Peripheral Peripheral ARTeries A
June 2013 Jennifer Sims
“I mostly want viewers to question how they identify their own personal experiences of things they would never admit to others, or even their selves, with what they experience with the dancers in the space. I also hope viewers question how they feel about allowing movement to let them reveal their own story “
Hortense Le Calvez & Mathieu Goussin The Studio’s intent is to investigate phenomenon imposed by the underwater space through the medium of sculptures and installations. Our practice encompasses different medium such as photography, sculpture and installation.
“My work is strongly feminist, examining and highlighting undercurrents of misogyny in our culture. Humour, toys and iconography are used to examine, ridicule, and expose how concepts of ‘Other’ have been used to pigeonhole and isolate women over the centuries.“
Forlane 6 Studio
Inspired by the notorious urban planning of the city I live in, I reflect on and show personal experience of urban space and its possible functions I can actualize through my intervention works. I aim to demonstrate that art is an experience rather than just an object to look at.
Olivia Punnett The dialectic between place and change are central concerns within my practice. I make installations and interventions that reflect this. In these spaces I arrange found and made materials and objects, whilst utilizing the sites existing architecture.
Sarah Hill My video/performance practice is rooted in the idea of painting as an expanded field. I received my under-graduate degree in painting, and video seemed to be the next logical step. I painted mostly realistic portraits of the people in my community. Conceivably each frame could exist separately from the video, which directly links back to the ideas of painting
Agent X Agent X creates experimental, multimedia collages, paintings, and 2D artwork. His artwork is an amalgamation of diverse cultures, past, present and future. The phenomena of pop culture, technology, fashion, music, politics, and race are central to his practice of designing experimental works.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am interested in language and exponential associations, as well as slippages of meaning, so my paintings and drawings are often geometrically built form simple forms that house polarities: working through associations, puns, and design.â&#x20AC;?
Derek Scholteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work has an almost film like realism. His characters come to life due to the combination of absurdity, melancholy and rawness. The work accounts of a post industrial society where the immense differences between rich and poor creates a huge underclass.
Jean Alexander Frater
My main theme throughout the development of my work has always been the contradiction between a natural and free way of life and the one modern man has been forced to live in capitalist society. I believe Art is the way to put him or her in this process. So, in a way, the means is also the message itself message itself.
Bahar B. Faraz In my work mostly I try to challenge my personal questions like identity, gender, defined norms and etc. I try to look at these concepts from different perspectives. On one hand I focus on them from my own point of view and try to visualize my questions or even answer them by involving myself in my art as self- portrait.
Courtney A. Henderson The purpose of my art is to let others have the exhilarating feeling of having traveled somewhere far away, without ever setting foot on a plane. The landscape art of CourtAleise Photography will take you on a visually stimulating journey from New York, to South Florida, to Hawaii and beyond.
Feel free to submit your artworks to our art review: just write to firstname.lastname@example.org III
Jennifer Sims (USA) an artist’s statement
“ Honestly, I'm endlessly fascinated with how movement doesn't lie, how movement can say what words cannot, and letting people observe what we don't know we reveal about ourselves. “Like many, I'm not interested in how people move, I'm interested in exploring what moves them. I prefer to move dance away from being a culture of entitled charity accessed by ticket prices to a means of priceless quotidian communication for any passerby.” “I mostly want viewers to question how they identify their own personal experiences of things they would never admit to others, or even their selves, with what they experience with the dancers in the space.“ “I also hope viewers question how they feel about allowing movement to let them reveal their own story.”
Jennifer Sims Jennifer Sims is currently developing a feature dance film ‘Scriptures’ with Choreographer Fabien Prioville (Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal), Cinematographer Petr Hlinomaz (‘I Am Legend’), Production Designer Veronique Melery (‘Marie Antoinette’), Editor Peter Hjorth (‘Dancer In the Dark’), and Costume Designer Patricia Colin (‘The Devil Wears Prada’). She has also created the dance documentary feature film 'Exploring Hinterland' (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2386608/) with Ekilibre Dance Company. She has choreographed on dancers from Martha Graham Contemporary Dance Company, Dance Theater of Harlem, Parsons Dance Company, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Paris Opera Ballet and Munich Ballet.
In the Water
Her work and full biography are available at jennifersims.virb.com
photo taken by Jennifer Sims
an interview with
Jennifer Sims Hi Jennifer, a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Let's start with our usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And what are in your opinion the distinctive features that marks the contemporariness of a piece?
I feel art is just a reflection of life. Aside from obvious inclusion of technology, I've noticed contemporary art is more pedestrian and interactive. A lot of works are dependent on audience, viewer, passersby participation. I find a lot of contemporary art to be more accessible in a lot of ways for people in the idea that some people love when they're opinion is asked, to talk about themselves, or to be reflected/studied as beautiful and interesting. It's a sort of Facebook (reflection of one's life and thoughts) approach to humanities centuries old. I feel what it's asking of viewers in addition to how they feel about the work happening in front of them is similar to quotes from Artist Francesca Woodman: Will you 'risk being involved with me' in this moment?
Jacqueline Bulnes in 'Hotel'
Before getting in the matter of your artistic production we would like to ask you something about your background and what has lead you to become the multidisciplinary artist -and especially the dancer- you are today.
photo taken by Ema Rees Scanlon
Now let's focus on your works: I would like to start from your performance The Dress. Can you describe your relationship with dance? What attracts you to it? Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the underlying philosophy?
I moved 13 times as a kid with my parents inter communally and because my dad was in the US Air Force. My sister and I were brutally bullied a lot so my parents put us in dance and gymnastics probably as a way to make friends when I was 4 years old, though I don't really remember it. I've been dancing pretty much ever since then.
I don't know if I'll ever escape the fascination of how movement can say what words cannot and how movement doesn't lie. I know this fascination may make my work typically repetitive. As vain as this might be, I reveal things in my movement about myself and anyone feeling that way that I would never admit or say out loud to myself.
We also watched lots of television and films too because we couldn't make friends or were bullied when outside. I'm first and foremost a dancer that lets what needs to be embodied move me. I only create work because they are entities that reveal themselves to me and i'm just a vessel for them to be conveyed.
I'm ok with how ugly and vulnerable I may be in performing if it allows any person to reflect on their own lives, whether positive or negatively. I live by the Pina Bausch quote â&#x20AC;&#x153;I'm not so interested in how they move as in what moves them.â&#x20AC;? The piece The Dress culminates all these elements with also my own regrets and shortcomings. The idea for 'The Dress' randomly came in a studio while in Nimes,
Film became an aesthetic outlet through classes in college questioning: in the grand scheme of things aren't all of the disciplines symphonic?
From 'In the Water' photo taken by Jennifer Guy Metcalf
France for 9 months appreciating the opportunity to just explore movement. Pulling the dress train of men has satirically developed to reveal contradictions of myself like how I've taken advantage of people by enabling them to take advantage of me for my own eventual gain, asking viewers individually 'in what ways do you do this in your life?'.
pany classes and rehearsals with her company in Wuppertal, Germany when I was 19 in college. I'm also heavily influenced by choreographers Fabien Prioville, and Melodie Gonzales after collaborating with them, though I'm huge fans of their work any way. I wish my work wasn't so influenced by them and that it becomes more original, though nothing is new. They've also helped me practice constantly going deeper with movement asking myself 'What moves you?'.
Choreography, in a way, is such an act of courage and self-confidence. Where does that come from? By the way, have you been influenced in your way of working by your experience with other choreographers?
Some of the stills of your works that our readers can admire in these pages are part of your photo series 'In the Water': I would like to suggest to our readers to admire them at
A concept or feeling moves me, confidence aside. I wouldn't be creating without the influence of Pina Bausch. She graciously allowed me to attend com-
From To Bury The Snow photo by by Jacqueline Bulnes
also typically fascinated with capturing moments on camera that can't be recreated. This piece is only surface because I'm dying to work underwater. Another work of yours on which I would like to spend some words is your photo series '... To Bury The Snow'. Can you describe a little bit about your creative process for this series? By the way, why in most of your shots the face of the subject is hidden? Do you think that it could take your audience's attention off the artwork?
From the series In the Water, photo by Jennifer Sims
Yes, it could distract or disinterest the audience. The faces seem to be hidden because they want to hide and bury things about themselves in the snow. I was experiencing wanting to hide or bury my heart away out of fear of being hurt and I also wanted to work with snow for years. Two amazing dancers from the Graham Company (Jacqueline Bulnes and Lloyd Knight), outstanding dancer En Ning Chuang, and I decided to individually explore the question 'what do you want to bury in the snow?' with movement that built into phrases. Once we finally had a fresh blanket of snow in NYC January 2012, we shot it in excruciatingly painful cold. I'll always be grateful for how much more willing they were to experiment in extreme temperatures and locations for long periods of time than I am.
Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, on what technical aspects do you mainly focus in your work?
For instance, 'In the Water' came from the desire to explore movement in the water. I've been wanting to use water in any medium I could. While in North Carolina my friend Dancer/Choreographer Jennifer Guy and her dancers from Terra Nova Dance Theater were willing to experiment with me. I asked the dancers a series of questions such as 'what do you want most?', 'what do you not want?', I may have asked/would like to continue to ask 'what makes you feel like you're drowning/floating in water?', 'what's something you would never admit to yourself?' and they answer me with movement. Since I feel movement doesn't lie, I would repeat the question until I felt they were revealing more than they thought they were and just follow them with the camera. When Jennifer took the photos of me, I answered the same questions with movement. I'm
And we couldn't do without mentioning the short film Une Minute Embrasse: what was your initial inspiration for this video? By the way, why have you chosen a library as location?
I said to my friend Ema Rees-Scanlon, the Cinemato-
A still from Une Minute Embrasse, a photo taken by Ema Rees Scanlon What experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? What are the differences -if any- between exhibiting Europe and exhibi-ting in the United States?
grapher, that I was interested in shooting in a library for some reason I didn't know. She found this library for me. It's more beautiful than a camera can capture. So unique. My friend Fabien Prioville was in town choreo-graphing on the Juilliard School and I thought he and Jackie might work well together. They started to explore and Ema and I just followed them. The story, mystery,
I feel there's more time and opportunity to just explore in Europe where as in the States if you have studio space, time is money and you more so have to explore on your own if that's part of the aesthetic at all. A work has to sell, be a finished product and not an experiment in order for it to work in the States, I feel.
and suspense revealed itself to us. The work of Gregory Crewdson and ephemeral connections in my life are leading me to want to further explore the comfortable oddities and suspenseful narrative of 'do you feel close/connected to people in unspeakable ways even if you've never talked to them?'.
The concepts have to be already done and proven to have sold so they know that it will make money. Though, i would say even though the best stages I've performed on were at Biennale in Venice and Nimes, France, my work has been rejected equally
Your works, like the shorts Jacqueline Bulnes & Wall Space and the performative choreography Orchestra were shown all around the world.
work 'important'? I wouldn't have the privilege of speaking with you all in this article if I hadn't been exposed to the work of Pina Bausch and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. even if I wasn't an art maker, like many people, it has kept me from drowning in my own tears. My tears have been my food because of the struggle though, too. I've had countless rejection letters and few acceptance letters. Film has also been there for me in myriads of ways the way I want to for people.
Jackie, photo taken by Ema Rees Scanlon
all over the world. In Europe they're willing to give my work more of a chance before they reject it. Though, I guess will I be able to present work more once people become worn down from rejecting me?
For example, I also have this new obsession with going on the website Crowdrise and paying the last amount to complete a 'charity's' goal amount (with verification that the recipient's needs are met). It feeds my sick need for productivity by ending specific problems in the world, actually changing the world. (ex. $20 more needed to have clean water and medications in a specific village). Do-able. Done. The idea actually came from the film 'Before Sunset'. I admit in the end it's selfish pleasure. I'm not saying this because I want credit (a pat on the head/a cookie). I'm not telling you this to suggest you do the same, either. Just a confession of vanity.
the artists that we happen to interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
Standing on the edge before an abyss of what moves me and the luxury to be lost in it, encouraging others to reflect on their lives, the way art I view has been there for the ugliest parts of me and allowed me to satirically reflect and change. I'm aware that I'm not curing terminal diseases with my work, so am I really just finding ways to make my
A sequence of stills from â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Dress, photos taken by Jennifer Sims A dress train of 4 indifferent men are chauffeured by a preoccupied woman in heels while the men's synchronized idiosyncratic movements evolve into larger phrases. The non presentational performance conveys how indifferent people are to taking advantage and being taken advantage of by each other, the comfort of riding coattails and how we somehow still chauffeur people ahead of ourselves. -Invited to present in Liquid Cities & Temporary Identities | Finland June 10, 2013; 'Choreography on the Edge' NY August 2-3, 2013; 'Art in Odd Places Series' in Greensboro, NC November 1-2, 2013
Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, Jennifer. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I've been trying to present a non presentational movement Exhibit which includes 'The Dress' for over 2 years and it may finally happen with the dates I've been invited to present. I've also been trying to make a narrative dance film 'Scriptures'. I hope to explore capturing movement underwater, and performing a satirical solo reflecting the contradictions of the things I don't want to admit to myself entitled 'Admit'. Vainly, I wonder: will i be able to say the things I can't admit to myself out loud after I convey them on stage?
A photo taken by Jennifer Sims
Forlane 6 Studio
Hortense Le Calvez Forlane 6 Mathieu Goussin (France)
an artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s statement
In response to our time of alarming climate change, the work presents a deliberate immersion of the objects that compose our daily surroundings. The certainty that in a near future, global issues will bring disastrous consequences on the environment creates a disturbing atmosphere. However the mass production rate of artificial materials seems unstoppable. It overflows well beyond land frontiers and the seas surface, as it penetrates the depth of a distant and foreign space. The Studioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intent is to investigate phenomenon imposed by the underwater space through the medium of sculptures and installations. When submerged, the objects seem to metamorphose and become organic creatures. Their role in space is no longer fixed and static. Buoyancy and currents influence the formal characteristics of the objects because their behavior is dictated by an element other than the one they were conceived for. While engaging with a time and movement different than the one on land, they become part of this foreign world. This weightless and slow aesthetic contradicts the usual way objects are consumed and disposed of in an inconsiderate speed. The work is inspired by the conceptual time sculpture of Roman Signer as well as the poetic photography of Susanna Majuri. Our practice encompasses different medium such as photography, sculpture and installation. (Hortense Le Calvez and Mathieu Goussin)
Laundry drying in the currents of naoussa,
Forlane 6 Studio
Forlane 6 Studio is composed by a duo, Mathieu Goussin and Hortense Le Calvez. Born in 1985 Studied at the National School of Merchant Navy in Marseille, Mathieu Goussin worked ten years in the industry before dedicating his technical skills to the artfield.
Hortense Le Calvez was born in 1988 and lives in France, works in Crete Studied at the Rietveld Academy of Amsterdam BA from Wimbledon College of Art of London .
Forlane 6 Studio
an interview with
Hortense Le Calvez and Mathieu Goussin Hi Hortense and Mathieu, first of all welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start asking you what defines a work of Art and in particular what are in your opinion the distinctive features that marks the contemporariness of a piece.
If you look at a work and it makes you reconsider even slightly how you live and feel, then the work is a success. The contemporariness of a piece to me means that a work has be able to place itself in our current times while still offering timeless features. We would like to ask you something about your background. We have read that Mathieu has worked for ten years in the industry, while Hortense has a formal training in Art, since she studied fine art at the Rietveld Academy of Amsterdam and Wimbledon College of Art of London. How these different but stimulating experiences have impacted on your current art practice?
Mathieu, before getting into the art world was a merchant navy officer, he started working onboard large ships since the age of 17. He was working at sea, two month on and two month off. So he travelled extensively during these formative years.
Mathieu Goussin and Hortense Le Calvez
We both had this in common, that it was difficult for us to stay in the same place for too long. I travelled during my studies and even more after my graduation when I became a scuba diving instructor. So I guess this and having the sea in common led us to where we are. We both wanted to continue sailing together, while working. Before getting in the matter of your art production, would you like to tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, are there any features on which
Posidonia, Brown Bowl
Forlane 6 Studio
object that we know into something different, foreign. Now let's focus on your artworks, or I'd better say, your submerged art installations that our readers can admire in these pages. Can you tell us about your process and set up for conceiving and in particular for making your artworks?
Most of the time we work from what we found, and think how to manipulate that specific object. Sometime we have a precise idea in mind and we gather or buy what we need to realize it. Mathieu solves the technical issues for the works that require air pressured into them, or when we place light underwater. I do the repe-
you mainly focus in your artworks?
We live and work on our boat. It is currently based in Crete, where life is affordable. This winter we did not go sailing because the winds were too strong and the weather too cold. The boat stayed at the harbor and we rented a small studio where we could build our works, and then we went diving to place the sculptures in different underwater spot on the island. We submerge the works, document it, and then of course take it out of the water. The features we mainly focus on are how to transform an
Forlane 6 Studio
Blow Dry, Blue
titive tasks like nailing or gluing each piece of paper or plastic independently to an object. When we dive I am the one shooting the images and Mathieu is the one setting up or activating the work when it needs to be. Even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit funny, I have to admit that since I am a scuba diver I have found your pieces doubly stimulating: from a side, I like very much the semantic overlapping and the new meanings that unexpectedly emerge by your manipulation. But on the other side it goes without saying that I feel personally involved by the creative function of decontextualization of your pieces... and I can recognize a marked social criticism in it. By the way, what's your opinion about the role of Art in facing social questions? Do you think that Art could even steer people's behaviour?
Our intent is that the works appears as if a mutation or transformation happened, like if these objects were to become free from their purpose and associations by taking a shape that is directed by a foreign element the sea. Placing them underwater the decontextualisation
Posidonia, Green Chair
Forlane 6 Studio
is immediate, but we rather try to re-contextualise these objects in this new place, manipulating them to make sure their formal features will interact with the sea. Regarding the social criticism, we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want our work to be seen as a didactic argument about marine pollution or over consumption.
It is a tough subject that our generation has to face, and that we care deeply about. But our work is not political, we rather engage with this issue making images that will respond to our imaginary fears and stimulate our understanding of these alarming facts and relate to them. Art might steer peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s behavior, it can open peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mind to reconsider their position under a different perspective. However the role of art is not to persuade like politics, it might be to provoke or engage, but it should not attempt to manipulate the viewer into thinking the way the artist does. I would say that the new technologies as DSLR and especially post editing hasn't affected your practice, isn't it? I do guess that for you it's important that
Blow Dry, Pink
Forlane 6 Studio
your audience get the work as it is since your photos should be the most faithful possible to your installations...
The way we shoot our work is in between getting a good documentation and getting a good photography. We will choose the picture that will portray our idea of the work at best. We shoot in raw and we often correct the white balance and enhance the pictureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sharpness. They are amazing tools, my background is sculpture more then photography however we are soon going to sign with a new gallery that is showcasing contemporary photography. So the work is sculptural but the outcome is not. For us working with these two mediums is about finding a balance and giving the appropriate role to each of them. As you have remarked in your artist's statement the behavior of an object could be dictated by an element other than the one it was conceived for. Could you elaborate a bit this concept? On my side, I would go as far as to say that even if your locations there's a deep focus "on the human" and I can recognize an effective irony... and I'm thinking to Laundry Drying In The Currents of Naoussa...
On land everything is fixed and steady. However when you dive all the rules are new, and we want the objects to play with these new rules, its only when the sea has an influence on them that the work becomes something. It is about how to deconstruct and transform the object so that it get influence by its buoyancy, the currents and the light. So we try to rebuild the object to interact with its new environment.
that gathers the left over of many countries. Do you think that the dichotomy between Modernity and Tradition could be reflected also in Art? I would go as far as to state that even the more innovative pieces of Contemporary Art reflects in a certain way kind of "dialogue" with the Past... what's you point about this?
There is this tendency now to define people by what they eat, wear, and which chair they sit on. It can be really absurd as it can also be so true. Sometime people are better introduced by what surrounds them. Products are becoming global and more and more alike. There is no frontiers below the sea, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a world that belongs to no-one. A place you can access for a limited amount of time. However it is deeply influenced by human activity, the sea is like this huge mixers
The first time I saw the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch in Madrid I was chocked and amused, my friends and I were 15 at the time and we all were fascinated. This work, made 500 years ago, was going to leave long lasting impressions and memories to a bunch of teenagers of the 21st century. I think that nowadays the works of the Jake and Dinos Chapman could have left the same impressions to teenagers of the 16th cen18
Forlane 6 Studio
sense for us. By the way, the artist Peter Tabor once said that "collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists?
We are lucky to be very complementary, Mathieu like to understand how things work, to disassemble and re-assemble. He is practical and detail orientated. I am the opposite, I like to struggle with materials and I am very intuitive when it comes to imagining some of the stuff we could do. So we do different task on a same project. We respect each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expertise and point of view. For the type of work that we do, being two was necessary. Diving alone is not recommended, and carrying the works and photo-equipment underwater has to be a two peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job. Thank for your time and for sharing your thoughts. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do so! There is a little documentary about our work coming out in France this summer and we hope more exhibition opportunities will arise form this type of exposure. We are also investigating in the possibilities to show our work live underwater.
tury. The dialogue that comes along when art can fill time and cultural gap is definitely amazing. And last but not least, I personally find absolutely fashinating the fruitful collaboration that you have established during these years: could you tell us something about this effective synergy?
Its great, at first I was not sure it would work living working and entertaining each other 24/7 on a boat in a small village in Crete where we knew no one. But somehow we got into a good rhythm and the winter did not feel too long. I I guess it is effective because it feels natural and simple, we do not feel obligated to each other, we just started this adventure because it made
Allison Kotzig (USA)
an artist’s statement
“My work is strongly feminist, examining and highlighting undercurrents of misogyny in our culture. Humour, toys and iconography are used to examine, ridicule, and expose how concepts of ‘Other’ have been used to pigeonhole and isolate women over the centuries. I often use sex store vaginas as media, which in itself is a discussion of the reductionist tendencies of our culture. I also explore ideas of mythology, fertility and infinity.
Allison Kotzig Allison Kotzig is an artist exploring the concepts of fertility, responsibility, feminism, social justice, misogyny, and cultural myths. She uses hunour and intelligence to visually represent the issues within each artwork Her work has been shown at the prestigious art fairs such as Art Monaco, Art Wynwood, and Scope Miami as well as being shown in gallery exhibitions. She was invited to participate in the Giants in the City Monumental Inflatable Public Sculpture project. Awards include Art Slant showcase competition winner prizes and as a finalist in the 1,001 Artists Project by See.ME/Scope. She is an outsider artist, having never been formally educated in Art. She has lived in the United States, Ireland and Slovakia and currently splits her time between Miami and Slovakia.
Nest Box Installation for Irreversible Magazine Photo by Johnny Arraiz
an interview with
Allison Kotzig Hi Allison, a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And what could be the features that mark a work of Contemporary art?
Hi, Thank you. Defining Art seems almost to trivialize it with a desire to contain the meaning. Why must it be defined? That said, Art, to me, is something that expresses the energy, emotion and ideas of the artist, wordlessly expressing subtle gradations of meaning and metaphor, of which often even the artist is unaware. Contemporary art just means art made now. It is something I love as I look at art as an indication of where society is going. I feel that artists are sensitive to the undercurrents of coming change, almost like midwives, they give form to the unconceptualized emotions and energy in our world and through that act, help to usher in that very change. Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have impacted on the way you make Art nowadays? And moreover: what's your point about formal training? Do you think that a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creative process?
My background is not in art actually, I studied Neuropsychology and Medieval History. I think training is great in that it gives one knowledge and experience with different media, however, it seems to me that it could disrupt the artist’s natural mode of expression or thinking. Too much exposure to ‘proper’ methods could, I suppose, stifle a certain sort of creativity, but I think that if an artist has something to express, they will find a way to do so. Before getting in the matter of your artistic production, can you tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work?
I am not particularly technical, I use whatever seems right in order to realize my ideas. As far as process, I have to have all my materials spread out and around me so I can tinker around with them. This often gives rise to new ideas or sudden inspirations of how to physically realize the concept. 22
This can take weeks so I live in a humongous mess during the process of creation that is very upsetting. I often work on different series or multiple artworks at one time, so while things are drying or being glued or aging etc, I work on the other pieces. I really like the process itself, as far as the finite steps one must make. The waiting in between the steps gives me a satisfaction, I guess because it gives an order to the chaos. Now let's focus on your artistic production . I would start from Leuprolide that our readers can admire in following pages: could you take us through your creative process when developing this project?
My creative process usually involves sudden inspiration as to how I would like to express a long held, if not entirely con-scious, idea. When working, ideas germinate together which is why my work ends up being in series. As I explore a concept, emotion or idea through the making of one work, others suggest themselves in order to clarify different facets of the main idea. Leuprolide is an angry work, a discussion about the use of women as breeding machines and the profit-driven practices of implanting women with multiple embryos during In Vitro Fertilisation. The title is the name of a common fertility drug. It is a commentary on the medicalization of the natural.
Here Be Monsters, detail, from Diorama Series
Another piece of your on which I would like to spend some words is "Oh Wait, We have a Better Idea": besides a clear humour, in this piece I can recognize a subtle and stimulating reference about the synergy/dichotomy between violence and sex that you have effectively subverted...
Well, you see something there that I don’t! That is the magic of art! That piece is mainly a statement about my feelings toward the human species and the cultures we have created here on Earth. It also references the depression and angst one feels when confronted with the Human Condition. However, as I mentioned earlier, there are many meanings within an artwork that remain unknowable to the artist herself, that are only able to be understood and taken out by the viewer. This is why I think its important for artists to show their
When Vaginas ruled the Earth Diorama 18 x 14 x
work. There is no way for the artist to fully understand their own work without coming into contact with the viewers’ perceptions. Instead, one gets into a ‘Beatrice’ situation (after Dante’s obsession with the unknown Beatrice, whom he idealized ridiculously, never giving her a chance to be an actual person and not just an idea), where one forgets that there are other viewpoints and interpretations and this can create an isolating effect on the artist that can result in an unintentio-nal arrogance. The Florida Serial Killer series is the one where I think the synergy/dichotomy between violence and sex is discussed very openly.
Leuprolide Mixed media 11.5 x 12.5 inches
been formless. The art gives it form, it allows the idea/emotion to be projected and this allows it a way to be discussed. Within the feminist movement itself, we saw that happen, when suddenly, women had strong words to define their internal struggles. This created a revolution, but it of course starts with the individual.
13 inches (background painiting by Sillin)
As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your work is deeply permeated with a strong feminism, and you effectively examine and highlight undercurrents of misogyny in our culture, a theme that has come up again in these recent years, especially in the light of the well-known protest movements in all the four corners of the world... I'm sort of convinced that artist -besides criticize our society- can play a relevant role in steering people behaviour: what's your point about this?
An important and recurrent feature of your works is a deep emotional and also intellectual involvement, which is evident especially in When Vaginas Ruled the Earth and in Ouroboros, a piece that I like very much. This feature in my opinion forces the spectator to fill with his/her own personal experience... what do you try to communicate through your work and what role plays your audience in your process? By the way, when you conceive a video do you think to whom will enjoy it?
Thank you. With When Vaginas ruled the Earth I am trying to communicate a feeling of rage, amusement, cognitive dissonance and a sense of the ridiculousness of the situation in which wo-
I absolutely agree with you that art can steer behavior. Art brings not consciously held ideas into sharper focus, allowing people to think and discuss an idea or emotion that may have 25
men find themselves in society. I love old monster movies so the idea just arose naturally one day. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;There is no monsterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; (referring to the treatment of women as an alien other who must be tamed, feared, contained etc) is one of the main concepts behind the dioramas. I am not at all sure if this comes across clearly in a single diorama so I am planning 5 dioramas, of which 2 are finished. I really love making these, it is a challenge to construct them and the process itself is a lot of fun. They really make me laugh. I am currently working on a series of the ideas that came up when I made Ouroboros. With its fertility goddess and pelvic bone, it is a meditation on infinity, as expressed through the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. And I find it fascinating that within the pelvic bone one can see the infinity sign. I am really excited about these pieces and hopefully they will be shown either at the Affordable Art Fair in Mexico City in October or in Miami during Art Basel. It is difficult to get the pelvic bones that I need. I found the one in Ouroboros in the forest while walking and it is so perfect because of its age and the moss that has grown on it. I actually had not even thought about the concept of who would enjoy the video installations on which I am
Oh wait, we have a better idea
Mixed media 13.5 x 13.5 inches
currently working! Well, I think only of trying to find the best way to express my idea. The humour is an expression of my personality and worldview. Although, I am of course, pleased if someone laughs in understanding and perhaps surprise. How people react to the work is beyond the scope of the artist, as it should be. Even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I would dare to say that Nest Box Installation that you have created for Irreversible Magazine gives a reassuring message to the viewer: in the shape of an egg, I can recognize the chance for creating a better world... am I going absolutely wrong?
Yes, you are right! That piece is an expression of the beauty of Nature, in its darkness and in its light. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think that this better world will come about through Human behavior but instead through the natural process of evolution and species dying out while others take precedence. It is an expression of serenity in the biological process and ultimate end of the human species. And here's my cliche question, that I often ask to the artists that I happen to interview: what
Pitch to Win Mixed media 13.5 x 13.5 inches
The Giants in the City
Hedge, Art Monaco
aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
project, for which I created a large sculpture, will have a show in September and also December during Art Basel week, both in Miami. I am really excited about this project because to me it is very modern.
I am laughing just to think of it but I really love the sudden inspiration of the idea! It is usually something that is very funny (to me) and this gives me a lot of pleasure. Secondarily, I love the process of figuring out the physical manifestation of the piece. How it will work, construction methods etc.
The sculptures are monumental public art but because they are inflatable, they are moveable and inexpensive to make, unlike bronze or concrete. They are nomadic, suddenly popping up and disappearing as they travel around the world. I love the concept of that expression of freedom.
Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Allison. My last question deals with your future plans: what direction are you moving in creatively? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
It is my pleasure! I am working on some installations that will be shown in December in Miami during At Basel Miami Beach week. There will be one tentatively called ‘Girl’s School’ that I am absolutely looking forward to, it will be at Jakmel Gallery in Miami’s Wynwood Art District. It will be a full room size installation. Another is an immersive video installation ‘Surgical Strike’, I am working on it….no idea really how to do it as I have never done video work before. I like the challenge of working with new media. Either the Ourboros series or the dioramas will be shown in the Irreversible Magazine booth at Affordable Art Fair, Mexico City in October. The Giants in the City
Allison Kotzig working to The Giants in the City
Olivia Punnett (United Kingdom) an artist’s statement
“The dialectic between place and change are central concerns within my practice. I make installations and interventions that reflect this. In these spaces I arrange found and made materials and objects, whilst utilizing the sites existing architecture. Materials to date have included dust; old wood, formica, light boxes and other found materials, in aged and sun bleached colours. Light is also an important catalyst, recording dust motes in a stream of light, or the trajectory of light flowing through windows. Alongside and within the installations I use photography, projection and printmaking. “When building these installations it’s the locations sense of place, the evoked memories, real or fictional that continually inspire. “I am compelled by traces of memory that places can hold (for example the underside of a staircase no longer existing inside a cupboard); The relationship between object and function, continually changing and reforming, leaving traces that are no longer needed, small remnants of the past that create a strange poetry. I attempt to avoid the sweetness of nostalgia, through the materials and methods I use; But recognise evocative places are loaded with residues of longing, melancholy and romance and it is these yearnings my work tries in part to capture and communicate. “I graduated from Derby in 2011, having spent two years at Falmouth College of Arts before travelling and having children. Currently I have a studio in Sheffield as part of the Yorkshire Art space Starter Studio Program. Its emphasis is on Engaged Practice, which sees me happily connected to the community of Parson Cross. This place, its history, people, and present identity are currently the starting points for new work, whilst I continue to make installation, projections, and experiment with different locations and the narratives they inspire.
Dust and Light, Installation
an interview with
Olivia Punnett A warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries, Olivia. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of art? By the way, what could be in your opinion the main features that characterise a piece of Contemporary Art?
I think the definition ofcontemporary art is ever changing and by nature amorphous, I think the best work is only suggestive/ a flavour or a 'rasa' (a sanskrit term). Would you like to tell us something about your background? I have read that you studied at the University of Falmouth & Derby : how have formal training and your recent residencies impacted on the way you produce your Art nowadays? By the way, do your studies in Psychology play a role in your art practice?
I had a real loss of confidence in my practice, and an uncertainty about what I was doing, so I didn't finish my degree at Falmouth. I then lived in another country, became a mum and didn't think about my practice for a few years. Inevitably I returned to art and decided to complete my degree at Derby, which was a great decision, as there was more of a focus on multi media, video and installation, as opposed to the more traditional teaching at Falmouth, (painting sculpture, and print).
(a photo by Gavin Repton)
Before elaborating on your art production, would you tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, on what technical aspects do you mainly focus in your work?
My tutor Caroline Locke had great expertise in these areas and it gave me the confidence to work with projection, film and installation. The right conditions and maturity have allowed my practice to flourish. My recent residency at Yorkshire art space has really deepened my practice by giving me the opportunity to develop, working within a sitespecific context, creating artistic interventions within Parsons Cross which are site responsive. Psychology doesn't factor in my practice really, although it is a fascination, faith in myself does though, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s come more through extensive yoga training.
My first priority is Place, so thoroughly researching and being in that place is where I start. I then cross-reference archive and fictional film made on the sites I'm working in, and edit together to project back; I also research traditional materials that are historically manufactured or found in that area and then 30
tain material such as Lino or a patterned glass for instance. Now let's focus on your works. I would start from Sugar Shadow, a site-specific installation that our readers can admire in these pages: what was your inspiration for this pieces? By the way, could you take our readers through your creative process when starting a new project?
My creative process begins by arranging found and made materials and objects, Inspired specifically by that site; pooling archive images and films, and then really studying the light. It is an exceptionally important catalyst for me, so I record dust motes in a stream of light, or the trajectory of light flowing through windows; Because when you really know a place, you intimately read the light and its atmospheric changes without being conscious of it. I lived in the Caribbean, in Barbados, (its where my husband the painter Dermot Punnett grew up). Sugar Shadow is inspired by this and the shock of how current and alive post colonialism is. Coloniaisation happened in the past, but the trace its left is a constant. The windmills stand derelict around the island and are visual reminders of the sugar trade and slavery. The mills where used to crush the cane. These monuments are not celebrated or claimed as part of the Islands Identity. They are a shadow in themselves. The Sugar Industry is also dwindling, only one factory is now start to play with them. I make photomechanical prints of the above cross sections, archival findings, alongside and within installations. Looking at how the light travels in that place, and talking to people about their memories of that place. The printmaking is where a more traditional form of technicality is used. As well as all of this, I do sometimes make work that responds to my own internal and subconscious experience of place, and my formative experience of materials, from childhood mostly. This will normally come from a cer-
41 Greenhill, Installation
working and when I was last there, was due to close. Bugass is the waste product from the crushed cane, it lies in heaps in the yards of sugar factories and is sometimes used as fertiliser. It is a waste product of the sugar Industry and that is why I wanted to use it as the material for the 'shadow'. I also wanted to use it because it is a light/ cream colour and would give a positive rather than negative shadow. Another work on which I would like to spend some words is Dust and Lights, that I have personally found very stimulating: it reminds me the painstaking accuracy that I have discovered when I saw my first mandala sand exhibitions... also in your piece, the concept of time plays a crucial role, but unlike a mandala sand, it seems that the ephemeral lasts for an infinite time...
Dust and Light came from my own house. We had to remove a fire place and I knew a lot about the fire place. An elderly lady called Joy had told me she could remember it lit, boiling water in the room when her brother was born, and they all lived there. I was really torn about taking it out, but it was the only choice really. In the evening when I had finally made the decision something in the chimney broke and soot and dust poured down the chimney and out of the fire place. Dust Rug was a commemoration and an honouring of the fire place and those memories, using the very soot that came down it. I back projected the fireplace and film of the dust motes moving, and lay the rug in front of it in a purpose made installation. The idea of the past in the present, and in location especially, evoking authentic memory; This work, its attempting to bridge a gap, and cast off a linear view of time. Lucy Lippard has a quote in 'The Lure of the Local' (a key text for me) "“Around here", where we live, is a circular notion, embracing and radiating from the specific place where generalisations about land, landscape, and nature come home to roost. “out there” is a line of site, the view, a metaphor for linear time. The relationship of the centre to the peripheries is
crucial, a crossroads, but the centre doesn’t hold forever, and neither do the margins. Home changes. Illusions change. People change." My next work for Wirksworth Festival will be similar to this and draws on these ideas. it has also reminded me of Rangoli and Mandala sand, but in a way that is integral to Wirksworth inherent Identity. Very often your artworks have been created with found objects: not to mention that nowadays this is a very common practice. I often wondered about the personal contribution of the artist, in such case... it goes without saying that also white canvas, acryls tube and pencil, they are all material that already exists... roaming and scavenging through
Olivia Punnett piece, but a frame: it reflects the dialectic between place and change, and at the same time it suggests the inexorable nature of time...
Thank you, yes a light patch is timeless, bridging human experience. I heard a phrase or saying once 'the veil is very thin' I think this means between our ancestors and us, and somehow light patches speak of that to me, at the same time as being transient. Many of your artworks are interventions that deeply involve the viewer into the artwork itself... what do you try to communicate through your work and what role plays your audience in your process? When you conceive a piece do you think to whom will enjoy it?
This is something that my residency at Yorkshire Artspace in Sheffield has made me consider much more deeply. Its an inescapable part of engaged practice, but Its the bit which can never fully engage at the same time. I am still strug-
"found" material to might happen to discover unexpected sides of the world, maybe of our inner world... what's you point about this?
Completely, this goes back to our formative experience of materials. As Bachelard says "At the level of the poetic image, the duality of subject and object is iridescent, shimmering, unceasingly active in its inversions." Senses of place, memories, real or fictional drive me, and my formative experience of materials is what I use to communicate with and work from. And I cannot do without mentioning a work of yours that have particularly impressed me: Light Patch. I would suggest to our readers to dwell upon this piece, after reading your artist statement: I wouldn't call it a photographic
PX Scratch Card Thank you for sharing with us your thoughts, Olivia: my last question deals with your future plans... anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
gling with it. I suppose I would hope to connect a person to their place better somehow, reinstate something of the mythical and imagined. I hope people can enjoy it but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not what drives me, its something to do with honouring that place that I have to do.
I have 2 commissions in September. One is the site-specific Installation on Greenhill during the Wirksworth Festival I mentioned, called 'Light Lapse' which will track the light trajectory across the hill in chalk, highlighting by marking out its shadows & reflections, providing a view of Greenhill at its most dramatic.
the artists that I happen to interview, and I have to say that even though it might sound the simpler one, it gives me back the most complex answers: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
This will cover the whole road up the hill. Net curtains will be used to reflect the character of the area, every house having had them. At http://www.wirksworthfestival.co.uk/ The other is an exhibition called 'Mote' which is a group show of artists, whose practice invol-
I think its an ill-fated effort to stitch time, and try and make something more tangible out of a sense of place and atmosphere, to experience it more fully. Also so that I can look at it myself. Scopophilia, all artists are scopophiliac's I think. 34
Sugar Shadow, bugasse, 12 by 6 meters A Site Specific Installation in St George, Barbados using Bugasse, a waste product from sugar production
(photo by Edward Davis and Rob Wheeldon)
ves the use of, or reflections on ephemeral materials. My exhibit will respond to Harrington Mill where the exhibition takes place, (HMS studio Gallery in Long Eaton), drawing on the Lace manufacturing Industry from the Mill. This will run from the 8th to 29th September. I will also at some point be continuing work on Barbados for the 'Fresh Milk' residency platform there. Green Hill Installation
Teresa Leung (Hong Kong) an artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s statement
I explore art-as-reponses to urban situations and create shared-experiences by involving people (both artists and non-artists) as collaborators. Most of my recent works reflect my interest in space of urban non-places such as harbor front and highways, its possible functions, and people's interaction with it. Inspired by the notorious urban planning of the city I live in, I reflect on and show personal experience of urban space and its possible functions I can actualize through my intervention works. There is reportedly more than half of the world's population living in cities now. I assume most of my audiences and potential audiences have some experiences of living in cities. I would like city dwellers to read my works as my reflections on curious urban locations in open space - whether they know or agree with the notion of non-places - and in the hope they will be reminded of similar space they visited and be curious about them in their personal ways. In addition, involving people as equal collaborators in participatory projects is an important part of my practice.
I Had a Meal at Quarry Bay Harbor Front Video
Through these projects, i aim to demonstrate that art is an experience rather than just an object to look at.
Teresa Leung 36
The interaction between an individual and a place creates many possible 'negotiated functions' different from its original function. Instead of drawing people closer, most of the Victoria Harbor front in Hong Kong is distant, barring people from staying long. Despite its not too attractive look, the harbor front near Java Road under the Eastern Corridor (a flyover) offers relatively easy access without barriers such as railings. Setting up a table and having a meal there is a 'negotiated function' that I as an individual can actualize. 37
an interview with
Teresa Leung Hello Teresa, a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Let's start this interview with our usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And what are in your opinion the distinctive features that mark the contemporariness of a piece? Teresa Leung: To me a work of art is something
that encourages/motivates an audience to look at something usual, typical, something that you have heard/seen many times in a different, novel, and/or unconventional way. You see, terms like contemporary art has lost its meaning (or did it have any meaning in the first place?). I think every period (regardless of how you define a period â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 3 years, 5 years, a decade or 2 decades) has its own contemporary art that challenges, re-examines beliefs, thoughts (including views on art history and the views on the making of art history), and ways of doing things peculiar to that period. I would like to ask you something about your background: you hold a MA in Fine Arts that you received a couple of years ago from The Chinese University of Hong Kong. How much formal training has impacted on the way you produce your art nowadays? Please tell us something about your evolution as an artist and what has lead you to become the artist you are today.
TL: I always wonder if artists do need formal training in a practical sense. But formal training from an MA program allows me to look at my practice critically, relate it to a larger context, and to open myself up to be informed by various theories. I have always been interested in non-object art and wonder what art could be. We have relational art, community art that shift our focus from objects and the white cube, but there are also problems arising from thatâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;such as how this type of art can be critiqued.
Teresa Leung 38
There were many such questions that occupied me when I was doing my MA. While I value the diversity of art, I increasingly—during those 2 years— believed that audiences should be able to relate to art beyond looking at objects in a white cube. Thus I want to create not just art that people can look, but also art that they can participate, experience, and get acknowledged. Before getting in the matter of your artworks I would like that you tell us something about your creative process and especially about your set up for making your works. In particular, on what technical aspects do you mainly focus in your work?
TL: I let experiences inspire me. To be specific, I was raised and am still living in a highly urbanized environment filled with interesting yet strange things. I have questions about those things I see and experience. Those questions I will turn into ideas that I explore for making works. To me the most important technical aspect includes how to eliminate distractions in a work and how I can present a work in a better way. Now let's focus on the works that our reader can view in these pages: I would start from your work The most sensual getaway that you have recently re-edited. In particular, you have quoted the lating concept of non-place. And even though I'm aware that this would sound a bit naive, I'm wondering if urban intervention are capable of giving the missing significance to a non-place...
TL: Interventions won’t make non-places significant, but can be ways to question the power relations behind non-places. The proliferation of non-places, most of the time, is without you knowing. We dwellers call a city home but have no say and sometimes aren’t even informed of the next harbor reclamation project or a new railway that will oust residents of an entire area. Intrigued by the lack of open space and open space that were not originally designed for use by indi39
viduals in Hong Kong, I am particularly curious about spaces of non-places.
A sequence of stills from The Most Sensual Getaway Video, documentation of urban intervention
Alone or with others, I love to venture into non-places, privatize them temporarily and do things that people usually do at home, aiming to negotiate the space and functions of nonplaces. The most sensual getaway is an example of the above—I document a friend of mine who was interested in my idea and willing to do what she did at home on a highway.
As an urban dweller, I am intrigued by the lack of open space and open space that were not originally designed for use by individuals. I am particularly curious about spaces of nonplaces—non-relational, non-historical, non-identity related, and built for transit purpose in French anthropologist Marc Alone or with others, I love to venture into non-places, privatize them temporarily and do things that people usually do at home, aiming to negotiate the space and functions of non-places and share with others my experiences of them. The person in the video isn’t an actress, but someone willing to try something she finds intriguing and something she never did before. Through this act of urban intervention, I have brought “Art-as-an-Experience” to someone.
Another works on which I would like to spend some words are I Had a Meal at Quarry Bay Harbor Front, that our readers have viewed in the starting pages of this article and Recipes Without Steps. What were your initial inspirations? By the way, could you take our readers through your creative process when starting a new project?
The work is an Editor's Pick on videoart.net, an international video art and experimental films network.
TL: I had a meal at Quarry Bay Harbor Front started with my exploration of the flyover Eastern Corridor in the video. I was looking out of the window from an apartment and saw people fishing on the supporting structures of the flyover (that supporting structure is called a bridge pier—though it isn’t a pier). I got curious because there’re no paths built to link those bridge piers standing partly under water, and part of the waterfront is blocked by buildings. While I believed the only way to get there is by boat, I also insisted on finding a way to reach some of the piers without a boat ride.
Another stills from The Most Sensual Getaway
So one day I went to the North Point and Quarry Bay areas (these areas are part of where the entire flyover stand), walking along the harbor front. I was so excited when finding out I could walk to one of the bridge piers through a small entrance next to a railing. And you know the rest—the meal I had there as a way to negotiate the functions of that space.
the many ways of making such a simple cake. It’s somehow like the creative process. From there, I started to think about how people can take part in an art process when they cook. And we couldn't do without mentioning your stimulating project Barter: Pictures of blue sky wanted: I suggest to our readers to join your project at http://teresart.net/eng/news.php?t=barterblue-sky-photos to get a more precise idea. I have to admit that I have been fascinated by the simple but effective concept of trading Art without the use of money as a medium of transaction... and I would go as far as to wonder if Art could be the medium of transaction for Art... and I mean not just an artwork as an object, but as an experience to be shared... maybe that the act of sharing itself could be considered the transaction just in a communication process...
TL: Thanks for suggesting the barter project to your readers. I agree—you can exchange anything (not necessarily an art work for an art work) with another person for an artwork as long as both parties agree. And during the barter process, the act of sharing is important—for instance, I came to know some places that I never heard before and what people think about photos. These are all great experiences that I am not able to get from trading with money, and I consider these as ‘bonus’ in making art.
A creation by Edna Liu
Recipes Without Steps: I always want to cook more, making yummy dishes and sharing them with people. To date, I am still learning. While I was trying to make a simple no-bake lemon cheesecake, I found loads of different recipes for this dessert. I was amazed by . 41
My work 'I had a meal at Quarry Bay Harbor Front' has been selected as a finalist in the 2012 Schneider, 40 works were selected as finalist entries from a total of 3,176 pieces submitted by artists from 104 countries. While I was selected as a finalist, I didn’t win any of the 7 final prizes. But I was still excited, given the fact that my work was picked out of a relatively large number of international entries. I am not sure how being included as a finalist or getting an award might influence the process of an artist, but to me it’s an encouragement. Without awards, I will still be doing art and try to innovate the way I work because this is what I love to do. But becoming a finalist or getting an award lets me know that my effort is recognized. Recognition helps motivate most people including artists.
Exhibition view of She blocks the highway
One of the most intriguing features of your works is the deep involvement of the viewer into the artworks themselves just think to She blocks the highway... what do you try to communicate through your work and what role plays your audience in your process? When you conceive a piece do you think to whom will enjoy it?
I totally agree with you when you state that art is an experience rather than just an object to look at. And I'm sort of convinced that can play a powerful role even in facing social questions... what's your point about? Do you think that Art could steer or even change people's behavior?
TL: After the project of The most sensual getaway, I was thinking what if there was really a woman who did the same, but blocked the highway and stalled the traffic.
TL: I won’t go that far to say art can change people’s behavior, but art could lead us to rethink the ways we look at things and our understanding of them.
So I turned it into a news story and asked people to provide pictures and captions—the missing part of the news. Getting people to create part of a work and acknowledging their contributions are in line with my belief that art is an experience. We would like to mention the Graduate Prize Award that you have been recently selected as finalist at the 2012 edition of Contemporary Talents competition. It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, but do you think that an award could even influence the process of an artist?
TL: I need to clarify that it’s not a graduate prize award. The name of the competition is ContempoSchneider in France.
From Project Barter: Pictures of blue sky wanted
Another still from I had a meal at Quarry Bay harbor front
Whether art is an experience or an object, it could change the way we think and understand the world around us.
Berlin) because it’s a place undergoing changes and at the same time in a struggle between deve- loping itself at a slower, less disruptive pace and speeding up development at the expense of culture, history, and many people.
The reason I stress that art is an experience (or art should also be an experience) is that being able to participate in something and have your effort recognized generate deeper meanings.
This struggle is so familiar to me because of where I come from. And I’d like to understand more about how people in a different city deal with it and let this experience inspire me.
Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, Teresa. What's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
TL: At the moment, I am looking for an artist-inresidence program overseas.
In addition, I’d like to collaborate with artists and/or other professionals from different parts of the world. Some project ideas I have include those related to gentrification and ghost stories.
I’d love to go to Berlin (but I am open to options-places that are more or less as stimulating as
Sarah Hill (USA) an artist’s statements
The construction of Flesh Prison http://sarahhill.org/Flesh-Prison-1 began with the process of reverse story boarding the film Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky. I became increasingly interested in how this film was portrayed as queer or lesbian by the media. Lesbianism and queerness is equated with insanity and hallucination. The film also marks the impossibility of queer desire. Interestingly Black Swan seems to be a story about Dissociative Identity Disorder and not lesbianism. Deconstructing the film through the process of reverse story boarding allowed me to reclaim some of these shots and ideas as queer. Aronofsky’s film moves between several genres. Claustrophobically close camera work echoes the visual language of horror. Close ups in monster movies and erotic thrillers communicate tension. I utilized these camera angles to also communicate tension. Flesh Prison also walks a fine line between queer camp and bombast. If Aronofsky’s film is the contemporary understanding of queer camp, it falls flat. There is not a queer bone in its body. By inserting my own content I attempt to reclaim the images and sounds of Black Swan as queer. The Yellow Wallpaper 2012 / 2013 View it at http://sarahhill.org/
"It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy, and it worked." ~ Charlotte Perkins Gilman
I am working with the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper” written by the American author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Hayley Morgenstern will have a role in the video. “The Yellow Wall Paper” has many performative moments; for example the “yellow” smell, its “breakneck” pattern, the various missing patches, and the way it leaves yellow smears on the skin and clothing of those who touch it. I would attempt to translate this text to video. I have been thinking of how to create an image of the haunted queer, defined by Heather Love’s text Feeling Backward. Love looks at early-twentieth-century queer novels that are often dismissed as depressing and asks how we might value and reclaim the dark feelings that they represent. A still from
Sarah Hill 44
Flesh Prison http://sarahhill.org/Flesh-Prison-1
an interview with
Sarah Hill Hello Sarah, welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Let's start this interview with our usual introductory question: what in your opinion define a work of Art? And how have you first become interested in video making as a visual medium?
back to the ideas of painting. I started making videos about three years ago and quickly learned that I enjoyed the process of nonlinear narrative construction. Each image I make has at least three meanings that can be decoded by the viewer.
Hello and thanks for interviewing me. My video/performance practice is rooted in the idea of painting as an expanded field. I received my undergraduate degree in painting, and video seemed to be the next logical step. I painted mostly realistic portraits of the people in my community. Conceivably each frame could exist separately from the video, which directly links
â&#x20AC;&#x153;No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.â&#x20AC;? ~ Artaud Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a Master of Fine Arts that you have recently received from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston:
A sequence of stills from The Yellow Color
how have your experiences impacted on your art practice? By the way, what's your point about formal training in Art? Do you think that a formal training -or better, a certain kind of formal training- could even stifle an artist's creativity?
challenging the need, role and relationship of an audience in regards to the live performative act. As a class we examined the following topics: crowd psychology, Guy Debord’s psychogeography, Grotowski’s Para theatrical, and Artaud Antonin’s Theater of Cruelty.
As an artist and researcher I am invested in the practice of pedagogy, however I do not think that you need a fancy degree to make art. I am of the mind that you cannot teach art however you can teach an artist to think and develop a personal creative pedagogy. I was born in Des Moines, Iowa; for me attending graduate school was a way to “gracefully” leave the Midwest. A fair amount of the footage from Flesh Prison and, The Yellow Wallpaper was shot in Iowa. The opening seen in Flesh Prison was shot at a lake in Iowa.
Before elaborating on your art production, would you like to tell us something about your creative process and especially about your set up for making your works? By the way, do you visualize your works before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin?
I usually start by researching the topic that I am interested such as: hysteria, the rest cure and early-twentieth-century queer novels. This process involves reading texts, watching films (reverse storyboarding) and other visual research. Once I have done a fair amount of research I being the process of storyboarding. My storyboards are usually text based and not image based. Along with reading theoretical texts, I find that reading fiction informs how I construct images. I shot over six hours of video for Flesh Prison as well as The Yellow Wallpaper; however each video is about fifteen minutes in length. The process of storyboarding, shooting and editing
I did not want to go to graduate school for painting and I was fortunate enough to attend a graduate program that allowed me to work interdisciplinary. SMFA allowed me to study critical theory, performance art, and video. Teaching is an extremely important part of my artistic practice. I have taught performance classes as well as first year core. I taught a course titled Working with the Audience that took its cues from my own research: questioning, interrogating, and 47
takes about a year for each video. I do not have a studio; my studio is where ever my camera is. This does mean that my equipment set up is time intensive; however I usually shoot in multiple locations. I do not shoot all of the footage at once, I usually shoot and then edit and then shoot again. Now let's focus on your art production: I would like to start with The Yellow Wallpaper, inspired by story "The Yellow Wallpaper” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, that I have found very stimulating, especially as concerns the evocative function of colors. Could you take us through your creative process when developing this project? Yes of Course. Flesh Prison was semi-autobiographical and nonlinear. The Yellow Wallpaper is nonlinear however it is concretely tied to a text. I was thinking of how to create an image of the haunted queer, defined by Heather Love’s text Feeling Backward. Perkins Gilman’s short story, The Yellow Wallpaper, begins to deconstruct the effects of attitudes towards women's physical and mental health in the 19th century.
A still from Flesh Prison
this great immovable bed - it is nailed down, I believe - and follow that pattern about by the hour" (9 Gilman). She has been positioned as a character, whose credibility has been seriously compromised, because of her downward spiral into madness; However, The Yellow Wallpaper can be seen as having a Degree of triumph, and points to the possibility of queer existence.
The story depicts the effects of solitary confinement inflicted by her husband and doctors; she eventually descends into a state of psychosis. The lack of stimulation caused by the fact that she was forbidden from working, leads her to become obsessed by the pattern and color of the wallpaper in her bedroom, "I lie here on
The term “queer” and some of its cognates resonate very strongly in The Yellow Wallpaper. That fact alone justifies for a queer - of Gilman’s text as queer. The Yellow Wallpaperhas a queer slant, the meaning/metaphor is never resolved and can never be fixed, shifting identities. Gilman's protagonist comes to suspect that another woman was once confined here against her will. Believing that she must try to free the woman in the wallpaper, the narrator begins to
A still from The Yellow Wallpaper
A still from The Yellow Wallpaper
Zackary Drucker, Michelle Handelman, Adrian Piper, and Laurel Nakadate. I recently watched Daisies which is a 1966 Czechoslovak comedydrama film written and directed by Vera Chytilova. I would recommend the following books: An Archive of Feelings by Ann Cvetkovich, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure by Dorothy Allison, as well as Hysteria: the History of a Disease by Ilza Veith. Another work of your on which I would like to spend some words is Flesh Prison. As we can read in your statement, this work began with the process of reverse story boarding the well-known Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan... By the way, how have new technologies as DSLR and digital editing impacted on your process?
strip the remaining paper off the wall. “Projected imprisoned figure” – “I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled” She exclaims, "I've got out at last," and her husband faints as she continues to circle the room, stepping over his inert body each time she passes. The moment of push/pull between the narrator and the women behind the paper could be seen as the impossibility/future possibilities of a queer desire.
Flesh Prison was composed to reflect the techniques of a fugue. In Music, a fugue uses two or more voices to build a theme that is introduced at the beginning of the piece.
As I have just remarked, one of the features that has mostly impressed me is the deep saturation and the brightness of colors: were there specific filmmakers or films that helped to inspire The Yellow Wallpaper's tonal and visual palette?
Yes! I am under no delusion that I use saturation of color as a mechanism of seduction for the viewer. I look at the work of the following artists:
A still from
A still from Flesh Prison
role plays your audience in your process? When you conceive a video do you think to whom will enjoy it?
The repetition of this introduction recurs frequently during the course of the composition. A fugue like Flesh Prison has three distinct yet similar sections.
I am interested in examining why the collective understanding of what defines a contemporary audience or a performer continues to shift and blur. This entails a consideration of the multiple attempts throughout history to abolish the separation of performer and audience.
Funny that you ask this question, I shoot with an HD camera however I also shoot with an old iphone. I was able to buy a really inexpensive underwater camera case to use with my iphone. All of the underwater footage in Flesh Prison is shot with an iphone. I shot my Surgery videos using photo booth. I am working a new video based on the play Jet of Blood by Artaud, and I will be shooting with a VHS camera.
To confront the residue of trauma, you must be willing to face insanity. Memories come in waves, never chronologically. Flesh Prison reflects the experience of lived trauma. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome. Dorothy Allison says it better than I can, “Behind the story I tell is the one I don’t. Behind the story you hear is the one I wish I could make you hear.”
An important and recurrent feature of your works is a deep emotional and intellectual involvement, that in my opinion forces the spectator to fill with his/her own personal experience... what do you try to communicate through your work and what
A sequence stills from The Yellow Wallpaper
Your works have been often awarded. It goes without saying that awards are capable of supporting an artist, but do you think that an award could even influence the process of an artist? And what are in your opinion some of the challenges for a sustainable relationship between the business and arts?
There's a cliche question, which we often ask to the artists that I happen to interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
I actually like the editing process the most. I could edit all day and never be sick of editing. I enjoy the possibilities of working with time, cutting time in half. You can change the entire direction of a video with just one cut.
Sure, I have been supported financially more internationally than in the US. Sadly the US art world seems to function as more of a business because the government does not fund art. However I have found that Performance festivals will give you a stipend to travel and produce work. I just recently performed a work called Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m Fine at SUPERNOVA, A Rosslyn Arts Project, produced by The Pink Line Project in Rosslyn, Virginia. They were kind enough to provide a stipend. Anthony Greaney, in Boston, represents me. I am showing with Greaney in September of this year.
Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Sarah. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? And what types of projects would you like to be working on five or ten years from now?
Thanks for your questions! In the near future I will be showing a video called Surgery at Edge Zones, Miami Performance International Festival in Florida (June 3-30). I will also be performing at the The Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival with Hayley Morgenstern June 19th and at Garbage World in Philadelphia. You can also look for an interview about my performance work on thepresenttense.org. Your readers can visit my website for more info at sarahhill.org
A still from The Yellow Wallpaper
Agent X (USA / Canada)
Influenced by artists such as Takashi Murakami, Romare Bearden, JeanMichel Basquiat ,Robert Rauschenberg,Bansky and Jacques Villegle, Agent X creates experimental, multimedia collages, paintings, and 2D artwork. His artwork is an amalgamation of diverse cultures, past, present and future. The phenomena of pop culture, technology, fashion, music, politics, and race are central to his practice of designing experimental works.
an interview with
Agent X First of all a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Let's start this interview with our usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art?
Thank you so much and love the magazine. What defines a work of art to me is creating some form of expression in a tangible form. Can you see it, hear it, taste it. Is it something new that uses your 5 human senses. That to me is what defines a work of art. Opinion,skill and taste will always vary. Hopefully at least the skill level is high and there is some though involved. Would you like to tell us something about your background? I have read that you have formal training: you have studied art in art in New Haven, Atlanta and Vancouver, the city where you currently live. How have these experiences impacted on the way you produce your Art? By the way, I'm wondering if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist creativity... what's you point?
Sure, my background is that I grew up first in Louisville,Kentucky and back and forth in places in Canada, living like the black Elroy Jetson .Then in my teens living in the New Haven area, near Yale University. I was always exposed to seeing the finest artworks and free lectures on art theory and film, which when I was in high school was my thing. In college I started doing big collages pieces just as art in my room.
side is like my futurism style with a Asian and Euro technological aura. I felt stifled a bit when I when to college cause I felt I had to slow down and not study art but I developed my own style, so win win.I feel a little stifled in Vancouver because leisure is a religion here. Before getting in the matter of you art production, can you tell us something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work?
Then I went to the Art Institute of Vancouver and things started to get more focused after that. Living in all these places has given me a sense of exploration and tradition with my artwork. The New Haven side is like my wild and rebellious outlook,New York influences. Atlanta and Kentucky is my traditional side, like my Andy Warhol style type pieces, and my Vancouver
Well my process starts usually with either a idea of a topic or style that I would want to try. I get tons of magazines and just go on a artistic roller54
mething about your initial inspiration for these interesting pieces?
coaster. I never make the same thing twice. I try to make sure I have lots of paint (acrylic,oil,watercolor) and glue. If I need extra things like wool,sim cards,wire,etc to put in the piece I will do that as well to enrich the uniqueness of the artwork. Also music is always playing to put me in the mood and style of the artwork. I have to feel mentally and psychically attached to the work.
With "Osmosis Entitlement" I was thinking about the day to day privileges that most people take for granted. The lust for luxury, and how most people would like to pass that down from family to family as a entitlement. There is Pepto Bismol dripping in the piece which is my disgust at such luxury and the green and earth tone colors is the osmosis that grows like a weed. In the piece "The Winds of Hae-Joo Chang" the inspiration is futurism. It is based of the dreams of a character in the movie Cloud Atlas. The mix of technology and
Now lets' focus on the works that our readers can admire in these pages. I would start from Osmosis Entitlement and The Winds of Hae-Joo Chang: would you like to tell to our readers so-
outer space, plus being in a subconscious state.The wind is the style of the pattern of collage and paint style that has been put in the piece. Most of my artwork always has a large or small hint of futurism in it. Another pieces on which I would like to spend some words are Golden-Girlz and $ALE, that our readers have already admired int he starting page of this article... I may go wrong but I notice that there's a kind of "channel of communication" between these apparently different artworks: after all, both of them recall a certain idea of fashion that goes beyond the usual "time classification" and shows that even the old-fashioned idea of marketing is strictly connected to the recend aggressive trends...
The Winds of Hae-Joo Chang
In many of your pieces as in the stimulating Your A Customer I can recognize a subtle but effective social criticism. I'm sort of convinced that especially nowadays artists have the chance to play a crucial role in steering people behavior, and not only in order to convince customers to choose a brand of coffee... By the way, what in your opinion is the role of artists in our society?
You are right my friend. In these pieces they both are dealing with the themes of communication and marketing but also sexism and economics. In the "Golden Girlz" piece it deals with communication, the voice of people, women and individualism. It is a very Pop Art piece which it seems people like. I try to mix my artwork up, mostly into my Pop Art and very abstract pieces .In the piece "$ALE" it is about fashion,marketing and consumer Darwinism . Da rat race for the goods. Also the fake reward of vanity.
I think that the role of a artist these days is just to be 100% and try to be unique. I know that sounds easy but I see a lot of artists, actors, musi56
Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re A Customer
challenges for a sustainable relationship between Art and Business.
Well I think, thank God mostly everything is going online with the relationship between art and business. That's why you see little to no art critics these days, it's all in the consumers hands, or should I say click. Just like the music business, artists these days have more control with their artwork and the way that it is sold. Look at Damien
cians,etc get caught up in the tabloid TMZ, Ok Magazine,Daily Mirror type of fame that is glorified in society. That's why I love street artists like Banksy and graffiti artists. Not only are they expressing themselves artistically but most are underground and just want the artwork to speak for itself. I think the role as a artist is to push yourself and push your audience. Now, since we have talked a lot about our consumeristic society, I cannot do without asking you what could be in your opinion some
Hirst leaving Gagosian, David Choe still doing awesome street art. These artists have the money and fame but to me see that the old model of selling art is dead. Look at the deal Jay Z did with Samsung. You have to look forward. The relationship in the future and now is better for the artist. And I was foretting to mentioning a piece of yours that I like very much: the collage entitled KINGZ. Even though I'm aware that this observation might sound a bit naif, this pieces reveals the evolution of the concept of "being a king": aside to emblems of power as ancient emperor, there are the stars of sports and music, which represent a quite different kind of power, a "soft power", indeed...
KINGZ than politicians and royalty.These days most people in politics get nothing done for the common people and just the elite, which they are surrounded. The piece is very complex as there are 7-8 pictures in one picture. the artists that we interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
Thank you so much for liking the piece. Kingz is also is a statement on influence and African and Afro-American history. I think that sports and music stars in society have more influence
The aspect that I love the most is starting with a 58
Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Agent X. My last question deals with your future plansâ&#x20AC;Ś Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
Thank you so much !! I have a lot coming up this year as I am featured in a gallery launching July 1st called Docent at http://www.docent.co/ and I will be doing more group shows in New York at The SoHo Gallery for Digital Art and I'm also trying to lock down 2 or 3 galleries in London and also I'm having a Solo show in 2014 at my new gallery "Can-Pop" in Girona, Spain. Maybe some more stuff in the USA as well, I'm a busy guy :) Much Love !
blank canvas and ending up with the unknown. I NEVER make the same thing twice so it's always a adventure seeing what comes out. The colors,topic,style,etc. I love that I listen to tons of music from all eras to put myself in the context of my pieces. I feel that not only am I giving the viewer something visual but also something timeless in a cultural nexus. So I always try to make the artwork very forward thinking.
Jean Alexander Frater
Frater (USA) an artist’s statement
“Over the past 7 years, I have been concentrating almost exclusively on painting and drawing as my philosophical interests in language and perception have become intertwined with the language of painting. I also think that painting and drawing are inherently connected with the performance of making, and so each mark is handmade and although repetitive - the paintings are proof that I am not a machine.” “Located between drawing and painting, writing and performance, description and pattern; my work toggles between forms, materials, and language. Each work begins by setting up the conceptual framework, but then it is up to my hand to carry it out, and each line or mark or word leaves traces of emotion, failures, fatigues, excitements, etc. I am interested in the boundaries of our body and perception. Instead of indulging in the failure of communication, or what is lost in translation, I try to think about the mechanics of perception and shift the “how something is seen” into a new mode of looking –I like to play with the language of looking, as well as language itself. “ “There is a constant back and forth happening between pinning something down to something specific and then opening it back up to be a more general kind of thing related more to an impression or an emotion. I am interested in language and exponential associations, as well as slippages of meaning, so my paintings and drawings are often geometrically built from simple forms that house polarities: working through associations, puns, and design.” bio
Jean Alexander Frater
Jean Alexander Frater was born in Tucson, AZ, and she lives and works in Chicago, IL. She received a MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago, and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Dayton. In her works, she likes to play with the plurality of simple forms, and as something becomes too representational, pull away a bit until it is abstracted, and can be opened up again. Repeating A Pattern, 45” x 50”, 2012, acrylic paint on canvas
Jean Alexander Frater
Jean Alexander Frater
an interview with
Jean Alexander Frater Hi Jean, a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. We would like to begin this interview with our usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art?
Both the maker and the viewer are involved in defining art. Before getting in the matter of your Art production, would you like to tell us something of your background, and how your experiences has impacted the way you make art? By the way, what's your point about formal training in Art? Do you think that a certain kind of training could even stifle "free inspiration"?
My first real critical and structured art training was at the School of Art Institute in Chicago, where I earned my MFA. Before that, my undergraduate degree was in Philosophy, from the University of Dayton.
Jean Alexander Frater
Now let's focus on your artworks: in particular, I would start from Repeating a Pattern that our readers have admired int he starting pages of this article and You and Me Spiral. Can you tell us about your process and set up for conceiving and in particular for making your artworks?
This question about ‘structure vs freedom’ is a very interesting one. Thinking about structure and tradition is a nice place to begin, and then we can let go, take risks, and find freedom in there somewhere. The obsessive need for structure comes from fear: immediate issues about safety, notions of civility, and armoring ourselves with tools to ‘play the game.’ On the other hand, in an internet driven, postmodern, global world, the complete lack of structure is paralyzing; when anything is a possible, we can become immobilized.
Repeating A Pattern is about viewing both primary and secondary referential forms. By primary, I mean you look at something and it references that thing. Secondary forms have to do with something which is learned, like language. I play with the mechanics of perception and ask the viewer to toggle between lear62
Jean Alexander Frater
The Painting of Squares, acrylic paint and pencil on canvas, 60” x 60”, 2012
ned associations and visceral or immediate ones. You and Me Spiral is about how everything gets muddled up together. I used text to build the two intersecting spirals. I was interested in
the spiral shape found in nature and the constructed land art piece: Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. I was reflecting on identity - what springs forth naturally and what we construct 63
Jean Alexander Frater
and how complicated it is. One side describes how the work looks as I am making it and based on my expectations; the other side talks about the performance of making and how I conceptualize that. While making it, I became less certain about the distinction between these two descriptions. The thoughts themselves dissect each other. I cropped the canvas so that fragments and forms are left. Another piece on which I would like to spend some words are Cathedral and Laying Under The Eiffel Tower. Would you like to tell us something about the gene-sis of these works? Does your process let you to visualize your Art before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin?
These two came out of a series of “vault” paintings. While researching architectural drawings, I became interested in the groin vault, essentially an X. X produces a plurality of associations to paradigms which include architecture, language and mathematics. I continue to play with that form in various
You and Me Spiral, acrylic paint and pencil on canvas
drawings and paintings. Laying Under the Eiffel Tower looks like a flat geometric painting of patterns, until you realize it is a painting of the Eiffel Tower, taken from a certain vantage point. The title positions the viewer in a different way, and opens up the painting spatially. A flat painting is given depth with the simple addition of a title. So, using these architectural spaces as language becomes a new form of trompe l’oeil. Cathedral, is more about drawing or painting lines and increasing the size of the segments as you look around the center. Giving a direction where the gaze can move: in and around. I’m thinking about the way the viewer might look at the work. My idea of what the thing will look like never completely corresponds with the finished product. That is the best part of the process for me: the transformation of an idea.
Laying Under the Eiffel Tower, Looking up 30” x 30”, 2013, acrylic paint on canvas
Jean Alexander Frater
And we couldn't so without spending some words about Oh... this could go on forever! that I have found very stimulating: what was your initial idea for this piece? What would you to communicate with it?
The idea came to me very simply to build a wall with a paper between two fans – I was thinking about communication, how our words can slip from meaning once written or uttered, and how quickly we misrepresent our ideas and ourselves. The video camera offered a poetic way to document this performance, allowing me to frame it the way I wanted and to show it over and over again. A crucial feature of many of your artwork is the process of fulfillment, which is intrinsically connected with the chance to create a kind of interaction with audience: this is one of the most stimulating aspect of your art-
36” x 48”, 2012,
What unfolds during the making tells me whether to keep going, pause, or abandon! As you have remarked in your artist's statement, painting and drawing are inherently connected with the performance of making. One of the pieces that reflects this concept and that have impressed me is the stimulating The Painting of Squares that our readers can view in the previous pages, which is made as a kind of record or performance, where the text serves both as hand made mark, and description of the making process...
This is another painting which uses text to simultaneously describe and make the image. It is really all about process. The words describe something never experienced by the viewer. And when finished, there is no more room for description. The finished work shows the viewer the experience of making the art.
Cathedral, acrylic paint and archival ink on canvas 36” x 36”, 2013
Jean Alexander Frater
A still from the video Oh... this could go on forever! 2006
work: art isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t limited to passive reflection, isn't it?
One quality I really admire in people is empathy. I try to carry this plurality of thought in the work: I want to be empathetic and I know that, in order to be so, I have to actively shift away from a singular perspective, while at the same time maintain a strong foundation. So my process is about making that creator/viewer shift transparent. Sometimes it seems that environment hides information which -even though are not "encrypted" need to be deciphered. Do you think that one of the role of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of environment or Nature, in the wide sense of word ?
Yes. I think the role of an artist is to look at something with curiosity and experimentation. To both decipher and question is involved in that.
Hole, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 18 x 24 inches
Jean Alexander Frater
Look Away (Vault IV) acrylic paint on canvas, 36” x 36”, 2013
What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? And what gives you the biggest satisfaction?
When a piece successfully holds true to the initial intention, while at the same time allows for accidents to happen within that framework.
There is still space, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 18 x 24 inches
Thanks a lot for sharing with us your thoughts, Jean: nothing has left to say than asking you about your future plans. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I will be part of a painting show in Chicago this fall. I have also collaborated with a fashion designer in Belfast, who will be using one of my designs in her fabric, for part of her new line this summer. An artzine in Chicago will be including a series of drawings from an animated series I made about movement. Finally, I continue to collaborate with a team social service professionals, to better visualize the graphical interface, which tells them how their services are being email@example.com vered.
Fold (Vault III), acrylic paint and pencil on canvas 36” x 36”, 2013,
Derek Scholte (The Netherlands) an artist’s statement
Derek Scholte’s work has an almost film like realism. His characters come to life due to the combination of absurdity, melancholy and rawness. With the underdog as a pathetic hero. The work accounts of a post industrial society where the immense differences between rich and poor creates a huge underclass. These poor people survive by creating their own tools and vehicles with scrap and junk materials. In effect, this is recursive, as Derek is doing the same in real world creating his characters and objects. In a way his work has the Droste effect. The work is made with old materials. Materials with patina, a previous life. The imperfections add to their beauty. Inspiration comes from Steampunk, Tim Burton’s and Jean Pierre Jeunet’s films, 1984, Rat Rods, Mad Max, sculptors like Stephane Halleux and the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi. Derek Scholte (Assen 1973) grew up in the result usually was that he was best suited as either a vicar or an artist. He eventually chose for the theatre. After the Academy for Expression and Communication Derek worked as an actor, teacher and theatre technician for some years. He has been working as a graphic designer since 1999. His own work consisted of paintings at first, then of Urban Paper Art, to finally find his niche in the work he makes nowadays.
an interview with
Derek Scholte Hi Derek, a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. To start this interview, I would pose you our usual ice breaker question: what in your opinin defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be the features that mark a work of Contemporary art? I think what defines art is love. I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but please bear with me. Things or objects are just that: a static object created from materials, until it gets a special value. Usually there are two ways an object can obtain an added value. The first one is time. An object gets a soul or character due to time, its wears and tears or when a loved one owned it. The lifetime creates a patina. The second way an object can get an added value is at the birth of an object. An object made with love and attention gets a soul or character instantly. A robot made in a factory in China is inanimate, a robot lovingly created by an artist or craftsman can be art. I have to say I disagree with the common conception that art is defined by its story or meaning. I think that's a modern day pretentious attitude. A fence created by a blacksmith can be art too. Contemporary art is just art created now, in the current lifetime. All art has been contemporary in their day and age. I don't follow the artworld that much. I do follow a few assemblage artist and a few street artists, but that's it. As a rule of thumb, I like art that is created by craftsmen or women. Not a big fan of hanging a dustbin on the wall and telling everyone a tale of how the work is an indictment against the wasteful attitude of humanity. The first few artists that created art like this (for instance the Readymades by Marcel Duchamp) were great, but if artists do it nowadays, well let's just say: it's not for me.
Derek Scholte Would you like to tell us something about your background? I have read that you had many different experiences during these last twenty years: from theatre to graphic design... how has this kaleidoscopic approach to Art has lead you to become the artist you are today? I was a dreamer as a kid. I loved going places by car, staring outside, watching the changing scenery, daydreaming of becoming a soccer player or a Hollywood actor. I've been succesful in all trades, in my dreams. My real ambition was to become a homo universalis, a universal man (like Leonardo da Vinci). My father was pretty much a homo universalis. Exceptionally bright, outspoken, said the truth indiscriminately, math teacher, but he also built a
There are new ways to serve an indictment of wrongdoing, for instance the works of Alexandre Orion who created graffiti works with just removing dirt (created by car emissions) from a tunnelwall. I think streetartist are in many ways the forerunners of new styles and new art.
the beginning. But as time passed, my fascination for the digital world declined. I still work as a graphic designer, but I really hate computers now. One of the things I realized more and more is the fact that all the things I create are fugacious. A created website will last a few years tops and then it dissappears forever. Another thing that started to bug me more and more is the fact that you can't touch digital work. There is no texture, no smell, it's just not natural. The older I get the more I long for a more basic living with honest materials, without (for me) useless distractions like social media. I did paint for about 10 years, I liked it, but I am not any good at it. And it's still 2d. Then I discovered paper and worked with paper for a few years (Urban Paper Art), I created a 3d model in paper which everyone could build. Really liked it, but it still involved a computer. One of my passions has always been to visit thriftshops, going to fleamarkets and rummige in other peoples junk. Somehow one day I just started to create something with it. I think it was triggered by the works by Stephane Halleux. I saw an object he created and all pieces of the puzzle fitted together. To put it in big words: it was as if it was meant to be. So do all these past experiences reflect in my work? Yes, I think so. For instance: one of the things that separate me from other assemblage artist are my characters. The characters create a cinematic, theatrical feel to my objects.
house for us, knew all about nature and did amateur theatre. My father sadly died when I was 15, after having cancer for 6 years. From an early age on we were allowed to use tools. So my brother and I were building things from an early age. At eighteen I decided to go to the Academy of Expression and Theatre. After graduation I did a few projects as an actor, created a few movies, but I found myself more attracted to building decors, doings props and lighting. So I switched to the technical side of the theatre. The last 15 years I've been working as a graphic designer. The first few years I was in awe with the endless possibilities the computer gave me. So much freedom! The internet was a great place in
Before getting in the matter of your artistic production, can you tell us about your process and set up for making your pieces? In particular, on what technical aspects do you mainly focus in your work? All creative processes are dictated by the available materials in my workshop. Objects grow in time. I usually work on a few objects simultaneously. Sometimes the starting point is an unusual object I have come across, like the yarn spool. When I saw it in the thrift shop I immediately knew what I wanted to create. I had to wait a while though for the right wheels. I usually have a few of these semi-dormant projects. Another method is doing a rough sketch and then finding the materials for it. These materials will always change the outlook of the object, as materials rule the process. Some objects have a body made of scrap metal (usually old tin cans), these can be hammered and shaped to any form I like, thus staying closer to the original sketches. For these projects I always do a rudimentary two-minute sketch, but start to make 3D cardboard mock ups as soon as possible. Now let's focus on your artworks: I would start from Remus' speedster and Maximilian's racer. Could you tell us something about your initial inspiration for these works?
About Remus' speedster: The older I get, the more I am into vehicles of the '20 - '30ties. I wanted to build my version of a speedster from the 30ties. I don't really care about the technical side of cars, my main interest is how the object looks. My brother's birthday (he is also pretty much into cars) was coming up and I wanted to give him a personal present. What better gift then something created with love and attention?
Maximillian's racer started off as an old weaving yarn spool. I saw it in a thriftshop and immediately knew what to make of it. I fiddled around with it for ages but I couldn't get it right. I just didn't have the right wheels for it. A few months later I saw the right wheels and created the object in lighting fast time. Sometimes you'll get into the flow and objects almost build themselves. When it was almost finished, my wife said something about it, I forgot what she said exactly, but this led to making the transparant hinged top (created from a 70ties coffee grinder). Another pieces on which I would spend some words is Macbeth's speedster: by the way, why have you chosen this title? Why "Macbeth"? moreover, does your process let you to visualize your pieces before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin?
Ciceroâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Toy Car
When I was thinking about a title for the speedster
Derek Scholte me to express this point, but when I read that you have found inspiration from Mad Max, all of a sudsudden I have realized that you have been capable of extracting -or, I'd better say "develo-ping"- a very stimulating aspect of that movie that all of us are sure to be familiar with... sense of humanity that cannot be expressed with words... My work tells the story of a society where the differences between rich and poor are grown to epic proportions. The large majority of mankind needs to survive with minimal means. Re-use of material is not a matter of choice but a necessity. My characters (somehow they all feel like men, no women around. Good for a session with the local shrink...) create their means of transportation, clothing and homes with re-used materials. That's why it all looks 'homemade', I intentionally don't sow very neat and try to do all things by hand. I use as little electric applicances as possible while working. In that sense my work reflects the maker. Obviously the dystopian society as portrayed in film is usually exaggerated, but in a more down to earth approach we already live in a dystopian society. Cameras record every move, our cellphones are monitored, so is everything we do on the internet. We record more of our civilians than the Stasi (official state security service of the German Democratic Republic - East Germany) did. I still remember how disgusted we were when those files became public. And look at us now: thirty years or so later. In the Netherlands (one of the richest countries in the world) an ever growing group of people depend on 'foodbanks'. These are institutions that provide (left over, or donated) food and groceries to the poor. And this was even before the credit crunch.
I first came up with Macbeth (perhaps due to my theatre background?) because of the Union Jack on his arms. My apologies to all Scottish people, I forgot Macbeth was a Scottish general... The names for the objects are all latin names, just because they sound cool, no deeper meaning than that. When starting with a new object -which is not based on a found object- I usually start with a fast sketch. The end product does somewhat look like the sketch but I always let the material rule the process. When I start out with an object, like the yarn spool, I don't sketch or try to envision an endresult on paper. I just keep on combining materials and trying things out. This process may take a few days, a few weeks or even a few months. There's s feature of your works -and I do guess, of your imagery, as well- that have particularly impressed me: it's not easy for
The worldwide crisis made it even worse. My biggest frustration is that the people and institutions that caused the crisis are making big profits now, while millions of people are living on the edge of poverty beacuse of their greed. It's like Ghandi said: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.â&#x20AC;? Having said that, my characters are not piteous. Sure they are poor, but they take pride in what they create. You can build a car, you just need 4 wheels and an engine. But they choose to have a personal design style to stand out in the crowd, to individualize in an otherwise uniform society. If I reflect this to my own life, I am a poor artist, we don't have much money. I try to make due with as little means as possible. I rarely buy something new (except for glue and stuff like that of course). I take great pride for instance in building a fence with found materials, without spending any cash. All your artworks have been created with vintage materials, especially found objects and old junk: not to mention that nowadays this is a very common practice. I often wondered about the personal contribution of the artist, in such case... it goes without saying that also white canvas, acryls tube and pencil, they are all material that already exists... roaming and
scavenging through "found" material to might happens to discover unexpected sides of the world, maybe of our inner world... what's you point about this? The choice of materials is a personal one. I am sure if you let 3 assemblage artist loose in a thriftshop they will buy totaly different materials. Just like 3 painters will choose different colours, different tools and different angles to a subject. Many assemblage artists/junk artist do have similar themes, like robots and stuff. But all artists have their own style and methods. I have to be honest, I do think many artworks look alike. But this is not limited to junkartists. I have seen thousands of big-bellied sculptures of women, paintings of cows and landscapes. There is nothing wrong with that, but it's not something I would create. Besides, I can't paint, nor sculpt.
Fortunatoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sailing boat
Moreover, using materials with a previous life, I would state that experience as starting point of artistic production is a recurrent characteristic
plays reggae or jazzy tunes softly on the background. No children around, no distraction, just me and my materials. I am a loner, somewhat of a hermit and these hours are precious to me. Sometimes I reach a certain flow. This flow is pure happiness. Another aspect I really enjoy are the reactions to my work. I never used to care about what people thought of my artwork, but this has changed. Somehow I really like to share my work with other people. Thanks a lot for this interview, Derek. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? In an earlier question I mentioned the aestics of my objects are more important than any technical impossibilities. Lately I notice my lack of technical knowhow is limiting my aestics, so I want to keep working on that. Also, somehow my work is getting bigger. I am working on a 2 metre long speedster. It needs to have a rolling chassis, stearing included. This is a pretty challenging project for me. If I can pull this off, and if I like it, the next step will be to create a running speedster. Big enough for one adult (me). It will be electrical or with a very small engine (like a Solex bike), because the last one smokes and perks. Beautiful. of your works, in particular the one that we are now taking into consideration: in your opinion, is experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process? I like objects and materials with a visible previous life. Dents and scratches create a patina and give an object character. I love the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic views. The Japanese philosophy Wabi-Sabi plays a big part in the look and feel of the objects. Wabi-Sabi celebrates the beauty that comes with age. The imperfections and wear create a patina that add to the beauty of an object. Rust, cracks, torn pieces and visible repairs show the previous life of an object. Just wondering if you would like to answer to a we interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? I enjoy just being in my workshop the most. The radio
Icarusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s airship 2.0
Bahar B. Faraz
Bahar B. Faraz (Iran / Sweden)
an artist’s statement
”I am Bahar, Sweden Stockholm based visual artist. ”In my work mostly I try to challenge my personal questions like identity, gender, defined norms and etc. I try to look at these concepts from different perspectives. On one hand I focus on them from my own point of view and try to visualize my questions or even answer them by involving myself in my art as self- portrait. On the other hand I try to look at the questions by the influence of my environment on me. Again I involve myself in my art but this time as an individual who is under the influence of society. ”As an Iranian woman who grew up in Iran and now living in Sweden, my questions mostly conceptualize around a comparison between my living experiences both in Iran and Sweden. These comparisons are not necessarily for defining right or wrong, there are just an attempt to visualize the process of developing and evolving my questions about myself during the time. ”In the series “Women of my town II” I try to look at the women’s lifestyle from a different aspect. In the previous series women had been showed as a victims under the control of outside and inside but changing my point of view, in this new series women are not victims any more. They are the main role and the focus of their own worlds, having control on their selves and their bodies. I grew up in a country where the role and position of women has been unclear and under pressure both in their private life and in society. “The women of my town II “helps me to break these norms and provokes me to face my own memories.”
Bahar B. Faraz
Bahar B. Faraz
an interview with
Bahar B. Faraz Hello Bahar, a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And what could be the features that mark a work of Contemporary art?
Hello and thanks. In my point of view it is really difficult to define what art is or is not these days. Personally I believe art can be defined as attempt to express different concepts and issues with feelings and creativity. Mostly contemporary art defines as an art in our lifetime. Another opinion is the art which has it heritage in modernist and postmodernist schools. I have my own definition of contemporary art which is more closer to Duchampâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wholistic view of art. I personally consider a piece of art is contemporary when the idea of it defines in our lifetime and the most important, idea has more important and significant role in creating procedure in comparison with techinques. I would like if you could tell us something about your background, since you have an interesting one: I have read that you have attended economics and political science studies and I must confess that I'm always happy when I discover synergies between Art and and all the remaining kind of Arts. By the way, how has these apparently artistic outreach impacted on the way you produce you artworks nowadays?
one thousand fractions of your eyes
Bahar B. Faraz
my ideas and it was first time in Sweden which I dared to visualize my ideas. Mostly I use photography as my favorite medium and mostly I take self portrait. But beside photography, painting and video art are other mediums which I use in my works.
Well, I do not have any official art education. I have a bachelor in economics from Iran and master of economics from Sweden. I also studied political science and these days I am working as economic analyzer. During my life I have been had the need of expressing my ideas. In the begining I started by expressing my ideas by writing short stories. In other word, I made some scenes in my mind and then wrote about them instead of visualizing them by picture. When I moved to Sweden, I felt more free to talk about
Before getting in the matter of you artistic production, can you tell us about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work?
Mostly, I use digital photography, I know it is more fun taking analog photos but honestly digital photography is more simple and has more 78
Bahar B. Faraz
living in Iran as a woman with the strict norms of do or not to do. In the new series â&#x20AC;?Women of my town IIâ&#x20AC;? I tried to develope my view about women and specifically myself. I became more bold and developed an idea of women who has control of their own lifes and more important their own bodies. This was the point of emerge for the new series. In other words, everything started inside me. It goes without saying that your pieces are deeply permeated with references to sociopolitical context. Art has been often subjugated by politics: do you think that art degrades itself when serving political purpouses? After all, also when expressing the struggle for freedom, Art pursues a political aim: this is a puzzling question...
On the contrary I believe art can be used as a political weapon without being degraded. We are not living in an isolated world and even if we do not want to impose politics in our art, I have to say that politics among many other indicators shapes our definition of life and our ideology . Personally I do not like to use my art to serve politics or some kind of specific politicion but of course my art is also influenced by political situation of my society.
space to do mistakes, in other word, learning by doing is possible in digital photography. Now let's focus on you artworks: I would start from your series Women of my town II, that our readers can view in these pages. As you have remarked, while in the previous series women had been showed as a victims, in this new collection women show a full control on theirselves and their bodies. Would you like to tell us more about the genesis of this project? What has lead you to change your mind about the representation of the position of women?
That is right. In the first series, I pictured women as victims of their own bodies and also society. In that series I mostly mirrored my experience of 79
Bahar B. Faraz
You work "Women of my town" helps you to face your memories: do you find that there's a conflictual relation between your memories and your nowadays life? I was wondering if could be an exaggeration to state that art have even a curative effect, at least regar-ding such kinds of conflicts...
Women of My town is the story of myself, my evolution. As I said before, I has been lived in two totally different coutries with different opinion about women. What is important for me in these two series is that I can face my memories in my homeland as a woman and also can show the development of my view about myself after my immigration. For me definilty these two series had curative effects. In the first serie, I showed women as victims of their gender, their society, their religion and etc. In the second one which i started to shoot after one year, I showed women in a peaceful relation with themselves, their bodies and their enviroment. The photos can show the curative appraoch which i walked during one year. rariness and Tradition? I would dare to say that your artworks go beyond this classification...
James bond is still here is a series which as you said I tried to define the character of James Bond as an Iranian women. But ofcourse a traditional Iranian woman could not suits this frame. What I did in that series was to portrait women adding elements of traditionality like kitchen utensil or household stuffs. I tried to bind between the tradition idea of an iranian women and a differentsuper active character called James Bond. This series is also a critical serie to definition of women in East.
What if James Bond was an Iranian woman?
I would like to mention another series of yours entitled James Bond Is Still Here, which is still under progress: as you have remarked, the leading question for this stimulating collection is "what if James Bond was an Iranian woman?" where I can recognize traditional persian elements : do you think that there's still a dichotomy between Contempo-
This lead us to another relevant aspect of you art practice on which we would like to focus: the important role of the cultural duality. I can't do without mentioning Edward Said and his deep opinion about the concept of "Orientalism" and the related stereotypes on this subject... I'm wondering if Art might have
Bahar B. Faraz
you the feedback of your audience? By the way, I'm aware that many of our readers are wonering if there are so great differences between the Iranian artistic scene and the so-called Western one...
I had several group exhibitions both in Iran and in westernland and recived lots of feedback from both sides. But what I can say is that the feedbacks from Iran was more close to my ideas. It is not any surprise about it because I still look at the concepts mostly through an Iranian glasseses instead of westerlands perspective. In Iran mostly my works critizied of simpilicity. Well, this is understandable because for some people still techinque is more important than concept and idea and there is nothing wrong about this
the power of going beyond artificial dichotomies. What's your take about this?
Mentioning Said, I have to say I admire his work on the concept of orientalism. Personally Art is a kind of guideline for me when I get lost between different aspects of mylife. For example I question my gender often, try to compare â&#x20AC;&#x153;femaleâ&#x20AC;? concept both in Iran and Sweden, then I add another aspects to my gender and that is Immigrant woman. This maze can go for eternity. I believe that art has the power to go beyond these artificial dichotomies, it has been like emergency exit for me but it is impossible to be uninfluenced of these dichotomies. Your works have been shown in several countries: from your motherland Iran to Sweden, from United Kingdom to Canada: what experiences have you had exhibiting in different countries? And how important is for
Bahar B. Faraz
point of view. In westernland I had to be beside my works and describe what I thought when i did them. I can give a example. I made a video art around 30 seconds long about my own experience about war between Iran and Iraq. The link for video is as below http://videoartist.ir/index.php?option=com_hwd videoshare&task=viewvideo&Itemid=1&video_ id=141&lang=fa in this video you see a pair of eyes which are staring to camera with a background sound of a man who is talking persian and warning about missiles which supposed to fall on the city. In this vidoe I wanted to show how those 30 seconds of warning was so frusterating for oss and I remembered it clearly . I received so
passionable feedback from this video when it was showed in Iran. But when it was showed in Sweden, people could not understand it. Well this is predictable, first it was not their langauge then it was not something commen , not a com- mon memory. What I try to say it is totally different experience having an exhibition in Iran or in another western country and both of them are actually fruitful. And here's my cliche question, that I often ask to the artists that I happen to interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
The process of creating gives me the most plea82
Bahar B. Faraz
to travel out of Stockholm and try to take part to different art residencies and interact with other artists. During the summer I am going to be guest of Bakelit art center in Budapest and work on a project called City swallows me gradually which is mainly urban Iandscape. http://www.bakelitstudio.hu/ I also thank you for you time.
sure. I mostly work alone and take self portrait. It is some time frustrating doing everything alone from fixing camera to pose and... but I like the challenge. After creating process i believe presenting it is also enjoyable. When I present my works as publication or exhibition, it is out my hand and It is really interesting to hear other people’s opinion about my art. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Bahar. My last question deals with your future plans: what direction are you moving in creatively? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I am still experimenting. I think it is time for me
Bahar Borna Faraz was born in Teheran, Iran. She currently lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Her works can be viewd at: http://www.saatchionline.com/baharfaraz Current Exhibitions
·Group exhibition, Photography,Gallerie Riddaren, Stockholm , Sweden (February 2- 8)
·Group exhibition, Photography, Iranian cultural center, Toronto, Canada
Lefteris Yakoumakis (Greece) an artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s statement
Martin Kippenberger, altering a famous quote by Joseph Beuys, once said that every artist is a person. Simple as it may sound it's a very strong statement. The act and Art of painting, apart from being a basic human function, is also the expression of one's opinion. The painter doesn't simply reproduce the various visual stimuli he or she receives, he or she processes them and suggests a new way of seeing things. A new vision filtered by his ideas of how things should be and what's worth focusing on. Kippenberger's quote has become my motto on making Art ever-since I decided to become a painter. Stimulated by nature, traveling, urban life and social struggle I try to paint with a critical eye towards the world. I've found that no matter how â&#x20AC;&#x153;innocentlyâ&#x20AC;? I try to create images my work is always the result of my interaction with society and the injustice that surrounds us. In my work I use images from the natural world, often animals as symbols of human emotions, but also popular imagery, products of our modern civilization. My main theme throughout the development of my work has always been the contradiction between a natural and free way of life and the one modern man has been forced to live in capitalist society. Recognizing European comics and early Pop Art as some of my main influences I want to express this contradiction by elaborating a discreet irony. But the message cannot be obvious, the beholder needs to think and conclude. And I believe Art is the way to put him or her in this process. So, in a way, the means is also the message itself. Once a gallery manager, with the best of intentions, told me that he thinks I'm a good painter but finds my subjects repulsive. This was the best compliment he could ever give me for he understood both what I'm doing and why. It reminded me of the lyrics of the Greek electro band Stereo Nova saying that the homeless man doesn't know he smells bad because the world stinks. Lefteris Yakoumakis 84
Still life with bread and cat, acrylics
on canvas, 70cm x 50cm, 2013
an interview with
Lefteris Yakoumakis Hello Lefteris: first of all, a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Let's start with our usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the feature that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
Hello and thank you for hosting me in your pages. A work of Art, in my opinion, is an object created by a process of intuition, thinking and crafting by a person committed to this Art. Furthermore it should suggest a new way of perceiving the subject it's referring to, thus questioning what is and what should or could be. Now, when it comes to contemporariness, it's rather complicated. One could say that if it's created now it's contemporary. A work of Art could express its era, be against or beyond it. Would you like to tell us something about your background? I have read that you studied Fine Arts at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki where you specialized in painting: how have formal training and your recent residencies impacted on the way you produce your Art nowadays?
Having a formal training gives a you head-start on the methods you can use to develop your Art further. At the Art school you learn how to learn. You also get the chance to meet and share work space with other art students. This interaction is very beneficial artwise. However, formal training can also be a trap because it doesn't always help you think outside of the box. Some Art teachers can be patronising and the same goes for the whole concept of Art school.
first time I felt the need to paint landscape paintings. Furthermore, the fascinating history and folklore of the region were an inspiration on their own. Then in Amsterdam, I focused on the painters of the Dutch Golden Age and especially Rembrandt. I had seen Rembrandt's works before in London and Paris, but during that two month residency I visited the Rijksmuseum three or four times a week, sometimes for 10 minutes sometimes for hours in order to observe and understand Rembrandt's elaborate ways of constructing his images. I also got a lot of information on Rembrandt's techniques at the Het Rembrandthuis museum and tried to apply them in my paintings. Needless to say that in both residencies I met a lot of interesting people with some of whom
Residencies gave me the opportunity to put my creative process in a different context and enrich it with new elements. During the time I spent in SiglufjŃ&#x2020;rŃ&#x20AC;ur, Iceland, I painted under a much colder light than the one we have in Greece. Long twilight and even longer nights, gave me the chance to study the various colourings the snow changes from dawn till dusk. I also studied nocturnal light and it was the
ging the composition. In my opinion, when making figurative Painting there are two key elements, tonal contrast and colour. Next to these you'll find the use of outlines and texture. With each new painting I try to decide which of these elements and to what extent I want to use to realise the picture I have in my head. Then comes the technical part when I have to choose the materials and tools that will help me the most. (e.g. Different canvas preparations will give you different textures) So, the way I see it, it's standard procedure from conceiving an idea to creating a painting and each step is as important as the next. Now let's focus on "Apartment Painting", a group of painting that our readers can admire in these pages: you have stated that these pieces explore middle class mentality, especially in the light of nowadays financial crisis... would you like to tell us something about the genesis of these stimulating works? Let's start from the more recent ones: Mount Parnitha and Lament for my childhood.
These paintings were inspired by the financial and social crisis that Greece, as many other countries nowadays, is going through. A very significant element is that I'm part of this crisis and it has taken a toll on my life too. So it's a small body of work I made in a very angry and disappointed and in some cases almost vengeful mood. I believe middle class mentality is one of the main reasons people don't rise to fight for their rights. It sums up to minding your own business, supporting leaders and waiting for them to change the world for you. This way of thinking is methodically cultivated by public schools, the media and the state. People are trained through fear to discipline and leaving initiative to others. I chose to paint objects that I find symbolic of middle class aesthetics and culture and elevated them to the level of Art subjects the same way middle class mentality has replaced ideologies. I'll start with â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lament for my childhoodâ&#x20AC;? which depicts a burnt slice of bread. Bread is a very strong symbol in everyday Greek culture. It is considered a primary food without which any meal would be incomplete. The symbolic significance of bread in Greek culture can made obvious if one conciders the many proverbs and expressions that refer to bread.
Mount Parnitha, acrylics on canvas, 50cm x 70cm, 2013
we are still good friends. Let me grasp the chance here to recommend both the HerhŃ&#x160;s residency in Iceland and the Kanaal 10 residency in the Netherlands if anyone's interested in visiting these two countries. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work?
I'm usually motivated to create a new painting if something stimulates me or irritates me so much that I need to share it. I process this thought into a picture in my mind then I always do a couple of drawings. Drawing always help me visualising an idea and arran-
Karate lessons, acrylics on canvas, 70cm x 50cm, 2012
A burnt slice of bread, to me, is a very sad picture because you have this prospect of sweet nurturing cancelled by an unexpected factor. The same way our childhood dreams were cancelled through the ups and downs of this crisis. Mount Parnitha is the name of the mountain overlooking Athens. Some years ago, part of its forest was destroyed and numerous animals were killed, including many deer, by a fire that, ironically, left the casino on top of the mountain intact. The old ornamental deer I painted reminded me of how some people might see the mountain, a lifeless ornament. I totally agree with you when you remark in your artist's statement a painter suggests a new way of seeing things. A new vision filtered by his ideas of how things should be and what's worth focusing on. And I'm sort of convinced that Art could play an effective role not only in facing social questions, but even and expecially in giving answers... what's your point about this? I think Art can play a great role at raising questions. One of its main functions is challenging what's real and what's normal because it presents altered visions of ordinary life. Raising questions means starting a dialogue. I think that throughout history societies that have set dialogue as their cornerstone have progressed significally. When all the voices are heard the edges are evened and the society stays bonded. Lament for my childhood,
But, I think, Art giving answers is a totally different thing. This is because each work of Art, expresses it's
acrylics on canvas, 40cm x 60cm, 2013
Lefteris Yakoumakis creator's ideas. He or she might have such a broad perception that also expresses the ideas of the majority of the people in his or her society. On the other hand he or she might be on the exact opposite side, against that society. I think when you expect Art to dictate social answers you end up with sterile and dangerous stuff like socialist realism or the art of the third Reich. Another pieces on which I would like to spend some words are Middle class oriental and TV viewer watching the news, that our readers can view in the following pages: as we have just said, the last one is an example of how Art could be involved in social affairs...
“Middle class oriental” depicts an ornamental elephant the likes of which are mostly sold by immigrants in the streets of Athens or can be found in fancy exotic shops. Objects like this are often found in middle class apartments in order to give them an oriental touch. What I find ironic is that in western societies we cherish such items, as well exotic cuisine and music but never bother to actually know the culture they come from or the people that produce this culture. On the contrary we wants our countries “clean” of these third world immigrants. But you can't have a first world without a third one. Our way of life has forces them to migrate here. “TV viewer watching the news” at a first level refers to the fact that here in Greece a great number of people had to turn to firewood as a heating source due to the great raise in the taxation on petrol and electricity. On a second level, it refers to the feeling I think most people have watching the news the last three years or so, since the begining of the crisis. Terrifying news of the country collapsing, new taxes, salaries getting lower, people losing their jobs, suicides e.t.c are followed by reasurring announcements from government officials. Then the same officials will come out and tell the people our goals were not accomplished and more austerity measures need to be taken. TV viewers are shocked, they cannot process all this information, they are left helpless like wooden sticks a strong wind can break. I have to admit that as I read that a gallerist told you that "You are a good painter but your subjects are repulsive" I have found it a bit funny at once... but actually I'm sort of perplexed about this point: why should a painter choose only "beautiful" subject? In my opinion this is not one of the roles of an artists... this maybe the work of a room decorator, but an artist shows his value esppecially when he's capable of
Middle class Oriental, acrylics on canvas, 40cm x 60cm, 2012 snatching a concept out something that we would not define as "a beautiful" thing... what's your point about this?
Well, let me shed some more light on this incident I found quite funny myself. If take a closer look at the â&#x20AC;&#x153;apartment paintingsâ&#x20AC;? they depict mear objects. There is nothing grotesque about them. I believe that what the gallerist found repulsive was that either the paintings didn't make sense to him or the sense they made! Greece is a small Art market and though you'll find some collectors here most works by emerging artists end up in someone's living room. If the message behind my paintings got through to the gallerist then they're not something he or his clientelle would pleasantly put over their couches. Of course artists are not just decorators. Very significant paintings like Goya's "Saturn devouring his son"Â are rather repulsive. But that's what makes them so moving. Art doesn't focus on the what the public finds beautiful
TV viewer watching the news, acrylics on canvas, 50cm x 70cm, 2012
but what the artists find intriguing and important. There are, also, many great works of Art one can say were made for decorative purposes but convey a deeper message. Da Vinci's “Last Supper” for example, decorates the refectory of Santa Maria della Grazie. If you take a closer look at it you see a group of well meant conspirators with a traitor among them. It's a very powerful image even if you're not a believer. By the way, do you think that Art could play a social role in our society? Even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naive, I'm still convinced that Art could steer people's behavior... not only in order to choose a brand of coffee...
It's true that Art can steer people's behaviour. Great establishments from the Catholic Church to the USSR have used it as a means of propaganda. Vast empires such as the Byzantine have used Art to carry the images of their authority to their farmost borders. Even if a simpletant would never see the emperor he or she would see his image in a church making him ever present and unquestionable. There is no social movement, political party, government or even football team that doesn't use symbols created by artist. Art can broaden one's horizons but can also be a tricky bastard because it initially talks to people's hearts. That's why I prefer to perceive art's audience as people not a mass. As part of this audience myself I try to look upon Art with a critical eye and I advise others to do so as well. There's a clich question: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
Firstly, I enjoy overcoming the technical and intellectual challenges of creating an image. The result often gives me a more clear understanding of what I was thinking in the first place. That's why sometimes title giving follows the creative process, this happened in “Lament for my childhood” for example. But I'm most satisfied once I realise all this hard process has gotten a message through. A couple of months ago “Apartment Painting” was exhibited in Athens. A very good friend I have from my Art school days visited the opening. Later that night, he sent me an message saying he liked the exhibition because he understands what it feels like to paint in an apartment. This was very satisfactory. Thank you forharing with us your thoughts, Lefteris: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I'm participating in a group show in Chania, Crete this summer. Apart from that, the future is rather obscure. I want to go on more residencies once I find the resources but this will have to wait for a while. If interested, your readers can learn my news and see more of my Art at my website, www.left-y.com,
Courtney A. Henderson
Courtney A. Henderson (USA)
an artist’s statement
CourtAleise Photography lets others have a look at the world through my lens. CourtAleise Photography is my art business that features landscape photography from Hawaii, South Florida, and New York. My photography is used to create greeting cards and pieces of art. Photography first became an interest of mine when I was a toddler. I would play with my Dad’s Polaroid camera for hours. I became fascinated with the photos that this device was able to create. As an undergraduate journalism student at Florida A&M University, I took my first photography class. It was at that point that I realized I had truly fallen in love with the art of photography and that I wanted to express myself through this art medium. While earning my bachelor's degree I worked for several newspapers as both a writer and a photographer. While teaching in Stuttgart, Germany, for a semester I decided to travel and expand my portfolio. I was inspired by the mountains of Switzerland, the rolling hills of France, and the breathtaking architecture of Italy. As a professional I have had the opportunity to be the photographer for events such as the infamous Miami Wynwood ArtWalk, I have also had art displayed in different galleries, events, and featured in the Sun Sentinel. My desire to combine my love for photography and travel was the catalyst for creating CourtAleise Photography. Through my landscape photography I am able to share what I find most beautiful and intriguing about different places around the world. CourtAleise Photography allows me to share my art through art exhibitions, such as a show at Eclectic in Miami and a show in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in early 2013. In addition During June and July of 2013 I have an exhibit on display at the African American Research Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale. The purpose of my art is to let others have the exhilarating feeling of having traveled somewhere far away, without ever setting foot on a plane. The landscape art of CourtAleise Photography will take you on a visually stimulating journey from New York, to South Florida, to Hawaii and beyond. CourtAleisePhotography@gmail.com Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism Florida A&M University 2008 Masters of Arts in Literature, University of Toledo 2009 Masters of Science in Linguistics, Language Documentation and Conservation, University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012 http://courtaleise.wix.com/courtaleise
Blooming From the Concrete Jungle
Courtney A. Henderson
an interview with
Courtney A. Henderson Henderson Hello Courtney, a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. Let's start this interview with our usual introductory question: what in your opinion define a work of Art? And how have you first become interested in photography as a visual medium?
A work of art is something that is able to transport the viewer to another place, it invokes a sincere emotion. I have always loved photography, as a toddler I used to play with my dad’s Polaroid camera. As I got older and took photography classes I became enraptured with how a camera could capture a specific moment in time, and in a sense, suspend it and evoke a multiplicity of emotions. You can’t deny the overwhelming natural beauty of some places, and as an artist I wanted to be able to share some of these moments through photography. Everyone might not desire or be able travel to certain places, but everyone can take in the beauty that is art. There are some places I have traveled, such as Zurich, Switzerland, or Waimanalo, Hawaii, where you can’t help but become immediately overwhelmed with the landscape and natural beauty… it transports you to another place. It is this experience that I try to capture and share through my art. I would like to ask you something about your interesting background: I have read that you have studied Linguistic, focusing on Hawaiian language and that you hold a MA in English Literature, that you have received from the University of Toledo: how have these experiences impacted on your art practice? By the way, what's your point about formal training? Do you think that a formal training -or better, a certain kind of formal training- could even stifle an artist's creativity?
My experience earning both of my graduate deg-rees has greatly influnced my art. When I moved to Toledo, Ohio, for my first Masters it was the first time I lived in a place that had a change of seasons. It gave me a new appreciation for winter and fall, and I discovered first hand what it was like to capture a moment in winter with freshly fallen snow. Or catch the leaves in fall as they gently glided to- wards the ground. The beach has always been my favorite place, but
Courtney A. Henderson
Courtney A. Henderson
while working on my second graduate degree in Hawaii I was able to experience and fall in love with new aspects of the beach and other parts of nature that are unique to the Hawaiian islands. This appreciation is evident in my Hawaii collection of art work. This collection is close to my heart because during the three years I lived in Hawaii my hahanai (Hawaiian for adopted) family were the ones to introduce me to many of the places I later went back to shoot, such as Kahuku, North Shore and Waimanalo. So not only did I try to capture the essence of natural beauty in these places I also poured myself into them because of the love I have for the beaches and mountain ranges I first saw thanks to my hanai ohana, the Kihikihi’s. For me, some aspect of formal training is necessary. In any field you are going to be expected to master your craft, and what better way to do that than through study and learning first hand from someone with more experience than you. As the Dali Lama said “Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” In art this is especially true. It is essential to know the terminology, the techniques and how to develop film on your own before you begin expressing yourself creatively. The only time I can imagine formal training stifling an artists’ creativity is if they are too afraid to go outside of the box and try things on their own. As an artist you can’t be afraid to take risks and try new things. I personally feel that having a solid foundation enables you as an artist to step out and without as much hesitation or fear, because at least in a technical sense you already know what you are doing. The last step is being willing to pour yourself into your art without restraint and display it to the public without fear of criticism. That fear can become far more crippling than formal training, because as an artist not everyone will receive your work well but you have to acknowledge that and love your craft enough to keep pursing it anyways. Before elaborating on your art production, would you like to tell us something about your creative process and especially about your set up for making your pieces?
The beach has always been my favorite place, a source of peace and calm. When I say always, I literally mean since I was a toddler. There are pictures of me sitting on my blanket in baby bliss in South Florida near the
Courtney A. Henderson
Atlantic Ocean. There is something tranquil about being near water that is an essential part of my creative process. While shooting in Florida and Hawaii I like to be near the ocean before sunrise, I always feel inspired and alive watching the sun seemingly rise from the ocean. After this I am ready for any shoot. When it comes to making pieces ready for a gallery or art exhibit I know exactly the type of frame that will be perfect for some pieces and for others I will take them with me and go to several different frame shops until I find the perfect frame to complement, but not detract from, what is taking place in the scenary of my art. Now let's focus on your works that our readers can admire in these pages. I would start from Early Morning Train and Empire State of Mind: could you tell us more about the genesis of this pieces? In particular, I would go as far as to say that in Empire State of Mind there's a subtle social criticism...
Early Morning Train and Empire State of Mind are two of my more recent pieces, both taken in New York City earlier this year. I wanted to create a specific type of juxtaposition with Early Morning Train, to capture a tranquil moment in the busy city of New York, to show that there is peace even in one of the busiest cities. As I mentioned, I love the sunrise, Early Morning Train is no exception... After finding the perfect angle I took several shots before, during and just after sun rise until I felt like I was able to capture this unique juxtaposition. Empire State of Mind
When I began this New York City collection at the beginning of the year I knew that I wanted to get a shot overlooking the city, with the Empire State Building as the focal point. After finding the perfect vantage point my next concern was the weather. I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to get a typical sunny shot of the city, for this one I wanted to capture some of the cold and cool essence that is New York City. When looking at my piece Empire State of Mind it is easy to see how you can get lost admist these buildings. There are hundreds of buildings in the background that are intentionally not in complete focus for this reason, they are irrelevant, only what is in the forfront matters. The same can be said of society, if it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t up front, close and
Early Morning Train
The concept of landscape is all encompassing of my art I believe that this stems from my love of the beach. Growing up I would think to myself that the ocean is so vast, nothing else is really necessary, the magnificence of the Atlantic ocean alone was enough beauty, wonder, and inspiration. This love and mindset is what spurred my interest in landscape being the focal point of my photography. As we have remarked so far, the locations of most of your recent works ranges from Hawaai to Florida, to New York: even though there are evident differences, I can recognize a subtle "channel of communication"... Even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I'm wondering if there there so many differences between these places which from different points of view: and your artworks seems to show a subtle Ariadne's Thread.. There is certainly a sense of an Ariadne's Thread throughout all of my work as an artist. Although there are stark contrasts between some of the New York work in comparison to the Hawaii or South Florida work there is a common thread. Landscape photography is my passion because I love nature and outside, this is what creates the connection, almost every piece of my art work includes the sky and clouds. These add to the peace and tranquility that is a running theme in my work. Besides producing your artworks, during these re-
personal, in our face, it goes unnoticed and unrecognized. With a city as busy and fast paced as New York this is definitely true. Since many of your pieces show enchanting natural landscape, I cannot do without asking you if the concept of landscape plays a particular role in your imagery, which is far from having the mere function of a background. For me as an artist landscape is the fore-ground, the background, the most important aspect of my work. It is everything. People are never a focal point of my artistic work. I enjoy sharing the beauty of both natural and man made landscapes, as is evidenced in just looking at a few of my photos from Hawaii and New York.
Courtney A. Henderson
cent years you have also gained experience in teaching: how is this influencing your career as an artist?
The majority of my teaching has been writing and literature classes. With my class at the University of Miami I included an art based reading and took my class on several trips to an art museum in Miami. As an artist I feel that art can play a pivilot role in education and also in writing. This summer I will teach two art and design classes for the first time. I am interested to see how this will impact my own art work later this year. Teaching writing and literature at the collegiate level has been a passion of mine almost as long as photography has. I feel blessed to be able to finally do both on a larger level, and with teaching college part time it allows some level of flexibility which means that I can always make time to pursue and further my artistic career. I would like to spend some words about your stimulating piece entitled Blooming From the Concrete Jungle: first of all I'm very curious about a simple detail... where have you shot this photo? I find really interesting the synergy -or, I may dare to say- the symbiosis between two kinds of "jungles": all in all, there should be a not so obvious reason we use the same word in order to refer to a labyrinth of trees of and to a conglomerate of concrete buildings... Blooming From the Concrete Jungle was taken in New Mauiakama
York City at the very beginning of spring, on Park Avenue. With the title I wanted to have this play on words with both aspects of a ‘jungle’. The beautiful tulips just in bloom and the ‘Concrete Jungle’ that has become synonymous with New York City. I took shots from a variety of angles but knew immediately that this shot was the one. The colors are vibrant, with the lighting there are a couple rays of sun shining in at the very top of the photo and it gives the perception that these tulips are coming up from the same concrete as the surrounding monotonous buildings. This makes them even more unique, It makes me think of the saying that if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere. These tulips are blooming quite beautifully ad-
Courtney A. Henderson
a certain place because of my art I am elated. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Courtney. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? And what types of projects would you like to be working on five or ten years from now?
I have two more large projects in mind for this year. Later this summer I will be returning to Hawaii for a few weeks in hopes of beginning a new collection featuring volcanoes. The first photos from those shoots will be up on my website in late August and early September. The main goal that I am working towards for the next five years is to be included in the infamous Art Basel. I am taking steps to connect with several different galleries in south Florida in order to make this happen. Looking beyond Art Basel, a long term goal and artistic project is to be able to open my own gallery featuring my international landscape photography. firstname.lastname@example.org
mist the concrete jungle of apartments and stores. to the artists that I happen to interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
Without a doubt my favorite part of being an artist is the actual process: being able to be at the edge of the ocean and witness the sunrise, knowing that it is something that will help me be productive on that days shoot. The feeling that I try to convey through my art is something that I am able to experience first hand during the artistic process. My art is an extension of me, so when someone sees one of my pieces and tells me they feel that they have traveled to 3