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CONTEMPORARY ART REVIEW

Installation • Painting • Mixed media • Drawing • Performance • Public Art • Drawing • Video art • Fine Art Photography

Biennial Edition

ALIENOR VALLET JIUNJY LIU JILL FRIEDBERG COLETTE STANDISH ANGELA HANSEN SIMONE ZEWNIK DIANA FRANKOVIC MATTHEW HAMPSHIRE RADOSVETA ZHELYAZKOVA

Radosveta Zhelyazkova


CONTEMPORARY ART REVIEW

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

Jill Friedberg Explaining Fantasy for a Noble Universe


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Lives and works in Wernigerode, Germany

lives and works in San Francisco, California, USA

lives and works in Berlin, Germany Angela Hansen

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lives and works in Lake Country, BC, Canada

Diana Frankovic

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Lives and works in Stamford, United Kingdom

Lives and works in Paris, France

Lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA Colette Standish

Lives and works in New York City, USA

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Jill Friedberg

Lives and works in Sofia, Bulgaria

Special thanks to: Michael Betancourt, Teresa Wells, Jared Schaffer, Jean-Claude Bise, Ashley Cassens, Hildy Maze, Karissa Hahn, Juliana Pepper, Jane Sheiko, Max Savold, Julia Ăœberreiter, Deborah Esses, Margaret Noble, Joseph Goddard, Nathalie Borowski, Marco Visch, Xavier Blondeau, J.D. Doria, Matthias Callay, Luiza Zimerman, Kristina Sereikaite, Scott D'Arcy, Kalli Kalde, Carla Forte, Mathieu Goussin, Evie Zimmer, Dorothee Zombronner, Olga Karyakina, Robert Hamilton, Isabel Becker, Clare Haxby, Carrie Alter, Jessica Bingham, Agnieszka Ewa Braun, Fabian Freese, Elodie Abergel, Ellen van der Schaaf, Courtney Henderson, Jeny Brill, Mark Nesmith, Johanna Porter, Leah Oates and Francine LeClercq

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Simone Zewnik Lives and works in Wernigerode, Germany

I have been creating sculptures since a couple of years, depicting both individual human beings, as well as their interaction with others. With their rough-stitched pigskin surfaces and basted seams, preserved with my own method, as well as with the intentionally nonnaturalistic execution, the sculptures evoke age-old visions of artificially created human beings – termed homunculi. Since the biblical story of creation, homunculi have populated the imagination of humankind. The complete group of my sculpted works carries the title Ecce Homo, ‘Behold the Man’ and it is my intention to awaken the viewers’ compassion; to churn their emotions. The surfaces aim to support this intention as the structure and body hair of pig skin is similar to human skin. Viewers should be touched by this similarity; by the vision, if only for a moment, of slipping into the skin of one of my homunculi. A skin so very like their own.

"We shudder at the figure of a breastfeeding mother. She arouses an ambivalent feeling, torn between symbolic vitality and the lack of vital signs. The figures fascinate and disturb, they spur the debate on human and animal existence; on life and death." Maria Frickenstein, Neue Westfälische, 20 september 2017.


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

Hello Simone and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.simonezewnik.com in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. Are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as an artist and help you to develop your attitude to experiment? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research? First of all I would like to thank you for your interest in my work and for this interview-offer. With regard to the homepage, I would like to announce that it is recently under construction. Probably during this summer, it will be available. My grandfather certainly played an important role in my development as an artist, because I owe my first experiences with art to him. He was a painter and mostly painted landscapes. As a little girl, I spent long afternoons sitting next to him and his easel and watched him apply colors with almost infinite patience, covering twigs with leaves, creating cloud castles on canvas and paper, because he painted with oil and watercolors. Sometimes I also had a small painting block with me, then he turned away from the canvas from time to time, looked at me briefly and smiled, then I was happy. Then he died, and I forgot art.

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FAMILIA, VIRGO

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And then after almost 20 years the memory of art came back, not gradually and gently, but like a raging flood, and that turned my life upside down: I found myself obsessed to work, for years I created surreal photographic self-portraits. Then came a turning point in my life, it had many effects, one effect was that I became a sculptress. Since then I have been making sculptures. I experimented with different materials, and skin quickly crystallized into the material I wanted to work with. I cannot say in what form my life experiences have influenced and still influence my ideas of art. All I can say is that my experiences certainly had influence on artistic development and I believe in addition that my grandfather gave me a knowledge - even if it was buried at times - that creating something - as an artist - can be one of the richest and happiest experiences of human life. There are artists whose work clearly reflects the cultural substratum of their time and the society in which they lived and live. I first think of Joseph Beuys and Neo Rauch. The work of these artists reflects social conditions, and in part brought about a rethink: Joseph Beuys was one of the pioneers of the Ecological Movement in Germany, which then led to the founding of the Green Party. Neo Rauch grew up in the German Democratic Republic, and his paintings play with Socialist Realism, a genre that had long since disappeared. In contrast, I find that my works cannot be derived from any current social or cultural currents. I find topics interesting that have always interested people: The uniqueness and transience of our bodies, the artificial human beings, i.e. homunculi, our relationship to nature and the commandment of 'memento mori'.

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Zewnik pavilion NordART 2016

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries andour readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, and that has at once impressed us for the way you sapiently combined antithetical ideas, as the reminders to human body and vitality and the of

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vital signs, that you intentionally highlight in your sculptures. When walking our readers through your usual workflow and process, we would like to ask you if you think that there is a central idea that connects all your works. The central theme of my work is the human


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being or - more generally – being and the transience of being. This is where I want to bring the beholder.

beholder does not want to be touched. And yet, he finds himself in the clutches of indecision, vacillating. He has been aware of this for some time and the feeling has him in its grip. Trying to relax for a moment, he repeatedly tells himself that the figures are not alive, do not exist, they’re only

That he - face to face with my sculptures thinks of a being, capable of touching him: the figure before him, “is”: it exists. That’s why the

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works of art. Ergo, every single figure “is” not. As the beholder gazes at my figures, the abovementioned conflict should pose a question that furtively sneaks into his mind on all fours: “Is there any difference between me and these pig-skinned things?” “Do I exist?” These questions express – in the words of Nietzsche - the pathos of distance. A distance to oneself, invigorating on the one hand, and quite threatening on the other. Because we cannot fathom how deeply they touch us – the questions as well as the figures. We would like to ask you something about your aesthetic decisions when you decided to use pigskin. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once remarked that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making: how did you develop your own method in order to preserve pigskin? In particular, are your works created gesturally, instinctively? The method crystallized after the rejection of several unsuccessful approaches. It was clear to me that the pig's skin that covered the sculptures had to be preserved in order to realize my artistic ideas. By chance, I read a newspaper article about a prominent taxidermist who works among others for numerous renowned museums. He tried this and that and finally offered me prepared elk skin. For my purposes, however, it was completely unsuitable; firstly, I wanted pig skin because it resembles human skin so much with regards to haptics and genetics and secondly, the elk skin was like paper like wallpaper that had become brittle. I decided to take the matter into my own hands and finally - after a series of experiments - I found the solution. To stick to the metaphorical expression of Lydia Dona, I would say that my conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making has its own specific grammar . The rules

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SALTATOR QUIESCIT

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ANTE SALTUM

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and vocabulary were formed at the beginning of my work on sculptures and have been fixed ever since. By rules, I mean the aesthetics that had already been fully developed during the work on the very first sculptures, the homunculi. The vocabulary, i.e. the material, was also determined early on: the pig's skin and the basic structure of the sculptures made of metal, wool, foam and textile materials. From grammar and vocabulary I then constantly form new sentences, that is to say, the 'themes' of the respective work groups. They are often the result of long conceptual considerations and sometimes require elaborate design work: any form of pedestal, including diving boards, swimming pools and balancing poles, must be constructed and manufactured, even a boat was built for a new group of works. The fixed number of rules results in an almost infinite number of realization possibilities. We have been fascinated with the way your artworks unveil the point of convergence between historical reference to the notion of homunculi and unique contemporary sensitiveness, highlighting that exploring a past experience can enhance the understanding of the contemporary: how do you consider the relationship between Tradition and Contemporariness playing within your artistic process? My work stands, I believe, above all in the tradition of four artists of the 20th century by matching one feature between their works and my sculptures: the connecting feature with Joseph Beuys is the organic material. Among other things, Beuys worked with animal fats, which was an absolute novelty in the early 60s of the last century. George Segal created human figures from plaster bandages, strictly figurative threedimensional images of human bodies, as did

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Edward Kienholz, whose sculptures depict people in everyday scenes. The fourth artist in whose aesthetic tradition I see myself is the wood sculptor Stephan Balkenhol. He also works strictly figuratively. I don't want to claim that the works of these four artists have consciously influenced me, and I only noticed similarities just afterwards. However, it may be that unnoticed and unconsciously an artistic aesthetic has developed in me whose features can very well be explained by the influence of these great predecessors. One more word about experimenting: I consciously internalized Joseph Beuys' dictum of the penetration of art and everyday life, his ingenious play with material, form and self-dramatisation. Marked out with such a powerful narrative drive, your artworks are created from photographic images that you have personally taken for over 30 years. We dare say that you seem to turn your memories into new components and experiences: how do you consider the role of memory playing within your artistic research? And how does everyday life's experience fuel your creative process? May I correct you? I am making art just since about 20 years. There were strokes of fate in my life. And they changed me. One change, as I said before, was that I started creating sculptures. Yes, experiences in my life have definitely influenced me in my artistic work and still influence me today. I would like to quote the Berlin based writer Willi van Hengel, who said the following in his essay Diebin mit feiner Nadel ‘Thief with fine needle’: “On the surface, the artist is telling us a very long story. About herself, about her creations. But she’s not telling, she’s yelling. And creates her truly fine art, a ménage à trois among her figures, the viewer and the mystic space between.

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EDAMUS IN NATURA

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GAUDEO IN OTIO

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By creating her homunculi, Simone Zewnik is coming to terms with a deep loss. Cut into pieces and sewn together just like her figures. A moment in time when a whole life shatters. And you are leftover. Like any everyday object. To think up new breath. For herself – or rather, as if she would prefer to seem unthinkable. And untouchable. For moments. Moments of another consciousness. In which she seduces those viewing her talking pig skins. Like the thief who “stole” death, only to go on breathing – softly, and sometimes in secret!” As far as daily life is concerned, it may have the effect that I get ideas for new works whose triggers are sometimes everyday impressions. The sculpture "Cursor impeditus", for example, depicts a sprinter squatting in the starting position. He wears a lower leg prosthesis. I became aware of this topic when there was a public debate, whether runners with such a prosthesis have an advantage over other sprinters. In summary, I would say that sustainable conceptual ideas were formed through massive life experiences, while, say, variations are predominantly based on everyday impressions. As Petra Schröck remarked in her essay, "the surfaces of real pig skin slam against their psychological boundaries" sickening the viewers. Marked out with such unique - and we dare say uncanny - visual identity, your artworks deeply struck us for the way they incite the viewer to make new personal associations. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

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QUAERENTES


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My sculptures are intended to fascinate the spectators and - to use Aristotle’s wording - they are intended to arouse compassion and fear: Compassion for the person depicted and fear for him at the same time. But it is quite as important to me that the imagination of the viewer remains free and that the sculptures allow an immediate personal interpretation. Unlike, for example, ideologically influenced art which is supposed to convey a certain political and social message, my works, are meant to stimulate the spectator's free associations. My works seem to achieve these goals. Reactions from viewers show that my sculptures to use an obvious allegorical wording - get under the skin. My works is able to evoke the complete range of human emotions. The intensity of the feelings created, seems completely to surprise most of the viewers I have spoken to, it hits them almost unprepared. It is my aim to communicate with people by the means of my art and to enter a dialogue with them. Awaking the viewers’ compassion and churning their emotions, your insightful inquiry into the notion of homunculi seems to convey such a subtle still effective socio political criticism about the theme of human identity in our unstable and everchanging contemporary age. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "artists's role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? Do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues that affect our globalised age? My art is probably influenced by my cultural environment and can surely be derived in some way from it. The concept of homunculi is an ancient idea in the Occident, the world of legends and

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AEQUILIBRANS

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NATATRIX SEDENS (detail)

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literature is full of such artificial figures. My impetus to build homunculi stems, I believe unconsciously, from this cultural heritage. Yes, I believe that human identity is an implicit theme of some of my works. Let's take as an example the sculpture "Esurio", which depicts a half starved child. With this sculpture, I do not consciously pose the question of the preservation of human dignity, which is often threatened in these times, even here in seemingly humanistic and enlightened Europe. However, "Esurio" can be interpreted in this way. In general, I believe that art is a mirror of the artist's life circumstances, as it were a 'conditio sine qua non': whether the artist is aware of it or not, he can not help but react to his environment and process it in some way in art. What do I mean by Environment? That is, besides education, parents, friends, living conditions of the artist, of course, always the social and political - in short, the overall cultural context as well, which will always and necessarily makes its mark on art. I agree with Gabriel Orozco: of course, it makes a difference whether an artist works in totalitarian regimes, or in liberal countries. In the former, the artist may have to think very carefully about where are the limits of what can be said and portrayed, but in the liberal countries this problem may cause much less headache for artists. It is precisely globalization in the first place with its core feature of an overwhelming and massive flow of information that makes grievances and problems public such as the suppression of human rights and environmental destruction. On the other hand, globalization for its part with its feature of "unlimited capitalism" is a core problem of this world. And, of course, art can and

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individual information becomes more informative, but is also easier to overlook due to the sheer mass of information, and 2. they have the potential to promote narcissistic tendencies, attention-seeking self-promoters on the hunt for “likes” - so to speak - have boom.

should hold a mirror up to society. Through the main effect of art, which I already mentioned, namely the emotional involvement, the artist is predestined to raise awareness as it stands around this world. You are an established artist, and over the years your works have been exhibited extensively in many occasions, including your recent participation to BBA ARTIST PRIZE: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? In particular, how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere — and platforms as Instagram — in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

I use the new communication media to inform about my artistic activities, as mentioned above, but try to do this as "objectively" as possible. And of course I as well am happy about some "likes". We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Simone. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

Let me first emphasize that, despite the everincreasing possibilities of communication technology, the direct exchange with my audience was and still is very important to me from the very beginning. That is, I want to talk to people, I want to see and hear their reactions, and, as I indicated earlier, my work has evoked an enormous spectrum of human feelings in my audience.

A couple of days ago my new object “machina humana”, the human machine, has been finished: four rowers in a sport boat. The figures are dwarfishly small, but represent fullgrown men of normal body size. The sewing was quite tricky and exhausting, all the little hands, feet and fingers.

I am happy when there is - in the true sense of the word - a dialogue with my audience and when I see that my work is able to touch people. The new communication media on the other hand are of increasing relevance in our society, but they create a distance to the audience. My attitude to them is ambivalent: I think it's a very good thing that you can inform a broad public about new exhibitions and artistic projects, you can - even in the truest sense of the word - make yourself known to the people, that is, popular.

Another challenge was the design and manufacture of the boat, for example bending the boat wall. Yes, and in the future I want to bring my sculptures into the air, in a crazy flying object. I would also like to thank you for a very committed and stimulating conversation. Photos by Manfred Schellhorn An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

However, the new communication media 1. have the potential to generate an ever more confusing amount of information, in which the

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Colette Standish Lives and works in San Francisco, California, USA

Colette Standish, an English painter and photographer, graduated from St. Martin’s College in London in 1991 as part of the wave of YBA -Young British Artists. Her achievements include: Jessop’s Photography Prize 2000 London and fellowship awards in New Mexico, Italy, and Spain. Her work is in many public and private collections, including the Museum of Fine Art in Santa Fe and the Anais Nin Foundation Art collection. Colette’s body of work has included many edgy and erotic subjects over the years and “Anais through the Looking Glass and Other Stories”, her present show at the Center for Sex and Culture is no exception. Colette is a frequent contributor to, ‘A Cafe in Space: Anais a Literary Journal‘ and can be seen in Volumes, 8, 9, 13, 14 and15. Colette’s poem, ‘A Letter’, published in Volume 8, has recently been made into a music video entitled, “I Was in Love… Still Am”, by an Avant-garde collective EPI of based in Manchester, UK and Florence, Italy.

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

Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

Hello Colette and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. You have a solid formal training and you graduated from St. Martin’s College in London in 1991 as part of the wave of YBA -Young British Artists: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist?

Thank you it’s a pleasure to talk to you and your readers. In 1988 I moved to London to attend St Martins School of Art, which is where I received a B.A. in Fine Art Painting. During my time at the school, I experimented with different art practices and ideas. My inspirations were an eclectic mix of art, music, and literature with an emphasis on the erotic. Besides Surrealism, my influences included Egon Schiele,

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Georges Bataille, Patti Smith, and David Bowie. Music played a major part in my life back then and at one point, I seriously considered changing direction from art to music, but then I discovered Anais Nin. My first introduction to Anais Nin was via her erotic prose: Delta of Venus and Little Birds. Aside from the erotic content, I was very interested in how she wrote. As a visual artist I could relate to the way she used words. Her words evoked musical notes in a surreal landscape. I knew then that I wanted to paint the way she wrote. In those formative years after leaving college, I persisted in developing my visual language as an artist and became my own apprentice. I pushed and pulled the boundaries of my work, took risk after risk until I molded a language that was a hybrid of Surrealism and semi-abstraction with erotic overtones.

stimulating multidisciplinary approach? And what are the qualities that you are searching for in the materials that you include in your artworks? When I approach a subject or an idea, Initially I don’t have a particular discipline in mind. Once I have built up a relationship with the concept, I then make decisions based on dialogues between the subject and myself as to which materials lend themselves to expressing said concept. For example, on the Anais Nin project, I wanted to work with materials that reflected her personality, or what we are led to believe her personality was, delicate, vulnerable, sensitive and narcissistic. However, in using the materials in the same way, the work became too superficial and impossible to manipulate and create any kind of depth. Whilst working on’ Glass Shawl ‘’, I had a break through. At some point I managed to scratch the surface of the mirror by accident and then the floodgates opened. As I started to scratch more, the scratches incorporated themselves into the piece along with the broken glass and cracked mirror thus creating more depth and morphing this timid, vulnerable and delicate woman, in to a woman of strength, conviction and vision. In the shattering of the materials, the subject, Anais Nin became shatterproof.

Over time my art has evolved and has taken on many guises from painting, sculpture, photography and instillations. In 2018, after years of gestation, I finally started on the project you see today. The time was right to express my visual language in context with both the mythology and words of Anais Nin. As a result,’ Anais Through the looking Glass and Other Stories’ was born. You are a versatile artist and your multidisciplinary approach includes varies mediums including Mirrors, Glass and Light-Box installations, and we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.colettestandish.com in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production: what did direct you to such

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

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Light - Boxes Lit up

you sapiently projected the viewers into an hybrid visual experience that rejects any conventional classification, to incquire into

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Anais Nin's figure. When walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us

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The objective of the Anais Nin project,’ Anais through the Looking Glass and Other Stories ‘was to translate the fluidity of Nin’s

written language into a visual language that is both current and contemporary. From the beginning it was imperative, not only to get

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contradiction, superrealism and the erotic which lives in the labyrinth imagination of the subconscious. As far as personal meanings and being understood is concerned, yes up to a certain extent it is important as it gives the work credence which is always good for the artist. But on the other hand, it is important for the viewer to engage their own journey through the work. I don’t like to give too much away. I usually use different art forms such as music or poetry by way of an introduction or guidance to the work. That said, If one can spark the imagination of the viewer at the beginning on their journey through a piece of art and that in turn creates a curiosity to know more, the ‘personal meaning and a better understanding’ will eventually open up a dialogue between the viewer and the art which is always a good thing.

the balance right, between Anais’s life and my art in but also to be able to interact with an equally important third element of the work: The viewer. In order for this to happen, I had to work within a framework that encompassed the physical, mental and metaphysical aspects of human nature. This was achieved by taking existing images of Nin and printed them onto glass and mirrors. I then used various mediums such as paint, photography, and drawing, reworking these images of Nin into new art works. As the result of this process, I was able to connect both languages, hers and mine, intellectually and emotionally and in doing so was able to interact with the viewer on an intimate level. For example, the image of, Anais , reflects the narcissism of Nin’s nature and at the same time reflects the narcissism of the viewer. The mirrored images extend the invitation Encouraging the viewer to engage and enjoy the experience of a narcissistic ménage trois with Anais and the artist

Your artworks — especially Anais and Father and Twin — often display such a rigorous sense of geometry and symmetry to create such a coherent combination between sense of freedom and unique aesthetics. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes? In particular, how importance does spontaneity play in your daily routine?

Marked out with such a powerful narrative drive, your artworks convey such a stimulating combination between figurative elements and captivating abstract feeling, inviting them viewers to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with wide freedom to realize their own perception. How important is for you to invite the viewers to elaborate personal meanings? And in particular, how open would you like your artworks to be understood?

It depends on the medium. If I am working on a painting, then instinct and spontaneity play a major role in the construction of the piece. The fluidity of paint, in particular, oil

Good question. My background and language as an artist, has always had its roots in surrealism. A language of myth,

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artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "artists's role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? Do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues in our globalised age?

paint, allows me the spontaneity to work out my ideas instinctively. It is not conceptually based. Whereas if I am working on an installation, then the mechanics of building the work become more methodical and conceptual. Whilst working on, ‘Anais Through the Looking Glass and Other Stories’, I was able to push the boundaries on the ideas of traditional concepts and language within art. The result was a language that combined and integrated my visuals with Anais Nin on a conceptual bases while simultaneously exploring innovative mediums, such as mirrors and glass on an instinctive basis.

I still believe Anais Nin, up to a certain extent, would have embraced elements of 4th wave feminism such as incorporating social media into promoting one’s ideology and beliefs. Furthermore, she was a strong advocator of the integral complementarity of men and women, rather than the superiority of men over women or women over men.

Up to a certain extent I am in agreement with Lydia Dona regarding the reevaluating of concept language in the mechanics of making art, because in creating this body of work it did make me reevaluate and question traditional languages and concepts. But fundamentally I am a painter. I started my career as a classically trained painter and I still think like a painter. I think deeply about the construction of a painting i.e. the complexities and interactions within the layers of the paint, aesthetic concepts and historical contexts. I regard and approach varying materials and mediums in the same way, as a collection of layers which need to be explored conceptually or otherwise. In other words, I still paint but use multiple mediums instead of the traditional concepts such as canvases.

I don’t think my art belongs to any particular cultural movement directly, but I am a feminist and I have embraced all different waves of feminism over the years specifically on sexual Culture in San Francisco whose mission statement was to provide non-judgmental, sex-positive sexuality, education and support to diverse populations by means of classes, workshops and social gatherings. I would say that my art takes a more complexed and subtle approach as opposed to a more direct approach to any cultural moment. At present I am very interested in the works of author, Helene Cixous, a French feminist and philosopher who advocates new ways of thinking and writing about women and often incorporates visual art into her work. Her sensibility to art and philosophy, is a sensibility that I can relate to in my own art.

As you remarked once, you believe that Anais Nin, if she was around, today would embrace fourth wave feminism: Mexican

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With regard to raising awareness on topical issues, you only have to look at this year’s

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Venice Biennale to see that art and artists have had a tremendous impact on the

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worlds conscience as to what is happening globally. With its theme,’ May You Live in

Interesting Times ‘, the curator, Ralph Rogoff’s, main objective was that the artists

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represent the times we live in. Varying themes throughout the show have range from migration, immigration and displacement – Malta, ‘Maleth / Haven / Port - Heterotopias of Evocation’ to climate change. Lithuania’s contribution, ’Sun Sea (Marina)’, a message about the earth’s precarious ecosystem, equivalently and without doubt, won the coveted Golden Lion Prize. Artists have always been both the influencer and conscience of society and in this age of globalization they still maintain that role. Only the tools have changed i.e. social media and the internet. Your influence by Anais Nin regards not only her eroticism, but especially her language, and as a matter of fact your images reflect not just her erotic journey, but also her journey as a young female artist: how do you consider the relationship between these apparently disconnected aspects of Anais Nin's figure? For this project, I wanted to focus on Anais at the start of, not just her erotic journey, but also her journey as a young female artist. A journey most people can relate to regardless of background or generation. I focused on her life after her erotic awakening and what it meant to her in the aftermath of such an event. As an artist, in particular of surrealistic influence, it was important to me to find that connection in Anais’s work and mine where surrealism correlates. It was in this incubation period of Anais as an artist and her relationship with Antonin Artaud and her father that I found this correlation. I found her relationship

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with both men very surreal and full of explorations. It was a perfect starting point to begin my own exploration of Anais and her eroticism. At the same time, to view Anais’s work as just erotic, is very one dimensional and it also negates other elements of her work, a work that spanned every decade of her life. Also, every artist plays with fact and fiction, it’s called mythology and Anais was no exception. Anais is so often looked or analyzed on her contribution to both feminism and psychoanalysis, which is good, but there is still not a lot of research on her art. Out of all the research I have done on Anais there is only one paper that touches on her art and that is by, Sandra Rehme “The Multimedia of Our Unconscious Life: Anaïs Nin and the Synthesis of the Arts” (University College London PhD History of Art ) Sandra’s paper touches on the interdisciplinary nature of Anais work from the Surrealists in Europe to her collaboration with artist, musicians and filmmakers of the 1950s and 1960s such as Val Telberg, Louis and Bebe Barron and Maya Deren to name a few. At the end of the day, I am a visual artist who was very influenced by Anais Nin at an early age and not just by her eroticism, but by her language: a language of surrealism and female intuition. With their seductive beauty, your artworks have a very distinct visual identity and especially your large scale works involve the viewers into an immersive and voyeuristic visual experience: how do the


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dimensions of your artworks affect your workflow?

monopoly of social media and the internet. A time when you had to rely on snail mail and send in slides to galleries and access, news and opportunities within the art world were limited to monthly and sometimes annual publications. With the advancement of the new social media and internet becoming more prevalent in this everchanging climate of technology, one has to adapt. In the beginning I had a love hate relationship with the new media but over time it has made my relationship with my audience a lot more accessible and opened up a lot more opportunities in a shorter space of time than previously experienced.

The use of scale in my work is always important but was particularly so with the Anais Nin project. When starting out on, ‘Anais Through the Looking Glass and Other Stories’ it was imperative that the scale of the work be compatible with the human experience. The large mirror pieces such as, ‘Anais,’ ‘Glass Shawl’ and ‘Anais Through her Looking Glass’ had to be on scale that the viewer could relate to, experience and participate in, (returning to the theme of the Ménage a Trois between Anais, the viewer and the artist). Whereas the lightboxes create a different experience. The smallscale lightboxes encourage the viewer to become the voyeur. The mirrors invite you to step inside whereas with the lightbox’s invite you to watch and remain outside. Either way the viewer is still participating in the overall experience

When I was marketing the, ‘Anais Through the Looking Glass and Other Stories’ Exhibition at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco, I was very prolific and aggressive in my marketing skills on social media. As a result, the exhibition was a resounding success. On the opening night of the show, the gallery was so crowded it was difficult to even see the work. When I started talking to people to ask how they had heard about the exhibition, they told me that they had seen it advertised on social media. After that there was no going back. I will never underestimate the power of social media again

You are an established artist: you received the Jessop’s Photography Prize and fellowship awards in New Mexico, Italy, and Spain and your work is in many public and private collections, including the Museum of Fine Art in Santa Fe and the Anais Nin Foundation Art collection. How do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? In particular, how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere — and platforms as Instagram — in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

That said, the logistics of the art world are still very much the same as before the advent of the new media, i.e. Artists looking for galleries, galleries looking for artists, selling your work. but because of the infinite availability of information that social media and the internet provide, there are a lot more choices which in turn gives you greater

Some of the achievements that you have quoted, were accomplished before the

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control and freedom of your art practice. The art world has become more secular and not as exclusive which is, in my mind anyway, a good thing.

abstracting of the figure but this time using photography and video. The other project ‘JC and MM: A Modern Romance’ is based on the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalen is a collaborative video and performance piece with EPI, an Avant Garde art collective based out of Florence Italy and Manchester, England.

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Colette. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

It’s been a pleasure chatting with you also. Thank you for letting me share my art work with you and the readers of Peripheral ARTeries Magazine.

At present I am working on two projects both involving video and performance. One of the projects is a reworking of an older project ‘Abstracting the Figure ‘. Further

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

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Diana Frankovic Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

The Hacked Mind blurs the lines between art, spirituality, science and technology. It is a story that challenges and encourages the audience to go on an inner journey through image experience and consciousness movement. This multimedia installation is pointing out inevitable challenges we will face on our life’s journey. It is a journey into inner space. It is an interplay of video, 3D-sound, light and smell. The Hacked Mind follows a seven chakra clearing method which is experienced internally through visualization. Here it is translated digitally outwards - from the inside to the outside. The sound follows the specific frequencies which are associated with specific chakras because we can physically feel each chakra when it is activated by its corresponding frequency. Harmonic resonance is the base of the soundtrack created for this installation playing with senses.

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

To be honest, my studies did not really affect me artistically. I chose these subjects back then because I was interested in the topics. What had and still has great influence on me are the cities. Berlin with its wild, raw, carefree vibe and underground party scene. I have been living in Berlin for almost 18 years and I have experienced a lot of change, which has also turned me into a cameleon. There was and still is room to try something new. London was not less exciting for me, I was very young when I studied there. Everything was somehow dazzling and stylish. Especially the British music scene like Shoegaze and its fashion still characterize me today, even if I do not run around like that anymore. But when it comes to new trends, I'm still looking towards London and getting inspired by it.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Diana and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. You have a solid training and you hold a master’s degree in English philology, political science and journalism, that you received from the Free University of Berlin and London: how did those formative years influence your evolution as a creative? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum due to your 15 years career as a radio presenter for public service broadcasters direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

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Diana Frankovic Photo by Tobias Koch


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The fact that I became a radio presenter was a combination of my love for music, technology, art, culture, trends and current affairs. Since I'm curious and sometimes want to know things as detailed as possible, being a radio host for Cosmo (WDR) is still a lot of fun for me. Because here I can connect all these things together. And I like to talk to people. I like real communication, that's important to me. You are a versatile artist and your practice involves video, sound, light and smell, and we would like to invite our readers to visit http://dianafrankovic.com in order to get a wide idea about the multidisciplinary nature of your artistic research: how did you develop your attitude to experiment with different media? It has been a long process and it is still not over, which is good! First was the sound, with all its facets. My workplace was a sound studio right from the beginning, and besides doing my radio shows I always tried out a lot with sounds and music, fiddled and tinkered. But at some point that was no longer enough for me. Then I added the visual part. I have expanded my repertoire and my first film was created that way. After that, I simply added new components, such as light and smell. I like everything that has to do with the senses, these are the moments in which we really feel. This also offers plenty of room to experiment. I see that partly like a modular system, with which one can conjure up many beautiful things. If you replace an element or leave it out, something else is created again. Limits and boundaries you only set to yourself, in art there are none. That's why it never gets boring and that drives me.

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The Hacked Mind at Zum brennenden Bären 2019, Schloss Beesenstedt

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The Hacked Mind at Zum brennenden Bären 2019, Schloss Beesenstedt

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For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected The Hacked Mind, an interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. Unveiling the point of convergence between art, spirituality and technology, The Hacked Mind highlights connection between such apparently opposite fields as Science and Spirituality: when walking our readers through your usual workflow and process, we would like to ask you how did you develop the initial idea for The Hacked Mind. Science and spirituality are not at all contrary to me, they are even very close to each other. It just depends on the point of view. I have always been very tech-savvy. For fifteen years I have been pushing knobs, shifting faders, mixing sounds and rotating knobs. Studios are my second home. The whole thing I do now synonymous with videos. Same principle, different element. During this workflow I often get into a meditative state. It also has something sacred and reverent for me. Similar to a classic meditation. For example, consider energybased Tibetan Buddhism, then quantum physics is not far. The principles and questions are the same: what is reality? What is illusion? What about space and time? We are constantly tapping cosmic energy, living by physical laws. Therefore, I think that spirituality and technology correspond very well with each other. And that is also reflected in my artistic work, because I live according to this theory and believe in it. Fittingly, I got the idea for The Hacked Mind after an intense meditation phase. I had withdrawn a bit to look inward and make the

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Find Me at AfrikaBurn 2019, South Africa


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wire up, to connect to a higher source. I practiced a simple seven chakra cleansing mediation for days. The chakras are considered energy centers in Eastern philosophies. In order to bring them back into harmony and flow, it is important to break away from the blockages that we constantly accumulate through various experiences in ourselves. At some point, the idea came to me quite clearly that I should translate this seven chakra meditation, from the inside out. Better to say digitally with video, sound, light and smell. That was the beginning of The Hacked Mind. You structured The Black Box of your installation in order to encourage the viewers to go on an inner journey, providing them with such an immersive, almost surrounding visual experience: what were you aesthetic and technical decisions in relationship to the exhibition space, in order to imparts The Hacked Mind such multilayered qualities? As a starting point I took the research of the scientist Dirk K.F. Meijer, a professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He hypothesizes that consciousness resides in a field surrounding the brain. This field is in another dimension. His new theory of consciousness points out that the mind exists as a field connected to the brain. Between quantum physics and neuroscience, a theory emerges of a mental field we each have, existing in another dimension and behaving in some ways like a black hole. The room, my black box, refers to his theory of the black hole. Because this condition can also be achieved through meditation. Which brings us back to spirituality. Whether in quantum

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The Hacked Mind at Zum brennenden Bären 2019, Sch

physics or spirituality, it's about the creation out of nothing. To achieve this effect, there is a square room as an empty space. The audience stands or sits


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in the center of the room. It is facing towards one side, looking at a video projection and nothing else. The audience is surrounded by seven speakers in a circle to provide the sound. Seven lamps in different colours built

in a circle are installed on the ceiling, hanging above the center of the room. Only one lamp at a time is projecting light in one colour on the audience. Seven, because there are seven chakras. It is also considered a sacred

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The Hacked Mind at Zum brennenden Bären 2019, Schloss Beesenstedt

number, no matter in which religions and philosophies. I wanted to keep the room as clean as possible, the only thing that causes movement is the technology that creates video, sound, light and smell. Because

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technology is also part of science, it is energy where the circle closes again. I see The Hacked Mind as an interplay of video, sound, light and smell. Means: A

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the installation. No visualisation needed. Furthermore one will experience all internal chakra clearings externally trough video, sound, light and smell. Participants can experience a sensation as they watch the video, listen to the sound journey and smell a scent, while lights in different colours are being projected on them, which indicate the energy flow (chakras) up and down their body. So each action reveals something new in the box and in the space. What seemed an empty space reveals itself to possess hidden energies that are invisible, yet there all the time such as light, sound and wave energies. We have particularly appreciated the way The Hacked Mind addresses your audience to a multilayered experience and we daresay that your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface. Austrian historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the audience to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewer's imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? You have understood that correctly, that pleases me. But other than that, I do not want to teach anyone how to understand The Hacked Mind. It's more about the feeling and the experience itself. Because everyone feels different, with different intensity in different situations. I offer a space, give impulses and emit stimuli that can be felt very quickly and

chakra clearing method which is experienced internally through visualization, is being translated digitally into a space. From the inside to the outside. The audience can experience this method by just stepping into

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sometimes as harsh or too much. That's what I want. I want to create a sensory overload, an illusion that you can not even think about it during the installation, just pick it up and feel something. So many senses are triggered that the brain goes on a roller coaster ride. Reflection can and should take place after the experience. In which direction it goes, I have no influence on it and I do not want to have directly. Actually same way as Ernst Gombrich pointed it out, I fully share his opinion. As you have remarked once, The Hacked Mind is pointing out inevitable challenges we will face on our life’s journey: Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "artists's role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? Moreover, as an artist particularly inspired by people from different cultures, how does your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process? Very, without that it does not work. For years I have been intensively studying Dzogchen, the highest tantra teaching in Tibetan Buddhism, it’s also called the secret path. It totally shaped me, I still live by the principles, even though I do not actively practice Dzogchen anymore. The philosophy is in me and I try to live it, no matter in which situation. It also meant that I spent a lot of time in Asia. Which you can always recognize in my creative works. Asia and spirituality are just favorite topics. If I am in this environment and am open enough to let it work on me, let it in, then it leaves its mark, completely natural, I think. My creative process is driven by it. For some time now, it has been particularly inspired by the Burning Man

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3D Graphics The Hacked Mind

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community in which I am actively participating. It ignites the fire in me at a very fast and strong pace and transforms me both

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artistically and humanely. Something I do not want to miss anymore. Being part of this community and being able to co-create

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together with so many talented artists is truly a gift and I am very grateful for it. But my biggest source of inspiration is nature, travel and music.

recognisable questions of modern life. When walking our readers through the genesis of The Sad Monk, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? In particular, were you interested in creating an allegorical film capable of reflecting human condition in a general sense?

Technology plays an important role in your artistic practice: Canadian multidisciplinary artist Angela Bulloch onced remarked "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 artworks, but innovation means not only to artists can create works that haven't been before, but especially to recontextualize what already exists: do you think that one of the roles of contemporary artists has changed these days with the new global communications and the new sensibility created by new media?

When I first met Tenzin, I was on the lookout for my own personal pilgrimage through the Himalayas. I have been there for many months and especially in Nepal I have retired to many monasteries and just meditated. I wanted to know where the source of Tibetan Buddhism lies, how people actually live it there. At the time, I was very deep in my own practice and saw it, like so many Westerners, through the pink glasses. But Tenzin showed me that I'm wrong. Spiritual monastic life is anything but perfect and often very far away from what we expect. I still remember the first conversation with Tenzin in a monastery in the Kathmandu Valley, high on a mountain. I was tired and hungry and he brought me food, we sat together in his monastery office. On the walls were everywhere colorful paintings that have shown many different Buddhas and Boddisattvas in sexual positions. It’s often typical for Tibetan Buddhism. And he began to tell that he would like to have sex too but he is not allowed to. And that's hard for him. I was so surprised that I did not even know what to say. I had never expected that. That a monk begins such a conversation and talks freely about it although he did not know me at all. And that was just the beginning of our conversations. We spent 2-3 weeks together every day and he opened up more

I could not express it better than Angela Bulloch. I also like her work very much. Social media is changing everything, but I also see it as a great opportunity for contemporary art and artists. It's digital technology that can be artful too. Anyone can market themselves and reach an audience. That was not possible a few years ago. For digital art, social media has become an important play-off, sometimes even a tool and medium at the same time. Personally, I benefit from it and work with it. Another interesting work of yours that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled The Sad Monk, a stimulating film centered on the figure of Tenzin, the young Tibetan Buddhist representative of a new generation, who is grappling with

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and more, we just talked. What moves him, causes problems, how he sees monastic life, what his desires, dreams and hopes are. And above all, how sad he is that he has to live this way. I kept asking but most of all I listened to him. Nobody has done that before. And then I realized that I have to tell this story to the world. Tenzin's story, which can also be everyone's story. We are all sometimes a Sad Monk, no matter what kind of life you live. With its sapient veritĂŠ style and elegantly shot, The Sad Monk features gorgeous combinations between refined cinematography and a keen eye for detail: what were your aesthetic decisions when shooting? In particular, what were your choices about editing to achieve such brilliant results? The most important element for me is the contrast. I consciously combined pictures, scenes, dialogues and music in such a way that they always show a clear contrast. But I made sure that there is still a vibe, a flow. I did not want to represent clichĂŠs but even clean up with these stylistic devices. Tenzin's story is not what we expect from a Tibetan Buddhist monk. That's exactly how I approached this movie. I did not want to show anything that could be expected of this topic. In order to illustrate the chaos, the speed of our digital society and the zeitgeist, the edit is more reminiscent of music videos. They shaped me more than most documentary films anyway.

The Hacked Mind

Award for World Directing at the Amsterdam Film Festival and you were also nominated for the China Academy Awards for Documentary Film. Over the years your artworks have been showcased in a number of occasions in more

You are an established artist and you received 20 awards from international film and art festivals, including the Van Gogh

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than 35 countries: how do you consider the participatory nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the audience in a physical is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the

spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm increases: how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

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The direct contact to the audience is immensely important to me, otherwise there is no feedback. You can get that through social media through likes, but honestly, what does that say? Nothing. It is only PR. Feedback

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but also constructive criticism can only be obtained through direct exchange with people, through discussions. And without that I can’t work. Otherwise I will not learn anything. I can also find out if my vision really

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myself, my skills and my view points which is essential for me. We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Diana. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? My pleasure, I have to thank you! For some months I have been working mainly on visuals, which I present with projection mapping on art objects and stages, in combination with live DJs. I recently returned from AfrikaBurn in South Africa, where among other things I showed my current visual project on a 10m high wooden Cobra snake, somewhere in the South African desert. A trippy visual journey into the Southeast Asian jungle. It's called Find Me. These visuals are also part of my new project. Because I'm just about to finish my water installation. I’m going to project my jungle visuals on a water screen over a lake. The soundscape, a melodic and deep downtempo journey will be created by Farn, a French DJ and producer (CrÊpite Collective) based in Berlin. We are currently working on the audiovisual show. I'm really looking forward to it because he is my favourite DJ right now and he perfectly implements my vision musically. We also want to expand our collaboration and already have ideas for a visual sound journey that reflects a 24 hour cycle. But I will not tell you more!

reaches the audience in the way I thought it in my head. In doing so, I often hear new aspects that I did not even think about before. This enriches me and automatically flows into my next work. That way I can always improve

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

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Angela Hansen Lives and works in Lake Country, BC, Canada Lake Country artist Angela Hansen grew up on a small horse ranch near the BC interior town of Quesnel. Directly after graduating high school she moved to Vancouver and attended the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, (now Emily Carr University of Art and Design). She received a certificate of Design with a major in Graphic Design and she then worked as a freelance designer and in small print shops for a few years then decided to upgrade to a degree; she now holds a Bachelor of Design with a major in Communications Design from ECIAD. Angela then earned her teaching degree from the University of Victoria and has been an art teacher in the Central Okanagan for the past 18 years. She currently teaches art at George Elliot Secondary and lives in spectacular Lake Country, BC Canada with her husband and young son. Angela has worked with a variety of mediums in the past, including; charcoal, ink, acrylics, blockprint, photography, and clay and has been showing her art and photography since she was a teenager, mostly in the Kootenays and Central Okanagan. Angela joined the local group Livessence around 2005 when she worked almost exclusively with the human form - then her work took a drastic change from figurative charcoal and acrylic paintings to a more abstract form in encaustics after the birth of her son in 2008. She has been working almost exclusively in encaustic since then.

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

to get a wide idea about your artistic production, and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your Bachelor of Design from the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, you nurtured your education with a Bachelor of Education, that you received from

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Angela and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production and we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.angelahansenart.com in order

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Angela Hansen in studio 2019 Photo credit: Jacquie Tremblay


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Miss Creature, encaustic, bone, metal, 14 x 11�, 2018, Photo credit: the artist

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theUniversity of Victoria: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

my voice. Many years experimenting with this “new� old medium, combined with my intense interest in the structure of our natural world and human psychology, has led my to my current art-making practises and interests.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my creative endeavours. From an early age, I remember drawing and painting being my favourite things to do. I grew up on a farm in a very rural area of British Columbia, Canada in the 1970’s; being creative and exploring the lands, flora, and fauna around our farm was my way of keeping myself entertained. My creativity was supported by my parents and my elementary and high school art teachers, as a result, by the time I was 8 years old, I knew I wanted to attend the Emily Carr College of Art, (now the Emily Carr Institute of Art And Design), in Vancouver.

We have appreciated the way the results of your artistic inquiry into the themes of metamorphosis and transformation provides the viewers with such multilayered visual experience, and the body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries has at once impressed us of for the way you sapiently conveyed such captivating surrealistic quality into images rich of references to reality, as part of human body: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us what did direct your interest towards the themes of metamorphosis and transformation?

Luckily, my plan worked out and I majored in Graphic Design and then moved on to a very unfulfilling career in graphic design. While grounding me in a great sense of design and composition, this artistic path was NOT fulfilling my need to create art, express myself, and most importantly use a wide variety of mediums. Teaching art in a high school setting seemed like a better way to utilize all my artistic interests and talents while allowing for some personal studio time. All this career movement really helped to guide me in what I wanted to spend my creative time on, and when I was introduced to the medium of encaustics in the early 2000s, I realized this was the medium that would help me find

In trying to discover what my niche in the visual arts world would be, I was very interested in figurative art using traditional materials such as charcoal and acrylic. Combine that with having grown up on an isolated farm where a young imagination runs wild, and exposed to the harsh, yet beautiful reality of being biological entities, I suppose I have developed a certain visual and psychological aesthetic. The art I have been making for a number of years is based on transformation and metamorphosis and these themes are at the core of everything that interests me, as a result, they are a natural extension in

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Miss Creature (detail) encaustic, bone, metal 14 x 11� 2018 Photo credit: the artist


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Mental Morass, encaustic, tissue, polymer clay, oil, 10 x 10�, 2016, Photo credit: the artist

The medium of encaustic is a transformative

my art. Our bodies, minds, and indeed, the world we live in, is in constant transformation.

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material in itself! It moves from being a solid, to a liquid, and then as it cools through a

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Overwhelmed And Consumed, encaustic, tissue, polymer clay, oil, 20 x 20�2017, Photo credit: the artist

range of viscousness and stickiness, it is hard again. It moves from cool, then hot, then cool again. It changes from semi-

transparent, transparent, then cloudy, then semi-transparent agin. And all these can happen over and over agin as a piece is

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Mental Morass, detail, encaustic, tissue, polymer clay, oil, 10 x 10�, 2016, Photo credit: the artist


Sea Creature encaustic and tissue 16 x 12� 2017 Photo credit: the artist


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It’s Easy To Imagine The Worst, encaustic, tissue, polymer clay, oil, 10 x 10”, 2016, Photo credit: the artist

manipulated, adapted, and added to. In creating an assemblage piece such as “Miss Creature”, I wanted to create something

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oddly familiar, yet, kind of creepy. But then, isn’t that what makes something unsettling…when it touches us in a personal way - yet isn’t quite right?! “Mental

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Morass” and “It’s Easy to Believe the Worst” are both pieces in which I tried to convey extreme human psychological states in a graphically physical way. The hands are my own, as are the states of mind. Being caught up in our own minds, stewing in mental juices, imagining things to be more than they are….verging on phobias and neurosis. We like the way you artworks convey such a stimulating combination between figurative elements and captivating surrealistic feeling: how would you consider 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? When abstraction made its way into my art, it allowed me to truly find my personal imagery. It was an amazingly freeing process in my growth as an artist, and as such, I now flow back and forth between more realistic imagery and pure abstraction. I think that’s where the surrealism comes in, when abstraction and reality merge. Taking what we know, and twisting or transforming it. Even my abstract work originates from organic imagery and ideas, such as neurons or cells, things we know exist but can’t always observe. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your arestriving to create a sense of both unease and curiosity for the viewer, yet compelling them to take a closer look and explore. In this sense, we dare say that your artworks, as the interesting Overwhelmed and Consumed seem to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface,

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Miss Creature (detail), encaustic, bone, metal, 14 x 11�, 2018 Photo credit: the artist

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Irradiated Expellations II, encaustic, polymer clay, and tissue, 20 x 24�, 2013 Photo credit: the artist

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providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception. How important is for you to invite the viewers to elaborate personal meanings? And in particular, how open would you like your artworks to be understood? When I discovered I could create such realistic castings in encaustic, a whole world of ideas and possibilities for my art opened up. Artists have long relied on themselves as model for their art - it is both convenient and expedient. There is also the ability to tell a personal story that will perhaps connect with viewers in some way. When I observe people looking at my “Overwhelmed And Consumed” piece, they look at it from far away and then walk up to it as close as they can, and reach their hand out to touch it. I love that this happens! This is definitely my most personal piece, and was a way for me to work through a period of deep depression in my life. I don’t mind telling this story, because it is so hard to describe to people how mental illness feels, deep within us, and often we never articulate it it - verbal or otherwise. We all have an external “self”, and sometimes what lies just beneath the surface of the delicate psychological and emotional facade is very incongruent with that public self. I’d like to think that “Overwhelemd And Consumed” will evoke a variety of emotion in viewers, and that many have, in fact, felt that they were being consumed from within by negative thoughts. Your artworks — as the interesting Organiflow — are often marked out with

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Memory Of The Future encaustic, oil 24 x 36� 2016 Photo credit: the artist


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Supressed Memories, encaustic, oil, 36 x 24” 2018

Organiflow, encaustic, polymer clay, oil36 x 24”2018

Photo credit: the artist

Photo credit: Jacquie Tremblay

geometric patterns, that you sapiently combine with unique variety of tones, that provide your works with a unique aesthetic identity. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric

schemes? In particular, how do you consider the relation between the nature of the concepts that you explore in your artistic research and the physical aspect of your daily practice as an artist?

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Drawing and mark-making play a significant role in my two-dimensional works and my everyday art practises. There is little method or planning - only gesture and instinct, even in the sculptural works. I’ll usually start with a

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Aquatica, encaustic, pastel, 36 x 24”2018 Photo credit: the artist

small thumbnail from my sketchbook and create an underpainting on the substrate. From there I’ll draw the design on top and begin an intuitive carving and layering process without any real idea of a what the finished piece will look like. The one factor present in all my work is texture, and this is something that can be infinitely manipulated with the medium of encaustic. What is not always evident, is the physical work required

Morphology Of Memoryencaustic, pastel 48 x 24” Photo credit: the artist, 2019

to create textures, such as accretion, which can literally require thousands of brushstrokes to achieve.

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“Organiflow” was a kind of merging of my sculptural work and my 2D style and was made for a themed juried group show called “A Restless Earth”. The piece represents changes happening at a microscopic level within each biome of our planet. Through human activity – past, present and future - we put into motion morphological changes and processes whose long-term impacts might not be known for years to come. Niches for my morphings on a seemingly flat surface create an illusion for the viewer who may not notice them at first, and upon their discovery, may be somewhat repelled or surprised by their existence. Just like looking at substances under a microscope. We have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances that mark out your artworks, especialy the ones from your Morphogenesis series, and we like the way they create tension and dynamics: how did you come about settling on your color palette? And how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in a specific artwork in order to achieve such evocative visual results? I love all color, and I love mixing colour. I think the colours I choose for my work is reflective of the mood or emotional tone I wish to convey in the piece. It is easy to constantly use a familiar color palette, but when we as artists choose colours we don’t normally reach for, I think it can expand our visual vocabulary especially in more abstract works. I strive to create subtleties and colour variation through layering and texturizing while having a strong

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Memories Of When We Met, encaustic, pastel24 x 30�2019 Photo credit: the artist

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How Could I Forget?, encaustic, oil24 x 30�2019 Photo credit: the artist

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composition and contrast. As seen in, “Remember When We Met”, from my series making connections between memory formation and geological processes, the deltaic river formations have transformed into dendrites of a neuron afire with colourful energy. In “Memory Garden”, the kaleidoscope of pod-like flower formations are filtering down through the watery sediment of our minds and beginning the slow and gentle process of decay. Your artworks are an exploration of extreme human emotions, including fears, phobias and primal instincts. How does your memories and your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process? And how do you think your works respond to it in finding hidden, crystallised moments in the everyday? The small creatures found in many of my works, which I named “Morphlings”, arrived when I was having a bad creative day. I wanted to work, but didn’t have any direction. I was holding some polymer clay and this little creature started to emerge, along with many others. Then the paper pods were created to give home to the morphlings. So, they have come to be physical manifestations of emotions, memories, or thoughts. Perhaps because I am a teacher of teenagers, I feel highly attuned to my, and other’s emotional states. Whatever the reason, I use my art to process these experiences. Everyone has a story, something beneath the surface of everyday life - I am inspired to recreate these things in my art as well - not just my own dialogue.

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of sight, touch, and smell. The beeswax medium adds another dimension to the viewer’s experience that cannot happen online. Having said that, I recognize that there are many, many, people buying and collecting art through social media platforms who may never have stepped foot in a brick and mortar gallery. To dismiss or ignore this fact and not find a niche in the online art world, would be foolish.

Over the years your artworks have been showcased in a number of occasions, including your recent participation to the juried group show Survey of Encaustic Art, at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art, California: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? And what do you hope your audience take away from your artworks? By the way, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to online platforms increases, how would in your opinion change the relationship with a globalised audience?

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Angela. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

My audience is participatory in that I want them to think about how they are reacting to my work, and why. I’d like them to be curious and ask questions; and through those questions give a little piece of their stories to me. I would like the viewers of my art to not only notice the amazing qualities that the encaustic medium embodies, but to look at the natural world around us and have a sense of it’s unseen, fragile beauty. To recognize the visceral feelings within all of us and how we are guided by these emotions in our everyday lives, and that it’s ok to be vulnerable sometimes.

Currently, I am working on a corpus of work for my solo exhibition entitled “The Morphology of Memory” This work which makes visual connections between the formation of memory and geological formations or processes. After these works are complete, I would like to spend some time casting other people and finding a story to tell through these encaustic castings. I’m very excited at the possibilities of taking other people’s stories as inspiration, and where that might take me. Because of the versatility of the encaustic medium, I feel like there’s just not enough time for me explore all the possibilities it holds!

There are definitely pros and cons to the online world of art. I appreciate that we can see and share so much of what we are creating and working on, perhaps finding an audience or opportunity to show our work we may not have found otherwise. On the other hand, I wonder that the tactile qualities in my work will not translate well in a digital world. My work engages the senses

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Angela Hansen in studio 2019 Photo credit: Jacquie Tremblay


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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Matthew Hampshire Lives and works inStamford, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom After spending several years lightpainting with my camera in dark and isolated spots, I began to discover many abandoned buildings, that I was instantly drawn to, so I set out on a journey to capture the beauty and atmosphere of them. I like the stories they have to tell; whether it be that of a beautiful church being reclaimed by nature, a house full of decay and history, or a factory full of machines that are now silent. Over the last six years I have travelled throughout Europe, from France to the Ukraine, as well as all over the UK, in search of this imagery.

Hello Matthew and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit http://www.matthewhampshire.com in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. As a self-taught photographer are there any experiences that did particularly influence your evolution as a visual artist in general? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

As a child and teenager my favorite films, books and comics were all futuristic with sole survivors or had a dystopian theme. Omega Man was the most memorable and the first part of the film when Charlton Heston gets to wander around a deserted city on his own doing what he pleases really appealed to me on some level. I have always been comfortable with periods of isolation even as a child , but with the knowledge that companionship and interaction with others was just around the corner. So I guess my search for abandoned places takes me back to my childhood in some ways; sneaking around excitedly in places where I shouldn't be, trying to keep out of sight so I can stay to photograph them and then trying to get out again, and hopefully my reward is some good shots.

Hi there and thanks for giving me this opportunity to engage with your audience and hopefully interest them in what I love doing.

When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I remember being with a group of friends and finding a large house. We spent ages looking

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

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around the exterior and eventually built up the courage to creep inside. We wandered around from room to room and after we made our way upstairs, there was a bang or clatter, probably just the wind, but we all panicked and ran for our lives. It was such good fun and so exciting we went back for more the next day!

a shiny new building that has no history or stories to tell like the one it has replaced. The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, has at once captured our attention for the way you sapiently projected the viewers into an hybrid visual experience that rejects any conventional classification to question the theme of isolation. When walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us why you decide to focus on this form of photography?

I purchased my first digital camera in 2000 just for recording holiday destinations. This soon developed, and I started to take my camera out to capture landscapes and anything else that caught my eye. I later began experimenting with light-painting and long exposure night shots which required total darkness, so a lack of ambient light from streetlamps or any other source of light pollution was very important. Whilst searching for this sort of scene, I discovered many abandoned places which were perfect for my needs. Initially I visited these places just for the lack of light but over time I began to realize there was a great beauty in abandonment, so I began visiting these locations in daylight and was amazed at the architectural wonders that lay slowly decaying just out of the view of most people. I find the textures, colours and geometrical shapes combined with a sense of isolation and calm very appealing, and so I have sought out as many of these places as I can just to capture them in the moment before they are demolished, renovated or just crumble to the ground.

I have settled on this form of photography as it just really gave me a passion and excitment to see what was behind the closed door or boarded up window. Usually there a real sense of the adventure when going out, wondering what I might find, if I will be able to get in and what will be there when I do get in. Although the photographs I publish are the end result of what I do, it is only a tiny part of it for me, I enjoy the whole experience. I love to see the places and I wander around exploring in anticipation of taking a great shot, whilst musing over what stories these places can tell . This is what I look for when at a location because I am trying to capture a scene that tells the viewer a little bit of its history, for it might be a beautiful church being reclaimed by nature, a house ripe with decay and personal artefacts , or a factory full of machines that are now silent and siezed immobile by rust.

The isolation in these forbidden places really is twofold - firstly that I am alone, unseen and seperate from society and secondly I feel the places are removed from the world in someway. They are no longer needed by the people that built them, they are past their best and not worth looking after or are no longer fit for purpose, so they are discarded in favour of

Your artworks seem to be meticolously structured: how do you consider the relationship between the necessity of scheduling the details of your performative gestures and the need of spontaneity? How importance did improvisation play in your workflow?

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Overtime, I have become quite obsessed with symmetry and structure. When I started out I was trying any sort of angle and perspective to capture a room or scene, but over time I realised that having everything square and perpendicular works so much better when transferring my images on to canvas or metal plates. The trouble is that most old buidings have settled over time and are not as square as they once were, so with this in mind I try to allow for it's gentle shift over time! When I edit the photograph I can make slight alterations to the shape of the stucture to fit it best to the perfectly square medium it will be presented on. There also other factors that can affect getting the shot you want as some of these old places can be tight and cramped, or there maybe something immovable in the exact place you want to be with your camera so on the spot decisions need to be made to get the best from the location. Over the last six years your have travelled across the globe in search of the world’s most beautiful abandoned places. How does your experience as a traveller fuel your creative process? And how do you think your works respond to it in finding hidden, crystallised moments in the everyday? Travelling thousands of miles over the last six or so years has given me a very keen eye in spotting potential locations from the road side or in the distance. whether is a slightly damaged roof, an uncut hedge, an overgrown lawn. a board on a window or vegatation growing where it would normally be removed. These are all things that are imprinted in my subconcious and grab my attention; so much so that my wife is now picking up the same instincts when sitting beside me in the car. As I have visited over four hundred places, I can now imagine quickly and easily what is

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First light, first spot

achievable within a room so from just a glance I can see what I will be able to capture that makes a good photo graph.


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You are inspired by the fantastical world of M.C Escher and H. R. Geiger, and as you have remarked in your artist's statement, you like

to leave dark areas in some of my work to allow our imagination to decide what could be hiding there. In this sense, we daresay that

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your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface. Austrian historian Ernst Gombrich

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once remarked the importance of providing a space for the audience to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of


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associations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? I get a huge sense of satisfaction when I speak to people that have seen my work, and find they have noticed the little details that might be hiding in a dark corner of a photo, or when they question what they are seeing if they don't fully comprehend the scene before them. I like people to give me their view of what they see and what they imagine occured in this place in the past. Some people find the images disturbing or depressing and maybe there is a sense of icy dampness or there is lots of rust and decay. However, to me there is so much beauty here with nature breaking everything back down again by covering a building or vehicle in vibrant green moss, or creating amazing textures in a rusting factory, and so I hope my photographs can be seen from a different persepective, or with fresh eyes. I usually try and find some history about the places I visit, as most people are interested in a buildings previous usage or who lived there. so it can fire their imagination to think about what would have gone on there in the past. We have really appreciate your exploration of the aesthetics of abandoned places, to release the idea of beauty from the idea of constructed perfection, and reminding us of the notion of non lieu elaborated by French anthropologist Marc AugĂŠ, Altared state has drawn heavily from the specifics of its environment and we have highly appreciated the way it questions the nature of our perceptual process, and its resonance with the outside world: how did you select the locations and how did they influence your shooting process?

the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewer's imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal

To ensure my portfolio is as varied as possible, I select a broad spectrum of locations for each

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trip. So ideally any thing from small cottages, larger homes, Chateaus or castles,churches and chapels, hospitals, schools and asylums, small workshops to large factories, huge steel works and powerstaiton and finally places where cars and other vehicles are left abandoned. Its not possible to see every sort of place on every trip or outing but I try my best to keep things mixed up and not concentrate too heavily on one subject. The same applies to editing I only work on one shot from a location at a time and often spend hours looking through folders of photographs before an image will jump out at me. Sometimes I might change my mind part way through editing an image if not totally inspired and I'll go back to something I've started previously and carry on with that or I'll search out a new shot to work on until I'm totally happy that I have a finished image that is worth sharing. Occasionally I delve through previously finished images and see them in a completely new light and edit them in a totally different way too. With their powerful visual quality, that combines the real with such a surreal ambience, your works feature ambivalent visual quality: how do you consider the relationship between reality and imagination playing within your work as a visual artist? There is a both mix of reality and imagination in my photographs which varies greatly from image to image. Some scenes are quite straight forward and it is easy to make your mind up about what you are seeing , even if it is far more decayed or aged than you would normally envisage, though this in itself may make an image quite unbelievable or seem fictional in some way. People have commented in the past that a couple of my photographs show cars with trees growing out of them and think I must have

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photoshopped the tree there or even that the cascade of cars in the old slate mine cannot possibly exist, but in these cases they are


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presented as they actually are.Other places can seem far more fantastical, especially some of the large steel works and powerstations.

They look like something from a sci-fi movie or have a look of Giger or Escher painting. Sometimes I will try to capture something

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Open plan living

here that gives no hint to the viewer as to what they are actually looking at. This may be

a shot straight up inside the cooling tower of a powerstation or a rusted old stairwell in a


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Provocatively, German photographer Thomas Ruff stated once that "nowadays you don't have to paint to be an artist. You can use photography in a realistic way". You can even do abstract photographs. What is your opinion about the importance of photography in our contemporary art scene? Yes, within contemporary art, photography is as important as it ever was if used in a creative and expresive way, but the internet and social media do possibly devalue it in some ways - everything is too readily available. I feel visionary and imaginative photography will always stand out to someone that spends time to actually look properly, but many people in society today only have the time or inclination for a passing glance. With the progression of digital cameras and editing techniques, there is so much more that can be achieved with a camera than ever before with a little thought and imagination. I can see photography remaining an important medium in the art world for many years to come. You are an established photographer and over the years your works have been exhibited in several occasions, including your recent participation to the Edinburgh Art Fair: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? In particular, how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere — and platforms as Instagram — in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience? I totally embrace the rise of online photography platforms such as Instagram, Flickr and to a degree facebook as I am able to reach a large audience that I would otherwise find it very difficult to connect with. factory, ideally where there is just a mixture of geomtrically pleasing shapes and textures.

From the early days of uploading my images on the internet, it has been very useful to see the feedback. It was not always positive but if want


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Animals are after me

to improve you can learn from your mistakes or

great source of inspiration and spark ideas for

take onboard criticism where it's warranted.

future work too. These platforms are also a very

Online galleries and artists streams can also be a

good way of reaching out around the world to

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We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Matthew. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? As for future projects, I have a couple of trips planned to countries I've not visited before which should be very exciting and will hopefully afford me some great new locations to share. I hope to get some new exclusive pieces printed up very soon for Woodbine Contempery arts which was the first gallery to have some faith in me for which I will always be immensely grateful. http://www.woodbinecontemporaryarts.co.uk /hampshire.html I also have been working with a Charity record label utilizing my images in some of their CD and vinyl releases https://touched.bandcamp.com/ . Touched music is run by a great guy called Martin Boulton and all profits from the label go to Macmillan cancer support so I offered him free use of my images. I have also been designing the packaging for a few of his projects which has been quite different and exciting from the things I usually do, so hopefully this will be a long and creative friendship. Thank you very much for involving me in the special edition of Peripheral ARTeries, I feel quite honoured and have enjoyed answering your questions to give your readers an insight into my art. prospective customers whether it is a single

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

person or a gallery that is interested in

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

showing a series of my work.

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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Aliénor Vallet Lives and works in Paris, France

My artistic work never ceases to question this impalpable, fugitive, elusive thing called «the real». But being a witness of the real is not enough for me. Through a real given for THE reality, my gaze perceives a multitude of possibilities. And behind the «images of the real», I feel that an infinity of invisible realities coexist. For me, to explore images of the real is to reveal their potentiality, to bring out let this multiplicity, to make these realities exist beyond the real, beyond the consensual. Artistically, I consider myself a «hacker of the real». My project: to unmask the invisible.

your experiences of collaborations with contemporary artists direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

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

Around the age of 15, my initiation to the process of N&B photo development and printing was a revelation: fascinated by light, I started film shooting and set up my own lab in my bathroom. I sought to reveal ghostly or ephemeral movements and presences by working on exposure in shooting and printing: I sought to experiment «the invisible». My first approach was intuitive and self-taught, it was only subsequently that I had a formal training in photography and later in analog video. The discovery of documentary and experimental cinema has directed me towards the exploration of cinematic language. Giving up photography practice

Hello Aliénor and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would invite to our readers to visit https://alienorvallet.jimdo.com in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. You have a solid formal training and you studied both Photography and Video in parallel to your studies in Human and Social Sciences and in Communication: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist and help you to develop your attitude to experiment? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum as well as

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with the arrival of digital, I totally adopted digital video and its first format Digital8, and left the bathroom for the computer (as new tools for “access to heaven”!). My inquiry on world was also manifested by a quest for intellectual understanding that led me to pursue studies in the Human and Social Sciences and Communication Sciences. I also had the opportunity to meet contemporary dance and theatre artists in Congo while I was responsible for the cinema programming of the French Institute of Brazzaville. I have experienced with them collaborations as a video artist but also as a stage designer, artistic and technical advisor, lighting designer and even performer. My sensitive and poetic gaze as an image specialist seeks to divert the real by capturing images in a instant and transforming them technically while my reflective and analytical gaze as a human sciences specialist tended to reveal its underlying social logics. I can say that both attitudes are united in the affirmation that the real is an illusion and the truth a construction, and that their critical sense and “beyond” moving requirements complement each other. In my artistic work and my current research, I am experimenting the formal and conceptual spaces where these both approaches converge. For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Camouflage self-portrait, a stimulating video installation 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 insightful inquiry into the relation between personal and professional identity is the way it provides the

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Camouflage self-portrait, multimedia installation, 2018

viewers with with such a multilayered visual experience. when walking our readers through the genesis of Camouflage selfportrait, would you tell us how did you develop the initial idea? To preserve my independence as an artist, I have to wear several professional hats and even to hide my versatility, which can be badly perceived. Therefore, it would exist as a “catalogue of employable me”. On this


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The experiment also raised the risk of the absorption of the real by the virtual. Laure being my third name and legally able to be turned into a first name, would I choose to become Laure if Laure actually got a mission?

finding I came up with the idea of tackling the tension between personal identity and professional identity by staging a virtual identity. In the performative project Camouflage self- portrait, while experimenting with Laure’s “employability” potential, my double virtual restyled, I wanted to “unmask” the physical stereotype on which the professional mask is built. I didn’t know in advance how long the experiment would last or how far I could go.

Inquiring into how rapid and dramatic transformation affect the online technosphere, the way Camouflage selfportrait examines the theme of identity raises questions about the relationship

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Le Socle des vertiges (bestiaire), video creation for the play by DieudonnĂŠ Niangouna, 2011

private sphere is described as narrow and without perspective, Laure is created in the virtual space, connected then externalized in public space (off-camera). The boundary between her identities ends up becoming blurred with the transmutation as an Amazon warrior that poses for the spectator’s gaze (4th wall). The objective was to restage this fantasy that virtual experience allows greater freedom than real experience in order to deconstruct and reveal it as utopia. The installation actually shows the limit of

between the private and the public sphere. Paradoxically, it seems that in our ever changing contemporary age everyone appears to be more isolated despite being more connected. How do you consider the issue of the perception of the self in relation to the augmented experience provided by new media? In Camouflage self-portait, I show that the construction of identity depends on the relation to space: it is territorialized. The

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The theme of the double plays a crucial aspect in your inquiry into the notion of identity and you created a video for the theater piece "Le socle des vertiges": what does fascinate you of the theme of metamorphosis? It was during the work of writing and staging of bodies for the creation Le Socle des vertiges that I became passionate about these themes of double and metamorphosis. Having worked with the choreographer Boris G. Bouetoumoussa, I had already been very impressed by the ecstatic states that can reach the bodiliness of dancers. For Le Socle des vertiges, the author and director Dieudonné Niangouna sought to test the limitations of actors by pushing them to physical exhaustion in a quasi-sacrificial trial and I was able to shoot bestial bodily trances. What upsets me about metamorphosis is this prodigious moment when the transfiguration takes place, when the double before contained overflows, the mask decomposes under the push of a new force and the underlying “state of being” springs up. It is from this original experience that I imagined a whole universe upon the bestiary metaphor and animal sacrifice for the video creation of the piece. Camouflage Self-Portrait, on the contrary I wanted my metamorphosis to be voluntary, to be a carefully studied, assumed process.

hyperconnection which does not exclude the sensation or the real isolation. In my opinion, the augmented experience of new media allows to create the illusion of a personalized immediate relationship where the user is in fact referred to his desire in mirror, to a expended perception of him-self that may rather reduce his attention and ability to relate to others. In fact, in augmented reality it is not so much the experience that is augmented but the narcissistic overinvestment of the consumer.

Projecting the viewers into a non lieu, Quantic Hamlet has heavily drawn both from cultural references - as the well known figure of Ophelia - and from the immersive location as an airport. We have particularly appreciated the way you created such powerful resonance between

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Camouflage self-portrait, multimedia installation, 2018


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the atmosphere of the location and the idea of depersonalization: how did you select the location and how did it influence your performative process? I wanted to shoot at an airport as a symptomatic site of continuous flow of anonymous individuals and standardized information, empty of exchanges. The dimension of “getting through” a location is for me an issue of the metamorphosis of identity. The opportunity appears by chance and in all the relevance of its incongruity when, with a troupe of actors we landed at the airport of Buenos Aires having lost our director (who had missed the plane!) without knowing the name of the festival or the name of the provincial town where we had to play Shakespeare’s Hamlet. We were in a haggard state, completely disoriented. Therefore I improvised the shooting in the airport with "Ophelia" diverted from her certainties and about to have his identity disintegrated. The idea of Quantic Hamlet draws through editing: the information screens opened on other spaces-time, transforming the airport into a world of science fiction where the human destiny is governed by the quantum mechanics laws of wave-particle duality. Ophelia’s replica could then take its entire dimension. In Autofiction I wanted to offer the public a comparable experience, with an almost reverse creative process. I wanted to experience a naked walk in a desert, and like Sisyphus, wander tragically, infinitely. I organized this shoot in northern Chile in the Atacama Desert and the editing remained quite true to the original idea. As you have remarked once, Quantic Hamlet proposes a digital understanding of "Hamlet"

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Autofiction, video installation, 2015

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Prémices du vertige, experimental documentary, 2019

by Shakespeare focused on Ophelia’s cue: « we know what we are but not what we can be ». Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "artists's role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? In particular, do you think that artists can raise awareness to an evergrowing audience on topical issues in our globalised age? I regularly make use of classical cultural figures and literary and poetic texts that inspire me and that I question in contemporary re-readings in the form of adaptations. The notion of the artist’s role effectively refers to different needs depending on the cultural and political context in which the artist grew up and where he lives.

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But today the artist is both local and global, his awareness covers issues of proximity as well as global. In my artistic research on the theme of identity, my perspectives range from the individual (intimate) to the collective (politics). I use the material found “where I am, where I go through” (Paris, Brazzaville, Buenos Aires, Atacama…) while seeking to transcend the specificity and cultural context of the location. Rather than “role”, I prefer the idea of “being there for” and agree with director Wajdi Mouawad in his definition: “An artist is there to disturb, worry, question, move, make see, make hear the world in which he lives”. For me, a work is a gesture, a proposal whose intention comes from the


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artist’s commitment but whose encounter with the public eludes him. I think it may be today the way the works are presented that has a greatest impact on the possibility of raising awareness among a wider audience of current issues, hence the importance of the work of curators, exhibition scenographers, mediators, and virtual visits but also actions in the public space, thirdplaces and of course cultural policies pursued locally and internationally.

experience. Do you think that the virtual space could compensate us for the loss of certainty in an ever growing uncertain world? In my work, the double and the selfreplication are called to overcome this existential fracture between what we perceive and what we imagine. In my films about the heteronymity of Fernando Pessoa, the boundary between reality and fiction become blurred and negotiable, and allows the projected dreamed identity accessing to the new sensations and thoughts of the poetic spaces inhabited by its doubles, allegoric multiples of self.

Walking the viewers through a journey on the fine line that apparently enshrine the divide between reality and fiction, your artistic research unveils the conflictual relationship between what we perceive and what we imagine, during our everyday life's

The crossing of landscapes is a recurring

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motif of my work as an event and advent of metamorphosis. I also frequently use the diptych form for my video installations to evoke the figure of double as in Autofiction. In .WAV adapted from The Waves by Virginia Woolf, it is the stressful uncertainty of the narrator’s daily life that opens the way for a wider awareness: the characters he creates live in the space of his thought but also as characters claiming a proper existence: real and imaginary spaces get confused and interpenetrate. Toward them, toward their time, Pessoa and Woolf created poetic worlds to sublimate their distressing or disappointing daily experience. In my opinion, the loss of our certainties today can open the field of individual creativity. Virtual space can be a great exploration territory if we are in a quest for experimentation but it also has a great chance to become a simple formatted entertaining refuge and even a real trap if it promises to offer more compensation that the real world. The passively consumed virtual space is potentially a formidable tool for mass manipulation and alienation. If we allow our virtual “life extensions” to be realized at the expense of our real life, it is our humanity (our ability to feel and think) and our freedom that we risk losing. I think the virtual space contains the worst as well as the best: there is a great democratic challenge. In Camouflage self-portrait, at the end, the augmented identity gets out of its "employable" interchangeable condition to appropriate the public scene as a subject in the first person through the gesture of addressing the viewer. In my opinion, it is the detour (the crossing) through the dream, the imaginary, the virtual that allows to give force to our existence in the real. We daresay that a central idea that connects all of your works is the attempt to capture the elusive and multifaceted nature of the concept of reality, that you successful achieve by inviting the viewers to question their perceptual categories, to look

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Quantic Hamlet, video installation, 2013

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.WAV, experimental fiction, 2016

inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, The multiplicity of the images of the real that you mention in your artist's statement could be reflected into an equally large variety of meanings that the viewers may elaborate. How important is for you to invite the viewers to elaborate personal meanings? And in particular, how open

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would you like your artworks to be understood? Among my “narrative� work as Camouflage self-portrait and .WAV with characters or voice-over, there actually is several levels of reading and conceptual displacements because my writing seeks to confuse the tracks of classical narration. The public is invited to follow a development whose

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meaning is accessible but also open to the elaboration of personal interpretations. For my more reflexive, abstract and contemplative proposals, the meaning is to perceive sensorially and symbolically through images, sounds, rhythm. The public is invited to reconstruct meanings for him in an intimate, introspective way. In the triptych Quantic Hamlet (also presented in

single canal) the audience becomes like the character of Ophelia in a confusing position. He may have a reaction of incomprehension, of rejection of this mirror reflecting back to him, he may allow himself to be overcome by a feeling of strangeness, he may be inclined to reconsider himself, his own capacity to act in this globalized world. In the diptych Autofiction, we see on two

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different projections in loop, a naked back character walking solitary in a desert with open or labyrinthine perspectives. The slowness and the sound make the walk hypnotic. My intention is to unveil Freedom as a utopia and to allow the public to experience it and question its paradoxes. But the reception of my work is not mine. I think a work doesn’t have to be understood, it has to be presented. Another interesting works that we would like to introduce to our readers is entitled Versus: inspired by the most daily antagonisms of Chile during its last presidential elections, your video installation treads and revisits Platonic dialectic to invite the viewers to look into the possibility of a synergy between the abstract — and somewhat ethereal — nature of philosophy and our harsh — and often violent — reality. Not to mention that almost everything, could be considered political, do you think that Versus could be considered political in a certain sense? I built the diptych Versus from the allegory of the cave in The Republic of Plato, in chapters corresponding to the progression of the text but which I finally chose not to include. The 2013 presidential elections of Chile, the voice of neo-liberalism, exposed its national fracture inherited from the dictatorship of Pinochet: two women were facing, one, the daughter of a general of the military junta, the other, the daughter of a tortured general and tortured herself. I preferred to make room to the sensorial, visual and sound immersion so that the public could give free rein to his feelings and his own reading. What first presents as an obvious opposition: the words that correspond to opposed images are also in opposition, then gradually the images seem more ambivalent, less antonymic and words could apply to one or

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Versus, video installation, 2014/2016

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10 installation, 2018 SPECIAL ISSUE Camouflage self-portrait (looking for Laure), multimedia


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improvised small garden surrounded by buildings. Neighborhoods issues forced me to review the project and I focused on the expanded selection to international (hybrid forms, experimentation) and public exchanges. The following editions were held in an art gallery and two alternative artistic venues: a squat and a houseboat. Having gone through the experimentation of relations between space of works presentation and presence of the public, the festival stops after 5 editions. The question of continuing the festival online arose because it seemed to me quite possible, even exciting, to conceive having a virtual audience only and to imagine other ways of exchanges. Rather other priorities made me giving up, for now. In fact, the emergence of the online technosphere has had an essential role in creating links with artists because the calls for films launched online allowed me to access high-quality independent films from all over the world and the programming exigency has largely benefited.

the other. Finally, the meaning of images and words appears to depend on what it is in dialog with: it reveals to be relational and not rational. This installation proposes a reflection on the language but it is also political since it makes the observation at the same time of the failure of the political philosophy: political concepts are only words, of politics: political discourses are not (or are not followed by) actions, and of the political: democracy is not democratic. You are an established artist and over the years you exhibited widely in several occasions, including your recent participations to MITsp, Sesc Pinheiros, in Sao Paulo, Brazil and to The Hazel Eye Film Festival, in Nashville, USA, moreover, it's important to remark that you are the curator of the Festival Les Irrécupérables, in Paris: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? Direct relationship with the audience in a physical is definetly the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm increases: how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Aliénor. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

It is through the question of the venue, at the heart of the challenge of the creation of the festival Les irrécupérables, that the relationship to the public had its importance. Rejecting the comfort of the cinema and the legal constraints of the public space, the idea was to «re-poetize the city» by projecting videos on walls of a Parisian popular district. The project was initiated in a courtyard, an

I actually continue my artistic research on the double and multiple identity and my work of literary adaptation since I am working on my first project of directing based on the opera book Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights by Gertrude Stein that I wish transpose as a cinematographic and musical drama of anticipation.

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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Jill Friedberg Lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona,USA

As a lover of faraway places and foreign cultures, I have journeyed throughout the world to photographically capture native memories with the intent of integrating these images with repurposed materials to create compelling narratives relating to global survival. In each of the works in my current mixed media series, “Fantasy for a Noble Universe”, I manipulate more than 30 layers of these photographic images, selectively incorporate repurposed materials to form a textural surface and paint into the overall composition. The result: a painting that expresses my concern over our current chaotic world…a world in which human diversity and endangered nature struggle to symbiotically enhance the enrichment of our existence. At the same time, I endeavor to convey a vision of a utopian universe filled with mutual respect for each other as human beings and acceptance of the responsibility for maintaining the Earth’s healthy environment. An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

and artistic training. They began when I was a youngster growing up in Chicago, a city consisting of many distinctive ethnic enclaves where few people identified themselves simply as Caucasian.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Jill and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.jillfriedberg.com in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. You have a solid formal training and after your studies at the Northwestern University, you nurtured your education at the prestigious School Of the Art Institute of Chicago: how did those formative experiences influence your evolution as an artist and help you to develop your attitude to experiment? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

Chicago’s widely diverse population consisted of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Guatemalans, Irish, Italians, English, Czech, Greeks, Polish, Lithuanians, Romanians, Slovaks, Serbians, Ukrainians, Germans or Dutch as well as a smattering of many other nationalities. So, living in this multicultural city exposed me every day to seemingly endless encounters with a variety of international cultures and customs. In addition, it was my good fortune that when I was 10 years old my grandfather discovered that an entire branch of our family had immigrated to and was living in Brazil. So, that summer we traveled throughout South America absorbing the local culture of each country we

Actually, the factors that influenced my art started many years before my formal education

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Jill Friedberg photo by Harper Speagle-Price


Footsteps Foretold, 2018 photomontage and acrylic paint with repurposed materials on canvas 40�x 60�


OZ, 2018 photomontage and acrylic paint with feathers, beads, rhinestones, pencil shavings and leather on canvas on wood, 52x35


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visited. Naturally, we extended our stay in Brazil to strengthen the relationship with our newfound cousins and assimilate some of the Brazilian culture.

In our basement, I was allowed to accumulate all sorts of odd items and beautiful materials which I used when collaging, drawing and painting while listening to my two favorite composers, Rimsky -Korsakov and Edvard Grieg.

Years later, my parents bought a home in Mexico. The house became the base for our family to extensively explore the archaeological sites and indigenous communities interspersed throughout the country. Further, as a high school student, I spent a very memorable summer living with a family in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Today, my luscious frosting is acrylic paint, and when combined with the materials I discover in nature, destined to become main ingredients that contribute to the creation of my art. As an adult attending The School of The Art Institute, the evolution of my work was impacted by many of my instructors, particularly Karl Wirsum, Elizabeth Ockwell and Phyllis Bramson.

When I turned twelve, I began classes at The Art Institute of Chicago where I studied drawing, painting and experimenting with many different materials. When not in class, I wandered alone from gallery to gallery, sometimes getting lost in the labyrinth of the museum’s infinite hallways. It was always an exhilarating experience for me. Even traveling to and from the museum, from the distant suburbs to the city’s center on public transportation was a wonderful experience, visually taking in the various forms of architecture.

Karl Wirsum , a member of The Hairy Who, encouraged students to visit The Field Museum of Natural History and The Oriental Institute at The University of Chicago to view the displayed relics and archeological artifacts. I did so enthusiastically spending days drawing antiquarian objects. Elizabeth Ockwell encouraged the use of bold images, citing the works of Munch, Ensor , Goya and Bosch.

Today, I continue to appreciate “getting lost” in a foreign city and allowing my mind to wander, my eyes to roam… and later utilizing those experiences to create artistic visions of the people immersed in their daily societal rituals and routines.

Phylis Bramsom promoted the exploration of dreams coupled with personal vision.

Over the years I have often been asked how I got started as an artist. I have my mother to thank for that.

Of particular interest were my classes in color theory that had lasting effects throughout my career. Complimentary and contrasting bold colors are and always will be a vital element in my work.

When I was a little girl she gave me the “run of the kitchen”. I remember getting carried away with frosting, food colorings, and all sorts of implements used to apply the frosting in new and extreme sculptural ways. It taught me the thrill of creating art by experimenting with different colors and materials.

Another prominent influence was my years as a member of ARC Gallery, an artist cooperative, which was founded during the women’s movement as an alternative to the mainstream galleries. It is one of the oldest co-ops of its kind in the country. As a member of this avant-garde group you were never pressured to sell your

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work. How wonderful it was to create without commercial concerns!

that I had enjoyed reading. The themes of change, possibility and magic seemed to repeat frequently in many of the tales. Keeping within these themes, I chose to approach the “Fantasy...”narrative to be ethereal, other worldly and dream-like.

Concurrent with my art education, I studied the violin. While I no longer play the instrument, I believe that music continues to influence my work.

With “Fauna Farewell” “Footsteps Foretold”, “Oz” and “Closeted Apologies”, I have created idealized tableaus to express concern for the Earth’s wildlife with hopes they do not fade into mere memories like the sadly extinct Dodo bird.

To me, the process of combining individual notes in creating a musical composition is akin to combining individual images to create a visual narrative. For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Fantasy for a Noble Universe, a stimulating series that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article, and that has at once impressed us for the way you saliently combined element from reality with captivating subtle surrealistic sensitiveness, to provide the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience: when walking our readers through your usual workflow and process, we would like to ask you if you think that there is a central idea that connects all your works.

While “The Grass Is Greener” expresses my idealistic dream…people of many cultures— from East Indian women to South African dancers to Kimono-clad Japanese—celebrating together within a multidimensional space brightened by a cerulean sky above. Your artistic practice reflects your environmental conscience and you uses of recycled materials — including old shoeboxes and clothing — in your artworks. Contemporary practice has forged a new concept of art-making involving such a wide and once unthinkable variety of materials and objects. In particular, photographer and sculptor Zoe Leonard once stated, "the objects that we leave behind hold the marks and the sign of our use: like archeological findings, they reveal so much about us". We’d love to ask you about the qualities of the materials that you include in your artworks: as in how do you select them and what do you do to address combining found materials?

My “Fantasy For A Noble Universe” series, is intended to express my concern for our current chaotic world…a world in which the diversity of humanity and endangered nature struggle to symbiotically enhance the enrichment of our existence. At the same time, I endeavor to convey a vision of a utopian universe filled with mutual respect for each other as human beings and acceptance of the responsibility for maintaining the earth’s healthy environment. Overall, my wish is for a magnanimous interdependent world… one that exemplifies sought-after idealism…so I diligently work to create narratives that reveal our precious flora and fauna combined with the richness of multi-culturalism.

For over 30 years I have collected virtually an unlimited array of found materials with no predetermined use in a specific work. Rather, they are saved to be selected later for inclusion in a particular piece that I am creating. The materials that I collect represent a wide range of objects, that include: textiles from around the globe, snake skin, stones, seeds,

In creating the “Fantasy” series, I recalled childhood fairy tales that were read to me and

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STUDY FOR THE GRASS IS GREENER, 2018 photomontage with acrylic paint, seeds, beads, moss and glass bead gel on canvas on wood, 25x18


FAUNA FAREWELL, 2018 photomontage and acrylic paint with feathers, laundry lint, pencil shavings and pearl mi


ca flakes on canvas on wood panel, 40x60


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pencil shavings, abandoned and discarded bird nests, feathers of all kinds, moss, pods, paint palette shavings, glass, wooden and metal beads, laundry lint, horse hair, and even my cut up discarded painted canvases…and many more. In selecting from this plethora of materials, I contemplate how they could be integrated with my painting and photography to help convey the concepts I wish to address. Providing the proper texture to the painting’s surface is also a consideration. Found objects become a very significant element in all my pieces …yet each of these repurposed materials is often unidentifiable since it is “blended” into and adds texture to the composition as a whole. Also, the transformation of scraped palette paint, co-mingled with such diverse repurposed materials as palm bark, textiles, pencil shavings, handmade papers, glass, wood and metal fragments, is often intended to be suggestive of forms found in nature. A visit to my studio would reveal a warehouse packed with materials bursting forth from closets, drawers, shelves and counters. Most wait sometimes years for the right moment to be utilized to further the expressive nature of my art. “Mother Comforts”, … a sculpted torso representing both Mother Nature and the memory of my late mother exemplifies my use of many repurposed materials. After my mother passed away, I thought I would honor her by wearing her prized blazer. However, for over two decades it resided in my closet. Finally I decided it was time to “bring it out” to form the main element in a piece that I had been contemplating for years. Other elements in this sculpture included my mother’s, bathrobe, buttons, moss, textiles, glass, felt, feathers, yarn, thread and repurposed paint. My intention here is to express the comforting sides of our own Mother Earth that has the

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MOTHER COMFORTS, front, 2018 plaster, buttons, textiles, feathers, felt, moss, thread, and repurposed paint, 22x37x23

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MOTHER COMFORTS, back, 2018 plaster, buttons, textiles, feathers, felt, moss, thread, and repurposed paint, 22x37x23

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potential to brighten our lives as well as my own beloved mother and the lasting effects of her nurturing. Inspired by your travels, as well as from the controversial proposal for the construction of a border wall, Crossing reveals your concerns about our unstable society: Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "artists’ role differs depending on which part of the world they’re in": does your artistic research respond to a particular cultural moment? Do you think that artists can raise awareness to an ever-growing audience on topical issues that affect our globalised age? In my art I am responding to many and varied cultural moments in history and its impact on today’s world. Specifically, “Crossings” addresses the problems of mass human migration as it relates to individual national priorities. “Crossing” features a father with child on his back at the edge of a river they must cross to attain the freedom they so badly desire. Awaiting them on the other side is a multicultural wall…but a wall that is left for the viewer to determine if, in fact, it is welcoming or denying them entry. Yes, I definitely believe artists can raise awareness of societal concerns, and, if as an artist I can personally exert influence and inspire my viewers by engaging their hearts and minds through my art, that would be very fulfilling. For me, that goal inspires much of my work. Being open to the unexpected events in my daily life and in my travels feeds my imaginative world. In hiking and cycling throughout much of Asia, Central and South America, I have observed and photographed men, women and children indulging in their everyday routines, sometimes happily, sometimes filled with life’s frustrations. Later, back in my studio, I have created work

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CROSSING, 2018 photomontage and acrylic paint with rice paper on canvas on wood panel, 37x36

Mothers in all cultures often feel so close to their offspring they are “As One�. It is that sort of universal spirit that repeats frequently in my

that reflects these commonly shared concerns and aspirations that affect the lives of these inhabitants of our global communities.

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cultures around the world, each imposing its unique persuasive power on my creative process.

exploration of cultural diversity. I also endeavor to confront pre-existing perceptions of beauty relating conceptually to commonly shared attitudes and traditions as in the triptych, ”Feminine Pulchritude”.

Yet, I remain open to forming new, unexpected memories. This evokes the potential to create and develop new visual fusions in my art. It is this openness that motivates me to collect materials and images that may one day become key ingredients in a future narrative that assists in the recollection of past events.

“Voices Heard, Heartbeats Felt” is set within the Arizona Wupatki Ancient Ruins where different ancient native American civilizations -the Hohokam, Anasazi and Mogollon -- once comingled, exchanged ideas and thrived in unison. A hopeful reminder of the benefits derived from a peaceful coming together of different cultures.

As an example, “The Grass Is Greener”, recalls a myriad of enduring memories: a child in Norway gathering flowers… a proud and beautiful African American girl returning from her dance performance in Chicago… the “Dia de Los Muertos” commemorative arches in Patzcuaro, Mexico.. splendid women dressed in colorful saris beside an ancient Indian site. All of these wonderful memories fueled my imagination and contributed to the joyous optimism I wish to convey to the viewer.

“Proper Behavior” features a feathered abandoned nest atop a Victorian dressed torso to remind us of how bird feathers were once used to embellish fashion, thus contributing to the extinction of many of their species. Marked out with such a powerful narrative drive, your artworks are created from photographic images that you have personally taken for over 30 years. We dare say that you seem to turn your memories into new components and experiences: how do you consider the role of memory playing within your artistic research? And how does everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

Marked out with such unique visual identity, your artworks deeply struck us for the way they incite the viewer to make new personal associations. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations? In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood?

Memories play a keen role in my creative process. Recollections of all kinds -- visual, tactile, auditory and olfactory – feed into my psyche to inspire the approach that I take when fusing them together to form new narratives.

Initially, I want my viewers to be immediately struck by the emotionality and unique visual presentation of the entire work. Then, as they spend time exploring each component, they will uncover the nuanced messages inherent in the overall composition.

Even varying phenomena right in my own backyard -- a scampering lizard or a hovering hummingbird – are completely mind-absorbing visual feasts that leave vivid imprints in my mind which I later translate to the canvas in my studio. Equally as enthralling are the many reminiscences of my experiences with other

Further, I desire for the viewers to interpret the work in the context of their own personal

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In Pursuit, 2018 photomonatage with acrylic paint and rice paper, seeds, beads, and laundry lint on canvas on wood panel, 29x48


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nature, I feel quiet and serene. In this piece I wish to convey a peaceful and contemplative mood utilizing a subtle and limited palette. I have set a scene that features a graceful female figure in a wispy dress adorned with desert petals and seeds surrounded by jewel-like fanciful images of javelinas and birds nesting in a tree.

predilections and experiences. Hopefully, the different images within the piece will activate the viewers’ imaginations, ultimately provoking them to learn more about themselves, their place in the world and to think about how they can make positive contributions to the betterment of both. We have really appreciated the vibrancy of the delicate nuances of acrylic paint, to show that vivacious tones are not indespensable in order to create tension and dynamics: how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in your artworks in order to achieve such brilliant results?

Whereas the “The Grass is Greener is alive with a broad and bold palette reflecting the joyous optimism that one day the world will celebrate its disparate cultures living in perfect harmony. You are an established artist, and over the years your works have been exhibited extensively in museums, galleries and universities throughout the United States, including your recent participation to Arizona Biennial 2018 at the Tucson Museum of Art: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience? In particular, how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere — and platforms as Instagram — in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

My psychological framework consists of alternate bright and dark moods that, depending on my immediate situation, meld into an emotional state that moves me to create works in the color tones that reflects my apparent mindset. That third emotional state of mind could be euphoric, especially after I am immersed in nature or a new cultural setting…or one of consternation after reading about negative international news and developments.

Reaching a worldwide audience is very appealing as I wish to engage multi-cultural viewers and receive their response to my art.

Ultimately, when I work to express a particular concept, it’s those “next mornings” when I enter my studio with “fresh eyes”, that I have a clearer perspective of how to advance my message. I ask myself: “Am I effectively communicating and moving my viewers in the direction that I intended.” Solitude is essential to letting my thoughts and associated images float freely through my mind. This does not mean that my work goes without battles. There are days when I am not happy with the progress of a particular piece, but after years in the studio, I know this struggle is inherent in the creative process.

In this regard, Peripheral ARTeries is a prime example of reaching a global audience in the most effective and artful manner. As is the case with most art, it is best viewed in person. My artwork, in particular, is dependent on the viewer’s awareness of the varied textural surfaces of my art. That only can be achieved if the viewer were standing in front of the artwork. So, I depend on the strength of my images to successfully engage my audience and to convey its intended meaning if only in two dimension. Yet, I am torn between the need to broaden the recognition of my work against the overuse of technology.“In Oblivion” laments our technologically obsessed society in which

An aspect of my own spirit dwells within the figure in “In Pursuit” where, surrounded by

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PROPER BEHAVIOR, 2018 fabric, plaster, hummingbird nest, feathers and acrylic paint 17x33x16 individuals detach from their surroundings to

affixed to the latest hand-held technics.That

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IN OBLIVION, 2018 photomontage and acrylic paint with repurposed materials on canvas on wood panel 32x48


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jillfriedberg.com, I am a member of “linked in”, “Facebook” and currently in the process of initiating an INSTAGRAM presence. I also utilize social media to announce new artwork and promote my exhibitions. We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Jill. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future? As I mentioned earlier, I am captivated by the bold colors found in South and Central America. Therefore, I am currently sculpting a three dimensional piece about a Guatemalan refugee family, melding their colorful and textured native dress with a bevy of relevant repurposed materials that reflects their struggle to survive. In addition, I am collaborating with several artists of varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds to generate a group exhibition that continues the dialog of multiculturalism vis-à-vis the current state of our environment. Also, I am completing a commission for a collector who is interested in my work that addresses the impact of climate change. I have several two dimensional pieces in the works that explore the world we are leaving to our children. Thank you for selecting my work for this issue, for your insightful and provocative questions and especially for your depth of understanding for my “Fantasy For A Noble Universe”.

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OPPOSING FORCES, 2019 photomontage and acrylic paint with repurposed materials on canvas on wood panel, 32x46

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Closeted Apologies,2018 e and acrylic paint with palm bark, laundry lint, feathers, snake skin, pencil shavings on canvas on wood panel, 41x61


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Jill Friedberg Explaining Fantasy for a Noble Universe

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To conclude, I would like to share an excerpt from a poem that is particularly meaningful to me. It was written by the Mexican author and poet, Octavia Paz. The title of the poem, Objects and Apparitions, is about artist Joseph Cornell’s dream-like assemblages. Hexahedrons of wood and glass, scarcely bigger than a shoebox, With room in them for night and all its lights. Monuments to every moment, Refuse of every moment, used: Cages for infinity. Marbles, buttons, thimbles, dice, Pins, stamps, and glass beads: Tales of the time. Memory weaves, unweaves the echoes: In the four corners of the box. It has been my pleasure to share my “Fantasy for a Noble Universe with your readers .

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

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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Junyi Liu Lives and works in New York City, USA

I am interested in metaphors that reflect the inner condition of human being. Women in the society have strong insecurity that makes them seek different ways to feel safe. Some turned to luxuries, some turned to sexual pleasure (represented by raw meat in the paintings), some turned to childhood memories. They surround themselves with comforts to avoid getting hurt. In my works the women are beautiful, and they even seem to feel at ease. Yet within they are still fragile, and lonely and confused. An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator

You have a solid formal training and after having attended the University of Illinois at Springfield, you received your BFA in Painting from Maryland Institute College of Art: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist? In particular, how does your cultural substratum due to your Chinese roots direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Junyi and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production and we would like to invite our readers to visit https://www.junyiliuart.com in order to get a wide idea about your artistic production, and we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background.

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Sinking, Oil on linen, 20 x 30, 2019


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exposed to much art, especially contemporary art. I had no idea what was going on in the art world nowadays. In Chinese art workshops, I learned some academic drawing skills. Everyone around me has the same style and subject matter. There was not much creativity allowed. Then I came to the U.S., and the education methods here shocked me. People were treating me with a lot more respect in general, and giving me the freedom to explore my artistic interests. In Maryland, I feel refreshing and excited to be surround by so many students who share the same passion for art, and making wildly different work. Art school can be very stressful and confusing, but overall I am thankful for the experience of being in an open-minded and diverse community. I was able to experiment freely, knowing that mistakes and failures are acceptable.

performances The Sacrifice and Installation White Box. My work is influenced by all my past experience: good and bad, old and recent. Though it’s weird to admit, my experience has shaped me into who I am. I am not myself if you took away the memory of any given year of my life. I have been searching for a place in the world that I belong to, both physically and psychologically. This searching process has driven my work to evolve over the years. You are a versatile artist and your multidisciplinary practice encompasses Installation, Performance, Drawing and Painting. We have appreciated the way the results of your artistic inquiry    convey such a coherent combination between emotional intuition and a rigorous aesthetics. The works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries have at once impressed us for the way they provide the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience: when walking our readers through your usual setup and process, would you tell us how do you usually develop the initial ideas for your artworks?

Meanwhile, I realized more and more that I am Asian, a noncitizen, a nonnative speaker and a “foreigner”. To many Americans, I am exotic, an outsider, and someone that wouldn’t be treated seriously. Sometimes I feel that I am less of a person because of my skin color and nationality. What’s even worse is I am a woman! The frustration has been reflected in my artwork, such as the meat paintings,

For me, 2D, 3D and 4D art forms are not so different. Usually, a certain scene came into my mind, such as a 169

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In Dreams I Open My Eyes, Oil on linen, 24x36, 2019


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I Will Learn To Breathe Underwater, oil on linen, 20x30, 2019

female body covered my vibrant raw meat, or red paint spilled on a pure white background. Something about the visuals hooked me. The images were strong, beautiful, poetic, and suggestive. Then, the single images

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still just in my head. When I was ready to move on, I would start to take photo references or to prepare the materials I need. Sometimes it only stakes a few days, some times a few months.

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instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes? I like to visualize the finished work before I start. Scale, composition, and color theme are all taken into account. As soon as I start, I keep things organized and keep track of the steps, so that I can come back without problems. This is determined by the nature of representation painting. Sometimes I have to make adjustments, or to start over. I will do any necessary work to make sure I’m happy with the outcome. We have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances that mark out your artworks, and we like the way it creates tension and dynamics in the interesting Red Handkerchief. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in a specific artwork and in particular, how do you develop a texture? Color is a critical element in my paintings. I like to explore warm /cool and desaturated /saturated contrasts. Red Handkerchief was done from life. To emphasize the warmth of the raw bacon the girl was holding, I made the background color a bit cooler. There are only two big masses in this image—the hand with bacon and the background. Simplicity makes things easy to read. There are variations and details in the skin tone and the bacon, but overall, the

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Blue Like The Moon/ When You Watch Me I Watch You Too, Oil on panel, 8x10, 2018

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Neon, oil on linen, 14x11in, 2018

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tones are united and soft, compared to other works such as Meat Bath. Meat Bath depicts a girl lying in a bathtub, looking out at the viewers, while some raw meat is “dripping” out of the edge of the bathtub. To make her and the meat “pop”, I painted the surroundings flat and clean. The background and the foreground have different color temperatures, but similar values. Together they serve the main subject. I added more chroma to the meat to achieve the vibrant, fresh look. The edges are crisp and defined, especially the outline of her body. All these factors help the whole image look modern. The nuances exit in the turning of the form, such as the foreshortened arm and soft cheeks. They are just as important as the bold color design, because without them the painting will no longer be as naturalistic and aesthetically satisfying as I want it to be. One of the big reasons I painted meat was because of its texture. I found the marble like pattern on raw meat very fascinating. Raw meat is raw beauty from nature, just like we are gifted beautiful naked bodies from nature. To capture the texture I bought meat from the market and did studies of it. Every time I would discover something I didn’t see before in meat. As for other texture, I trust the same method: observation. 177

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On the table, Oil on panel, 12x16, 2018


Meat Bath, Oil on linen, 16x20, 2018


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to the painting (the woman). A bright, mysterious blue light shines in the dark on the young woman’s nude body. Half immersed in the bathtub water, she looks straight into the eyes of the viewers. On the one hand, she holds a certain kind of power, and it looks like she is seducing the viewers. On the other hand, she is in a vulnerable situation, and it’s unclear what her next step will be. Is it her preference to be in a room this dark, or someone else arranged this? Is she going to stay in the bathtub or stand up and leave?

My eyes are my best friends. To understand a surface, I watch how it absorb and bounce off the light. Then, I will be able to produce the illusion of this surface on canvas, using just oil paint. I like to paint thinly, and I found it more rewarding than to create a texture with flashy stokes of thick paint. Women are a central theme in your artistic research: in your artworks women are marked out with such a peaceful beauty, and we have particularly appreciated the way you combined sense of ease and fragility. Why did you choose to focus an important part of your artistic production on this theme? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value ?

Neon isn’t like other paintings I did, because the woman’s eyes are not in the picture frame. The viewer’s gaze can go straight on her beautiful lips, neck and hair, without any shame. The changing pink, yellow and orange lights are just like people’s gazes on her skin. The colors add to her charm, yet we cannot see the inside of her. Does she know she is being stared at? Does she like that? Is she someone close to the viewers? What is she thinking right now?

Being a woman is not easy. I have experienced hard times in my life due to my gender and I am still experiencing it. I believe it is crucial for people to realize the inner struggles and complex emotions women have. I try to communicate that in a subtle visual language.

In both paintings it is uncertain how the women feel. At the first glance many of my paintings are of pretty women. One can feel free to assume that those women feel great. However, there is no way to be certain. They could be troubled by something. They might want to tell a story, but you can’t hear

When You Watch Me I Watch You Too and Neon both used unusual colors. The first painting is small, only 8x10 inches, encouraging the viewers to come close 183

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Beauty Won't Hurt You, Oil on linen , 24x18, 2019


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anything. They might not want to see you but pretending it’s fine. Their facial expressions are fairly natural-- hey don’t look sad or happy or angry or scared. Intentionally or unintentionally, the emotions are concealed, and the viewers can only try to find some clues in the surroundings and guess what’s going on in their mind, and what are the paintings “about”. I cannot image not being a woman, since it is all I know. All my works are based on my understanding of life as a woman. Naturally, it became a big interest point of my art. Marked out with such a powerful narrative drive, your artworks are rich of evocative symbols — as the way raw meat represents sexual pleasure in your interesting Meat Me By The Pool and On the table — and metaphors that reflect the inner condition of human being. In this sense, we daresay that you art practice also responds to German photographer Andreas Gursky when he underlined that Art should not be delivering a report on reality, but should be looking at what's behind. You seem to urge your spectatorship to challenge their cultural categories: how important are symbols in your work? And in particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? I like to have historical references in my SPECIAL ISSUE

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Meat Me By The Pool, oil on canvas, 16x20, 2017

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works sometimes. Meat Me By the Pool for example, is an obvious reference to the famous controversial painting Portrait of Marie-Louis O’Murphy by Francois Boucher.

creative process? Memory is something no one can escape, especially artists. My experiences have been inevitably reflected in my work. I loved stuffed animals my whole life. I used to have a lot of them, and they gave me comfort when I was alone. Dress Me Up With Love and Beauty Won’t Hurt You portray a young woman lying among many of her colorful stuffed animals.

Raw meat is the flesh of animals, when put right next to human flesh, it becomes a symbol of human bodies. However it is not necessarily my goal to let everyone understand the symbolic aspect of my work. Many people told me the meat looked delicious and it made them hungry. Or if they were vegetarian, the meat made them sick. I’m okay as long as the works make people feel “something”. The messages in my works aren’t obvious. Rather, my works are usually very open ended. I’m open to different interpretations from the viewers based on their own experience and receptivity.

Eyes closed, it seems that she is asleep. After the Meat Joy series, my works have lean towards daily life. I have painted a woman standing in the elevator (Sinking), sitting in a café, or lying in bed. Daily life is a good resource for me, and familiar scenes are more relatable for the audience. You are an established artist: you recently received the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant and over the years you have extensively exhibited your artworks, including your recent participation to Painting the Figure Now, at Zhou B Art Center, in Chicago, IL. We have really appreciated the originality of your artistic research and before leaving this conversation we want to catch this occasion to ask you how importance has for you the feedback of the

That being said, I still get excited when some one happened to understand the works exactly as I do. We have particularly appreciated the way Dress Me Up With Love seem to turn your memories and references to childhood into new components and experiences: how do you consider the role of memory playing within your artistic research? And how does everyday life's experience fuel your

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ideas, and make connections with other artists. Instagram, especially, is playing a very important role. It has so many users, which is a great opportunity for any artist to be seen and heard. On the other hand, it is more and more difficult for one artist to get attention on Instagram and social media platform in general.

viewers: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with your audience and what do you like your viewers take away from your artworks? I always welcome feedback. Some of the suggestions have inspired new works. Instead of a moral lesson, I hope my viewers to experience the art piece.

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Junyi. What projects are you currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

They might be interested by the rendering of the portrait, the tone of the scene, or the memories the piece evokes. I also hope my work can encourage people to express themselves, weather though visual art, music, writing, dancing or other means. Direct relationship with the audience in a physical is the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm increases: how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere — and platforms as Instagram — in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

I’m keeping working on the painting series called Lonely Together, which includes some of the paintings we discussed above. Many of them are already being show in galleries and museums. I’m excited to have many different models posing for me for the upcoming works. Multiple figures painting has so much potential, and I’d love to explore that more in the future.

Online platforms have helped me so much reaching a large audience. It is a fantastic space to share my art and

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

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To Be Or Not To Be, 30x40, Oil on linen, 2019


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Peripheral ARTeries meets

Radosveta Zhelyazkova Lives and works in Sofia, Bulgaria

“My brush is soft, gentle and emotional. Sometimes it guides me to vibrant, colorful landscapes, other times to dark and mysterious domains. I go where it leads me. I am a lover of nature and her many manifestations. My family owns lands of lavender and sage. I often spend my free time in the countryside around their farm. I am inspired by what I see there. This is how I create my landscapes of grass, meadows, lilacs and lilies, of seas of wheat and orchards of trees. My paintings are full of colorful organic shapes. I am an artist who is influenced by anything: life, environment, kids, movies, stories, other artists, so cial values and the society. I think everything I see and experience in life influences my art in some way. I love many traditional art expressions like the simple but very attractive and colorful silhouettes and at the same time I am very attractive to my stery and fantasy scenes. Creating work that is imaginative yet organic is the key ingredient of my working process. I never plan art pieces totally precisely but will have an idea in mind – almost every art work of mine is made from my imagination. Also, s ome of my art works are inspired by old books and the impact that these stories have on me. I also love to travel and explore different destinations around the world. My paint brush is my constant companion. It helps me to capture and recreate my travels. You can see some of them in my paintings: rustic fields in Bulgaria, Provençal houses in the South of France, seaside villages in Italy, noisy plazas in Mexico, swaying palm trees in Florida and the monumental buildings that make up the vast skyline of New York City. All of these scenes have touched my heart and, as a result, my canvas. Perhaps they will touch you too. Enjoy your journey through my work and I wish you the best of all that’s beautiful, Radi”

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

our readers to visit https://www.radosvetazhelyazkova.com in order to get a synoptic idea about your artistic production and we would start this interview with a couple of introductory questions. You have a solid formal training and you studied at the Art Academy “Riaci”

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Radosveta and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Before starting to elaborate about your artistic production we would invite to

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Me, Myself and I


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more important, how to behave.”

in Florence and the National Art Academy in Sofia: how did those formative years influence your evolution as an artist and help you to develop your attitude to experiment? Moreover, how does your cultural substratum and your travels direct the trajectory of your current artistic research?

The body of works that we have selected for this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article has at once impressed us for the way you provide the viewers with such a multilayered visual experience.In particular, we have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances that mark out your artworks, and we like the way they create tension and dynamics: how did you come about settling on your color palette? And how does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones that you decide to include in a specific artwork and in particular, how do you develop your textures?

Radosveta Zhelyazkova: Hello. Thank you for your invitation. Yes, I can say that my formal training is solid. I was fortunate to receive my art education in two different Academies: Art Academy “Riaci” in Florence and The National Art Academy in Sofia. For me enrolling in these two art schools was a very valuable career move. The main task of the art teachers and the Academy is to awake the magic, the joy of exploring and learning, the skill of listening and understanding.

Radosveta Zhelyazkova: Yes, indeed: vibrancy is one of the main characteristics of my artworks and my method to not only meet tension and dynamics but rhythm and pulse in my art as well. People often tell me that when they see bright arcs and vibrant ellipsis they can immediately recognize that this is my palette: "My eyes aren't viewing; they are dancing on your canvases" To me art is an expression of the contemporary aims of the age we are living in.

During my years of studying I not only got the chance to learn technical know-how, which of course is very important. The time spent with my teachers and all my colleagues helped me to nourish my fantasy, imagination and culture. The multicultural environment in both institutions helped me grow as human and painter. Also the years spent at the Academy taught me to behave as professional: It has changed my mind on the value of the materials, products, technique and attitude towards the painting process and towards the client. One of my teachers said that: “During the painting process always keep thinking that you are doing it for "the king". Give your very best every time on the canvas. Use high quality and quantity of products and materials. On that day when “The King” asks you to paint for them you already know what to do and

The classical artists, all cultures, had their own ways and techniques of expressing their age. My goal in painting is to capture the dynamics, rhythm and sound from the surrounding area and send all that energy to the canvas. For me the soul way to do that is to use rich, intense and bright colors because I strongly believe that they correspond to the age that I am living in. Dynamics and energy lie at the core of my

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Breeze

painting process; colors, shapes and forms, nuances and shades dance together, they are one. Your artworks often display such a coherent combination between sense of freedom and unique aesthetics. New York City based artist Lydia Dona once stated that in order to make art today one has to reevaluate the

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conceptual language behind the mechanism of art making itself: do you create your works gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes? In particular, how importance does spontaneity play in your daily routine? Radosveta Zhelyazkova: Spontaneity and sense of freedom play significant role both in


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Lie Into Your Infinite Lay (R)

my life and my art. I can say that I am freespirited and independent artist – a brightly burning candle in human form and in front the easel. Fire is my element and you can see it everywhere in my art - igniting all shapes and forms with the living spark of life. Most of my art works I create instinctively, first in my imagination. Even if I try to make a precise

plan of geometric schemes in my head before taking the brush, the moment I start painting everything turns into a spontaneous moment of creation. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, almost every art work of yours is made from my imagination: how do you consider the relationship between reality and

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imagination between your artistic research? In particular, how do your memories and your everyday life's experience fuel your creative process?

In particular, how open would you like your works to be understood? Radosveta Zhelyazkova: Thank you very much for this question. It is very important for me to trigger the viewers’ imagination, especially if those viewers are little kids. I usually don’t explain in details “what is on my canvas”. I just say what inspired me. For me art is not a single thing. In most cases art is a process of communication between the artist and his audience. It has no boundaries, no laws, and no limitations. This subject-matter reminds me of an article I came upon time ago.

Radosveta Zhelyazkova: Reality, memories and imagination are source for ideas, feelings and emotions that are explored on an unconscious level and transferred on the canvas: a dreamer with a brush. Most people call this process “inspiration”. The emotional way of my painting process can especially be noticed in my portraits paintings. My drawing teacher Victorya R. once said that if I were born and worked as a painter sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Europe, I would probably be accused in witchcraft and magic because I not only paint the anatomical characteristics of the person, who is my object, but also his soul, emotional state and his character. “You take the soul out of the body and put it on the canvas while holding a magical wand not brush. You don’t paint eyes; you paint sorrow, happiness, astonishment, madness…” Painting from live models helps me not only gather a better sense of perspective on the subject, but also allows me to connect with the subject and do “my magic”.

The author explained about the “curse of the artist”: a painter can’t see his own work from the eyes of the viewer; he can’t enter a room and see his finished painting hanged on the wall for the first time. Therefore, he can’t know how it looks like from a different point of view just his own. In this regard the more viewers see my artwork the more opinions I can have. I am ready for this and I am curious about it. This is a normal process and the reason is: People are different so are their perceptions, emotions and opinions. In my opinion the clear communication between a painter and a viewer and “understanding each other at any cost” is not a prerequisite to value an artwork.

Marked out with such unique seductive beauty on the surface, your artworks deeply struck us for the way they incite the viewer to make new personal associations. Austrian Art historian Ernst Gombrich once remarked the importance of providing a space for the viewers to project onto, so that they can actively participate in the creation of the illusion: how important is for you to trigger the viewers' imagination in order to address them to elaborate personal interpretations?

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My favorite example of this lack of comprehension is one of my works called “Forest”, representing tall trees. It was part of an exhibition and during the show a boy came to me and said: “I really love your hot peppers painted as trees upside down. This is so original.” I was surprised to find out in the middle of my show that the threes looked more like hot peppers indeed. I changed the name of the painting into “hot peppers”. As

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an artist I strongly believe that one of the most valuable qualities of the process of art is its availability for interpretation and I welcome this enigma, magic and opportunity with opened hands and soul.

Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artists' role differs depending on which sociopolitical system they are living in.' Do you think that your artistic research responds to a particular cultural moment? Moreover, how do you consider the role of artists in our media driven contemporary age?

Marked out with lyrical qualities and primarily figurative, your artworks feature such effective combination between reminders to reality and captivating abstract feeling, and we have been particularly struck by the oniric atmosphere that imparts Alice in Wonderland and Time Train with such unique visual identity. How would you consider the tension between abstraction and figurative in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work?

Radosveta Zhelyazkova: I absolutely agree that "the artists' role differs depending on which sociopolitical system they are living in”. As I mentioned before art is an expression of the contemporary aims of the age we are living in. It is said that art has been a critical part of the human experience for thousands of years; a powerful tool to evoke social change. According to Boris Groys, "Art has its own power in the world, and is as much a force in the power play of global politics today as it once was in the arena of cold war politics." Today’s artists are engaging with issues of our time such as globalization, conflict, lack of freedom of speech, the environment by using radical approaches and techniques to communicate their ideas. I can’t call my approach “radical”. I’d rather call myself a dreamer who is constantly seeking magic and miracles, everywhere.

Radosveta Zhelyazkova: Yes, that is correct: my paintings combine figurative elements with elements that are purely abstract. There is a lot of abstraction in my portrait paintings also. Viewers call my style “Radism” (from my name Radosveta or just Radi) which makes me feel very happy. When painting my figurative elements my conscious mind is guiding me through the process. I pay special attention to the figurative details and look for the right proportions to fit my idea.

I often take part through my visual art in initiatives with a cause. One of them is the international competition “Embracing our differences” where people from around the world, not only professional artists, but literally everyone who feels he could help with his art gets involved in the initiative.

Abstraction enters the canvas when the conscious mind gives way to emotions. To me a figure, an object, a circle, is the form, the figurative element. The way of expressing it is my abstraction. The combination of both marks a distinctive style that I can call my own.

Since 2004, Embracing Our Differences has used the power of art and prose to promote diversity. My submission to this year’s (2019)

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event is called “My heart” and represents a huge Heart with the world map inside. With unison with my established style and with the subject of the exhibition I have used bright and vibrant colors in order to attract viewers’ attention.

protection of environment/animals; protection of women and children from violence; empowerment of women; awareness; politics; mental/physical health; influence of technology and identity. I took part in “protection of women and children from violence” issue with my artwork called “Stop it”

Another cause I recently took part in is called “Stop it”: An International Mail Art Exhibition at Fayetteville State University, USA. “STOP it” is an exhibition of concerns by women locally, nationally and internationally. The exhibition is addressed to women from around the world about an issue of concern such as:

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You are an established artist and over the years your artworks have been intenrationally exhibited in several countries, including Bulgaria, Itay, Usa and Australia: how do you consider the nature of your relationship with

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your audience? And what do you hope your audience take away from your artworks?

physical is definetely the most important one, in order to snatch the spirit of a work of Art. However, as the move of Art from traditional gallery spaces, to street and especially to the online realm increases: how do you consider the role of emerging online technosphere - as well as platforms as Instagram and Twitter - in creating new links between artists and worldwide audience?

Radosveta Zhelyazkova: My audience is international and I love my fans. Every time I see a positive comment or a review on my social media or website my heart explodes just reading each one. My clients say that I was making them happy and they were grateful for my colorful imagination. What else could I be thankful for? Direct relationship with the audience in a

Radosveta Zhelyazkova: Social platforms play big role in my career by helping me create new links between me and partners, me and clients, fans and friends. I am also


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very attracted to social media and I enjoy working on my online representation as a person and artist. There are two examples of social network experience I would like to mention here: First is my recent participation to TAE19 (Twitter Art Exhibit). Twitter art exhibit gives the opportunity to artists from around the WORLD to donate their art to help a charity initiative. This year is its 9th year and TAE19 is supporting “Art in healthcare” in Edinburgh UK.

colorful “Don Quixote” on the first page of the edition next to the campaign’s logo. I told to myself: “See, Radi, it is working. The magic is here, it’s everywhere! I am helping people.” The second example from my recent initiatives is a book which I have been illustrating for the last year and a half. The author of the book who is living on the other side of the world found me through my official facebook page. This book made me feel proud of myself. I know the writer feels the same. And the strangest thing is that we have never met in

I was so pleasantly surprise when I opened the official TAE catalog and found a picture of my

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person. I am very thankful for the social media and all the online opportunities out there; it’s an endless ocean of chances.

We have really appreciated the multifaceted nature of your artistic research and before leaving this stimulating

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conversation we would like to thank you for chatting with us and for sharing your thoughts, Radosveta. What projects are you

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currently working on, and what are some of the ideas that you hope to explore in the future?

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poses and emotional state: pensive, smiling, astonished.. Three of the portraits aren’t “finished” in the classical meaning of the word and will never be (Tamara 100 x 70cm). I stop working on a specific portrait when I feel that the artwork is completed.

Radosveta Zhelyazkova: Thank you. Sharing my thoughts with your readers has been real pleasure. Painting is not only my “full-time job”, but also my greatest passion and I never stop creating. The project that I am working on is called “Game/process” and includes a series of portraits painted in three colors and their nuances nailed on a ten by four meters canvas on the wall. Most of the portraits are painted by using live models.

All my creations have something in common: the same format (100 x 70 centimeters) and the provocative way of the look of their faces - imperfect and unnaturally looking skin. The surface of the faces and bodies is in

The project represents humans in different

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three colors which I call “sepia skin� and is covered with dots, roughness, unevenness and scratches.

also to enter the inner side of the person. I very often find myself staring at strangers on the street, the subway etc. imagining them on the canvas. I sometimes take pictures of them or ask them to pose me. They usually carry specific, particular features that attracted me in some way.

By marking out obvious imperfections of the skin I am aiming to pull the human out of his natural physical shell plus his ego. I realize that I may cause discomfort in the observer with the way my faces look like.

I am planning to hang, actually to nail, all these portraits on a 10 meters long canvas wall full of abstraction elements. So again, I am combining figurative art with abstraction.

To me it is important that the viewer will not only focus on the paint and the figure but

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