from these two practices in order to explore ongoing cultural concerns. This roots Mackie’s artistic process in the everyday existence of the unrecognised, uncelebrated, unknown lives of Barcelona’s residents. Mackie is captivated by the unobvious silent material witnesses to a life lived; a worn bed sheet, a stained tablecloth, a moth-eaten gown. Such artefacts bare the marks and physicality of human nature, possessing a poetic power. They are simultaneously valuable in their uniqueness and worthless in their deteriorated, decontextualized state. Each piece created from these objects is therefore both the artist’s personal expression of the hidden memories embedded in the original items, and a way to explore the recycling and re-contextualising of meaning and value in contemporary society. The experience and memories of others, imagined and real, fuse seamlessly with Mackie’s own through the salvation, destruction and discordant juxtaposition of materials. A rich mix of influences can be seen through Mackie’s work in terms of concept (the found object sculpture of Picasso, Miro, Tapies, Grau-Garriga), techniques and materials (Anatsui) and subject matter and aesthetic sense (Basquiat, Schwarz), inviting the viewer to create their own connections and interpretations and encouraging a personal storytelling through materiality.


Wall based sculptures (work in progress). Mixed media. Embroidery, stitch and paint. 2017


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Aby Mackie Lives and works in Barcelona, Spain Born in 1977 in Leicester, U.K. Aby Mackie earned her first class BA in textile design at Nottingham Trent University, followed by a Masters of Arts in fine art, photography and methodology. It is from this place of material and technical diversity that her work has evolved over the years. Aby is a dedicated diarist who has written every day for the last 27 years. Her work is about a life lived, often self portraits that make direct and indirect reference to her diaries and subsequent moments, specific events and days gone by. Aby Mackie's experience with art started at a young age; inspired by her clock-maker fathers' technical drawings and crafting of clock movements. This led Aby to study various arts and crafts practices; from jewellery making to pottery, metal sculpture to B&W photography. Her passion for vintage textiles can also be accredited to her antique collecting fathers' influence as well as her mothers passion for ancient history and stuffed snakes. The influence of vintage textiles is evident throughout her work. Aby moved to Barcelona on a whim in the summer of 2004. She has been running a successful design business for almost ten years, that has continued to evolve into the company that it is today. She now has a shop, 'Aby Mackie ShowRoom' in the Poblenou district; where she sells her converted designs, collections of vintage clothing and exhibits her latest art works.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

(my father is a clock maker and my mother studied ancient history) whilst growing up on a council estate in Leicester. My childhood home from the outside was a council house like any other, yet inside it was a magical place filled with grandfather clocks, antiques and curios, music and books.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Aby and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid background and after having earned your first class BA in Textile Design from the Nottingham Trent University, you nurtured your education with a Masters of Arts in Fine Art, Photography and Methodology. How did these experiences influence the way you currently conceive your works? In particular, how does the relationship between your cultural substratum dued to your English roots and your current life in Barcelona?

Barcelona, for me, is a place like the inside of my childhood home, magical. It’s steeped in history, architecturally rich and abundant in creativity. From the very first time I ever visited Barcelona it felt like it was home. Whilst I studied a design (textiles) degree I always made artworks as my final pieces throughout my course, finding the challenge of making art whilst fulfilling a design-led brief, exciting. This led to a masters, researching into comparative studies between design and art methodologies. The influence of My BA in

My English roots are very firmly planted in the duality of growing up with creative parents

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Aby Mackie photo by Daniela Leal


Bust. Mixed media, assemblage.'soldier on' 2017


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Textile Design upon my current artistic practice is evident, and an ongoing questioning between an art and design practice prevails throughout my creative practice.

You are a versatile artist and your practice is marked out with captivating multidisciplinary feature, ranging from book arts, social and community art engagement practices, textiles, mixed media, installation, public art, and greenspace. What did address your current approach? And in particular, when do you recognize that a technique or a material has exhausted its expressive potential to self?

Your works convey a coherent sense of unity that rejects any conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://abymackie.crevado.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up? How much importance does play spontaneity in your work? In particular, do you conceive you works instinctively or do you methodically elaborate your pieces?

My current material led approach using mixed media and textiles usually dictates the end context, as site specific installations and public art pieces. As the materials used in my work are often street-sourced I like the collaborative aspect of exhibiting work in a street-art context and outside of the usual gallery space. Work created for this end purpose is non-commercial and free to the intrepid viewer. The majority of my work, which is extremely labour-intensive, is intended for site specific installation.

I practice a material-led working methodology, sourcing unique items from the local flea market, Encants, as well as from the streets of Barcelona. I follow my gut and collect objects that excite me; from agricultural machinery to horse paraphernalia, thread bare bedding to sailors hats. Often these items will hang around my studio for months, if not years before inspiration strikes.

I find that the very nature of the materials that I employ provides endless possibilities as each object is unique and has a materialistic quality that is totally original. These one-off materials combined with a technique that develops from the object itself, means that the range and combination and possibility of technique and material remain new each time. I use various textile techniques as my starting point; embroidery, appliqué, wrapping, weaving, quilting, stitching and so on, or I use fine art techniques on the textile itself; painting, printing, collage, photography, drawing etc. I tend to have multiple bodies of works in progress simultaneously as the material I’m using has to be sourced, often from Encants, and it is down to luck and perseverance which can sometimes takes years - such as the sculptures using horse collars or the series of

I work very spontaneously and instinctively. Work often evolves from an object or material, teasing the subject out of its depths to create a starting point. The work, ‘Moda in Dystopia’ began from the carefully folded and tied pile of teatowels from the 1950’s. The fact that they are teatowels already creates a very clear language, talking of women's work, domesticity and femininity. Whilst the object or material itself provides an instinctive starting point to my work, the pieces then usually evolve methodically and more often than not laboriously, from that point onwards.

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Works from 2016 exhibition, 'somewhere girl' (anybodies story) installation of 100 A4 pieces. Technique: collage, painting. photography, drawing, printing, embroidery and cutwork. Material: Cotton & thread.


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busts using military hats - before a body of work is completed.

descriptive enough to make visual my concept, but without being overly prescriptive.

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Moda in Dystopia, an interesting series that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic inquiry is the way you provided its visual results with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of Moda in Dystopia would you tell us your sources of inspiration?

A lot of the pieces in ‘Moda en Dystopia’ are simultaneously decorative and have an aesthetic appeal whilst also being a disturbing female form, contorted into strange new shapes that feel menacing; globular limbs, insect-like eyeless and gaping-mouthed forms fly by. This is the dystopian fashioning of femininity of our times… Investigating about the unobvious silent material witnesses to a life lived, your works unveil the tension between the physical and the ephemeral, your artworks provide, with tactile features, the social history embedded in objects and materials: would you say that the way you provide the transient with the sense of permanence allows you to create materiality of the immaterial?

Firstly, as previously stated, ‘Moda en Dystopia’ began with the selection of the material itself. The implicit domestic and feminine qualities of the teatowels, as well as the actual construction of the material which has been made for repetitive hard labour, strong, made to withstand a lot of use. This duality of femininity and domesticity with strength and hard physical labour led me to think about the duality of current fashion trends, of the clothes themselves as well as the physicality of the female form. As women, we have never seemingly had so much power and choice, nor have we ever been so vulnerable and under so much pressure to conform to certain physical ideals. The female form is being manipulated as never before as bottoms expand, waists contract and lips explode. This extreme and unrealistic modification of the female form is reflected in fashion magazines, as fashion shoots themselves strive for uniqueness, pushing and contorting the feminine ideal to new twisted unobtainable forms.

In a sense I feel like I am rescuing those unseen stories, those lives lived, and the people that were here before us by buying and collecting those abandoned thread bare covers and throws, dresses and clothes as well as forgotten objects, once useful now useless and forgotten. This also crosses over into my own personal style, as I favour old ballgowns and mens brogues for day to day living. These objects and materials were once treasured, the memory raw and the life in motion. Once the owners die, usually the item is passed down to the next generation, held onto in memory of that person, whilst the original memory of that dress, or sailor hat, or whatever, is already lost. The object then often becomes abandoned altogether as the next generation dies… the items that I recover are often steeped in at least two whole generations

I wanted the ideas behind the work to whisper, hint at this concept, whilst leaving space for the viewer to interpret the work themselves: to be

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Aby Mackie photo by Daniela Leal


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from the series 'Moda in Dystopia' Materials: Teatowels, thread and fabric. Technique: embroidery and appli

already. When I rescue an item I can’t rescue the memories, but if the item itself remains then there is a sense that all is not lost.

your work is driven by the selection and repurposing of objects and textiles from these two practices in order to explore ongoing cultural concerns. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under". How do you consider the relationship between artists and cultural issues? Moreover, what could be in your opinion the role of Art in the contemporary age?

As material for my art work I am giving permanence to the transient, and bringing it back to life in the re-telling and recontextualising of the piece. The ingrained sense of history in the materials that I use, even if fabricated over time, like a story passed down through generations, it evolves; flourishes are added, details are lost and facts are changed. It is exactly this, the transformative possibility of these materials, that excites me in my work.

I think that the role of the artist in the contemporary age is to address and challenge people about how we live day to day in a local context, in relation to our environment

Your artworks often deal with the themes of materialism and consumerism: the creation of

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que.

to day living in relation to the impact of globalisation.

culturally. Art is the perfect vehicle to get people to stop and look and question. Particularly since the sixties we have become accustomed to finding meaning within works of art, trained to ask questions as we have been educated to believe that art must answer for something.

You seem to draw a lot from daily life and your art shows your connection to the everyday existence of the unrecognised, uncelebrated, unknown lives of Barcelona’s residents. How much does everyday life experiences fuel yourself as a creative? In particular, how would you consider the relationship between direct experience and creativity.

The world is becoming smaller and smaller and more homogenised. We are becoming less defined by locality and more by the global dominance of technological advancements and consumerism. In this sense art has never been as important as it is now as a vehicle for commentary, as a means to express a unique viewpoint about our local environment and day

Incorporating creativity as an integral part of day to day living is incredibly important to me. In fact as of July this year I moved into a new space that enables me to do just that;

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from the series 'Moda in Dystopia' Materials: Teatowels, thread and fabric. Technique: embroidery and appli

seamlessly integrate creativity with day to day life. Having a large space that combines my own gallery with a vintage boutique, a huge studio space, room to teach, as well as an outdoor space, enables me to really live in a creative and organic way.

old and new, of lives being lived in between the influx of tourism, creativity and industry. It is the minutiae of the people’s lives and how they are lived that make up the city, and it is exactly that which inspires me. You have been running a successful design business for almost ten years, and now run your own Gallery and shop, 'Pa Galleria' in the Sant Marti district: how would you consider the relationship between Art and business in our media driven contemporary age?

The district in which I live, as well as Barcelona itself, directly influences, inspires and informs my work. The direct experience of living here in the old industrial district of Sant Marti, and the duality of the old industrial architecture, machinery and workers against a backdrop of graffiti, artist studios and the new glass and steel modern buildings, mirrors the bones of what Barcelona is all about. The contrast of

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The relationship between art and business is wider. Art as a commodity is more viable than ever before. It also depends on the

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from the series 'Moda in Dystopia' Materials: Teatowels, thread and fabric. Technique: embroidery and appli


from the series 'Moda in Dystopia' Materials: Teatowels, thread and fabric. Technique: embroidery and appli


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from the series 'Moda in Dystopia' Materials: Teatowels, thread and fabric. Technique: embroidery and appli

parameters of what you mean by art. I certainly have fewer marketable works that are intended for a gallery setting. These works tend to create publicity and garner attention, but not necessarily provide immediate financial return. Whereas smaller works, specifically my mixed media textile works in an A4 format, are specifically conceived to be sold and easily fit into the average home. Then there are the series, again in small format and at a lower price point. Etsy is one of the many platforms that I use to sell smaller works at a lower price point as well as an outlet for my design based work and vintage treasures (https://www.etsy.com/shop/AbyMackie).

Each of these types of work are conceived for a particular market and end ‘function’. The ease with which we can self-promote and perpetuate our artistic production means that we are able to reach a wider audience than ever before. This enables us, as artists, to be more in control of the publicity, marketing and distribution of our work. I find Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/abymackie/) and Pinterest (https://es.pinterest.com/abymackie/) to be good online marketing tools. One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with

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the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Aby. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? As I mentioned before, I have just moved into a new exciting space. The 280m2 building used to be an old bakery, with a shop at the front and the bread making facilities at the back, including a huge old oven from the 1940’s. Previously I have been very restricted by space, as well as time, due to being a single mother to two young children. Now I will be able to hang my work without having to store it away afterwards, work without any scale restrictions and also be able to work late into the night and/or early in the morning. So I see my work evolving extensively in specific response to this new space.

Audience reception is vital to my art practice, and subsequently an important consideration when thinking about the appropriate material and technique to employ for a particular piece. Textiles, used as both a material and as a technique, strongly emote femininity and domesticity as well as decorative arts, interior design and crafts. Therefore I often try to counterbalance these embedded indicators through using a dominating scale or a physical strength and weight or by combing textile techniques with unexpected materials, such as steel and wood.

I will also have my own small gallery space that will enable me to periodically show new work allowing me to stand back and assess, which can be very difficult to do when you don't get your work out of the studio setting regularly. This will definitely effect the evolution of my artistic practice in the future.

For me a successful work of art must first and foremost have an aesthetic appeal, to catch the viewer’s eye and to draw them in. Secondly the work must then have a concept behind it, one that is both accessible and transmutable; adaptable to the viewer’s own interpretation whilst maintaining my own intended vision.

As always I am working on multiple bodies of work at the same time. There are the ongoing long term projects, the sculptural works, assemblages and small mixed media textile works (http://abymackie.crevado.com). I also have the wall based sculptures that I am working on which I intend to show as an installation of 12 pieces. These are huge monolithic works I hope to exhibit this year.

The work ‘Moda in Dystopia’ for example is purposefully decorative, employing both embroidery and appliqué techniques that, in combination with the teatowels, reeks of femininity with references to fashion imagery. This draws the viewer close in to the work and it is at that point, that the decorative gives way to the weird, and fashion dissolves into deformity.

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from the series 'Moda in Dystopia' Materials: Teatowels, thread and fabric. Technique: embroidery and appli


Sofia Plater Lives and works in Boston, Massachussets, USA

My art is process driven. I embrace the abstract images that emerge from the manipulation of materials. Although there is a certain amount of planning, I try to always accept the unexpected. I like incorporating ordinary everyday mediums into my art and making them into something beautiful and unique. My favorite medium at the moment is hot glue. I usually cover the entire canvas, and depending on the depth of the glue when it cools, random opaque cloudy swirls appear on top of the surface. It’s always a mystery what forms will be produced, and I often melt and re-work the images until I achieve the desired composition. In my recent pieces I have been adding a silver or gold paint to the glue, which reacts with the plastic when I run my heat gun over it. It creates really amazing swirls and bubbles that harden and are captured in the glue. If hot glue is pressed between an image and glass it creates a crystal clear adhesive. By using the clear flat marbles that are present in many of my pieces, I am able to magnify what is underneath. The image becomes amplified and vibrant. I’m fascinated with making pieces that have to be carefully studied to be fully taken in. I enjoy visually creating the feeling of curiosity. At a distance, some parts of the pieces could be unclear as to how it was constructed; the viewer has to take a closer look to really capture it.


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Sofia Plater Lives and works in Boston, Massachussets, USA Experimenting with a wide variety of materials and techniques to express the ideas she explores, artist Sofia Plater's work rejects any conventional classification regarding its style, to address the viewers to a multilayered visual experience. In her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she successfully attempts to trigger the spectatorship's perceptual parameters, with a deeper focus on a complementary dialogue between materiality, content, and the encounter with the viewers. One of the most impressive aspects of Plater's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of encouraging the audience's visual curiosity, urging them to inquire into the liminal area where the natural and the artificial find an unexpected still coherent equilibrium: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Barbara Scott, curator

able to learn many different artistic techniques by taking many types of art classes. I was able to experiment with new mediums and find what I was most attracted to, ultimately bringing several different of these learned skills into my own practice. Now that I’ve found the kind of mediums I’m most interested in, I’m able to focus all my attention on my own technique while earning my Master’s of Fine Arts degree. I’m currently in my final year at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston Massachusetts.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Sofia and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid background and after having earned your BFA in Visual Arts from the Boston College, you nurtured your education with a Master of Fine Arts from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. How did these experiences influence the way you currently conceive your works? In particular, how did formal training help you to develope your unique style?

Your works convey a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit

While earning my BFA from Boston College I was fortunate enough to be

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http://www.sofiaplater.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up? How much importance does spontaneity play in your work? In particular, do you conceive you works instinctively or do you methodically elaborate your pieces?

particular, when do you recognize that a technique or a material has exhausted its expressive potential to self? I’m fascinated with balancing textures and materials: smooth with rough, shine with matte, torn edges with straight cuts. I’ve always enjoyed finding these qualities within materials and discovering how I can alter them in new and fascinating ways. In order to achieve the results I imagined, I use a lot of different mediums and found objects and then reconstruct them into suitable components. My use of transparent elements, such as resins and plastics, capture the light in their angles and patterns. The interaction between the angles of the clear details and the light source is what activates the sculpture. When encountered in person, there is always an interaction between the viewers own body movement, where the light hits, and how these factors alter what is visible within the piece.

Spontaneity plays a huge role in my practice. I experiment with each medium’s unique characteristics— pushing them to their limits and testing how different materials interact with each other and then using those results to guide my piece in an impulsive way. I usually start with an idea in mind, sometimes something as a simple as an aim to replicate the illusion of surface tension. Then, the act of creating takes me in many different directions, as I frequently discover new visions as I go along. I think of my studio as a kind of science laboratory. As I work I have many different “experiments” going all at once, with miscellany projects on every surface available. One corner will have thick mediums drying for days, while other areas are filled with tiny odds and ends waiting to be affixed in their final position.

I’m gratified by symmetrically balanced pieces, with some portions pushing against that rigid structure. The result is organized dishevelment, with the viewer’s eye being drawn to the pattern but also pulled to the infractions, and obfuscated overlays. In some pieces, I let the materials flow in their natural state: dripping, mixing, masking, or even burning them. The collection of these layers adds a complexity to my work that

You are a versatile artist and you include a wide variety of materials in your artworks: what did attract you to such interdisciplinary approach?And in

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pushes sight and mind away from the simple and recognizable. I have gone through phases with materials such as resin, metal, spray paint, adhesives, glass, wood, concrete, and silicone. The amount I focus on each medium varies. For instance, I went through a period of covering large canvases with thick layers of hot glue by means of melting it in a pot. I did several large-scale pieces like this, but I have decided to stop using this technique because of the difficulty of the melting method and the fumes it produces. Though I have stopped using hot glue in this way, I still use it regularly in my other works for other functions like texture and small translucent details. For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected RODS AND CONES, an interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic inquiry is the way you provided its visual results of with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of RODS AND CONES would you tell us your sources of inspiration? This was a very interesting process, one I thought up while experimenting with different types of plastics and molds. I realized that ordinary drinking straws are

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Port au prince, installation , West End Gallery, 2015

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made out of a specific plastic that does not adhere to the resin I use. I knew I would be able to slice the resin out of the plastic straw casing. The way the resin is molded within the cylinder creates magnifying properties that exaggerates the underlying image. I appreciate the way the transparent rods segment the image in horizontal lines while bringing attention to the sharp designs underneath. I was drawn to the image beneath, which is a black and white photo of ice crystals reacting with salt. This natural image is interestingly juxtaposed with the synthetic plastic rods that magnify the organic designs. The piece’s overall presence feels simultaneously biological and artificial. You use to incorporate everyday objects into my resin work: you seem to draw a lot from daily life and your connection to natural world. How much does every day life's experience fuel yourself as a creative? In particular, how would you consider the relationship between direct experience and creativity? A common factor in my creations is the use of found objects and materials scavenged from recycle centers, hardware stores, yard sales, and even off the side of the road. I’m drawn to using manmade materials that are low profile in the sense that they have no distinguishable labels or markings. The

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many complex systems at work, such as cellular structures and fractle patterns, that go unnoticed, though there is so much beauty within their formations. Through my representations of natural structures, my art intends to bring awareness of the fragility of nature and what our consumeristic society is doing to the planet.

parts are recognizable in a way but also anonymous. I find the inherent functional design of these objects to be beautiful in their own right, and I aim to bring attention to their own physical particularness. My practice is process based, I challenge myself and the material to discover what qualities I can build upon, rework, and multiply to create something new and appealing. Combined together into a repetitive pattern makes an organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts. Your works are marked with captivating geometric feeling that witnessing the architecture of raw nature, the free-forming textures and structures that exist and grow in the environment: how would you consider the role of Nature in relation to your work? What does fascinate you of raw environment?

Many of your works, as the interesting Concentric Square and Hexagon Hollows shows a point of convergence between traditional aesthetic and contemporary sensitiveness. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under". How do you consider the relationship between artists and society? Moreover, what could be in your opinion the role of Art in the contemporary age?

My primary inspirations come from witnessing the architecture of raw nature, the free-forming textures and structures that exist and grow in the environment. My work features designs that imitate naturally occurring forms, but are mostly composed of humanmade and mass-produced materials— representing the real and the synthetic intertwined. I’ve always been fascinated by the way that nature builds itself in such a systematic way. There are so

At the moment, there are so many current events that artists are inclined to address with their art. In recent months, there have been some unfortunate new regulations regarding America’s environmental policy at a time when it is vital that we do not ignore the Earth’s warning signs. I’ve always been drawn to nature, having grown up with a father who is an environmental lawyer and professor. I was fortunate enough to learn first-

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hand of many global issues and the legal regulations that are effecting everyone in the country and ultimately the planet.

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I’ve chosen to focus on the environmental plight by creating a body of work that showcases natural

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elements juxtaposed with artificial materials. My work features designs that imitate naturally occurring forms,

but are mostly composed of humanmade and mass-produced materials. In my newest installation, Tilting Totems,

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each segmented cylindrical layer was molded from a found plastic “disposable� container. In our

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consumeristic heavy society here in America, thousands of different sizes and shapes of take-away containers are

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manufactured to suit a human’s every need, at the cost of the environment. With the grim fact that only 6.5% of plastic is actually recycled, we are reminded just how inconsequential these environmental issues are to big businesses when profit is at stake.

materials, that change with the viewer’s perspective. The way the light hits some of the angular shapes creates a different impression depending where the illumination is coming from. Since my sculptural work is very dimensional, it forces the viewers to move around the space to discover it all, influencing a more in-depth experience with the materials. Scrutinizing the work from all angles, experiencing the shadow and even sometimes the smell, all add more components to the experience that a visual image cannot rival.

One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Sofia. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? This coming fall I am looking forward to the final year of my master’s program at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston. This year will include my final thesis show in May at the Cyclorama in Boston, an important historical art building. I plan to work primarily in large scale installation and am very excited to experiment with a couple new mediums including metal welding, ceramics and fabric.

While working on a project I do heavily consider the audience’s reception, especially how they will interact with the piece first-hand in a gallery. My aim is to create an immersive experience for the viewer, where they are overtaken by curiosity and the desire to get close to the work to really investigate all the components. Experiencing the work in a gallery setting is a very different experience because the viewer is able to walk around the sculptures and look closely from all angles. There are a lot of tiny details, especially in the transparent

http://www.sofiaplater.com An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Barbara Scott, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

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Shai Jossef


Paula Blower Lives and works in London, United Kingdom

Natural, pure and spontaneous. It is on this dimension that I propose my work's development. As a freedom and permission to multiply, separate, transform. I allow myself to be a book, to wear it. I wear the sea, I wear the repulsion, I wear the solitude, I wear myself as a child. I decide when I'm born. It's all about choices and the powerful machine that is our own mind. And this is my new childhood. Literature inspires me and for freedom of expression I try to materialize it. Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.�. I seek to explore impermanence, autonomously, using different languages, techniques, and unconventional materials most often ephemeral. Through a search for the answer or just a reaction to the personal experiences I try to express them in a playful way as a conversation with the viewer. As a request for help or just the reflection of intense relationships of dialogue with our demons. Think of the body as something volatile and immaterial. A body in constructive transformation. This body that can be object, house, a feeling of longing, yellow, slurry. I'm just a correspondent. I try to stimulate the senses and different ways of thinking the inner and outer body.

The answer is in the verse, 2016 - Photographer Marcelo Hallit


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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Paula Blower Lives and works in London, United Kingdom Rejecting any conventional classification, Artist Paula Blower's work addresses the viewers to a multilayered visual and participative experience: through a wide variety of media and languages and techniques, she mixes unconventional materials to urge the spectatorship to question their cultural and perceptual parameters. One of the most impressive aspects of Blower's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of triggering walking them through the liminal area in which perceptual reality and the realm of imagination find a consistent point of convergence: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

sense to me, and freedom to take shape and embrace my own language. The travels made me lose the notion of belonging, my roots. But, at the same time, Brazilian materials and symbols do much of the work, for example the latex that comes from Seringueira, a genuinely Brazilian tree, the glasses made of Brigadeiro, a typical chocolate desert, wore by Carlos Drummond de Andrade's statue, one of Brazil's most important poets at an intervention work.

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Hello Paula and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid background and after having graduated in Garment Production Technology you nurtured your education with study experiences at the prestigious Slade School of Fine Arts and Central Saint Martins, in London. How did these experiences, among with the courses that you attended at the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro under the guidance of JoĂŁo Carlos Goldberg influence the way you currently conceive your works? And in particular, how does the relationship between your cultural substratum dued to your Brazilian roots and your travels in Europe inform the way you relate yourself to art making?

JoĂŁo Carlos Goldberg is an artist, archaeologist and professor at Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage since 1982 and had a very important role in the school as director (19911993). He also created and nurtured the excellent 3D workshop with the assistance of the artist Marcos Duarte (person who has important role in my search for materials, often unconventional) and where I started to make my first pieces. Goldberg is a very special person in my career. He has always been a great motivator and incentive for my experimentation and also an example of ethics in art production, even though it is a controversial issue. Another

My academic and cultural experiences helped me to have enough courage to follow my ambitions, produce something that made

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essential figure was Nadam Guerra, professor and performance artist, a spirit of light that gave me significant opportunities to expose my work. Through him I exposed my first performance O Antidesfile (The Antiparade), with the performers Maurício Krumholz, Natália Miranda Silvestre and Malu Laat. This work began to appear in Buenos Aires at the art residence La Ira de Dios where I had the honor to meet the photographer and artist Gabriel Valansi, one of the program´s curator. When I showed the pieces of clothing I had made from the liquid latex to its solid shape molded into different bodies (parts I started producing one year before residence), he suggested: “make a parade”. I had no intention of being a fashion designer, or whatever, and doing and being considered art, it would come naturally with time (or not!). But anyway, back in Rio de Janeiro, I did an antiparade. It was a workpiece that had a very important visibility and for which I received very positive feedbacks, that ended up stimulating me to my next productions.

does. But I try to dissect all the possibilities that the material has to offer and go deep not only for the physical characteristic but also for its historical, cultural and symbolic meanings. Every process is quite laborious and handmade. Very immersive. I studied and learned conventional techniques mainly of sculpture, molding, pattern and sewing so that I had autonomy in the concretization of my ideas. That I had absolute power of decision taking advantage of mistakes and correctness. But as I work with unconventional materials, I end up creating my own techniques and tools. As in the case when my personal experimentation became my conclusion project of Garment Production Technology. I ended up discovering clothing and accessory techniques made with natural latex from liquid form to solid condition, incorporation of tans, textures, materials, machinery and assembly. Maybe I'm addicted to experimentation. Besides thought, ideas and intellectual research, I value also what is handcrafted and autonomously.

Ranging from a wide variety of techniques including video, installation, performance, intervention, texts and objects, your practice is marked out with a captivating multidisciplinary feature, revealing that you are a versatile artist capable of crossing from a media to another. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.paulablower.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you tell us what does draw you to such approach? What are the properties you are searching for in the materials that you include in your materials? And in particular, when do you recognize that one of the mediums has exhausted it expressive potential to self?

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Children Swallow Buttons, an interesting series that our readers have already started to got to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic inquiry is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of Children Swallow Buttons would you tell us your sources of inspiration? And how did you select your subjects? My inspiration is mostly related to the manifestations of desire and subconscious fears. Something that touches me in some physical or emotional way. That’s my way of verbalizing, my language. In this work, specifically I believe it has been a response to an important event. When I was hospitalized with suspected

I look for materials by chance or if it has any poetic or emotional meaning. Its expressive potential may never end but my interest in it

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pulmonary embolism, the doctor asked me to leave the atelier and all the materials I worked with. Cement, talc, latex, ammonia, gypsum, resin, silicone, etc. I had to reinvent myself. I was hospitalized twice, taking too much medication and I had to do something about it. I went to several doctors and I did not get any diagnoses. Until I chose something alternative. A psychiatrist and homeopath who asked me, "Did you swallow a lot of crying?". She had told me that I had had communication problems and that was causing me to most otorhinolaryngological and pulmonary problems. At the same time, I discovered that my body was quite fragile. Like a child. That's when, on the advice of a previous doctor, I met my current doctor who is a nutrologist physician, a former pulmonologist, who made me drop all the medicines. Nowadays I only have food restrictions and I take vitamins. I gave up trying to get a diagnosis. The first piece of Children Swallow Buttons was made of latex, the second was after the health problem. Made with razor blades, it was a rupture of this skin, which was already “dead� and the materials so representative for the characteristic that the latex has to be skin and scar. The third one was made with all the pills and tablets I stopped taking and others that I had noticed were already old and filled the bathroom drawers. The forth piece was made with thumbtacks that symbolically would be a self-torture and a transcending of the physical and emotional limits. When the body is made of pain, it is not possible to feel anything. The series continues. Sorry for the inconvenience addresses the viewers to challenge their perceptual parmeters and allow an open reading, with a wide variety of associative possibilities. The power of visual arts in the contemporary age is enormous: at the same time, the role of the viewer’s disposition and attitude is equally

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Children Swallow Buttons Thumbtacks detail

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Children Swallow Buttons Razor Blade detail

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important. Both our minds and our bodies need to actively participate in the experience of contemplating a piece of art: it demands your total attention and a particular kind of effort—it’s almost a commitment. What do you think about the role of the viewer? Are you particularly interested if you try to achieve to trigger the viewers' perception as starting point to urge them to elaborate personal interpretations? I do not produce the works wanting to please the viewer. I simply have the need, I try to materialize and show. I must do it because they are not permanent. What I've been keeping and storing is in degradation. I make it and try to expose it as soon as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience was an installationperformance in collaboration with the artist Antônio Tebyriçá and the performers Maurício Krumholz and Natália Miranda Silvestre. At the time the city was preparing for the Olympics and there were building and construction sites everywhere. The city seemed to be “sick” in a way (but every city has its "illnesses"; I'd rather not go into detail). Putting the story short, we created an installation with objects from the dump collected by Tebyriçá, and parts of the human body molded in cement, plaster, clay and wires. Those body pieces I had produced over 2 years and no longer made sense for me. I really wanted to throw them in the trash. I developed clothes made with natural latex and a handmade dyeing of coffee that had a rough texture as of the objects. The performance had a cycle dynamics. While one performer destroyed the installation into pieces, the other repaired the broken objects with a ‘fragile’ tape. Until they created a new "sick" facility using the broken pieces patched with trash holders and totems. It was an urban metaphor. I think the performance was more

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Sorry for the inconvenience, 2016

repulsive and uncomfortable not only for the public but for the space. The noise and that heavy concrete objects thrown to the floor, dirt, shard of glass and cullet could damage the historical building we were in. I did not mean to please the audience,

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just to pass on the message. I could only say I’m sorry. I believe that I am only a tool, the work passes through me but it is for others. Keeping work pieces does not make sense. Without the spectator, it practically does not exist. It's garbage.

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You have once mentioned an Einstein's quote which states that “Imagination is more important than knowledge". How do you view the concepts of the real and the imagined playing out within your works? How would you define the relationship between

representation and imagination in your practice? The game of imagination that he suggests takes place in the symbolisms that every material carries when adopting new forms and

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compositions. The relationship with my work may be about seeing reality beyond what it appears to be. Refer to even hidden and personal symbols and in the empathy they can cause. There has always been someone who will be identified with it. But I still see the work very experimental and it may never miss this feature. For now the most important is the process in which I have to scroll to build. For me it is an intense and deeply affective relationship. The answer is in the verse provides the viewers with an intense, immersive experience and as you have remarked in your artist's statement, your work focusses on a complementary dialogue between materiality, content, the exhibition space, and the encounter with the viewer: how do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience and how you see the relationship between environment and your work? When the work is done or inserted in institutions, galleries, or in the end, spaces designed for art, people are prepared and willing to see or feel something out of the ordinary or at least to change their normal state. Other than that it can be anything or nothing. The answer in the verse, presented in an art space, was a complex performance. It would be very difficult to synthesize or talk about it without extending myself. I built a wearable book using more than 5 liters of natural latex transforming into a large sheet with more than 10 meters in length. There were many days of work and confection and beyond a lifetime of conception. It was a work done for the present public and performers. What remains are the records, just pictures

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O Antidesfile. Photo Victor Naine

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The Roosevelt's Picnic, 2017- Teddy bear made of pig skin and marinated bacon

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and videos. I do not feel like repeating it. If I did it, it would be a different performance. An important experience with the public space was my need to give a social answer through an intervention. The statue of one of the most influential Brazilian poets of the 20th century, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, on Copacabana Beach, had its glasses stolen for the ninth time. They were ripped off by an act of vandalism. In response, I began to create eyeglasses for him. I would wake up at 5 in the morning so I could get it done without the audience interference. It is a very touristic venue, the statue stands just by the shore at Atlântica Avenue and people sit next to him to take photos. When I put the first one, made of resin, a toothed frame, it was gone in less than two hours. So I decided to make ephemeral. The second one was made of stuffed biscuit. It lasted all day. I was not there the whole time to watch it, and to study people’s reactions, but a lot of people took photos and published them on Instagram or Twitter. When I came back at night it was still on the statue. Not on the next day, it was not there anymore. The third was made of Brigadeiro, a typically Brazilian sweet made basically with chocolate and condensed milk. I've already changed the name of this work about three times. In fact, names are complicated when work are constantly changing not only physically but also inside your head. Meanings change over time because in fact you are also changing internally. So, the last name (I do not know until when) that I found quite pertinent was "You are tough, José!". It's inspired in an excerpt from Drummond's poetry: “And now, Jose?”, which represents an existentialist crisis questioning future since nothing has a sense of being, but nevertheless it shows strength and hope to continue before the absurdity.

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Pigs cannot look up at the sky, 2016 - shoes made of pigskin

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Your performance seems to be very analytical, yet they strive to be full of emotion: how much importance has improvisation in your process? Exactly because it is a process with a strong emotional load in its elaboration that I value what each performer has of more intimate to connect with the work. In O Antidesfile, for example, one of the suggested directions to the performers was a self-portrait movement. This expression was created during an art-life workshop. Just as I relate to materials in the process of designing both the idea and the parts to be used in performance, the performer must also relate. It is transference from my construction and conception to a personal relationship with the material. Essays were mainly done to explore this interaction. That's why the way and the moment they perform are improvised. And why the presentations are unique. Your works inquires into the nature of perception and you once remarked that literature inspires you and for the freedom of expression I try to materialize it: we daresay that a part of your work is about the experiment to make visible volatile phenomena: would you say that the way you provide the transient with sense of permanence allows you to create materiality of the immaterial? What transfers the materiality of the immaterial, I believe is our share of imagination and relationships that we create before the symbolic load that the work represents. Therefore, I also choose non-conventional materials because I choose according to their symbolic strength. Literature is insight by the fact that words, their compositions and meanings have strong power in transporting places and sensations. As in dreams. Depending on your empathy power you can smell and taste, for example. Within the literature, I love to feed myself from the magical

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realism of Gabriel Garcia Mรกrquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Massimo Bontempelli, and Haruki Murakami, for example. I love the sense that instead of birds, there are fishes swimming through my window.

Amsterdam, under curatorship of Yujin Song. In a part of the space the public was invited to sit on cushions on the floor to contemplate the object more closely. It is a way for the viewer to be on the same level as the work. Almost in a get-together with the piece, the cushions suggested a picnic and a letter on the wall, a silent conversation with a teddy bear. It could be an exhibition for children. The video installation, next to this space, was made so that the viewer could watch the projection seated on the floor, in company of the bear that by far seemed cuddly and inviting, but from near the reality was another. The bear was pale and made by hand with spoiled pig skin. Contradictory natures combined in one body. Depending on how far you look from it, you will feel the ambivalence between the object and material. These relationships between the public and the work are motivating and can serve as inspiration for future works.

British multidisciplinary artist Angela Bulloch onced stated "that works of arts often continue to evolve after they have been realised, simply by the fact that they are conceived with an element of change, or an inherent potential for some kind of shift to occur". Do you think that the role of the artist has changed these days with the new global communications and the new sensibility created by new media? I think the only important thing this current new set of global communications and media actually do is to expand our possibilities, and our potential outcomes. The interactions are simply amplified. The world has changed, but not the artist role (whichever his/her role is). Over the years your works have been showcased in several occasions and one of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Paula. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Thank you all from Peripheral ARTeries for the opportunity with stimulating and pertinent questions. When it comes to the future I think of Japan. But it's hard to say since it's a job most of the time inspired by chance. In fact, the future for me is like a little box of bees that I need to pick up to produce the next piece.

Certainly the public has a strong influence on my decisions when it comes to exposing a job. I try to make the viewer feel invited to relate almost intimately to the work. As for example in the last exhibition I did, a solo show The Roossevelt's Picnic, at 4bidgallery in

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An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

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Clare Haxby Lives and works in Reigate, Surrey, United Kingdom

An artist’s statement

The best paintings occur when I let myself go when I am not always fully aware of what I’m doing. Hours can pass when I am in the flow I can forget to eat and time can be irrelevant its sort of like a meditation. I am intuitively driven by colour. I don’t overthink my colour choices just go with my intuition. When I am drawing my subjects I am concentrating more on conveying the emotion the mood. I work on the floor, the wall whatever I need to get close to it. After a while I become part of the painting. I have drawn since I was a child and I get a thrill when I see colour whether its on a fabric, a flower or inside a temple in Asia. Travelling and looking is all food for Inspiration

Clare Haxby

Clare has spent the last 10 years living in London and Singapore actively and collaboratively organising art events and Open Studio from a historical black and white house in Singapore. In 2013 and 2015 she exhibited her powerful architectural paintings of Singapore at solo shows at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and later at The American Club of Singapore. Since returning to Surrey Hills outside London in 2015 Clare has exhibited in group shows in Rome, Venice, Buenos Aires and Argentina. This summer she is one of 90 contemporary artists exhibiting at Flux Exhibition London at Chelsea College of Art The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and The French Embassy in Singapore collect Clare’s work.


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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Clare Haxby Lives and works in Reigate, Surrey, United Kingdom

Drawing inspiration from beauty of nature and environment, Bristish artist Clare Haxby's work provides the viewers with an intense, emotional visual experience: her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, successfully attempts to trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters walking them through the liminal area in which perceptual reality and the realm of imagination find a consistent point of convergence. One of the most impressive aspects of Haxby's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of questioning contemporary visualization practice: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

the years you spent in Singapore inform the way you relate yourself to art making?

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When I left school and went to art college at the age of 16 my art teacher at school who nurtured my interest in art and was a fabulous teacher called Miss Phinn said….’oh they do all sorts of crazy things at art college…. you can knit a teapot if you like “ I though fabulous I’m in !!!. What I loved about my early art years training is that it is such a time of experimentation. I loved working and learning about photography, textile design and printing and ceramics alongside my painting and drawing. At Kingston University I had an amazing tutor Susie Allen who mentored me and encouraged me to go to the Victoria and Albert museum with my book of life drawing I had created in mono print and they purchased one for their special

Hello Clare and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. We would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training and after having completed your Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Chesterfield Art College in Derbyshire, you nurtured your education with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking, that you received from the prestigious Kingston upon Thames University, in London: how do these experiences influence the way you currently conceive and produce your works? And in particular, how does the relationship between your cultural substratum due to your British roots and

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collections department. Today I am still passionate about experimenting and trying new things, travelling to places I haven’t been before is one of my favourite things to do. Having lived in Singapore for 8 years ( because my husbands job got moved there) this gave me not only an opportunity to travel and experience new cultures and places around S.E.Asia but in terms of my work I had a huge growth in terms of output and opportunity. Living in Asia had such a positive impact on my work that it will always be part of me and as such is part of me and my brand. I can’t tell you how exciting it was for me as an artist to travel to places like Bali, Thailand, Bhutan, Yogyakarta with a sketchbook in hand. As a creative and visual person you cannot fail to be inspired by everything around you the future the rituals the jungle and the city life. Singapore’s diverse architecture of heritage and also uber modern buildings forms my largest collection of paintings to date. Now I am back in Surrey and London I am painting the architecture of London so I am always inspired by my immediate environment and by places I visit. I am a British artist yes and I am proud of that. I am from Yorkshire and I have a strong work ethic. I have always used what time and energy I have available to me to develop my work and myself.

and setup, can you tell them something about the evolution of your style? My style has evolved over the years and now I feel I have really arrived at my own style.I hadn’t painted buildings or architecture as a subject before but a friend also an artist suggested I paint Singapore or Ubud, Bali 2 places I had spent a lot of time in. I wasn’t keen at first as I was painting organic subjects like flowers and birds but she suggested I paint ‘landscapes’ in my textile mixed media style and it triggered something in me. I am not a traditional landscape or painter of buildings but when she said that I thought yes that would be fun, treating the paintings almost like a textile design. I am a colourist and I love to use colour to convey the mood of a place or a building, I don’t overthink it, its more of an intuitive choice. People ask why did you choose yellow for the sky in Keppel Bay but to me I just wanted to convey the heat and humidity of the location and I didn’t want the whole painting to be blue. My process for the landmark paintings is that after making preliminary quick sketches and taking photos for reference I draw up the image onto the canvas back at the studio with an artists paint marker, I take time working out the best scale and composition, the design layout of the piece and then I work in acrylic paint and glazes building up layers of colour. The detail which comes later on in the pieces I use a combination of painting and printmaking mostly working with mono print onto Chinese paper or small linocut pieces. For some paintings like ‘Emerald Hill Shophouses’ I have used vintage stamps of

The results of your artistic inquiry convey a coherent sense of unity that rejects any conventional classification. We would suggest to our readers that they visit https://clarehaxby.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work. While walking our readers through your usual process

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Singapore and Malaya which link into the history of the Peranakans and the wealthy Chinese spice merchants from these areas who lived in the shophouses which were live / work units. My paintings on canvas are either acrylic on canvas or mixed media on canvas For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Marina bay Sands Singapore and Raffles Hotel Singapore, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic research is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of Marina bay Sands Singapore and Raffles Hotel Singapore would you tell us your sources of inspiration? And how did you select your subjects? In particular, do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist? I started painting my series of ‘Singapore Landmarks’ and the first painting I chose was Raffles hotel as it s synonymous with Singapore and is a beautiful building with a lot of history. There was no grand plan at the beginning of the series I was merely trying to paint a new subject matter and also I was painting on a much larger scale. I was experimenting with a new subject and a new scale. I focused on all the areas I find interesting so in the Raffles painting I focused on the life at the foyer with customers coming and going meeting the Raffles doorman, the decorative ironwork

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on the foyer, references to the rooms inside the hotel such as the Tiffin Room and The East India Rooms I made the text signs in mono print on paper and incorporated them into the painting. Raffles is a beautiful colonial hotel and I wanted to convey its elegance and its history. Marina Bay Sands was the second painting in this series and in contrast is a new and very modern piece of architecture. Designed by Moshe Safdie it is an architectural giant and the new modern landmark of Singapore. Singapore is a fast growing city, the rate of building in Singapore is phenomenal. During my time there we saw MBS emerge from the ground and grow till everyone was talking about it. I have painted buildings that form part of my personal experience swell as buildings that attract me for their interesting design. Raffles Hotel and Marina bay Sands reflect the 2 sides of Singapore very well, the old and the new , the heritage and the modern, the history and the future, both have value both are fascinating to explore and paint. You ask what the central ideas are behind my work, in general I am painting an emotional response to the subject, with the buildings, the landmarks I am painting the mood the essence of the building. I want to convey the presence and the power that particular piece of architecture has or convey a little of its story, its history. Raffles hotel is an elegant building in the tropics and the green and whites hopefully go part of the way to describe this landmark

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As you have remarked in the starting lines of your artist's statement, the best paintings occur when I let myself go when I am not always fully aware of what I’m doing: how would you consider the role of chance and improvisation in your work? In particular, are your works painted gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes from paper to canvas?

theme of nature, landscape and buildings, we daresay that you are inspired by natural wonders as well as by your travels. Do you spend a lot of time exploring the places that we can admire in your paintings or do you rather instantly capture the spirit of the flowers that we admire in your artworks? Yes I am always gathering inspiration from my immediate environment as well as when I travel as travelling somewhere you haven’t visited before is exciting, its different and there are new things to see around every corner. I am never sated which can drive my travelling companions a bit mad! When I lived in Singapore we lived close to The Botanic Gardens so I would visit and draw there often and the Ginger garden was my favourite spot, I fell in love with the gingerliness and developed a series around them. The gingerly paintings are about journeys and meetings aswell as being about the tropical flowers of Asia. For me these flowers represent my own experience of travelling to another continent and the extraordinary people i have met because of that. I have chosen titles for my gingerliness that reflect that such as ‘Magenta Meet Me at the Ginger Lilies’

I am always always open for chance and improvisation in my paintings, thats often where the best creativity happens those accidental brush marks that just ‘say’ exactly the right thing! With the landmark painting there is a certain geometry that i am working with as I need the buildings to have straight walls but beyond that it is always a journey letting the painting evolve into itself. I do find that the more uninterrupted time I have the more the natural creativity flows and The Palm House of Kew Gardens I have just finished has a real mixture of detail and almost abstract areas in the painting which I really like The gingerly paintings in particular work very much on capturing all the accidental splashes and brush marks. They are very ‘painterly’ and expressionistic and much looser than the landmarks. They are fun to paint, I move a lot when I am painting those paintings so they are quite a physical experience and the energy is transferred into the paintings I think, they have a gestural quality

I think The Fullerton Hotel has been my most ambitious painting to date because of the scale and the detail….all those windows. It is a building with such an interesting history as the Post Office building and a hospital and also a hideout during the war. The painting contains over 130 vintage stamps that I collected and having designed the painting like a huge postcard I was able to use the stamps al the bottom and in the square at the top like on an actual postcard.

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Most of these stands including a first day cover all the stamps have the singapore frank stamped on them so the stamps all

went through this building when it was a working postal sorting office before it was turned into the luxury hotel it is today

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We have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances of your pieces, as the stimulating Marina Bay Sands, that shows how vivacious tones are not strictly indispensable to create tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your colour palette? And how much does your own psychological makeup determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develop a painting’s texture? Someone said to me a while before I started this painting ‘ You never use blue, You don’t paint in blue” and this was correct up to that point. I do tend to have a lot of pink , green purple paintings ….but the subjects I had been painting hadn’t called for a blue palette until I painted Marina Bay Sands. I knew exactly what blues I wanted to use to represent this giant shiny architectural giant of Singapore’s marina. I don’t always paint the sky blue though to me a neutral beige colour was actually going to compliment and emphasise the blue of the rest of the painting. My colour choices are really instinctive I just have quite an immediate feeling of what is right for each piece. I build up the texture using layers of glazes, on the 3 towers I used a handcut stencil for all the squares and then overllayered this with tiny squares of silver leaf its quite a meditative process when I get into the detail. The tiny trees onto of the boat like structure on the top I created in mono print as with other details on the lower part of the painting. If you look carefully I

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have included the name of the architect Moshe Safdie within one of the towers. Your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realise their own perception: while clear references to

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perceptual reality, some of your paintings as The Ginger Lilies Called Me, reject an explicit explanatory strategy: the vivacious tones of seem to be the tip of the iceberg of the emotions that you are really attempting to communicate. How would you define the relationship between abstraction and figurative in

your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work? I love playing in that space between representation and abstraction. I sometimes yearn to do some more

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abstract works but because of my interest in pattern, decoration and the detail that goes with that I don’t seem to be able to create a totally abstract piece but I do like constantly experimenting and I do want to encourage my viewers to have an reaction to what I am painting. With the buildings people often have a personal connection

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or memory associated with a place or a building and as an artist you are facilitating a capture of that experience. Buildings have energy and I think I can pick up and translate some of that so that the essence of the building is conveyed. This is all part of the process and instinctive its not something that I ‘try’ or

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more gestural and expressive and the colours are bright. I did think about calling one ‘not for wallflowers’ Your style is very personal and conveys both rigorous geometry and vivacious abstract feature: what influences outside the visual arts inspire and impact your approach to making work? Moreover, do you pay attention to the work of your contemporaries? If so, is there anyone in particular you feel inspired by? I am a painter and a textile designer, I used to sell my designs through agents as surface pattern design years ago. I am drawn to pattern and the decorative arts and I think this comes through in my paintings as I tend to focus on the decorative elements of a building like the ironwork on my Raffles Hotel Painting. I love interior design and doing up houses. With my husband we have renovated and redesigned several Victorian properties in England. Some of the design work we did was featured in Interior magazines. Yes I love the work of artists Miranda Scozcek and Marise Maas I love both these artists use of colour and their choice of subject matter, Marise Maas focuses on the detail of everyday life and turns them into powerful contemporary paintings. I love her horse series and with Miranda I love her colour juxtaposition and the animal symbolism but mostly I just love looking at the paintings and appreciating them, her colours are like jewels. I love the textiles of Australian designer Florence Broadhurst and design company De Gournay.

really work at doing. With the flower paintings these are more emotional pieces as they represent the personal and physical journey and in particular the connections I have made with new people and the friendships I have made whilst being open to embracing new experiences and opportunities. The style is less formal

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You recently joined the Athena Network in London and you are a member of the American Women of Surrey: do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value? I love hanging out with women and I have a network of very inspiring women entrepreneurs in my business and social groups as well as some really good friends who are the most amazing support. I was part of The Athena Network in Singapore and now I have joined Athena Network in Barnes It is an excellent resource and support network for women in business and inspiring to be around other women on their entrepreneurial journey. I am lucky to have friends all over the world now as a result of my expat time in Singapore and I like being part of an expat group as well back home as we have that shared experience of the sometimes crazy and chaotic pattern of expat life. My experience is that of a woman, it is just my experience. I am a female artist, a mother and I have lived in several places. I think all these things inform my work. Over the years your works have been internationally showcased in several occasions and one of the hallmarks of your work is its ability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception a crucial

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component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language you use in a particular context? I can’t control how people feel when they

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view my paintings but as you have asked I think I do really appreciate hearing from my collectors as I do get sent some truly heart lifting words My client Clare Nyman the founder of Peach Tree Jewels in Australia

sent me this “I can’t even begin to explain how much joy this one brings to my home in Avoca beach AUS, Clare Haxby you are a superstar, Meet Me at the Ginger Garden lights up the room we love it so much!”

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I get some very moving words sent to me from my clients across the globe. I can’t tell you how uplifting that is! Having said that when i am painting I am not really considering the viewpoint of the audience,

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I think that would be distracting and it would be a mistake to try and paint what you thought people wanted, because you can never really know that. I am painting from my authentic centre and the right

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handwriting so as long as the client gives you freedom to do that, to trust that is the best kind of collaboration on a private commission. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Clare. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Thank-you so much for interviewing me , your questions are great, very in-depth, you have made me really think! I always have lots of ideas the ones i am focusing on for this next year is to work on my London Landmark paintings I would like to paint The Michelin building and Tower Bridge. I am investigating collaborations into textiles, creating some designs for fabrics and also I am talking with a partner about an exhibition in Singapore in a Black and White House. I always have so many ideas its like the reverse of creative block‌.creative too much? haha I have to reign in my ideas due to time constraints but lets just say future plans also involve Florida Landmarks as I visited Miami Art Deco and Ernest Hemmingway’s House in Key West this year. I have got a business coach now and she has made me Focus on a plan for this year so I can sleep and enjoy my growing family alongside all my creative and business projects. Success for me is as much about a great work,life balance with a heap of travelling thrown into the mix .

audience will be revealed later. I think the only difference is when painting a commission, you are painting for a client but even then a client has booked you to paint because they love your style and

An interview by and

, curator , curator

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Val Wecerka Lives and works in Vienna, Austria I am a fiber artist and fashion designer who is inspired by the colors, textures, shapes and patterns found in nature and in various cultural expressions found around the world. My spiritual practice of prayer and studying sacred text are an important part of my process as well as inspiration. My work is also heavily influenced by my practice of re-purposing materials. The work is slow and is a contemplative practice for me to renew my mind, slow down, dream, pray, and listen. I am interested in how art can become alive on the human form and I am honored when I get to witness a person's inner transformation as they put on a garment that makes them feel beautiful and alive.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

the most impressive aspects of Wecerka's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of inquiring into the liminal area where the abstract and the figurative find an unexpected still consistent point of convergence: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

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Experimenting with a wide variety of materials to express the ideas she explores, artist Val Wecerka's work rejects any conventional classification regarding its style, to address the viewers to a multilayered visual experience. In her (Un)geschriebene Briefe series that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she successfully attempts to trigger the spectatorship's perceptual parameters, with a deeper focus on a complementary dialogue between materiality, content, the exhibition space and the encounter with the viewers. One of SPECIAL ISSUE

Hello Val and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid background and after your studies in Textile at the National Art College in Sliven, Bulgaria, you moved to Austria to nurture your education at the College 180


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for Fashion and Design in Vienna: how did these experiences influence the way you currently conceive your works? And in particular, what did draw you to turn back to Painting after your journey in the field of Design?

conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit https://www.valwecerka.at in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up? How much importance has spontaneity in your work? In particular, do you conceive you works instinctively or do you methodically elaborate your pieces? How do you select your subjects? In particular, do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist?

When I moved to Austria, I was accepted to study at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna majoring in ceramics. As I was not able to yet speak German , I decided to start my education at the College for Fashion and Design and concentrated in learning the language. After a year passed by and I also won a prize for Design, unfortunately I was unable to continue my studies because of limited study places., So I turned back to studying at the University. I applied again successfully, this time for painting and Tapestry. This is how it all began‌.

Yes you are absolutely right. There is something like a red thread, which runs through my artworks, nevertheless spontaneity is tremendously important for me. The central theme in my work is the past but keeping always the future in mind.

I would say that my fashion and design works were influenced by my paintings and not the other way around. In almost all of my fashion designs one can find motives from my paintings.

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected (Un)geschriebene Briefe, an interesting project that our readers have already started to got to know in the introductory pages of this article.

Your works convey a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any

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What has at once captured our attention of your artistic inquiry is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of (Un)geschriebene Briefe would you tell us your sources of inspiration? And how did you select your subjects? I was born by the Black Sea and I miss the sea a lot here. The colour blue has a very strong attraction for me. I came to Vienna in 1992. Being all alone, the only way to communicate with my parents was to write letters. In the beginning, I adapted the letters written between my parents and I to abstract signs or abstract scriptures. Then I looked for people in similar situations on the Internet. I also found these letters by Freud, like between Freud and Jung, or between Einstein and Freud. I copied and modified them, aiming to omit the content in order to concentrate exclusively on the external aspect. For me, these feelings were much more important and it is often impossible to describe them. Then I went home from time to time took things with me, wrapped in

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newspaper. I wanted to retain these memories, so I started to place them on the canvas and to colour them, inserting them into collages. At first the canvas was flat, then I started to cut out the letters and to make collages with them. In some sense, I wanted to put them away and I did not want to see them that clearly, so I hid them under a newspaper. You are a versatile artist and the spectrum of your artistic interests covers a whole range of topics rather than one single working style, from the figure to abstract ornamental formulations: what draws you to such cross disciplinary approach? What are the properties you are searching for in the materials that you include in your materials? And in particular, when do you recognize that one of the mediums has exhausted it expressive potential to self? In Bulgaria and also other former socialist countries, artists were given a solid classical education. Among the compulsory subjects were still life, portrait and nude drawing, along with abstract painting and textile design as well. In textile design, we were asked to stylize concrete forms. I was always 187

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torn between abstract and figurative painting and could give up neither one nor the other.

moving away from the 2-dimensional painting into the picture/object. The materials I use support this process. They must fulfill their mechanical or static purpose and be stable or tell a story as the Bulgarian newspapers,

Since 2006, I am working only in the abstract field. At the moment, I am SPECIAL ISSUE

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which I use for my collages. This creates a kind of intertextuality and intermediality

could be considered as a search of the Ariadne's thread that conveys elusive information and that at the same time reveals turning points and even unexpected scenarios. You address your audience to a

Your successful attempt to reveal the deeper resonances of moments 189

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partecipative and multilayered experience, playing with sybolic references, as writing, belonging to the realm of memory: German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that SPECIAL ISSUE

"nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? Morever, would you tell us 190


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something about the importance of symbols in your pratice and their relationship to memory?

alone on an island. Also, the search in memory is more complex and difficult than freeing itself along the red thread from a labyrinth. The written text serves as a symbol of memory.

In contrast to me, Ariadne is a sad figure. My Theseus did not leave me

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Despite to clear references to perceptual reality your visual vocabulary, as revealed by the interesting Possible geometry, has a very ambivalent quality. How do you view the concepts of the real and the imagined playing out within your works? How would you define the relationship between

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abstraction and representation in your practice? �Possible geometry�, is very strong influenced by my textile work. The elements, grouped together in a certain way, geometrically or as written, show the possibility of a rereading of reality. I alienate the

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functions of the materials used, but keep their associations - I always start with the perception that psychologically interests me, quite intuitively, and bring together things that do not necessarily belong together and build a space, my space with materials To remind me of something.

Your works address the viewers to challenge their perceptual parmeters and allow an open reading, with a wide variety of associative possibilities. The power of visual arts in the contemporary age is enormous: at the same time, the role of the viewer’s disposition and attitude is equally important.

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an easy task and of course when I am creating art a lot of emotion, memories and feelings are involved in this process. I think it is impossible to evoke exactly these emotions to the audience. There exists a theory in literature that a text is not fully written unless the reader has read it. It`s the same with the artworks and so the relationship between an artist, his artworks and the audience is tremendous important.

Both our minds and our bodies need to actively participate in the experience of contemplating a piece of art: it demands your total attention and a particular kind of effort—it’s almost a commitment. What do you think about the role of the viewer? Are you particularly interested if you try to achieve to trigger the viewers' perception as starting point to urge them to elaborate personal interpretations? Over these years your works have been showcased in several occasions, including your recent participation to Unter 1000, at Galerie Schloss Parz, Grieskirchen, in Vienna. One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Val. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? A few days ago I returned from the Biennale in Venice where a Gallery showed some of my artworks. It was very exiting. A lot of new impressions and I am looking forward to start with some new projects. An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

I am sure that 99% of all artists would agree that explaining their art is not

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Monique Rutten That is the iconography I use in my work as well, as long as it strengthens the work in its deeper meaning. This is however not an imposed meaning, but an interpretation of expression and thus subjective. Sometimes it is easy to recognize the symbol, it is meant to streghten the image. Some examples of this which you can see in my painting are the deer and the antlers of the deer. For me this is a connection with the higher, the spiritual. But nothing is exclusively holy, the antlers grow out of control and are also controlled by a darker side. You see a devilish figure in the back who doesn’t only show lovely virgin imagine. The boys of the seminars are in a costume, a straight-jacket for twelve year old boys. Are they being told that the woman is a prostitute or a holy angel? They were given a specific picture and they grow up in a strange world without woman. The truth is some of these many young boys were sexually harassed by the catholic church as well. The other painting: You must listen to the leader, or the Dutch childrens song ‘’1, 2, step in size’’ is inspired by the fanfare in my own youth. It tells a story of fitting in with a silent protest. The painting: Children play everywhere, is meant a bit ironically. The danger sign in the background shows how double the work is.

Tentoonstelling Strijp S, april 2013


Peripheral ARTeries Art Review - Biennial Edition  

Contemporary Art Review, featuring Aby Mackie (United Kingdom/Spain) • Francine LeClercq (France/USA) • Phil Toy (United Kingdom) • Sofia Pl...

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