Page 1

Anniversary Edition

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

ANDREA RIBA VALENTIN GONZÁLEZ ESTHER DE VLAM MARCEL HARRISON MICHAELA MACPHERSON BARBARA SIMCOE ANGELINA DAMENIA CORA MARIN GERDI MÖLLER-JANSEN

Feuer und flamme, Acrylic on Canvas, 44"x44"2017 A work by Gerdi Möller-Jansen


Peripheral

eries

CONTEMPORARY ART REVIEW

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


Peripheral

eries

CONTEMPORARY ARTREVIEW T REVI

Contents 76

Special Issue

Lives and works in LĂźbeck, Germany

Francine LeClerque I Am Your Labyrinth, Installation

Lives and works in Tblisi, Georgia

Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York City, USA

86

Lives and works in Omaha, NE, USA

98

Lives and works in Berlin and in Barcelona

Lives and works in Daleville, Alabama USA

Shai Jossef Jungle

192

Hila Lazovski, David Bowie, work in process Photo by Meital Zikri http://www.lazovski-art.com

Lives and works in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Lives and works in Madrid, Spain

Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

Special thanks to: Julia Ăœberreiter, Deborah Esses, Margaret Noble, Nathalie Borowski, Marco Visch, Xavier Blondeau, J.D. Doria, Matthias Callay, Luiza Zimerman, Kristina Sereikaite, Scott D'Arcy, Kalli Kalde, Carla Forte, Mathieu Goussin, Dorothee Zombronner, Olga Karyakina, Robert Hamilton, Isabel Becker, Carrie Alter, Jessica Bingham, Fabian Freese, Elodie Abergel, Ellen van der Schaaf and Courtney Henderson

3


Gerdi MĂśller-Jansen Lives and works in LĂźbeck, Germany

Both brain hemispheres need to be fed equally. And that's maybe the reason why I started painting (and dealing with other areas of art like screenprinting, photography, illustration) already during and parallel to my successful career as a graduate in business information technology. Having started as a an autodidact I developed my techniques by attending seminars and courses with renowned artists and institutions. In 2013 I decided to focus more on my right brain side and started working as a free artist in my own studio. I am not dedicated to a specific style or techniques but like experimenting: from acryl to pastel, from white to garish, from abstract to figurative, from painting to fractals Almost everything is inspiration to me. Exiting and boring books. The beauty of nature and maltreated environment. Traveling the world and relaxing at the home beach. Most of my works are abstract today. They usually develop in an informal process and first and foremost I am guided by my gut feeling. I do not look for perfection, however, to work as an artist is such as strong motivation for me as it allows me to work completely independently. Painting does not just mean creating to me – but often it means finding. Finding those fascinating moments and imaginations. Something that has been covered for so long and I hope that the beholder or viewer of my works can feel and see those characteristic situations or places.


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Peripheral ARTeries meets

Gerdi Möller-Jansen Lives and works in Lübeck, Germany Drawing inspiration from beauty of nature and maltreated environment, traveling the world and relaxing at the home beach, German artist Gerdi Möller-Jansen's work provides the viewers with an intense, immersive visual experience: her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, successfully attempts to trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters walking them through the liminal area in which perceptual reality and the realm of imagination find a consistent point of convergence. One of the most impressive aspects of Möller-Jansen's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of questioning contemporary visualization practice in reference to Contemporary Abstract art movement: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

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

unusual techniques and materials, such as incorporation of marble dust and bitumen (so called dust technology) for my artworks. This influence can be seen in my work cycle "Mental State" and "Zen"

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Gerdi and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You started as an autodidact and you later had the chance to developed your techniques by attending seminars with renowned artists, as Alfred Hansl, Volker Altenhof and Ines Hildur: how did these experiences influence the way you currently conceive your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the notion of beauty?

However, the desire or perhaps even the necessity to express myself artistically was not so much the influence of my teachers but has already been set in my parents' house. Critical thinking, a sense for social responsibility, and above all respect for our environment are values that have been passed down to me and hence needed be reflected in some form. However, it sometimes takes time to find the appropriate means. Though I knew already at an early stage these means must be art, I made a career information technologies. Perhaps or maybe just because of that sidestep I could see it even more clearly.

In fact, each of these artists has given completely different and valuable impulses for my own work. Thus, e.g. Altenhof's aesthetic play with the colour raised already pretty early the desire to create moods exclusively by means of colours and to create something spontaneously and unconsciously (for example, „fire and flame“).

In regard to what beauty means to my work, I believe that the ratio of form and content determines the substance of a picture. And exactly this constellation is important - not just the formal beauty. It is not so important for me to create pleasant art that appeals to the sensations, but, if possible, to convey or to create knowledge. So I am quite with Kant.

In contrast, I was influenced by the reduced, achromatic works of Hildur discover and tap the

SPECIAL ISSUE

6


deep water horizon


Peripheral

Gerdi Möller-Jansen

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

commonality of all human beings. This aspect can for example be found in my work series "Have nice holidays in Anthropocene", which deals with our environmental responsibility. But this respect can also be reflected in still lives from nature, which should bring their whole beauty into the light

As an example I would like to mention two different works. First one is a digital works: "Just wanna play" A little beauty – no doubt - but also completely dolled up. Beauty contests where 12year-old girls in evening robes and make-up are trying to outshine their competitors. I think we don't need that.

In a second thread I continually take up various states of mind (work series “mental state”), which are the expression of a life situation or a life section. These are stories of loving, suffering, hating, moving. And are not my stories yours too? Art is sensuality and, for my understanding, has much to do with the narrative of experiences. We share not only one world, but also our feelings.

The other example is an acrylic painting: "femme fatale" I wonder what kind of characteristics “beauty” needs. I'm showing a woman, which can't be considered as a beauty in a common sense, but doesn't she attract even more attention by her lasciviousness? Your works convey a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit https://www.gerdi-jansen.de in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up? In particular, are your works painted gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes from paper to canvas?

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Deep water horizon and Zen, a couple of interesting works that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic research is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of Deep water horizon and Zen would you tell us your sources of inspiration? And how did you select your subjects?

I observe my environment and at some point a picture is formed inside my head. The work is then produced in fast-sketched image in the smallest format. Then, after the decision, the painting develops in pretty slow process. The painting process itself is then pushed forward in a dialogue between consciousness and the unconscious. But there are also these works, which do not need any sketch, because there are already final pictures, which are deeply burned to my soul and then just want to become visible.

Do you remember the 20th of April 2010? Eleven workers were killed in the explosion of the Deep Water Horizon oil rig. The oil leakage led to tremendous oil spills into the Gulf of Mexico, the most severe environmental catastrophe of its kind in history. This event happened so far away, but it was so close. Maybe despite or precisely because of this almost outrageous disregard of responsibility and flippancy in regard to nature, I could not get this topic out of my head.

How do you select your subjects? In particular, do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist?

The painting process is then always something that brings these scenarios back to life and I try to paint against rage and helplessness. After that, my subjects have to become more quiet in order to find my balance back again. The series "Zen" is an example: By reducing the form and the deliberate use of achromatic colours as a means of

The red thread is actually two red threads. One, as already mentioned, is a sense of responsibility and respect for our environment. And that's because the integration into nature is an elementary

9

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

ranging from Caravaggio's Inspiration of Saint Matthew to Joep van Lieshout's works, could be considered political, what could be in your opinion the role of Art in the contemporary age?

expression, I return to rationality and plainness and can soothe my troubled feelings. You are a versatile artist and as you remarked once, you are not dedicated to a specific style but you like experimenting with all kind of styles and techniques: what draws you to such cross disciplinary approach? And in particular, when do you recognize that one of the mediums has exhausted it expressive potential to self?

For sure, "Forgotten items" and "deep water horizons" have a sociopolitical and critical message or meaning. Compared to science, art is allowed to criticise and to interpret and I like to take that as a chance. But I do not completely agree with Gabriel Orozco, because no matter what political system or part of the earth we live in - we have only one common planet. It does not matter if we carelessly waste our plastic in Europe, Asia or the USA. These forgotten items form already huge islands which definitely do not belong to any country, drift around the world and pollute our seas and make animals miserably perish. Therefore our environment, regardless political systems or geographic regions, must play a role - I would even say a more important role in art.

I see freedom (also artistic) as a chance to grow. I therefore take the liberty to try out and discover and to playfully approach my work. And isn't playfulness something very human. If discovering and playing would have been expelled from art, it would be something that could not bring joy. So I express myself with different techniques and styles, e.g. with a cycle of digital portraits that exemplify how urban citizens can be trapped in their (“Faces”) spiritual isolation, but also youthful beauty, which is not diminished by the fact that this beauty sometimes consists only of skin and bones (“Skin and bones”), up to the faces of old people and their lines of life (some call it crinkles) which can enchant the viewer very much (“Life Lines ”)

I neither want to present a normative expectation to art, nor do I think that art has ever driven social changes. I tend to say thank goodness. When I think of the communist agitprop art or the futuristic manifest 100 years ago, it was fortunate that it failed. But I would love to see that art can have a greater impact on the soul again - as music does - and not by exhibited Brillo boxes or a sliced beef inserted in formaldehyde, but by subtle depictions and compositions.

But also experimenting with different materials, e.g. the use of marble dust, bitumen, corrugated cardboard (see "out of the blue") or paper chips (see "heart at the right place") is a way for me to create new insights.

Your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface: we like the way Deep water horizons, rather than attempting to establish any univocal sense seems to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations: when discussing about the role of randomness in your process, would you tell us how much important is for you that the spectatorship rethink the concepts you convey in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings?

Painting, digital works, fractals or illustrations: everything has its time. Each method is laid aside, but then revived when an idea demands for it. We can recognize a subtle sociopolitical criticism in how Forgotten items and Deep water horizons question our abused oceans and nature, in our technology driven age. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under". Not to mention that almost everything,

SPECIAL ISSUE

What happens to us when we hear of catastrophes. We are scared and forget the

10


Heart at the right place


Peripheral

Gerdi MĂśller-Jansen

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Summer

incident pretty fast. It takes only a short time until the disaster has disappeared from the media world-wide. A kind of mass amnesia. With millions of liter of chemicals BP let the oil spill disappear -

but only from the screens. And the press cheers: Tourism is booming. The environment on the Gulf has recovered. The water is turquoise and clear. The beaches are clean – And on the

13

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

horizon you can see the dark blue of the deep water. Happy Holidays ! What a false summery conclusion! The danger now lurks beneath the surface. And no one talks about the aftereffects And I wonder what lessons we've learned from such tragedies? I don't think that pictures on such themes necessarily have to show the reality in full brutality, it is more important to me that I can create an association, memory and reflection with the spectator through colours and structures. There must be no consensus to the sensation, but if the viewer feels touched in some way or was influenced I am really satisfied. We have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances of the pieces as feuer und flamme and elbe, that show that vivacious tones are not striclty indespensable to create tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a texture? I do not leave the choice of the colours to chance – the choice is inevitable. My objective is to develop inner tensions, friction points and harmonies by colour and texture. However, the way and scope of the transformation depends on my actual life circumstances. In times of great professional pressure but also during private blows the dark, earthy tones were pushing to the fore. But in the recent years, my colour palette almost unintentionally changed. Bright, lively, sometimes even pastel tones reflect a generally relaxed life. It also does not bother me when deep cracks reveal how the paint has dried. Together with a thick layer of paint and manual interventions such as scratches, porous structures are created. They are sometimes reminding of dried out walls in abandoned buildings (e.g. "out of the blue"). If there is such an approximation to a natural image,

SPECIAL ISSUE

14


Peripheral

Gerdi Mรถller-Jansen

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Boats on a foggy morning

15

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Forgotten items

SPECIAL ISSUE

16


Peripheral

Gerdi Mรถller-Jansen

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Summer

it is almost automatically perceived associatively

intention to give an idea of a water landscape

by the viewer. With "Elbe 1", e.g. it was my

with a fire ship through horizontal monochrome

17

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Feuer und flamme

areas, interspersed with vertical colour traces. A

Another interesting work that has particularly

fire boat that signals to me: You are at home.

impressed and that we would like to discuss is

SPECIAL ISSUE

18


Peripheral

Gerdi Mรถller-Jansen

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Femme fatale

19

SPECIAL ISSUE


Spielen


Peripheral

Gerdi Möller-Jansen

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

entitled Am seidenen Faden (dangling on a string) and is from your "mental state" series, reflecting your personal situation at the time of creation: How would you define the relationship between abstraction and imagination in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work?

We are flooded with horror images in the news. And the tendency to look away is quite a danger. The pictures become suppressed. Abstraction, however, allows me, as said, to make the essentials even more visible by leaving out the details or simplifying and so the chance is there to become rediscovered. This is quite different in my figurative works. Here it is important for me to find quiet moments, to take a deep breath, to look very closely, to recognize, do discover and to capture. Very often the motifs are personal perceptions, e.g. the somewhat ruffled, yet impressive personality of a raven that seems to be watching me (“Nevermore spoke the raven”) or the beautiful colours of an artichoke blossom (“artichoke”) And that is why both - abstraction and figurative painting – not only have a reason for co-existence but also equality.

"Am seidenen Faden" (hanging by a thread or hangling a string) is a relatively new work. It really worries me that the world is ruled by certain people and is in a bad state. Terrorism, environmental destruction, wars, hunger catastrophes. It seems to me as if the world could come undone at any moment, because everything seems to hang by a thread. This, I believe, has nothing to do with "German Angst", but rather questioning whether mankind is using its brain. Abstract painting is breaking with the realityrelated representation and is limited to colour, form, structure, pattern and line. But exactly those object-related associations, which are eliminated in the abstract painting, are dedicated to show a rigid or too narrow picture and reflect exclusively the artist's view. But his stylistic means of the abstract art allow sufficient leeway for my fantasies and thus possibilities of association for the viewer.This compares with the stylistic means of the abstract art as they allow sufficient leeway for my fantasies and thus possibilities of association for the viewer.

Over these years you have had numerous solo and group shows, including your participation to ain't no limits - Kunstforingen Humlebaek, in Denmark. One of the hallmarks of your practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Not only peace, prosperity and the environment depend on the silk thread, but also cultures, progress and humanity. Great themes are hanging by a thread or in other words: large shapes are hanging by a thin line.

Of course, the audience reaction has an influence. But I wouldn't go so far as to say that it affects the language decision-making process in a particular context. I see it as an influence in both directions. From the viewer towards me and vice versa – a give and take, so to speak. The influence to the soul of the viewer and on his memories, however, should not be manipulative, how could I allow this to myself? But it is my

How would you define the relationship between abstraction and representation in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work?

21

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Elbe

intention to help to overcome cognitive dissonances, which are nagging especially people

SPECIAL ISSUE

today and which are always an unpleasant circumstance such as fear of decision making,

22


Peripheral

eries Gerdi Mรถller-Jansen

agazine

Contemporary Art

ausheiteremhimmel

nevermore 3

shame on wrong decisions or purely successoriented action against one's own conviction. As far as the influence from the viewer is concerned, especially my solo exhibition "ain't no limits" has shown to me that the positive and constructive reflection of the audience on the works can also be an encouragement to maintain the diversity and to look at it self-consciously as a characteristic of my visual language.

will probably be a search and interpretation of common cultural stories and experiences. Figuration or abstraction - between these two poles I will probably continue to move, because this contrasting way of working has a natural causality for me and I would like to give the viewer food for reflection. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to give you and your readers hereby a bit closer look at my work.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Gerdi. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? I am sure that not only that what is going on in Europe and Western societies will provide a lot of material. The strengthening or decay already stands out as a new project with many ideas. So it

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

23

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Peripheral ARTeries meets

Angelina Damenia Lives and works in Tbilisi, Georgia

Artist Angelina Damenia's work provides the viewers with an intense, immersive visual experience:her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, successfully attempts to trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters walking them through the liminal area in which perceptual reality and the realm of imagination find a consistent point of convergence. One of the most impressive aspects of Damenia's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of questioning contemporary visualization practice in reference to Contemporary Abstract art movement: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

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

in 1989 the Ministry of Culture of Georgia has created the special commission which has examined my works and has made the unprecedented decision — in view of special endowments I was admitted to Academy of Arts without entrance examinations and defined on theoretical faculty that external practical influence didn't influence natural development of my own style and didn't prevent me to be created independently. Therefore my achievements in the sphere of painting are reached without the management and control. Theoretical preparation has helped me to be realistic about my direction. I determine the style by the term Intensivism. Pure abstraction — not figurative art, interaction of the line and color which I have complemented with a form and internal contents; it includes some moment of conceptualism. Art for me — life, beauty

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Angelina and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training and you degreeded in Fine Arts History and Theory from the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts: how did this experiences influence the way you currently conceive your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the notion of beauty? For me a great honor and joy to provide information on me and my creativity on pages of your edition. Several words about history of my education:

SPECIAL ISSUE

24


Peripheral

Angelina Damenia

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

— her form and content.

article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic research is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of Christmas morning would you tell us your sources of inspiration? Do your works come from imagination or do you draw a lot from personal experience?

Your works convey coherent sense of visual unity, capable of providing the viewers with intense, multilayered visual experience. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.damenia-philauri.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up? In particular, are your works painted gesturally, instinctively? Or do you methodically transpose geometric schemes from paper to canvas?

My pictures in general and, in particular, are gathered Christmas morning from personal experience which is complemented with imagination, and this synthesis — a creativity source. Christmas morning is reflections of the morning sun on a snow surface, and it is only a small part of reality.

I never do preliminary sketches on paper. To transfer the ready processed composition to a canvas for me uninteresting repetition. Before to start a picture, I anew represent it generally complete, and only then I begin to work with directly oil paints. Of course, during process there are improvisation moments, but these are already details. Considering of a subject and its decision takes me more time, than execution of the work. My pictures are born and come to the end directly on a canvas.

We have really appreciated the vibrancy of intense nuances of red featured in Eruption, that creates such harmonious combination between tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a texture? My color palette is a display of mood, subjective transmission of emotions and internal logic. Very often color requires volume and depth, there is hidden the main content. I achieve the relief of the surface with the help of a palette knife, when this is not enough - I modify it with my hands. I do not wait for the paint layer to dry up to continue working. The pictures begin and end without stopping, in one breath, so that there is no dissonance. The same method performed the picture Eruption. This can be read as a volcanic eruption, and as the liberation of the depths of the soul, you can draw many parallels. The picture is always

How did you develope your style? In particular, do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist? I don't resist internal images and I try not to complicate the solution of a subject. Just I so see the world, it is my reality which I want to share with all. For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have Christmas morning, an interesting work that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this

27

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

modified by the viewer in his perception. Another interesting work that has particularly impressed and that we would like to discuss is entitled Landscape of Sakdrisi: how would you define the relationship between abstraction and imagination in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a marked tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work? Sakdrisi is a concrete historical area in Georgia, in the region of Kvemo Kartli, the most ancient in the world the gold mine, a cultural monument. Now it is already destroyed, and the picture Sakdrisi is a reminiscence, the abstracted reality covered with sunset beams of nostalgia. Your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface: we like the way your artworks seem to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations: how much important is for you to address the viewers to elaborate personal meanings? Each my picture bears semantic loading, has internal contents which isn't always known to the viewer. Search of value gives rise to new images. This process is very important for me as the picture in subjective perception of each new viewer continues to develop thematically, and it is very interesting. Perception of the work of art is art too. Your style is very personal and conveys both rigorous geometry and vivacious abstract feature: what influences outside the visual arts inspire and impact your approach to making work? Moreover, do you pay attention to the work of your contemporaries? If so, is there anyone in particular you feel inspired by?

SPECIAL ISSUE

28


Peripheral

Angelina Damenia

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

29

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

SPECIAL ISSUE

30


Peripheral

Angelina Damenia

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Any external influence can induce me to create a picture; In parallel with current events as a cinematic tape, the inner plot is treated before the eyes, it is like a dialogue between reality and a dream in reality, a very exciting process. Each event is a new interesting possibility of its abstract transmission. Of course, throughout the years I was inspired by different artists, I will not list them, since the path of the history of art is long and in every epoch, in the sources of each direction there were great masters and their works illuminated the way for the seekers; But now I want to mention the artist, along with whom I go along the path of life this is my husband, Gela Philauri. The methods of work are different, but the goal is one - serving the arts, and in this great balance and harmony. An aspect of your artworks that particularly appeal us is their luminosity that seem to reach the viewer's eyes out of your canvas: can you talk about the surface of your paintings and your approach to colors in order to generate luminosity? The surface of my paintings is bold, with the change of lighting creates a visibility of movement, it is dynamic and interesting. Luminosity is my fluid, the part of my soul that I put into every my work; This I look out of the picture and smile, because If I don't burn, And if you don't burn, And if we don't burn, Then who will disperse the darkness? :) How do you go about naming your works? In particular, is important for you to tell something that might walk the viewers through their visual experience?

31

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

I give each work a title, but this is only an arrow, a direction where it is necessary to search for a conceived topic.

SPECIAL ISSUE

Sometimes you can find something completely different, but the main thing is always inside.

32


Peripheral

Angelina Damenia

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Over the years your works have been showcased in several occasion: you have six solos and you participated to a number

group shows, including your recent participation to THE ARTBOX GALLERY in Switzerland. One of the hallmarks of your

35

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

practice is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere

SPECIAL ISSUE

spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship

36


Peripheral

eries

Angelina Damenia

agazine

Contemporary Art

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Angelina. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

Of course, I have big plans for the future, new ideas and solutions, but I do not want to rush to share them, as this will not be a surprise, but the viewer should always be surprised and pleased. I want to wish all the best to all! Thank you!

Each picture is a dialogue with the viewer. The language of communication is associative perception.

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

39

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Peripheral ARTeries meets

Michaela MacPherson Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, USA

Rejecting any conventional classification regarding its unique style, Michaela MacPherson's work draws the viewers through a multilayered visual experience. The central theme of her work is the theme of loss and in her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages she accomplishes the difficult task of exciting the observers to motivate their imagination to create personal associations: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

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

“good” art, and ultimately changed my entire art making process. Now, I usually just start with a drawing, but end up adding to it digitally, collaging on it, doing acrylic transfers of it, painting; I asked for a power sander last Christmas so I could use that in my work as well. I really just don’t want to limit myself anymore in my use of materials. I pretty much have my professor Bob Maloney to thank for that. He encouraged me to take risks, and use more unconventional methods to develop a really different style that is all my own. I think I would be a lot more conventional and boring if it weren’t for MassArt.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Michaela and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you hold a BFA of Illustration that you received from the prestigious Massachusetts College of Art and Design. How does this experience influence the way you currently conceive and produce your works? Hello, thank you so much for having me! Attending MassArt really gave me a direction to take my work. When I arrived I focused a lot more on making my drawings as realistic as possible, and I only worked in pencil and in black and white. They changed the way I look at art, changed what I see as being

SPECIAL ISSUE

The results of your artistic inquiry reject any conventional classification, still convey a consistent sense of unity: before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit

40


Music, mixed media


Eleven, mixed media


Peripheral

Michaela MacPherson

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

http://www.michaelamacpherson.com in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production: while walking our readers through your process, we would like to ask you if you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist.

they use narrative imagery to convey an emotion or feeling, without naming a specific situation those feelings might be felt. It’s really just a coping mechanism. 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 have provided the results of your artistic inquiry into the themes of loss in art with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through your usual process and set up? In particular, how much everyday life's experience does fuel your creativity?

In my more editorial work, the idea behind them is usually just to convey the point of the article they are illustrating. However, for my personal and gallery work, there is always some kind of thought process, some kind of message that I not only want people to relate to, but use to get a little insight into what I’m feeling. I feel like I never say things quite right, and usually end up saying too much or too little. when you look at some of the work I’ve created, you’re really looking at my best attempt to express what I’m feeling. People are so insensitive to someone struggling with themselves but for whatever reason, when they see their pain of their triumph in the form of artistic expression, suddenly its beautiful. For “Loss” I wanted to make an image that was relatable to everyone; depicting a child weeping over lost teeth was a kind of indirect way to get across the pain and sadness that is associated with loss without pinpointing an exact situation, that maybe only some people would relate to. Everyone loses teeth, everyone feels pain and sadness. I think you get all those emotions through this artwork. Much of my other work does the same;

My process is a bit eccentric, but I have it almost to a science at this point. I draw the focus of my image on a piece of paper, in full detail and exquisitely rendered. I then scan the image and bring it into photoshop, where I color it in with usually between 1-3 colors. Keeping it simple. At this point the image is printed, and I will either collage it onto a piece of masonite or do an acrylic transfer of it, meaning that I extract the ink from the paper using acrylic medium for painters to get it right on the masonite. Then I paint around the image, keeping shapes simple and bright. Nothing else about the piece gets rendered with as much detail as the initial drawn portion. Here I’ll start adding textures, bringing that power

43

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

sander I mentioned earlier into play. I use some white gel pen to outline and make things really pop, and everything is sprayed to fix. Don’t get me wrong, its a long and lengthy process, but I have it so down pat and perfected that my work time is usually under ten or so hours… which for me isn’t a lot haha. I think these days I’m generally a much happier person than I used to be, so I’m not dwelling on my sadness as much or trying to find imagery to capture my really intense feelings. At this point what I find myself constantly looking for are clever images and narratives. I do a lot of editorial work these days, so clever plays on words and that kind of stuff is what really excites me. Our current political climate in the states has influenced probably the most emotional work that I’ve been putting out these days. As a gay woman, coming from a family of immigrants and surrounded by friends of all different ethnicities and orientations and backgrounds, I am overwhelmed a lot by what the people in my life are being told about their own worth, and as of late that frustration has become very present in my personal and often times professional work.

Bronson, mixed media

instinctively or do you methodically elaborate your pieces?

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your work is fairly experimental: How much importance does play spontaneity in your work? In particular, do you conceive you works

SPECIAL ISSUE

I have fully adopted the idea that there are no mistakes. if you have a strong idea or a

44


Peripheral

Michaela MacPherson

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

strong narrative, don’t abandon it because the piece isn’t taking form the way you imagined. I literally make myself finished just about every piece I start, unless there is a really pressing deadline. I

have a general formulae of how my pieces are put together, but I vary from it all the time. I have had to make myself put aside the idea of “This is how I make work, and I have to follow these steps,”

45

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Port au prince, installation , West End Gallery, 2015

Danny Devito, mixed media

and adopt the mentality of “What would make this piece look the best it possibly could?� Sometimes its hard to make myself step out of my comfort zone but being adventurous and committed to

SPECIAL ISSUE

getting the best result possible in that exact situation usually pays off. While referring to reality, your works as Getting You to See, conveys such

46


The Women of Science, mixed media


Burning Up the Atmosphere, mixed media


Peripheral

Michaela MacPherson

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Mice Party, mixed media

captivating abstract feeling: how do you view the concepts of the real and the

imagined playing out within your works?

49

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

As I said, I just want my work to be relatable. If I sat here and painted the exact scenario where I was trying to convince someone of something and they weren’t listening, to me that wouldn’t be an interesting image. What I want to come across is that emotion, that pain and frustration. I’m sure most people have been in a situation where they felt they were pulling teeth trying to explain something to a person who was completely blind to the matter. In my personal stuff, I always try to be relatable without being specific. Your artwork are pervaded with images rich with symbolic features, as your recurrent referencs to symbolism behind teeth : German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? Morever, how would you describe your personal iconography and what is the importance of symbols in your imagery? I don’t totally agree with that sentiment. For me, especially if I’m trying to be so indirect, I rely on symbolism heavily to get my point across. I feel like to abide by that kind of thinking you’d have to have experience in the field; like maybe a fellow artist could look at your handling of a medium and understand

SPECIAL ISSUE

50


Peripheral

Michaela MacPherson

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Gemini, mixed media

51

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Cancer, mixed media

SPECIAL ISSUE

52


Peripheral

Michaela MacPherson

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

the what you’re getting at, but I’m not making work just for avid artists and admirers. I’m not saying that Demand is wrong, I think that conveying expression through handling of materials is a beautiful idea and I’m know there have been incredibly emotional pieces created strictly following that plan, but I want my work to be accessible to absolutely everyone. Using symbols that people are familiar with helps make my work accessible to other artists, as well as the average passerby with no artistic training whatsoever. Take a look at “Fear of Commitments,” for example. A chain and key are familiar symbols, the chain symbolizing being trapped and the key potential freedom. No one should look at that piece and struggle to understand whats going on there. And I mean I’m sure there are ways I could have handled the paint or composition that would get that message across, but my audience would be much narrower. Additionally, the average passerby isn’t going to take the time to dissect and analyze the underlying meaning of an artwork. I use a strong image, and simple one with familiar symbolism, and people get it and it will stick with them. It may not be a visionary idea, but its tried and true. We have really appreciated the way the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances you combine in your artworks, showing that vivacious tones are not strictly

53

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

indespensable to create tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a painting’s texture? Why thank you! Like I mentioned earlier, I used to strictly work in black and white, and when I started using colors they were very muddy and unsaturated. They didn’t catch the eye. I spend so much time choosing vibrant colors and strong combinations that I know will catch the eye. I make at least three color mock-ups for every piece! I think I’m a bold person; I definitely don’t think anyone would describe me as softspoken, so my color schemes probably reflect that aspect of my personality. The textures are probably my favorite aspect of my work. I create some using my sander, but I also have pages and pages in my sketchbooks of just lines and patterns that if I think a piece needs a little more dimension, I will scan in and overlay. They’re a great way to fill negative space, while stickling with that solid, graphic element that I go for in certain parts of my work. We like the way Loss, rather than attempting to establish any univocal

SPECIAL ISSUE

54


Peripheral

Michaela MacPherson

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Loss, mixed media

55

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

sense, you seem to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations: would you tell us how much important is for you that the spectatorship rethink the concepts you convey in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings?

to me, without ever actually having a conversation with me. Hopefully, my work will outlive me and I really just want my audience to have a feeling for who I was. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Michaela. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Yeah, totally. That’s what I mean, I want my viewers to see a very basic narrative of a completely relatable emotion, and apply their own experiences with it to my image. Being relatable is hugely important to me, and the best way to do that is to be direct about the emotion but vague about the situation.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m doing a lot more editorial work so be prepared to see a lot more politically charged stuff, as opposed to my own individual struggles. Im excited because I think my work is getting my more dynamic and stronger the more I try to pinpoint exact scenarios while simultaneously expressing my own ideals. There’s a lot of tongue and cheek stuff, which by this point you know I love, I am afraid that I’m going to be working more digitally the more demand for work I have, which I am really going to avoid as much as I can. There’s something so satisfying about having a tactile, physical piece to show all your efforts, and my textures read much better in life. But yeah!

Before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context? Appealing to my audience is everything. My whole point in creating work is to get the people around me to understand and empathize with a way that I’m feeling. Getting people to have an emotional response to a feeling or idea is hugely empowering. I want people to be able to look at my work and know exactly the type of person I am without saying a word to me; I want them to know the feelings I struggled with and what matters were important

SPECIAL ISSUE

Thanks again for having me, this has been a great experience! An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

56


Its like Pulling Teeth, Getting You to See


Barbara Simcoe


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Peripheral ARTeries meets

Barbara Simcoe Lives and works in Omaha, NE, USA Artist Barbara Simcoe's work provides the viewers with intense, emotional visual experience: with a focus on the theme of women who act as vessel of creativity, her body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, successfully attempts to trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters walking them through the liminal area in which perceptual reality and the realm of imagination find a consistent point of convergence. One of the most impressive aspects of Simcoe's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of functioning to mediate the space between perception and meditation, a liminal space that is ephemeral and intuitively accessed: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

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

emotional investment as teaching did. I worked at my job and went home to work on my painting. When I got a job as a tenure track professor the balance between teaching studio art at the university and making my own work was quite different.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Barbara and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. We would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training: you hold a MFA of Painting and Drawing, that you received from the University of North Texas and since 1998 you hold the position of Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska, Omaha: how did these experiences along with your personal cultural substratum influence the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

In some ways it was a little more difficult to sustain my art making practice. It may also have had to do with a shift in my ideas but partly it was also a shift in focus in my job/working life balanced with being a painter. My commitment to art making and the emotional investment in teaching had to be the same. So in a sense I had a little bit of a culture shock moving to Omaha. Another not unimportant issue arose when I moved was that I worked in a basement, a bit of a regression in terms of space from what I had in Dallas. My work had to scale down and that had an influence in how I started to think about my painting.

I’m originally from Chicago and lived in Dallas for 15 years after graduate school. I worked in the business world for 8 years before starting to teach as an adjunct and visiting professor in several institutions. Working in the business world as a graphic designer did not have the personal and

SPECIAL ISSUE

60


The Truth is Too Old to Tell


Unloose the Beauty


Peripheral

Barbara Simcoe

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

archetypal images that encompassed the feminine. I also became very interested in Baroque painting because of it’s raw drama and intensity. The shift was not intentional, it just happened over a period of a few years. Stylisically the work changed as well. I had been working with representation throughout most of the 80’s and yet the works but were not realistic. They had the feel of disintegrating images, fluid and dynamic throughout the pictorial surfaces. The early 90’s introduced for me a greater concern with a kind of realism, more fully fleshed out figures and spaces. And yet I still viewed all of my work from early on as having a kind of continuity - maybe because I always felt it was strongly emotion based. And always I felt as though my paintings were meditations.

The results of your artistic inquiry convey a coherent sense of unity that rejects any conventional classification. We would suggest to our readers that they visit http://www.barbarasimcoe.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work. While walking our readers through your usual process and setup, can you tell them something about the evolution of your style? In particular, do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist? My work in graduate school dealt with invented images that referenced reality in a remote way. I attached symbolic value to them and thought about the pieces - though very different from what I do now - as contemplations in the search of creating meaning. Much of the work was experimental in terms of materials but the thread that started then continues to the present. After graduate school I shifted toward working with appropriated images from news sources, my work became political in nature and very male dominated in terms of the figuration. The times - the Reagan years - for me had an urgency that necessitated that I deal with a response. I began a methodology of working from multiple sources - as many as 8 or more to create an idea. Titling of the works came from phrase fragments from captions of the photos or stories associated with them to make a sentence. I wanted the titles to augment the paintings. In my website is a link to a retrospective video that has selections of works from 1983 to 2002 that has a voice over of the titles of the pieces. Very gradually from the late 80’s through the early 90’s my concerns shifted away from politics to wanting to work with mythological and

Concurrently with paintings from the late 90’s I began also to make digital images, also from found imagery. I used the same methodology as the paintings, working from multiple sources. I taught Photoshop at a community college in Omaha before I started at the University of Nebraska Omaha and found that it would be a great tool to design my pieces. I enjoyed the process a lot and saw the potential for also making digital pieces as a facet of my practice. One point about the process of making my work is that I shifted from working with found images to working primarily with my own photographic imagery in 2004 when I had a Fulbright and lived in Lithuania fro 5 months. The shift was significant and required another level of commitment to the imagery I was using. It created a pictorial change in terms of imagery and meaning also created a change in emotional investment.

63

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected The Truth is Too Old to Tell and Unloose the Beauty, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic research into feminine archetypes is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: would you walk our readers through the genesis of The Truth is Too Old to Tell and Unloose the Beauty? In particular, how did you develope the initial ideas? In designing my pieces I typically will have a couple of core images that I start with. I have a huge library of images, largely from travel in Europe and photo shoots of friends supply the figurative aspect of the pieces. I mine them for visual ideas. As I discussed above, the shift toward the feminine had started to take root in the 90’s and it came in force during the 2000’s. I began to think about why the feminine and I realized that I had started to access a more meditative and intuitive approach to developing pictorial spaces. I became interested in the feminine aspect of living - the anima in Jung’s terms - as a counterpart to the masculine which I felt I had explored already.

St.Joan

It’s also in a strange way, a kind of womb with an egress which wombs have. The sky imagery is typical for many of my works of the last 15 years or so and it represents for me openness of spirit. The flower imagery emerging from the other figure is continuous with my interest in the natural world, plant imagery represents an alternate from of life to figuration, it can adorn and nourish at the same time. The main reclining figure in the piece, asleep or just resting, it’s for the viewer to discern. It’s a visual point in that creates a kind of tension. It’s floating and relaxes. It’s a contradiction in the space. Which I could say

The Truth is Too Old to Tell began with an image of myself as the cornerstone of the piece. I had a photo shot using myself as a model thinking it might be an interesting counterpoint to the young female figures I had been working with for many years. The dome image is from St Peter’s in the Vatican, for it’s structure and significance as a portal through which one can enter metaphorically.

SPECIAL ISSUE

64


Peripheral

Barbara Simcoe

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Stone Pathway

Ascension

about most of my works. Unloose the Beauty also deals with a portal. Openings are liminal in nature. In an opening one is not in one place or the other, it’s a kind of mystical space that can be transformative. The figure in this piece is very dramatic and dynamic. Balletic in a way. The sculptural figure in the center holds a sheath of wheat signifying nurturing and strength. Water in this piece and in many of my works, signifies also a sort of mystical material, it represents baptism in one definition but more encompassing, a source of life and regeneration. The architectural fragmentation in both of the pieces creates

ambiguity in terms of my spatial sensibility as it houses and provides context for the figures, it contributes heavily to the liminality of the works. We have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances of the pieces as Standing Woman and Through the Arc, that show that vivacious tones are not striclty indespensable to create tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you

65

SPECIAL ISSUE


Guilia


Peripheral

Barbara Simcoe

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Observed

Alchemy

decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a texture?

arc with a soft light green color meant to indicate a light interior - another aspect of metaphor that I’m interested in - the contrast between interiority and the exterior. Standing Woman in contrast, is a departure color wise. It is only dealing with an interior setting. Texture is sort of on the back burner of my concerns, the surfaces of my pieces are always flat. The paint films are delicate and fragile. Thinly painted, the use of the white of the substrate creates a kind luminosity. Texture where it occurs is simulated. In terms of psychological makeup as it relates to color I can say that I had a

My color palette changed significantly since the 2004 when I lived in Lithuania. I was there in the winter and the winter light entered my subconscious and found its way into the art I was making. In subsequent years I continued to access that memory of light and color paler and and more subtle than in much earlier works. Often I employ bluish tones in many of my pieces - they’re all different from piece to piece, they’re always mixed colors. Through the Arc employs a blue through the

67

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Holding the Sky

Between the Regions

life transforming experience in 2007 that created a situation in my life that was quieting and more in sync with a subtle color palette. This had been developing for a while before then and is in stark contrast to the paintings of the 80’s in 90’s that were highly saturated in color. Interestingly, the color contributes to spaces that are more classical in feel, an observation my husband pointed out recently, and it relates to a containment that much earlier pieces do not have.

experienced in order to suggest the possibility of attaining wisdom: Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under". Do you think that your artworks could be considered political, in a certain sense? Moreover, what could be in your opinion the role of Art in the contemporary age? As I discussed, my early work for a number of years was highly political. Why those concerns shifted I can’t really explain,

Your artworks come out of the belief that discord and disorientation must be

SPECIAL ISSUE

68


Standing Woman


Peripheral

Barbara Simcoe

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, you are most interested in woman as vessel of creativity, as intercessor, as of the earth, as mother, as primal aspect of the feminine/masculine dichotomy, as the complement of masculine divinity: do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value?

perhaps because of another life changing experience I had in the mid 90’s. But a work like St. Joan does have somewhat of a political undercurrent. The setting is taken from a mortuary room in Majdanek, preserved in one of the death camps in Poland, lesser known than Auschwitz. The image of the head on the table is taken from the film St. Joan by the Danish silent filmmaker Theodore Dreyer. St. Joan as a reference in this context makes something of a political statement but it is only in explaining the content that it can be known more fully. Even if that is not known, however, the drama and inward looking pain can be felt, I think, in the piece. Holding the Sky does not have political content to it but it does deal yet again with liminality and a kind a pain. The setting is a desert which, while beautiful, is desiccated and unkind to life.

I think it does. If one looks at my early work from the 80’s one would think it would be a man’s work. There is no doubt looking at my work of the past 15 years, if you didn’t know, that it was made by a women. The work is feminist in a way because I privilege the feminine, not at the expense of the masculine but as a contrast to it. The feminine is dark, primal as pointed out, and the womb is dark but at the same time, nurturing and necessary. I think that my own journey as a person and as an artist brought me to the point where I felt I had to deal with my own identity as a woman. Again, this was not intentional, is was subconscious and not really a choice but a necessity.

As for art in the contemporary age I hear many artists say - and have read a number of times - that the most important work being made now is political in nature. In one sense I agree with that. But interestingly, when I was making political work in the 80’s it was not really very common. Maybe I was in the wrong decade. But I see my contemporary work as a counterpoint to the political. I have been interested in interiority over the exterior for a long time. By exterior I am speaking metaphorically. For myself, because of the imagery I choose to work with and the configurations of the spaces and figures, I deal with the interiority that is necessary to access the archetypes that live in me, that live in everyone.

Your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception: while clear references to perceptual reality, some of your paintings as Ascension and Waterlilies reject an explicit explanatory strategy: the thoughtful nuances of tones of seem to be the tip of the iceberg of the emotions that you are really attempting to communicate. How would you define the relationship between abstraction and figurative in your practice? In particular,

71

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work?

think my work is surrealistic. I don’t think that it is but I do employ some methodologies of surrealism such as automatism as I work toward selecting imagery and in relying heavily on subconscious intuition to create the pieces.

Interesting thought that my work might reference the tip of the iceberg of emotions. I feel that it does in a way but the emotions that are conveyed in the pieces I think are quiet and subdued in nature. Can that be thought of as emotional? I’m not sure. At the same time it’s interesting that I’m a tumultuous person internally. I’m political in nature and have a somewhat stormy personality. And I’ve thought a lot about that recently especially when I took out a lot of my old pieces to show to students. The emotions in them are on the surface, aggressive in feel and painful in content with many of them. Perhaps my life changing experience I referred to above, while not altering the core of my personality, created a fertile ground to explore the possibility of attaining the wisdom that requires going through darkness. Maybe that’s what I’m after in my works. As for representation and abstraction I feel that all painting has abstract features. I discuss this with my students because I think you have to know that to learn how to paint. I always feel there are strong abstract qualities in my pieces. I feel it when I’m working both in the paintings and the digital works. I think of the spaces as being abstractions that provide context for the figurative imagery. Sometimes people

SPECIAL ISSUE

As you have remarked once, you direct your actions to subconsciously access archetypes to create works that function as metaphor: German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? Morever, would you tell us something about the importance of symbols and metaphors in your practice? I think of each of my pieces as being a metaphor - or of containing the content to find metaphorical meaning. Again, the importance of liminality is key to understanding my work. I feel in making my work as though I’m often in a state of in between-ness. Part of it is process, the pieces are very labor intensive, often small and requiring a great deal of concentration on the minute. But it’s also in the process of engaging my subconscious to find the right imagery. Interesting thought about probing psychological and narrative elements in the medium because that is something that I think I do in my work. I haven’t addressed it so far but I do think there is a narrative aspect to my work. There always seems to be some motivation for the figures

72


Down from the Sky


Waterlillies


Peripheral

eries

Barbara Simcoe

agazine

Contemporary Art

type of language you use in a particular context?

inhabiting the spaces they do, impending action or action that has already taken place. There’s is always a “why is this” in my work I think.

I don’t typically think of the audience when I work. I think of myself as the audience. Once a piece is finished and in a gallery it’s out of my hands, it’s out in the world for the viewer to process. But because of the underlying narratives and metaphors in the works, I have high expectations that a viewer will stay with a piece long enough to get that.

How do you go about naming your work? In particular, is important for you to tell something that might walk the viewers through their visual experience? I have always thought that titling work is important. My titles now are more complex than they were for about 10 years. But recently I’ve moved toward making them more complex. I’ve mined poetry to find phrase fragments that speak to me and to the works. Sappho’s poetry has been important to me. It’s fragmentary in nature for what is known about it, and I feel that that corresponds to the fragmentary feel in some of my works. I am interested in returning to the practice of titling my pieces in sentences. That was an interesting strategy and one that augments the pieces in a thoughtful way.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Barbara. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? This is also interesting because I am wanting to make work that is more highly charged emotionally again. I feel I have been on a journey for a long time that now requires a shift in focus. Higher color value, formally speaking, is a way to go about doing that. More dramatic figuration perhaps, a return to a more Baroque sensibility. I don’t think I’ll return to the political. I don’t think that’s my strength at this time in my life. But there is a constant in my working … I’m always learning something new, it could be technical or in finding an image that is not like me, but because I use it it must be in some way.

Over the years your works have been extensively showcased in several occasions all over the United States. One of the hallmarks of your work is its ability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what

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

75

SPECIAL ISSUE


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


Cora Marin Lives and works in Berlin and in Barcelona

Ever since I can remember I have been going around demanding answers. I can only guess about the nature and origins of this fixation, but it just makes sense it once led me to study Philosophy and has ultimately brought me to work in the arts field the way I do: depicting the process of identifying and trying to resolve the questions in my head. Luckily the life I run, with its’ goods and bads, allows for lots of questioning. That is why I can’t define my work through its’ aesthetics: the medium in which I express myself varies in each project and is merely an excuse to keep playing with new materials and techniques. These continuous try-outs are the most fun part of it all (plus they keep the child in me, who giggles every time at the idea of getting her hands dirty, very much alive). The core of my work is topics. I aim to open debates and to create somewhat interactive pieces with the goal of finding collective explanations. Oftentimes it comes down to socio-political explorations on folklores and how they, together with historical memory, increasingly vanish under the weight of modernity. Others, because of my being a permanent foreigner wandering around, I can’t help but dig into ideas of cultural adaptation, belonging, and whether or not it is necessary to leave a mark behind you. As anything which lies bone-deep, it does sometimes get ugly and come out in mocking (mostly self-mocking) politically incorrect and not so appropriate ways. I have had works removed from exhibitions because they were supposedly creating polemic controversies: to that I can only think to myself “I must be doing something right after all”.


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Peripheral ARTeries meets

Cora Marin Lives and works in Berlin and in Barcelona Adressing the viewers to a multilayered visual experience, visual artist Cora Marin's work walks us through the liminal area in which imagination and perceptual reality find a consistent point of convergence. In her Kudihohola series that we'll be discussing in the following pages, she drew inspiration from the music of Chalo Correia and JoĂŁo Mouro to create an insightful combination between words and images, capabe of triggering the viewers' perceptual and cultural parameters. One of the most impressive aspects of Marin's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of revealing what lies in the subconscious mind of the beholder, as a reflection of the inner world, not only the artist's but also the viewer's: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

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

After the experience at the Berlin Drawing Room the idea of becoming an art teacher became more palpable, and I realized through the workshops that I could quite enjoy doing that professionally at some point of my career.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Cora and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training and, among other experiences, you recently attended an internship at the Berlin Drawing Room: how did that influence the way you currently conceive your works? And in particular, how do your cultural substratum and your travels inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the notion of beauty? SPECIAL ISSUE

The notion of beauty is not something that concerns me when I work. However I am indeed convinced that the way I make art is tighly related to my cultural background and the experiences gathered while traveling. It's important for me to remember where I came from, but I don't want to let that be what defines me. I sort of reinvent myself whenever I'm in a 78


Peripheral

Cora Marin

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

more important than getting a beautiful result.

new place: it's not something I do consciously but it's great fun, so I don't even try to fight it.

Do you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist?

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

Certainly. Every work I do is focused on a subject which I believe is worth opening a discussion about. Basically I want to make art to try and change something for good, as naive as it may sound. That doesn't mean I am particularly ambitious or seek to create a great new movement, but rather that I feel I can change little things one day at a time by sharing my opinions with others and creating works which invite others to respectively share theirs with me.

I tend to have a somewhat clear idea on how i want things to look once they are finished, and I enjoy doing some planning through sketches and tryouts. Once I start painting or drawing it gets messy though, and improvisation takes over.

For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Kudihohola, an interesting project that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic inquiry into the music of Chalo Correia and JoĂŁo Mouro is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: would you walk our

I could get very frustrated if I were to mentally compare what I wished for to the final results, but I do not mind the looks of it as much as the reward of learning something new in the process. Taking risks and pushing my limits is

81

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

readers through the genesis of Kudihohola?

Reading and writing have always taken a big part of my daily life (although unfortunately my routine seems to allow for it less and less). I wrote for all sorts of publications during high school and I used to edit an art magazine and publish poems throughout my two years of art school specialization. Then I went off to College, where I studied Comparative Literature and Philosophy while working in the contemporary art bookstore LORINGart. Words have always been my friends and my most precious weapon - it just makes sense they are still a big part of my work.

Kudihohola is a wonderful album by Chalo Correia, whom I met in Lisbon when traveling around Portugal a couple of years back. His music moved me in unsuspected ways, and I felt that was something worth exploring. In the end it turned into research about lost folklores and the mutations of certain traditional musics, as well as the struggle to merge into new cultures without losing your own identity. The work of Correia fills me up with joy, admiration and hope: that alone is reason enough to pay a tribute to it. I can only recommend you give a listen to his music. The sculptures of Joao Mouro, who plays with him, are also *definitely!!* worth checking.

What I find most ironic given my background is the fact that I keep getting into situations where I have to constantly defend myself in languages I do not master (english, german, greek...): there's a lot of frustration in that for someone who values accuracy with words! And yet I feel I'm not quite yet done moving to countries whose language I've never learnt before. Is that a pathology or what? Ha,ha.

I do feel I have learned more through revisiting their works than through the several lectures of famous artists I've attended in the past years. Words are really important in your practice: we like the combination between images and words you created for Kudihohola: do you understand the text as part of the work itself or as an explanation to it?

SPECIAL ISSUE

Your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be

82


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

seen, rather than its surface, providing the spectatorship with freedom to realize their own perception: we like the way Pachamama, rather than attempting to establish any univocal sense seems to urge the viewers to elaborate personal associations: when discussing the role of randomness in your process, would you tell us how important is it for you that the spectatorship rethinks the concepts you convey in your pieces, elaborating personal meanings? Very. I don't think there's a space for open debates unless you allow people the freedom to create their own opinions and come to their own conclusions. I feel I present my ideas in a somewhat clear way, and the "spectators" tend to understand quite rapidly what I'm trying to say. Nonetheless one of the most rewarding things for me in doing what I do is getting the feedback of others, as it is this same exchange of ideas and learning from one another what interests me the most. As you have remarked once, you aim to concentrate on subjects that may have a social impact and raise

SPECIAL ISSUE

84


Peripheral

Cora Marin

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

85

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

SPECIAL ISSUE

88


Peripheral

Cora Marin

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

awareness on a number of issues that affect our unstable contemporary age. Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco once stated, "the artist’s role differs depending on which part of the world you’re in. It depends on the political system you’re living under". Not to mention that almost everything, ranging from Caravaggio's Inspiration of Saint Matthew to Joep van Lieshout's works, could be considered political. What could be in your opinion the role of Art in the contemporary age? Moreover, what role does humour play in your process? My opinion on the role of art in our time and on humour are very different things, although ironically I think so much in art has been trivialised that one has to search for some humour in it, if not willing to assume desperation. I am not very keen on self loathing, so I often find myself taking a good laugh at the absurdity of it all instead. That being said I do not want to live in a world where young people like me have given up on trying to build a better society through the arts and

89

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

humanities. If there is even such thing as *one* role art should fulfill, in my opinion, is to fight for a more self-aware, liberated, fearless community.

mixing, instead of always contemplating harmony and simmetry. To me that's the most amusing thing in kid's paintings: the way they put colors together with no apparent reason but somehow they always make it work.

We have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances of the pieces as the ones from the On Absence series, that show that vivacious tones are not striclty indespensable to create tension and dynamics. How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own psychological make-up determine the nuances of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a texture?

We like the way your works reflects the relationship between the inner world and the outside world: how would you define the relationship between abstraction and imagination in your practice? In particular, how does representation and a tendency towards abstraction find their balance in your work? I don't seek to stick to a particular style, or to achieve abstraction. I think what happens to me is that, because I work on topics, I'm very much in my head while painting. I'm constantly revisiting my ideas on the subject matter and trying to find the right way to translate them into something visual. When your mind is working so much faster than your brush you're probably going to end up finding yourself in some kind of chaos: that's how something originally representative sometimes becomes abstract, in my case.

Quite frankly I don't understand much of any of those questions, might be because I don't have "my own color palette" nor do I make use of any "psychological make-up". I use colors depending on the mood I want to achieve and my own state of mind. I learnt some color psychology very early in life and I'm grateful for it, but I think that it has caused me some limitations. Sometimes I'd like to be more free when it comes to SPECIAL ISSUE

90


Peripheral

Cora Marin

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

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

that is the next exhibition I'm planning, where I'll be painting and every person present will be invited/encouraged to join me. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Cora. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Thank you for the opportunity! As I might have indicated I see my work becoming more and more community oriented. I want to get more to the streets and go deeper into my research, perhaps involving less reading but more "undercover" actions. We'll see!

Yes. Some of my past works involved interactive pieces like turning round canvases into percussion instruments (Kudihohola project), or creating "games" in order to approach difficult subjects like sexism, violence, etc.

In the long term I like to see myself running some kind of center for nature and arts. Like a little shelter in the middle of nowhere with beautiful landscapes, good food, and plenty of space (physical and mental) to get creative. That's the dream.

I would like to pursue this kind of practice, but I'm currently more interested in actual collaborative pieces. What I mean is that I aim not only to create work that engages the spectators, but to directly work side by side with them. An example of

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

93

SPECIAL ISSUE


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

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


Marcel Harrison Lives and works in Daleville, Alabama USA

As an independent producer and recording artist I enjoy exploring the artistry of creating my own video concepts. Through the music, lyrics, dance and video I strive to provoke thought and reflection.


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Peripheral ARTeries meets

Marcel Harrison Lives and works in Daleville, Alabama USA Multidisciplinary artist and poet Marcel Harrison's work accomplishes an insightful exploration of the connection between body, music and words to walk the viewers through a multilayered experience, inducing them to elaborate personal associations and intepretations. His style rejects any conventional classifications and is marked with freedom as well as coherence, while encapsulating a careful attention to composition and balance. One of the most impressive aspects of Harrison's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of provoking thought and reflection: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

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

be a performing artist of any kind. This experience allows you to feel “at home” onstage and allows you to get into a comfort zone so you can focuss on the performance without any nervousness or anxiety. My time at Berklee College of Music was probably the single event that propelled me as an artist the most. I am only a first your student. I took course in Electronic music production for a year. In this year I obtained the key skills to combine all f my arttistic visions into a multi-layered presentation. I can now combine my poetry/lyrics, movement, music, and visual presentation into fixed form with a vision that is “all me”.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Marcel and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: you have a extensive background onstage as a Choreographer and competitive dancer spans over twenty years, moreover, you recently joined the program of the prestigious Berklee College of Music out of Boston- How do these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? Hello and thank you very much for having me. My past onstage as a choreographer and competitive dancer honed the skill of being onstage. This is critical if you want to SPECIAL ISSUE

Your approach is very personal and your technique condenses a variety of 98


Peripheral

Marcel Harrison

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

However, some songs I had a rythm in my head and made the music to fit the lyrics “On Me” was one such song. http://marcel9.com/#song-23011970-onme

viewpoints, that you combine together into a coherent balance. We would suggest to our readers to visit http://marcel9.com in order to get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up? In particular, how do you usually developed your ideas? And in particular, how would you define the roles of chance and improvisation in your approach?

I then create the movement I want for the song and finally develope the concept for the accompanying video. You are a versatile artist and while your first realized and primary talent is dance, now your practice hs evolved and it involves music, lyrics, dance and video: what drew you to address your pratice to such multidisciplinary practice? In particular, how do you see the relationship between sound and images?

Ok great!! I start ANY project with PRAYER. I realize I am nothing without the creator I worship. I believe God endowed me with these talents, as I had no choice in the matter. I just always danced and wrote lyrics and had music ideas in my head. “Chance” I do not believe plays a role in my life. I believe as I consult with the Father He guides my artistic process. Improvosation plays a huge role in my stage perfomarnce. Some sections are choreographed but much of my movement onstage is improv. This is another innate ability I was blessed with. I can continously move to music keeping the beat as I improvise. I normally start with arranging the music, get the song form then edit the poetry I have wriiten to the beat.

As a former psychology major I realize the more senses that are stimulated the better a message is recieved and retained. Dance is my primary talent, as I have cutivated this for over two decdes. I am still relatively new at producing my own music but I am sure as I continue to write this will be cultivated just as my talent of dance was. Making my own vidoes are the newest on the ticket. It is extremely importatnt as an artist that the message in the sound(music) and visual stimulation(video) are of the same

101

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

vision. They work hand in hand to drive home whatever message an artist is trying to convey. For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Inside My Mind, from the The Collection Album, a cutting edge cross disciplinary project using body, video and object project that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic research is the way you provided the visual and sound results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: while walking our readers through the genesis of Inside My Mind, would you shed light to your main sources of inspiration? Wow! Great question. The lyrics: the lyrics were written as a poem. The message is clear and directed to new independent artists of the dangers of the music industry. This is not a typical song with chorus and verse. I drew from my life experiences as a choroegrapher in the entertainment industry. The Music: I simply started combining sounds until I had a cohesive groove. The music on thise one set the tone for the vocal arrangement. I simply wanted to speak a clearly understood message. The message is first and foremost. The music

SPECIAL ISSUE

104


Peripheral

Marcel Harrison

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

105

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

SPECIAL ISSUE

106


Peripheral

Marcel Harrison

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

and dance are just pakaging to stimulate the listener or viewer. The Video: this video set was very simple. I shot this with my laptop camera in the dressing area outside my bathroom in my apartment. I chose cinematography that was serious to stress the importance of the message. I then found images to illustrate coming inside my mind and seeing my thoughts. A great site https://pixabay.com/ allowed me to add eye catching background images to illustrate thoughts in my mind. Inside My Mind provides the viewers with an immersive experience capable of challenging their perceptual parameters. How do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience? Art plays a huge role in our society. The artist can shape emotion and bring awareness. I once heard that a common practice of etiquette here in the US came from a work of art. Many homes here consider it rude to put your elbows on the dinner table. I heard a speaker say this practice originated as the result

107

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

of Da Vinci’s of “The Last Supper”. In this painting “Judas” the one follower who betrayed Jesus had his elbows on the table. Wow, how amazing this is if true that a mere painting created such an impact on society. The viewing experience very frequently is used as an escape and release. I know, for me personally music and videos take me to another world free of problems and just enjoyment. I hope this video provides enjoyment as well as thought provocation and the betterment of all who view it. How much new sound technology inform the way you produce your music? I started making music in this digital age with digital equipment. So this is my ownly frame of reference. I do not play any instruments. The keyboad is the only tool or instrument I use with my programs. So new sound technology is the basis of my music production. It allows me to produce in-time and professional sounding arragments. As you have remarked in your artist's statement, the talents I have been given to put forth Godly, positive, thought provoking messages: how much importance does have spirituality in your art practice?

SPECIAL ISSUE

108


Peripheral

Marcel Harrison

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

109

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

SPECIAL ISSUE

110


Peripheral

Marcel Harrison

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

IT IS THE BEROCK FOR ALL I DO NOW. I have made many mistakes in my life. I alost lost my life many times due to poor choices and associations. I have come to the point in my life to put forth postive/Godly messages or no messages at all. Another interesting work form your artistic production that has particularly impressed us and that we would like to discuss is entitled Let It Rain: we appreciated the insightful combination between music and images with a high symbolic value. Are you particularly interested to use symbols to trigger the viewers' perception as starting point to urge them to elaborate personal interpretations? Yes very much so. We as people are very visual. Symbols and images leave lasting impressions on people. This is a long stading reality. That is why major brads come up with iconic symbols that people automatically see and think of their product. For instance, no matter what language the words are in most know the coa-cola logo and the Nike swish. In let it rain i used the rain to symbolize the proverbeal “stroms� we all endure in our lives.

111

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Your approach is marked out with a personal feature that goes beyond any conventional classification: do you have any figures in our contemporary scene that look up to?

ThisI am working on right now. If you do not have a reciever there is no point in any message. Language is very important. I realize you want to use a language the audience can relate to. I have to write from my own experiences and stay true to who I am. Then I try to find the right audience that will revieve the message.

I strive to be orignal. This is very difficult as we are shaped and influenced by all the information our brains process from all of our senses. I cant pick any one comtemporary figure I look up yo. However, anyone who holds true to their pure message regardless of commercial appeal I would admire.

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

Over the years you have exhibited in several occasions, including your recent show at Rocketown, Nashville and one of the hallmarks of your work is the capability to create direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

SPECIAL ISSUE

Thank you very much for your interest in my work and allowing me to share it with your readers.I put all in God’s hands. I never thought I would be producing my own music. What I see for my future is establishing good dance music that compliments the messages I put forth. One thing I see evolving is getting better at the technical aspects of music production and video direction, editing and cinematography. An interview by Josh Ryder, curator and Melissa C. Hilborn, curator peripheral.arteries@europe.com

112


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Peripheral ARTeries meets

Esther de Vlam Lives and works in Rotterdam, the Netherlands Esther de Vlam is interested in how we begin to make something from the bare minimum. How do we depart from zero? She investigates how the threshold of normality is crossed and a new position is maintained; how a crisis (a war or poverty, for instance) becomes normality, even taken for granted. Her work takes the form of installations where everyday objects undergo a transformation.

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

multifaceted background. You have a solid formal training and after having earned your BAs from the Rotterdamse Dansacademie and from the Academie for Fine Arts and Design you nurtured your education with a MA from the Piet Zwart Institute, in Rotterdam: how do these experiences influence the way you currently conceive and produce your works? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making?

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Rotterdam based artist Esther de Vlam is interested in how we begin to make something from the bare minimum: her works rejects any conventional classification and addresses the viewers to an unconventional immersive experience, successfully attempting to trigger their perceptual parameters, with a deeper focus on a complementary dialogue between materiality, content and the exhibition space. The power of de Vlam’s noetic approach lies in her insightful inquiry into how the threshold of normality is crossed and a new position is maintained; how a crisis becomes normality: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

At the age of ten I was selected for the Royal Dance academy, Den Hague. So, from that moment on I left my parents place, because it was too much to travel daily between my new school and my place of birth. There were a lot of changes in my life from a young age on: I had to be (a) professional, I became disciplined, a fighter and understood I had to do things myself. I was fighting, like all the other young dancers, to get control over my body, to “dance the music” and make it look easy.

Hello Esther and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. We would start this interview with a couple of questions about your

SPECIAL ISSUE

After graduation, when I had been a dance student for twelve year, I felt that I didn’t

114


Have to Have not


Peripheral

Esther de Vlam

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

synoptic view of your artistic production. Your works usually take the form of installations where everyday objects undergo a transformation: how would you consider the relationship between everyday life's experience and imagination in your process? In particular, we daresay that your works seem meticulously planned: is there a role for improvisation and chance in your process?

want to be a dancer. I still love to have control over my body, I still love a ballet class, but I don’t want to be material of a choreographer. I want to create things myself. So I decided to try to get into an Art Academy. And I got in. At first, I really did not understood what the Art teachers were talking about. It took me a lot of time to make a transition from being a (ballet)dancer to become an artist. I wanted to control the material, I was searching for meaning and a story and I was afraid of experimenting. One of my teachers, Maria Pask, really stimulated me to follow my own path and have some fun in making art. We created some nice works together after my graduation, like the Birds and the Bees for if I can’t dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution at the Appel, Amsterdam.

At the start of a work its always clear to me what “subject” I want to visualise. These subjects come to me through the news, the internet, newspaper or stories people tell me. To create a work I have to be able, in one way or another, to identify myself with the “object” while staying true to myself and the subject. For example, last year I was asked to create a work about refugees. This topic kept me busy for a long time, especially because I see this human drama day in and day out on TV and the internet and I am not doing anything about it. Okay, I’m gonna make an art piece about it...

During the final exhibition at the Art Academy I received a message of the Piet Zwart Institute, asking me if I would be interested to send in an application to optionally get in. Beside the fact that I felt really honoured by this invitation, I also felt I could use another two more years to understand art itself a bit better.

Who am I to tell their story as a woman from, and in, a safe and wealthy country? Why is it up to me to speak about this drama as a Dutch artist? So, in a way it felt really wrong... The only way I can handle such a big theme is to take out one “small” part (with huge consequences) of this complex matter; I visualised dehumanisation in Some Place Better. I see dehumanisation in how refugees are presented and treated; hopefully I have contributed in a decent, honest and constructive way to this worldwide crisis; maybe I have moved somebody.

Finally, after years of studying, I got the message: I need to work hard, do what I want to do, use all my education and experiences, trust on the fact a lot of information becomes a part of me and have some fun in creating. And most important: I don’t have to fit in a conventional classification. The results of your artistic inquiry convey a coherent sense of unity that rejects any conventional classification. We would suggest to our readers that they visit www.esther-de-vlam.nl in order to get a

117

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

I am not interested in showing images that already exist in our daily life. Because of my inner drive to “speak” about things that are being ignored in our daily life, it's by recreating that I invite the spectator in the same world, but presented in a (totally) different way. In opposition of what people might think; building/creating my work is a process of improvisation and change. In addition, “the end justifies the means”. I am totally out of medium, I always make combinations of materials and media, such as fabric/textile, video, photography, performance, clay, steel, sound, PVC and many other material/objects from daily life that I come across and/or consciously choose. Important part of the process for me is that I “knead” these objects in such a way that the original function/appearance/state is no longer at first sight, or function, recognisable to the viewer. When I shoot my video’s, I go out on the street, open my eyes and secretly film things happening around me. When I’m home, these shots will never be presented without any time-manipulation, colour-replacement, filters, self-made sound; whatever I need to “knead” the video shot to fit my purpose. At the end, all the different elements come together in one installation. At this point I need to fine-tune all the different parts as to become “one piece” and will tell one, multilayered story. For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Have to Have not, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. When walking our readers through the

SPECIAL ISSUE

118


Peripheral

Esther de Vlam

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Have to Have not

119

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Have to Have not

SPECIAL ISSUE

120


Peripheral

Esther de Vlam

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

genesis of Have to Have not would you shed light on your usual process and set up? In particular, how did you developed the initial idea? In 2016, I was invited to participate an Artist in residency in a former orphan house (from 1634) in Gouda, the Netherlands, to work with the theme “orphaned”. At first, I had the opportunity to select a space in the building to work and exhibit. The building has been used as a library for the last few years and, unfortunately, this took a lot of the original atmosphere out of the building. I found one out of several attics in the building; difficult to find, a lot of beams, one small window. This space represented the atmosphere of being an orphan to me. A lot of my work arises site-specific; the surrounding of my work literary becomes part of the installation, like Have to Have not. But the surroundings can also “just” be an opportunity to go bigger, deal with light or dark, embrace or to fight against; I will never ignore the surrounding space. At the end I have to be able to take my work home and reinstall it at a different location. This way the work will always be partly different shown in another places. Back to Have to Have not. Even before I choose the space, I knew I wanted to visualise the world of an orphan; I know how fragile, lonely and lost it feels if no adult is taking care of you. When I saw the attic, I immediately had the idea to materialise a dream/nightmare in this space. I wanted to give the audience a real experience of how it can be to be an orphan. Nice idea, but how to realise such an idea... You will find loads of videos at the internet

121

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

about (new) laser techniques to create 3-D projections. But that is way too “clean” for me; no space for emotion by the lack of imperfections. So... I went to the construction - and supermarket to make my own cloud. I bought rain pipes, a hair blower, sugar, powdered sugar, salt, chalk and wheat flour to test the best “screen” for a projection. I tested a lot with different constructions of the pipes, creating different size holes, adding a hair-dryer, a blower, taking one out, putting it back in, and combining different grocery products. After more than 2 weeks experimenting with this “technical” site of the installation, the outcome was to use a secondhand airexhaust system that blows pure wheat flour through the rain-pipes creating the best constant cloud within the space. Next to this research I went out a lot to film scenes around me. Most of the time I would just sit down somewhere with my small (I also have a large professional) camera hidden beside me. I wanted to capture daily life scenes, no acting, and, in this case, children. I knew I took a risk by filming children without asking (parents). The children would never be recognisable in the final work, so I took the risk. I also shot a lot of scenes for the McGuffin effect (a scene/shot as a motivator with little or no explanation) to create a reference that would contribute to the dreamlike sphere of the installation. At the back wall of the attic there was this small window which I wanted to use as the only escape for the projected children, so I edited the video with the beamer at the attic. (Unfortunately for the children, they would never get out.) Finally, when I

SPECIAL ISSUE

122


Peripheral

Esther de Vlam

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Have to Have not

123

SPECIAL ISSUE


Here we are


Peripheral

Esther de Vlam

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

brought the cloud and the projection together I needed to pump up the colour to let it survive on the cloud. As last piece, I created the sound that would fit to the atmosphere; open and distorted, slowly becoming more and more claustrophobic.

With needle and thread I made a soft sculpture; a piece of fashion too big for a real person. The sculpture seeks the suggestive limit of chaos and noise through fashion, character and object. Death and destruction features heavily in the battles and wars all around us in the world, so the object is exhibited in an empty room. This gives the viewer the space to visualise this “frozen flop” at any rotten location on earth. Here we are.

An interesting aspect of Here we are, like Have to Have not, is the way it accomplishes the task of providing an object that is stimulating the experiment to make volatile phenomena visible: would you say that the way you provide the transient with a sense of permanence allows you to create materiality out of the immateriality?

We like the way Have to Have not draws the viewers through an immersive, almost dreamlike experience: how do you see the relationship between public sphere and the role of art in public space? Moreover, do you think that your being a woman provides your artistic research with some special value?

I was invited to join the Art project Zwaan kleef Aan (Come on, tag along to the Swan; a Dutch way of speaking: reacting on someone before/in front of you). Fourteen artists; a musician, dancer, photographer, writer, painter and many others, had to react substantive and/or illustrative on an artist who had been working before you. Each of us were assigned a disciple; I got “fashion”. We all had to work for one month at the site.

I think being a woman gives a different value to my artistic research. This is a bit strange for me to say when I have been political and socially active, since I was 16 years old, especially fighting for women’s rights. These days I was convinced there was absolutely no difference between a man and a woman, even though the thought made me angry.

I had to react to two performances, one of Lorna Buckley and one of the de Droominee. These two performances were totally different; but for me there was a clear connection between them. The Droominee invited the audience to return from heaven to earth and Lorna Buckley plunged us into a world of chaos and turmoil.

Studying at the Art academy and the Piet Zwart Institute was a very difficult time for me. I think partly because I have a dancebackground. Dance, especially ballet, is a “world” of symmetry, control, balance, and rhythm; more polished than most visual arts these days. And because the Art education has a more “male” bias in my opinion.

I wanted to freeze the moment between heaven and earth; the landing on earth of an object. To create a “flop down” I bought two double duvets; it would give me a good start because of its volume for a “flop”.

I try to visualise emotions and experiences to understand what is happening. And I did not felt supported a lot in this (re)search

125

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

during my study time. So, for six years I tried to be more conceptual, rational, philosophical and inventive; a bit more “man”. It took me several years after graduation to feel confident enough to do what I want to do and to make what I want to make. Important to say is that I also learned a lot by being “forced” to create something outside of my so called “comfortzone”. But one advice I would like to give: don’t deny someone’s origin to make it fit to the blueprint. Louise Bourgeois, Bjork and Paul Mccarthy are the most inspiring artist for me; I take them as a lead. All three of them create public dream/nightmare-like sphere’s in their own way, which gives me confidence when making my own art. Louise Bourgeois’s installations are “also” worlds you can step into. She is “speaking” about the same theme’s and issues I “speak” about. She is not afraid to show symbols and references, which, in my experience, isn’t always appreciated in modern art. Bjork’s soundscapes are “emotional landscapes”. She does not feel obliged to work with chorus and verses, she isn’t afraid to go against the grain. Sometimes you need to listen more than ten times to get her music. Her world is spherical en poetic, beside the fact she wears fantastic costumes and works with amazing video artists like Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze. I love the fact you need to take a bit of time to “get” her work, to step in to her world, to surrender. And Paul Mccarthy is so brutal; in the size of his work, colour, sound, he is violent. He pukes sperm, saliva and blood

SPECIAL ISSUE

Creatures

over humanity; and the viewer takes it. I love the absurd, colourful and still playful world you are put into. After I had seen Paul Mccarthy work, I dared to make the video L'après-midi d'un faune (edited on the music from Le sacre du printemps; both pieces of Ballet Russes). I shot this video at a dentist practice, with a dentist, a vet, a faun and a lot

126


Peripheral

Esther de Vlam

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Creatures

Creatures

of blood. This work felt really good to me, and still, when I am showing this video I see people horrified but most of them keep on watching till the end.

minimum. The way you undergo everyday objects to a process of transformation, brings them to a new level of significance, as you did in Creatures, providing them with subtle still ubiquitous symbolic meanings. German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much

A central idea that connects all of your works is the exploration of how we begin to make something from the bare

127

SPECIAL ISSUE


Some place better


Peripheral

Esther de Vlam

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? Moreover, would you tell us something about the importance of symbols in your practice?

daily. So I asked them to collect the bottles for me (normally they collect the deposit to do something nice together), and I paid for it of course. They got really interested in the development of my work, I showed them photographs of the process. I think because I tried to make something “beautiful” out of their efforts, collecting this waste, we created in a way a Gesamtkunstwerk.

I think you can only ‘rely on symbolic strategies’ in a country or community that has one clear leader/religion/political system. Then everybody understands the message. But I don’t think we in “the West” would feel personally addressed, since this is a much more individualised part of the world. Therefore, I also think it’s better to use ‘psychological, narrative elements within the medium’ you are using as an artist, if your drive as an artist is to comment and/or reflect.

Is it a symbolic strategy or a narrative element...? I think my work process is a bit like Dada: I mix things, I search to visualise meaning, based on aesthetics, spontaneous collaborations, functionality, old/new/non symbolism. Like Bjork sings: ‘I throw them like dice. Repeatedly. I shake them like dice and throw them on the table. Repeatedly, repeatedly. Until the desired constellation appears.’

For Creatures I’ve been asked to create 2 statues out of plastic waste for the opening of a new building for the Water Authority. To open up a bit about my way of thinking at that moment; I thought of the plastic soup and the heartbreaking photographs of dead birds by Chris Jordan; two well-known representations of our plastic waste problem. I wanted to communicate with the public at the opening, let them feel the urgency of our plastic waste, at their party.

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

The plastic bottle is THE symbol of plastic waste. And the plastic bottle is a great plastic object to build with because of its volume. So, the plastic bottle became the principal part of Creatures. As a part time job I am the interior painter of the Stayokay Hostel in the Cubical Houses, Rotterdam. The housekeeping of this hostel collects garbage bags full of plastic bottles

I am not sure if ‘the power of visual arts in the contemporary age is enormous’. It is

129

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

hard as a creator to stay visible in a world with loads of images, film, music, video, internet, and games. And all these media are focused on developing a “surrounding” and lively presentation; 3-D, Dolby surround, smell, google glasses, Pokemon go, Wii... and the developments go on and on. Maybe, because of this, more artist “force” the viewer to participate; to surrender to art.

I think it the world would be a nicer place if all people were bit more in control of themselves - less of this primitive acting out of emotion - by understanding how your emotions are built up. The viewer is invited to go inside this human body, with on top a light/dark projection of 4 women; each showing one emotion. It is the trick inside you.

I created the Trick inside with the audience inside the work, at the back of my head. To elaborate; I had been searching quite some time to find textile that would capture the projection like a screen, but it also had to be thin enough to let the projection shine through at the pillow and duvet. This would make the viewer, watching the video from inside the work, part of the work for the outsider. When there is no viewer inside, the projection on de blanket would be the insider. The only hint I gave the visitor to let them know they were welcome to enter the work, was a small paper with the message: please put off your shoes. I don’t want to force anyone, it is an invitation. Some people do not feel comfortable to lie down in a public space. Other people stayed in for over 30 minutes. The video-loop itself is about 4 minutes.

Your approach is marked out with a stimulating multidisciplinary feature and reveals that you are a versatile artist capable of crossing from a medium to another: how do you select the medium to express the idea that you explore? In particular, do you think that the role of the artist has changed these days with the new global communications and the new sensibility created by new media? Like I have said earlier; aesthetics, functionality and “the end justifies the means” are the parameters for me to select a medium. Maybe I am a bit nostalgic, because I prefer the colour palette of Walt Disney’s Snow white to Frozen, and maybe this is because I am getting a bit older; but I am not that interested in most of the new sensible media.

the Trick inside speaks about human emotions. At the time I created this work, I had a difficult time personally. I learned to coop with my emotions by unravelling them in “the” 4 basic emotions, in Dutch they are called the 4 B’s; Bang (Scared), Boos (Angry), Blij (Happy), Bedroefd (Sad). According to this theory all emotions are a combination of these 4. For example, jealousy is a combination of being scared and angry. This helped me to control myself.

I spoke earlier in this interview about not choosing a “new” medium, it was a solid laser-projection to materialise a video for Have to Have not. Because I am not searching for perfection, I am searching for imperfection in all its beauty and pain. I do not see perfection in daily life around me, the only perfect “reality” I come across has been manipulated and refined to make money. Lately, I have seen one artist at who is really smart by using new mediums:

SPECIAL ISSUE

130


the Trick inside


the Trick inside


Peripheral

eries

Esther de Vlam

agazine

Contemporary Art

complex computer programming, while te work stays raw and unpolished; Truth/Love by Jordan Wolfson.

several instruments during my life, but it was never something I really enjoyed; it always felt like “working”, no flow. I am a visual-initiated person, like the (ballet)dancer who visualised the music.

With all the new, global, glancing communication and media around, I have to be aware not to let it mess with my head since I don’t have a lot of views on YouTube or “likes” on Facebook. I tell myself it is hard to communicate if the work needs a level of suspense to experience it. And I think that is true... But I use media like Facebook, my own blog and website, and YouTube to my advantage. These provide great opportunities to advertise my work and exhibitions for free. And I don’t give away the entire concept of my work, so it can still be exciting to see my work in ‘real’ life.

In and with my work I have searched for a way to vibrate the strings of the viewer, like sadness, anger or fear; releasing your own memories. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Esther. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? As said before, I have a show at Stayokay Rotterdam and the Jerusalemchapel, Gouda. In October I will join a group show in Amsterdam; Art for Animals Sake, which is a fundraising exhibition.

Over the years your works have been showcased in several occasions, and you are currently exhibiting at Stayokay Rotterdam and at the Jerusalemchapel, Gouda. One of the hallmarks of your work is its ability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language you use in a particular context?

http://art-for-animals-sake.com I applied at the Mondriaan foundation for a residency at Stichting IK (Institution ME) to research the attraction of what we loathe. Fingers crossed there… Besides that, there is always more than one “almost finished”

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

To me the audience is always pivotal because I want to communicate. I want to communicate without words, I want to touch a string like a musician. So why am I no musician? I don’t know, I have played

133

SPECIAL ISSUE


Valentin Gonzรกlez Lives and works in Madrid, Spain

Valentin Gonzรกlez


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Peripheral ARTeries meets

Valentin González Lives and works in Madrid, Spain Adressing the viewers to a multilayered visual experience, artist Valentín Gonzalez'work provides his spectatorship with an intense, immersive experience: his body of works that we'll be discussing in the following pages, are always meaningful and successfully attempt to trigger both perceptual and cultural parameters, to start a journey through the liminal area in which inner world and perceptual outside reality find a consistent point of convergence, establishing a dilaogue between reality and symbols. One of the most impressive aspects of Gonzalez' work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of is the way it invites the audience to dwelling upon the suggestive power of the pictures and to undergo a captivating visual experience: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to his multifaceted and stimulating artistic production

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

were part of the life that surrounded me, wich I did not consider anything special.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

At 17 I was offered the chance to learn the basics of photography, I accepted. I shared my college studies in computing with the technical and practical lessons in photography. I learned to retouch black and white negatives, to develop, to illuminate, to control different types of light, to make photographic chemicals, personalize them, retouch the developed photographs, compose, etc.; they were classical teachings that became fundamental for my creativeness later on. It was thanks to the collection of books and magazines that I read that I was able to relive the photographic evolution from its beginnings, and because of this I learned an awful lot about photography, and by studying the history of art I also learned a great deal. They were magnificent teachers. I also took my own photos, but what I did and what I saw in the new magazines I felt wasn’t enough, although I do admit that all of this helped me in my training. My relation with art, particularly with painting, had opened my

Hello Valentín and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: before starting to elaborate about your artistic production would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that did particularly influenced your evolution as a photographer and as a visual artist? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making and to the aesthetic problem in general? From a very early age, I have been attracted to art, film, music and literature, and I continue to be a fervent follower of these arts. I am the son and the grandchild of photographers, I was accustomed to seeing them while at work on their commercial and creative photography. The aesthetics, the beauty and the arts are not alien to me as I have grown up with them, they

SPECIAL ISSUE

136


Peripheral

Valentin GonzĂĄlez

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

mind towards other forms of language and I felt the necessity to express myself using the camera but in a completely different way. It so happened that one day during an exhibition I came across a photograph, it made me

understand that other things could be achieved in photography. It wasn’t specially modern or ground breaking, it was quite the opposite, and I’d say it was more on the classical side but, something about it moved me. From that day on


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

I started to investigate new aesthetics and themes based on the important technical knowledge that I had acquired and studied for many years.

was to follow: there was a lot of fantasy and

From the first pictures I produced, and from that moment on, it became clear to me which path I

22 years old. They were my works during my

SPECIAL ISSUE

metaphysical in them. I gave my first individual exhibition in 1977, I was time in training, and I continued exhibiting new

138


Peripheral

Valentin Gonzรกlez

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

collections up until 1990, this was the year my works went through a radical change.

get a synoptic view of your work: in the meanwhile, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up? In particular, would you tell our readers something about the evolution of your style? My real creative change came when I realized that I

You are a versatile artist and we would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.valentinfotografo.com in order to

139

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

didn’t want to reproduce the reality that

the vision I had of photography changed forever after.

surrounded me, but rather, I wanted to produce what I saw in my interior. It wasn’t easy, I went

It really bothered me to have to use models in my anterior works. I had to express myself through them; they were the filter of my

through many difficult moments to make this possible, but once I overcame those difficulties

SPECIAL ISSUE

140


Peripheral

Valentin González

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

emotions. They had to explain my universe through their own expressivity, but the truth is, I am the only actor in my interior world. I can’t use intermediaries to express my feelings as nobody can substitute oneself.

the models during rehearsals, unexpected images formed that were easily interpreted as faces or figures, they looked like their symbols, which made me investigate how to use them to my advantage.

When at last I came up with a way of not having to use the model I found unnecessary, I felt released.

In this way I came to use the symbol that is present in the world around me to recreate a different reality. You learn to find the hidden symbol in every object that surrounds you, and also, little by little, you learn to intuit it in what you don’t see but know how to get it with the shot of the camera. When we find a face in the clouds we see something that doesn’t exist, there is no face there, but by way of its contours and shapes, we are presented with the symbol of a face, we accept its interpretation. In the end, I could eliminate the object as such, the reality of where it began could be recognised, and in addition, I was able to recreate new forms. In 1991 I opened the door of photography to another form of reality and since then I have developed thirty collections, more than 400 works in all.

In addition, I had to eliminate the presence of real people in the final picture, because they possess such an overwhelming visual personality that their presence converts everything that surrounds them in just a mere ornament of their portrait. In the exhibitions, the spectators, after having viewed the works in general, instinctively moved closer to the picture to see if they could recognize the faces of the models, or even to look at the nudes, this I found took away the importance that the picture had as a whole. The real character that was in the picture robbed from me a large part of my world and my ideas. When I decided to supress the individual characteristic of the models a strange idea came to me, almost a technical aberration, but after the first rehearsals I found a way to open the door to the Simultaneous Reality. This decision was fundamental in my creative life and has left its mark on me up until now, 25 years after.

But, entering this unknown world commits one to search for other forms of expression, to find a valid code that can be transmitted. I soon discovered that this new means had its own codes and, thanks to the creative process, I ended up understanding them. Don’t forget that at that time everything was analog and the process was slow and direct. I did not start working on my collections digitally until 2010.

As part of the process I needed to capture the out of focused image, re-focusing it, thanks to the depth of field provided by the closing of the diaphragm. In this way I managed, with the proper calculation, for the people to be recognized as men or women, in their clothes and with their characteristics, but not as individuals, because they were not recognized through their features, so that they became a universal representation of any man or woman. They were nobody, it was useless to approach them closely; the important thing continued to be the work as a whole. But the technique brought an unexpected gift. In the background of the trees, on the walls or on the rocks behind

The first collections included unrecognisable humans as part of the new forms that appeared, but soon I decided to eliminate any presence that would remind me of a real human, I wanted to synthesize it from the capture itself. The images became even more unreal, the expression was purer and the path leading to the mind of the spectator was direct. Then I understood that what I was doing had its own world, that it had nothing to do with traditional photography and, of course, neither had it to do with painting. The logical evolution of my

141

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

floating over another matter. The color comes straight from the base of the material and crosses through the actors themselves. I think that the texture that form the pictures is an important characteristic of the collection. As to “The magician of dreams”, belonging to the “Somnios” collection of 2016, it is one of the 25 works that it’s composed of, and that was the work of a whole year. The main actor, the “magician”, is surrounded by the dreams that, magically, are transferred to us while we sleep. This collection, also based on my own script, originated from the idea that a human being of about 60 years old is unable to narrate the third part of his life, because, as if it were a sentence, he spent 20 years and a day sleeping, travelling through an unknown world. An argument that allows one to develop images as fantastic as one wishes.

technique and of my vision led me to these particular works of its world that are purely photographic and improper to any other means, and impossible to paint. Sometimes they seem to have a life of their own. For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Cómo es crear? and El mago de los sueños, a couple of interesting works that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of your artistic inquiry is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: would you walk our readers through the genesis of Cómo es crear? and El mago de los sueños? In particular, what were some of your aesthetic decisions? The work How is Create? Is from the collection “Yoes” –“I’s” in English –, this collection has taken me the longest to develop. It originated from a script that I wrote in 1982 and whose pictures are the answer to the questions that the main character makes to one of the “I’s”. According to my script, the “I’s” are beings that dwell inside us, they give life to our activity and thoughts. They have names of virtues, but are considered as defects if they don’t unite together. For example, Punctuality, Efficiency, Order… If we are orderly but not punctual or efficient, the work will not be well done; it will be deficient.

The Somnios are natural dwellers of this world, they come to tell us how their life is and to let us know how their world is shared with ours. An important aesthetic variation of the collection is that I decided to let some of the texture of the original image appear; something that has occurred very few times since my entry into the world of Photosymbolism. I took the shots during my four day stay in Riotinto, Spain, in a spectacular area of muds and sands colored by the oxides of the terrain. As you have remarked in the introductory lines of your artist's statement, for you, the apparent is only a mask of reality and although marked with a seductive beauty on the surface, your works seem to address the viewers to the inner sphere, to what is inside more than what is out. How do you consider this aspect of your works? And how do you see the relationship between reality and imagination within your artistic practice?

In the picture we’re talking about, the "I" is asked: What is it like to create? And his companions move to form the image that gives the answer. It is easy to find a hundred or more actors in the image recreating several scenes at the same time. The original shot was taken over an enormous block of oxidized Weathering steel, full of little bobbles and large dents. I needed two years (2014- 2015) to complete 17 pictures. I was especially careful to find the proper rhythm of the image through shadows and brightness, so that it could be interpreted as

SPECIAL ISSUE

Creatively, I am more interested in how reality stimulates me within than reality in itself. What we see is not as subtle as what we think. There

142


Peripheral

Valentin González

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

are not enough words to express what we feel. The matter is far too specific to stimulate or to extract from the innermost depths of our being. We can’t “say” a dawn, there is no way to transmit the pain for the loss of a son or daughter or to transmit the tact of a skin. It is

our interior capacity that allows us to understand these sensations, because the experiences become real within us and not out of us. There is a whole universe full of secrets waiting to be discovered, and many stories to be told.

143

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Having arrived at the photography without a recognizable reality in my work, allows me to express ideas and transmit them without the viewer being limited by the physical and the real part of the image. This confrontation with the works without intermediate reality, goes

SPECIAL ISSUE

directly to their interior memory and feelings; it is something that can be observed with their reactions to the images. I convert what I imagine, what I intuit or think, into a new reality that I express though my photographs. They represent to me things as real as if I was

144


Peripheral

Valentin GonzĂĄlez

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

taking photographs of a landscape. It is simply my own interior landscape; I see it within me. In a way, I would say they do exist.

its surface: we have really appreciated the vibrancy of thoughtful nuances of El EclipsueĂąo and at the same time we like the way other works as El Guardian del Nidonde of El Refugio de Las Almas de Pietra, that show that vivacious tones are not striclty

Your artistic practice seems to aim to look inside of what appear to be seen, rather than

145

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

indespensable to create tension and dynamics.

of tones you decide to use in a piece and in particular, how do you develope a texture?

How did you come about settling on your color palette? And how much does your own

I’ve noticed that my color palette has become stronger and saturated lately. I’m convinced

psychological make-up determine the nuances

SPECIAL ISSUE

146


Peripheral

Valentin GonzĂĄlez

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

that it is due to the influence of the light of the Mediterranean; where I have been residing for a few years, in comparison to the light from where I come from in Asturias, up north where it is colder and softer. When I start a collection,

the scenery in which it is captured contributes with its own characteristics that, during the first rehearsals, I’m given the foundation to decide whether I’m interested more so in lines or stains, more or less strength in color, lighter

147

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

or darker, etc. I need to make decisions about

“El Guardián de Nidonde” includes the reversal of the original colors as part of its process. Its original capture was a tree, but sometimes I work with “still life” so to speak, in which I can control these parameters directly, or I can

aspects of the picture that do not exist in realistic photography. More often than not, my colors are the negative of reality.

SPECIAL ISSUE

148


Peripheral

Valentin González

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

way. You can even do abstract photographs". Especially in relation to modern digital technologies, what is your point about the evolution of visual arts in the contemporary art?

change them during the process to obtain the desired hue. “El refugio de las almas de piedra”, in English “The refuge of the stone souls”, maintain the basic color of the rock and the blue of the ocean where it had been shot. Nevertheless, “El Eclipsueño” is pure imagination and the colors were decided directly when going through the rehearsals. The original rock was deep red, diverting to green to get the desired effect, this is said in a very schematic way so that it can be understood.

The convergence between painting and photography is more an aesthetic appearance since both reduce two dimensions to a reality of three, yet they are completely different means. But without a doubt both have helped each other, because the same way photography drove painting towards impressionism and later styles, paintings of the twentieth century has provided an aesthetic and visual education that is undeniable. Photography has had many doors closed since its birth by forcibly linking it to the reproduction of external reality; I have also suffered this discrimination. I believe that the escape of photography through the multiple doors that are still closed presents an enriching future, even more so than those of painting itself, which seems to be, at present, at a dead end. For me, I hope to have opened one of these doors with my works and its independence from the object.

The amount of texture and the way it appears is defined by the amount of blur from which the original image starts. This is the same in analog and in digital, but it is evident that today it is easier to reach the necessary level of the circles of confusion. You can also put the image out of focus after the shot, giving it a different effect. And even make a countertype with two different types of de-focussing, which produces a silhouette that alters the texture. I never make a texture and then add it to the work; the image alone always gives the foundation for the texture, and sometimes, as in the case of the “Dodecatónicos” collection, the original texture is a fundamental part of the works. Working on the textures leads me to finding a way to separate line and stain in the images, what was used as an aesthetic foundation in various collections, using lines in some and stains of color in others as the bodies of the actors, and also mixing both possibilities in some other work piece.

It was always possible to be an artist without being a painter. I understand the words of Thomas Ruff as a classic comparison between the possibilities of photography and painting; a comparison that goes way back to the birth of the camera. I don’t feel that photography is the younger sister of painting or that it needs to demonstrate that it can do the same. Neither can I imagine how one could paint something like my work “How is create?” with such an impossible texture. The means are different and the comparison absurd, as it would be to compare hand writing to typewriting. What is important is the way the means are used and the results obtained from them. The abstract in painting is not just a few smears on the canvas, it has its own language clearly defined since Malevich or Kandinsky,

Your photographs deviate from photorealism to enter photo symbolism with the metaphysical vision of a simultaneous reality and we like the way your work inquires into the realm of visual arts, unveiling unexpected points of convergence between photography and painting. Düsseldorf based 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

149

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

who avoided the representation of real objects in their works in search of an objective that was not purely aesthetic. If the photographic abstraction gains access to a world that is similar, I think it would be fantastic and I

SPECIAL ISSUE

confess that I have been tempted by this objective many times. My work “El Eclipsueño” is closer to abstraction, but if you observe it carefully, you’ll be able to see that it has many

150


Peripheral

Valentin Gonzรกlez

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

We live in a very interesting period, a period that is full of possibilities for visual art in spite of all its handicaps. Access to the mass production of images at a popular level can lead to confusion about what is the territory of

inhabitants who are identified by the symbol that discovers our subconscious when interpreting it. Something similar to what Kandinsky did with Saint George and the dragon that can be identified in some of his works.

151

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

the true Art and what is nothing more than the imitation of outdated patterns, or purely aesthetic, or just simply noise. It may seem now that there is more confusion that in former centuries, but the authentic Art has

SPECIAL ISSUE

always been the jewel taken from the mud, and only the future will give the true value of what it has today although it is not yet known. Your practice accomplishes the difficult task

152


Peripheral

Valentin Gonzรกlez

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

of establishing a dialogue between symbols and reality. German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological,

narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? And in particular how do you conceive the balance between the functional aspects of the symbols and the visual unity of your works?

153

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

In my case, the symbol is halfway between the reality and the final works, it is not an objective in itself. In the real world, I search for forms or structures that produce the symbol that I am looking for-basically a contour-, from which I obtain a new image that was included and

SPECIAL ISSUE

hidden in the reality that had been captured; that is where the name Simultaneous Reality comes from. It is complicated to make general statements about Art, they can be valid for some means, but wrong for another, because each speciality has

154


Peripheral

Valentin GonzĂĄlez

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

its particularities and phases. I find that the first part of Thomas Demand is valid for painting, but, in my case, not for photography. However, the second part referring to the narrative and psychological elements seems to me to be appropriate. This said, maybe I find it

appropriate because I haven’t found a way to reach an expressiveness that eliminates them, the same way I eliminated the objects. The evolution makes claims today what is denied tomorrow.

155

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

We appreciated the way your works create of a platform where suggestion encounters interpretation: the power of visual arts in the contemporary age is enormous: at the same time, the role of the viewer’s disposition and attitude is equally important. Both our minds

SPECIAL ISSUE

and our bodies need to actively participate in the experience of contemplating a piece of art: it demands your total attention and a particular kind of effort—it’s almost a commitment. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the

156


Peripheral

eries

Valentin González

agazine

Contemporary Art

relationship of your art with your audience. What do you think about the role of the viewer? Are you particularly interested if you try to achieve to trigger the viewers' perception as starting point to urge them to elaborate personal interpretations?

be looked at in the same way one reads a book, allowing the different hues to invade us, discovering the hidden actors, and our thoughts, joys and fears. The works are alive, but only if they have given them time to see how they breathe.

Each work of Art’s destination is the viewer, and it is the excuse to try to transmit to them an aesthetic experience of something sublime.

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

I think my work is like a mirror for the viewer to look into and interpret with his own code, what he sees before him, but what the viewer sees behind is his own subconscious image, this being the reason why I mention the mirror.

I find it difficult to predict my future collections, because even when looking back into the past, the leaps between collections have been, many times, so extreme that the first to be surprised has been myself. I think that the works have produced in me an evolution that takes me to the next step in a natural way and I cannot control it. It seems that they are the ones that are directing me. Currently, I feel like investigating on transparencies and translucent materials, I have some ideas to start rehearsing, but I never work on two collections at the same time, so they will have to wait until I finish the one I am working on now. In recent times I am debating between more or less figurative works. My experience tells me that I will risk forcing my limit and that I will try to find new mental territories. I hope it stays that way.

Without an audience my work makes no sense, because it ends up being created within the viewer and therefore, each viewer makes it his own and is different to the interpretation of whoever is standing beside him. I realize that my works are complicated to look at, to interpret and understand, I’m aware of the density of my creations. Many of them do not have a single point of view, but new characters appear if you look at them from different distances; there are even images designed to be seen upside down as well as the right way up. So that when I put the codes in my work, I accept that they won’t be understood the way I see them, because the circumstances of each individual make them interpret the picture in their own particular way, and this obliges them to fill in the gaps they find with their own experience. And this is something I find magical and I love it. But to feel this aesthetic experience you have to give it some time for it to happen, a slow observation is needed, you need to look well before you start to see. Nothing is going to happen in two seconds. The pictures must

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

157

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Peripheral ARTeries meets

Andrea Riba Lives and works in Berlin, Germany Rejecting any conventional classification regarding its style, Andrea Riba's work explores a wide variety of contemporary social phenomena that affect our media driven and unstable societies, to draw the viewers through an unconventional and multilayered experience. In that we'll be discussing in the following pages ,Riba triggers the viewers' perceptual and cultural parameters. One of the most impressive aspects of Riba's work is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of inquiry into the relation of humans and with the interference of information and media: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating and multifaceted artistic production.

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

perceive the meaning of society, our relationship to nature, and our relationship to ourselves through a new lens- one that takes into account the true nature of mankind as one that thrives from community, sustainability, and an inherent connection with nature and oneself. I began to realize the amount of noise within our Western societies today, such as the programs that are embedded into our conscious from a young age- a strict Western framework that distracts us from the true fulfillment of life.

peripheral.arteries@europe.com

Hello Andrea and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would start this interview with a couple of questions about your background. Are there any experiences that particularly influenced the way you currently conceive and produce your works? And in particular, how does the relationship between your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to art making in general?

These experiences are pivotal turning points that have inspired me to create art that illuminates the importance of suppressed cultures and traditions, the dismissal of identity as defined by material success, and finally- the removal of strict binaries that categorize individuals in relation to their race, culture, and heritage- placing them in polar opposite boxes, and by doing so, further exacerbating conflicts by creating an extensive separation in humanity today.

Thanks again for having me, Peripheral ARTeries. The primary experiences that have molded the focus of my works have been the same ones that have sculpted my own interests, values, and ideals as a person. Specifically, some of the most transformative experiences in my life have been in non-Western countries. Coming to contact with groups and peoples, such as indigenous cultures, has enabled me to

SPECIAL ISSUE

158


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

The later connects to my own cultural substratum- as I was born in Chile, my entire family is from Mexico, but I have lived in the U.S., the UK, Czech Republic, and Germany. Having lived in 6 different countries, I have had the opportunity to travel to various places in my life. This has had a substantial impact on my values and perception as a person, as it has enabled me to entertain the later themes through comparison and a first-hand contact with what is defined as the ‘other’ by the West. The results of your artistic inquiry convey together a coherent sense of unity, that rejects any conventional classification. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit https://ribcakeblog.wordpress.com in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production: while walking our readers through your process, we would like to ask you if you think that there is a central idea that connects all of your work as an artist. There definitely is an underlying relationship between all of the art pieces I have made so far. There is a central unity per say, in that I aim to focus on creating work that removes the idea of the ‘other’ by shedding light to the those groups and peoples in a way that does not change the position of who lies in the position of power, but rather creates an equal pedestal for all mankind. I am interested in entertaining the idea that there is, contrary to popular belief, a universal consciousness of sorts that strives to keep cultures, traditions, and customs pulsing- perceiving the later as a truth or purpose in life. This consciousness aims to place differences on an equal plane by understanding habits and customs through the

SPECIAL ISSUE

160


Peripheral

Andrea Riba

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Alien Gardens

161

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Alien Gardens

SPECIAL ISSUE

162


Peripheral

Andrea Riba

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

voices of those that lie on the outside, rather than inflicting an understanding of the outside through narrow binoculars- or our own context. Within this conscious, nature remains a fundamental key to well-being, sustainability, and life- rather than a profit machine. The notion of an equal platform outlined in the later has the potential to aid that which fuels hate, violence, and oppression in the world. For this special edition of Peripheral ARTeries we have selected Alien Gardens, that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once captured our attention of this interesting video about the myth of progress as well as the necessity of a transition towards a sustainable way of life is the way you provided the visual results of your analysis with autonomous aesthetics: when walking our readers through the genesis of Alien Gardens would you shed a light about your usual process and setup? Alien Gardens has been the longest claymation I have made so far, so the production was definitely extensive and extremely time consuming! I would first like to say that for the claymation pieces I have made, the idea comes before the production, not the other way around. It is pertinent to note that the project is fueled by the idea because otherwise, the visuals could easily be abstract and convoluted, as it is difficult enough to create a comprehensible narrative through this medium. I usually sculpt all of the objects and figures from all of the different scenes, as well as create each set from each part, before I begin shooting. By doing so, it is easier to execute smooth transitions from scene to scene. This project took me about two months

163

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

to prepare the set and figures, and a month every day for about four hours of shootingwith hundreds of pictures that were edited together to create the final piece. Visualizing how Facebook’s data collection, and the way its algorithms analyze our data, might be used for disciplinary purposes, Alien Gardens also highlights how the impetuous way modern technology has came out on the top has dramatically revolutionized our lifes as well as the idea of Art itself: we are urged to rethink about the notion of materiality of a piece of art, since just few years ago it could be considered a tactile materialization of an idea. We daresay that new media will soon fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology, to assimilate one to each other: what's your opinion about the relationship between Art production and Technology? There is no doubt that technology has widened an array of possibilities that play into artistic mediums and practices. However, in my opinion, technological advancements that have created new artistic programs- such as CGI and computer animation, have diluted the importance of raw craft as a popular art form. As a result, it seems as though, new technology has deflected the audiences attention away from raw labor. This is why, for me, stop-motion animation is so important, because they allow for the tactile materialization of ideas with the help of nothing but two hands, which I find extremely potent.

Data Card

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 works, but innovation means not only to create works that haven't been before, but especially to recontextualize

Data Delinquents urges the viewers to consider the relationship between our actual worlds and overwhelmingly parvasive digital realms. Multidisciplinary artist Angela Bulloch

SPECIAL ISSUE

164


Peripheral

Andrea Riba

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

what already exists: do you think that the role of the artist has changed these days with the new global communications and the new sensibility created by new media?

later seems to have created a blurred reality in which, stories are solely being told through a one-dimensional perspective- groups of people are being publicly condemned, we are bombarded with imposed symbols and perceptions of what defines us as human, and more. As artists, I feel that it is our responsibility to illuminate the untold stories,

Yes, I think the role of the artist has changed today as a result of the extensive noise created by new media, mass data, and technology. The

165

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Data Card

or give voice to the quiet voices and truths that are lost in the vortex of new media and mass data. It is our job to present the oppressed truths through visual means- and by doing so, I believe we can utilize the senses as a catalyst for the pertinent

SPECIAL ISSUE

mobilization needed to make transformative changes in the world today. Paradoxically, it seems that in our ever changing contemporary age everyone appears to be more isolated despite being

166


Peripheral

Andrea Riba

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Our perception of the self has definitely been under the spell of new media, and those individuals and ideologies which new media places on an ever-rising pedestal. Our relationship to ourselves has been increasingly influenced by a meticulously crafted idea of our identity defined by othersdefined by the material ideals outside of our own. From the time of our birth, our environment has influenced the sculpting of our perceptive framework. We have observed and absorbed a particular web of behaviors, values, and ideals that have derived from our circumstances, and continue to guide our modes of being. Here lies a hint of agency in which, once we are conscious of the latter, we have the ability to take the reigns and alter our circumstances in order to have an equal amount of influence over our web of being. Here, we are able to re-direct our attention towards internal reflection as a key component to fulfillment and happiness, and essentially what will drive our greatest passions. Data Delinquents also explores the notion and the consequence of surrogate reality that affects our media driven societies: how do you view the concepts of the real and the imagined playing out within your works? Data Delinquents entertains the real and the imaginary through a paradoxical fashion- by presenting an imaginary reality. By imaginary, I refer to a world in which our identity is blurred as a result of the constructs, categories, and binaries fueled by mass data. By reality, I refer to the idea that the later, despite its distance from any truth or authenticity, grounds its role in our reality today. The caricatures created in Data Delinquents mirror the generalized groups of

more connected. How do you consider the issue of the perception of the self in relation to the augmented experience provided by new media? Do you hope that your art can make people more aware of this situation and then collectively try to change it?

167

SPECIAL ISSUE


Data Card


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Data Delinquents

people that we are presented with through

paradox aims to illustrate the way in which

the media today- the conservatives, the

new media imposes a universal, one-

muslims, the liberals, the anarchists. This

dimensional understanding of our race,

SPECIAL ISSUE

170


Peripheral

Andrea Riba

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Data Delinquents

culture, and the inherent qualities that found

An interesting aspect of I Salute You is the

our personality, behavior, and our sense of

way it explores the liminal area where

self.

materiality and de-materialization find a

171

SPECIAL ISSUE


Data Delinquents


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

Data Delinquents

consistent point of convergence: would you

create materiality of the immaterial?

say that the way you provide the transient

Yes, I would say that the interconnection between the transient and the sense of

with sense of permanence allows you to

SPECIAL ISSUE

174


Peripheral

Andrea Riba

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

Data Delinquents

permanence in I Salute You allows the viewer

machine. The de-materialization of those

to contemplate the de-materialized masses,

bodies guides the viewer to think about the

or the bodies that have suffered the war

ways in which our society numbly perceives

175

SPECIAL ISSUE


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

the mass destruction of cultures and peoplesviewing the destruction itself as transient, but the effects as permanent. By performing a ritual, we aimed to commend those groups of people, rather than fighting fire with fire, or counter-reacting with violence. The layered realities presented in between, such as the claymation and the collage, create metaphors through the mediums themselves by presenting tactile symbols for the emotions and baggages that have been dematerialized through the media and mass perception. Likewise, the figures themselves channel the expressions and emotions that can be difficult to present through reality. One of the hallmarks of your work is the capability to create a direct involvement with the viewers, who are urged to evolve from a condition of mere spectatorship. So before leaving this conversation we would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context? For most of the work I have made so far, I have definitely tried to refrain from taking the audience as part of the decision making process just because, I feel as though this thought might create obstacles for the true potential of the work itself. If I were to be constantly concerned with what other people think, I would definitely overthink the piece itself, which could easily hinder the process or execution. As an artist, I am well aware of my position while making certain pieces that touch upon socio-economic or

SPECIAL ISSUE

176


Peripheral

Andrea Riba

eries

agazine

Contemporary Art

I Salute You

177

SPECIAL ISSUE


I Salute You


Peripheral

eries

agazine

Special Edition

Contemporary Art

I Salute You

SPECIAL ISSUE

180


Peripheral

eries Andrea Riba

agazine

Contemporary Art

political queries, so for this reason I make sure to comment on matters that involve my own position as a woman, and as a MexicanAmerican. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Andrea. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? Thank you! Right now, I am working on a new claymation that orbits the notion of colonization through an intergalactic context- the colonization of Mars. For this piece, I plan to push the limit even further by creating a small world that will represent Mars, rather than having the same stage that transforms into different sceneries- such as in Alien Gardens. By doing so, I think this will also push me to experiment more with scale and space as a crucial foundation to the piece. As for the theme itself, I plan on creating a narrative in which the extraterrestrials represent the ‘other’- and the colonizers represent the supremacist tendencies we can observe in various countries and contexts today.

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

181

SPECIAL ISSUE


Shai Jossef

Profile for Artpress

Peripheral ARTeries // Contemporary Art Review // Special Edition  

Contemporary art review, featuring Andrea Riba • Gerdi Möller-Jansen • Valentin Gonzalez • Esther De Vlam • Marcel Harrison • Michaela Macph...

Peripheral ARTeries // Contemporary Art Review // Special Edition  

Contemporary art review, featuring Andrea Riba • Gerdi Möller-Jansen • Valentin Gonzalez • Esther De Vlam • Marcel Harrison • Michaela Macph...

Profile for artpress
Advertisement