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June 2014 March 2014

Special Issue

GEMA HERRERO ULVI HAAGENSEN XAVIER BLONDEAU GABRI SOLERA BERTHOLDUS SIBUM TOM RAWLES ARD DOKO KALLI KALDE Marco Visch Gema Herrero (Spain)

(Photo by Damien J.)


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June 2014 Xavier Blondeau

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Since my childhood , photography followed me It represents an important milestone for me: the polaroids of my childhood, as intimate family to the first Kodak winks on time, building coil after coil of life experiences. At 16, I discovered in the blue sky , the light box .

Gema Herrero

A work of art is something that conveys emotions, whether good or bad and can come across a painting, photograph, song, book or even the smile of a loved one. Of course, art is still something as subjective as each person the note, which reminds me of one of my first pictures "playing" with mirrors and "Magritte".

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"The temporary things, the state of change and the transformations, are a constant in all my projects, which feed with the records gathered in the covered trajectories and which are the proper traces and the tracks left by others from the experience of the state of transit and provisional state."

Kalli Kalde

Gabri Solera

Ulvi Haagensen My work tends to hover between the real world and the world of art and illusion, but it is an illusion and order that often falls apart. A three dimensional piece in steel that “works” from one angle, no longer tells the “right” story when viewed from another, and instead presents a strange, uncomfortable distortion of space.

Ard Doko My style tends to be explosive and chaotic, just like myself. I don't want people to see the standard poppy stencil kind of stuff with happy stories. Instead, I want to show them life, my life and of those who have suffered through war or misdiagnose. Sadness can be beautiful and even though it's hard for people to cope with I think it can be in perfect harmony.

Last twenty years I have lived in the countryside, in an old farmhouse in the forest and by a little lake, in the South of Estonia. The lake is the first thing I see in the morning and the reflections on the water still catch my eye for long hours. I have tried to capture the magic of my lake in my paintings.

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Bertholdus Sibum

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All start with a choise you make, its a process of coincidencies and accepting the consequen ces of the choise you have made before.

Renata Gandra

Using prominently oil paint self-taught artist Tom Rawles creates worlds heavy on narrative whilst avoiding fixed messages or morals.Works address contemporary culture through renaissanceesque scenes, a modern world where halos are more bling than holy.

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"I define a work of art as one which can convey feelings to the viewer : for example "The Kiss" by Klimt, which conveys passion, tenderness and beauty and " The Scream" by Munch that conveys anguish and existential despair . I believe that the work of art has to be able to touch somehow the viewer"

David Wilde

Tom Rawles

Jodie Woodcock would say my art is mostly abstract. I like different, always have. The way I create my work haschanged since I started painting, I have changed. I started painting in 2010 and for awhile I could hardly stop. My ideas and Visions just flowed out of me. I been into drawing since I was young.

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The process of creating and the presentation of art is a fundamental blessing and encouragement for human society that arises from the artists' ability to open to the primal elements of life's appearances. Feeling the heart of events and finding the freedom to express that in media and terms beyond the distortions of ego is a liberating thing that wakes people up to the natural benevolent vividness of circumstances.

Erin O’Malley “With digital macro photography I have been exploring the interaction of light with transparent and reflective surfaces. I consider my photography a series of experiments, a process of trial and error that builds upon past succes-ses through the manipulation of variables”

Feel free to submit your artworks to our art review: just write to peripheral_arteries@dr.com III


Peripheral ARTeries

(Spain)

From Presence Obscure series photography

#196 Winter 1


Xavier Blondeau (France)

Since my childhood , photography followed me It represents an important milestone for me: the polaroids of my childhood, as intimate family to the first Kodak winks on time, building coil after coil of life experiences. At 16, I discovered in the blue sky , the light box . A capacity to remove our shortcomings to create a fantasy . Since then, despite the remoteness of my life with photography, our paths cross and intersect ... Obscure presence is research in which I currently subscribe . There are places or situations in which , despite the absence of human entity , a presence exists beyond objects . This presence "dark " as the persistence of the recent past , gives things another dimension. As if they needed a human footprint to exist. Thus, the darkness of the night when the nascent early morning mist , are smugglers to another world . They help us to feel the presence evanescent...

Xavier Blondeau

Righteous Exploits

performance, photo by Matt Lewis 2


Peripheral ARTeries

Xavier Blondeau

An interview with

Xavier Blondeau Hello Xavier and 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? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork? Do you think that there's still an inner dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Created by an artist following more or less elaborate methods, a work of Art is an aesthetic object whose deeper meaning seeks to move us. Free from the necessity to be even remotely useful, the work of Art is often associated with a larger artistic movement and can also be part of an artist’s body of work. More specifically, in photography, to my mind an

an interview image can be called with a work of Art when it breaks free of the time frame to which it belongs. It must be able to transcend techniques typical of a certain time period, the conventional composition with perfect centering, or still, the intellectual concept which underlies its creation. It must reach a kind of universality and timelessness.

Xavier Blondeau

It must be experienced as a true sensory adventure, stripped of any explanation or theori-zing. Therefore I reckon that a work of art should first and foremost be recognized as such by those who look at it. This recognition derives from this oh-sospecial moment that is the discovery of an artist’s world. My artistic journey as a self-taught photographer is certainly the reason why I am convinced that a work of Art should be accessible to all, regardless of their cultural baggage. However, I am aware that to be fully appreciated certain works of Art require some cultural training, and an openmindedness which does not necessarily come naturally to all. But I prefer to believe that, like for

intelligence, a ‘heart line’ should be enough to grasp a work of Art. From what I have just said, it therefore appears that I do not make a distinction between tradition and contemporariness to the extent that they are outside the scope of my definition. In my opinion, contemporariness and tradition are more relevant when discussing the form a work of Art takes. That said, I would more easily associate contemporariness with the ability to offer a different take on the world. Which is especially true for photography. The contemporariness of a work of Art therefore lies, in my opinion, in the fact that it offers a specific vision, an intensely personal take on the world.

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Xavier Blondeau

Peripheral ARTeries

shadowy presence � untitled january 2011

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly influenced you and that impacted on the way you currently produce your Art? By the way, what's your point on formal training? I often ask to myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...

Without any training or help I managed to produce very personal photographic work. Passion was definitely there, and so consuming that there had to be a deeper reason for it. It soon became clear that photography was providing me with an outlet, it was the perfect way to express the feelings that I had found so hard to get off my chest as a teenager. It also allowed me to build my own creative universe by protecting my oversensitivity from the outside world.

My discovery of photography was sudden, and the result of pure chance. In my youth I was passionate about science and it is during an astronomy workshop that I gradually discovered what it was like to develop and print photos in a lab. That was a true revelation, which encouraged me to work throughout the following summer in order to earn the money I needed to buy my first film camera. I then proceeded to set up a photo lab and spent many sleepless nights tinkering in darkness, surrounded by the smell of chemicals, just to obtain a few silver prints.

Years later, during a photography workshop held in a studio, another experience caused a major shift in my photography. This was my first shooting session, and the expression in the model’s gaze as I was about to start shooting completely overwhelmed me with swells of emotion which brought me back to a painful time in my youth. But instead of trying to bury this experience even more deeply, I now tap into it to create the energy and emotion that I now look for in a shooting session.

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Peripheral ARTeries

Xavier Blondeau

shadowy presence ‐ untitled ‐

shadowy presence ‐ untitled ‐

may 2011

september 2011

Ever since then, shooting pictures has become for me a special time, one that allows me to capture my own emotion in the outside world. I feel connected to this world which lets out an intimate and irrepressible call. My photos aim to convey this intense emotion. No need to explain, to conceptualize, just raw emotion! Over time, I have come to realize that the painful yearnings of my past have given me the an interview with strength and the energy to produce photographic work that is sensitive and personal. My self-taught artistic background naturally leads me to believe that a formal artistic training is not always mandatory. This training could lead budding artists to unconsciously tailor their art or their technique to please a certain professor, all the more so that they do not always have enough perspective or strength of character to follow their own path. However I think that artistic training, as long as it doesn’t twist students’ perspective, can boost them and help them find their own style.

The fact that I don’t have that kind of formal training sometimes puts me at a disadvantage in the art world. Since I don’t have any art degree I often feel I have to constantly prove myself, for example by being regularly featured in art exhibitions. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

What is of utmost importance to me is being in a certain receptive state so that I can capture a fleeting emotion, what I would call ‘the emotional instant’. When I’m in that state, I shoot on instinct, I don’t think through my photos beforehand at all because I’m not trying to ‘premeditate’ them. I let intuition take over and guide me, following my instinct, without rationality or mental construct. I’m not looking for the decisive moment so dear to the heart of humanist photographers but I try to be in a receptive state to the elements around me. It is the elements that ‘grab’ me: a particular light, a barely-there silhouette or the way a body moves. In a way, it is the picture that comes to me. If the mind insinuates itself in this utterly fragile process, all the magic disappears. That is why it is crucial for me to preserve this emotional moment, by stripping my thoughts any attempt at rationality. #196ofWinter

shadowy presence ‐ untitled ‐ april 2012

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Laelanie Larach

Peripheral ARTeries

shadowy presence ‐ untitled ‐ september 2011

digital processing. I did digital work on some series long after they were shot; sometimes several years go by before a series is finalized. It’s as if it was necessary to let the negatives rest. Even if little digital treatment is applied to a photo or a series, another maturation period sometimes seems necessary.

Of course, a stage of quasi-unconscious maturation exists. A long time can elapse between bursts of activity, as if I had become incapable of seeing the elements around me, as if they had lost their power to ‘grab’ me because the time isn’t right. A week, a month, a trimester. This period of latency is often tricky, because it is awash in doubt and anxiety, leading me to question my photography work and my ability to perceive things beyond the obvious. I feel unable to undertake anything. But then comes the moment when a little something, for example a stolen glance, triggers the feeling that something is going to happen.

Therefore there are no precise rules to how I go about my pho- tography work; it even almost seems that each series requires its own specific process. But maybe that’s because it is the result of a unique set of events which cannot easily be controlled!

Emotion overtakes me when looking at a particular scene and I feel that the emotional moment I mentioned above is almost upon me. Then I grab my camera and let the miracle strike when it will. Some series saw the light in less than an hour, but I know that some others will take my whole life. With the advent of digital photography, another important stage has found its way into the creative:

Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with Shadowy Presence that our readers have started to admire in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest them to visit your website directly at http://www.xbphotographe.com/ in order to get a wider idea of this stimulating project... Vanishing Point, Mixed media trid.piece, 2012in the meanwhile, would you tell us something 9


Peripheral ARTeries

Xavier Blondeau

shadowy presence ‐ untitled ‐ december 2009

about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

of existence and to, perhaps, try to find the answer to these questions. This mental exercise I propose to the person viewing these photographs is made easier by the fact that every scene takes place at night. Night is conducive to imagining, and I like my pictures to leave room for interpretation. This allows the viewer to make the photo his own, which increases the involvement of those discovering them. I used a nightly setting for this series, but for other series, the element that will draw the viewer into the picture and encourage him to project his own meaning onto it is fog, as in the series ‘Bad weather on the road’, or blurring as in the series ‘Lost bodies’ or ‘Imprint’. As you have remarked once, there are places or situations in which, despite the absence of human entity, a dark presence exists beyond objects... your works are capable of establishing a presence and such an atmosphere of memories, using just little reminders of human existence... I would like to ask you if

Shadowy Presence has two founding elements: night-related themes and the absence of human entity in the city. The painful flaw in my life which I mentioned earlier has led me to focus on the individual as a subject of interest. More specifically, I have been pondering this question: what defines our individuality, what relationship can we have with our surroundings? That is why I find the city, which by essence represents our capacity to create our own territory, to be a very interesting experimental field when trying to solve that issue. By representing the city without human presence in my photos, I lure the public into witnessing this absence, a void which they’ll naturally tend to fill, it’s a bit as if the viewer was looking at a mirror without reflection. Thus, by trying to introduce this missing human presence by way of a mental construct, the viewer will be better able to grasp that feeling 10


Xavier Blondeau

Peripheral ARTeries

shadowy presence � untitled � july 2013

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

By now you will have understood that it is primarily my emotions which lead me to take photographs. These emotions are intimately linked to my past, to a number of personal experiences, to this part of us that transcends our own existence to seek some sort of link between us and something much bigger and more universal. It is the starting point of my artistic process nowadays. Of course, it is important then to build, or rather formalize, a creative approach. This allows artists to make sure that creation amounts to more than simply the inspiration of the moment. I sometimes feel that my approach to photography is a little schizophrenic, to the extent that my pictures seem to be primarily the fruit of my 11

emotions. These emotions can only express themselves if I manage to turn off all my rationalizing thoughts so that I can reach that necessary state of receptiveness. However, I am aware that some personal thought has already taken place upstream, often without my conscious knowledge, during the maturation phase I told you about. Similarly, after shooting photos I take time to observe and analyze the resulting pictures. It is then, looking at my work in retrospect, that the underlying concept or idea which led me to take these pictures really jumps at me. It is in this moment that a series begins to emerge. This makes me realize that my approach to photography can’t do without this back and forth between a quasi-unconscious emotional state and a later stage of introspection and analysis. This might be the consequence of my personal history to the extent that I trained as a scientist, which has led to my current position as Associate Professor, while at the same time managing to develop my artistic side through photography. Live performance, photo by Mark Hamburg


Peripheral ARTeries

Xavier Blondeau

Captions details

an interview with

faux‐semblant€‐ untitled ‐ february 2012

faux‐semblant€‐ untitled ‐ february 2012

This is the perfect illustration of one of my most strongly held belief, which is that art is intimately linked to personal experience. If that wasn’t the case and one’s art wasn’t instinctual and laden with personal meaning, if it was purely the result of some sort of deliberate method, then the artworks produced would be ‘intellectualized’, they would lose in great part their ability to touch the public, and they would require some theoreCaptions details tical knowledge to be fully appreciated.

Another interesting project of yours that have particularly impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled fauxsemblant and one of the features of it that has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been effectively capable of re-contextualizing the idea of landscape and of environment... so I would like to stop for a moment to consider the "function" of the landscape suggested by your work: most of the times it doesn't seem to be #196 Winterand I'm sort of conjust a passive background... 12


Laelanie Larach

Peripheral ARTeries

Ever since photography escaped the narrow technical boundaries that confined it at the beginning, it has been commonly agreed that a photographer’s take on his surroundings isn’t objective. Reality is filtered through the photographer’s eyes. It is thus through his photography that the artist-photographer expresses an intention. This intention mustn’t be conventional, for fear the images produced should be of no interest, but on the contrary it should offer a different vision of things. As for the ‘Make Believe’ series, the signs that dot our roads have an obvious meaning. They give us information we need to drive properly. But their presence fades gradually from our memory. The speed with which we must process their presence and the information they contain leads us to erase them from consciousness as part of our surroundings. So I wanted to ‘rehabilitate’ them by assigning them not only a more symbolic function, but also a more personal one as well: that of holding a truth which escapes us, but of which we are dimly aware nonetheless. Through these images I tried to uncover and bring to the forefront this hidden truth, by creating an inner light from this road signs. This offbeat vision of things is, for me, an extremely important point when it comes to art-house photography. I think that people who sometimes find it hard to relate to our world, either because they have managed to preserve their inner child or because they have experienced certain things, are more likely to develop this offbeat

Captions details

faux‐semblant€‐ untitled ‐ february 2012

vinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

vision of the world around them. As far as I’m concerned, I believe I have managed to always retain some measure of poetic wonderment and imagination, the same one that allows children to create imaginary worlds from the ordinariness of life. While your works are completely analogue, in these last years we have seen a great usage of digital technology, in order to achieve Vanishing Mixed media trid.piece, 2012 outcomes Point, that was hard to get with traditio-

I think that the role of a photographer, and the source of his strength, is precisely how he perceives all the things around him. 13


Peripheral ARTeries

Xavier Blondeau

TransEnDance ‐ untitled ‐ february 2012

nal techniques: do your think that an excess of such techniques could lead to a betrayal of reality?

They will knead it like clay until they arrive at a work which is very far removed from reality. Using modern digital techniques in photography doesn’t make the resulting artwork any less a photograph. I don’t mind using digital techniques to the extent that I have never aimed to take realistic photos; rather I strive to offer my own sensitive vision of the world around me. A fair number of my photos have been digitally altered post-shoot. You probably would be very surprised to know which of my images have had the most digital work done!

As I indicated previously, the art-house photographer’s role is to offer his particular vision, his own very personal take on the world around him. My photographic work thus has more in common with the work of a painter than with that of a reporter. In fact, the artist has little use for reality. He looks at the world around him and handpicks some elements, a personal interpretation of which might later be offered to the public. The point for him is to offer his own creative world, his own sensory perception. Figurative painters are no longer sneered at for failing to render the absolute likeness of a face in a portrait, or for their sketchy representation of sunflower fields, for example. So why point the finger at the photographer who uses today’s techniques to create his own creative world? Some photographers will look upon the raw image obtained from a shoot as the gouache painters use.

But one must be careful not to get ‘locked’ into a particular technique. A photographer, to my mind, amounts to far more than just digital printing or a spectacular technical feat while shooting. We photographers sometimes happen to manage a particularly difficult photo on the first take. Does that photo have more value than the one I created digitally? If your answer is yes, you are implying that the main interest in the photo is the technique used to get it. 14


Xavier Blondeau

Peripheral ARTeries

TransEnDance ‐ untitled ‐ february 2012

and even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naïf, I'm sort of convinced that Art in these days could play an effective role not only making aware public opinion about socio political issues: I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can even steer people's behavior... I would take this chance to ask your point about this. Do you think that it's an exaggeration? And what could be in your opinion the role that an artist could play in our society?

I am convinced that an art-house photograph is more than that. I often smile when people ask me whether my photos have been digitally altered. I tell them about these great humanist photographers which led everyone to believe that they had produced their photos without any enhancement, just by being in the right place at the right time, as Cartier Bresson liked to claim. To prove they never cropped their photos they went so far as to introduce a black border in their prints, which was supposed to show where their negative stopped. Others followed suit by systematically adding a black border in their print photographs, even when they had been cropped! If the photograph is to be used to report on events around the world, it is mandatory to respect the photo’s integrity and to stick to high ethical standards so as to not deceive the reader, but in the context of artistic creation, forgoing digital techniques doesn’t make any sense. By the way, I can recognize a subtle but deep social criticism some of your projects as Corps 15

I think that, before anything, we need to distinguish between the photographer-reporter and the arthouse photographer. In the first case, the photojournalist seeks to portray an event or situation and tries to be as objective as possible. His photography must transcribe a political or social reality. However his vision isn’t neutral, because he is trying to take a stand versus this reality which is supposed to be objective: his photography will then be intentional. By leveraging this reality he tries very often to make us aware of the socio-political issues of the moment. For example, Nick Ut’s photo showing a naked VietnaLive performance, photo by Mark Hamburg


Peripheral ARTeries

Xavier Blondeau

Corps€perdus€‐ untitled – march 2011

Corps€perdus€‐ untitled – march 2011

an interview with sents an exceptionally efficient means of persuasion. The artist can then take advantage of the fact that his work had struck an affective nerve to use Art for higher purposes. This way he will be able to denounce a particular situation and influence people’s behavior. Then is it advisable to use Art as a ‘propaganda weapon’ to serve a cause? I cannot answer this question. On the other hand, it seems important to me to let the artist choose the role he wants to have in society through his works

mese girl fleeing an area that had just been bombed with napalm became instantly famous around the world and the public outcry that ensued contributed to ending the conflict. Other photographs have also helped change the course of events. But in that case, is it right to talk about a work of Art? Through his work, an art-house photographer, unlike a photojournalist, offers a very personal vision of the world. He does not necessarily try to make people aware of certain issues, even if his work can lead to social criticism. Of course, his work is based on his personal experience and the intimate impression he has of the world he lives in. Let’s take the example of Picasso, who created in June 1937 the gigantic canvas ‘Guernica’ to denounce the bombardment of the city earlier in April as part of the Spanish civil war. I think that Art is a powerful means of expression and communication since a work of Art has the ability to reach us deeply. It goes beyond a certain rationality and is capable of touching us to the core.

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

The power that radiates from a work thus repre-

Winter I do not have any#196 kind of formal artistic training 16


Laelanie Larach

Corps€perdus€‐ untitled – march 2011

Peripheral ARTeries

Corps€perdus€‐ untitled – march 2011

and I do not come from the world of Art. It’s the reason why I am probably more sensitive than others to feedback from the public or art institutions regarding my work. When I showed my work for the first time it felt like I was baring my soul and it made me very vulnerable to comments and remarks. I experienced it like a trauma, and I was a fully grown man of 43 at the time. And yet, it seems very important to me that the work of an artist be seen by others.

be receptive to what others might think of the photo I am in the process of taking, but to find out there, in a precise instant, an emotion that matches mine. It is an intimate relationship which, at the beginning, excludes others. When I work on my photos post-shoot and that I experience anew the emotion that led to the shoot, I then know that I have reached my goal. I also know that my work on this photograph is done. All it needs to be complete is that others look at it. If by ‘business’ you mean gallery owners, I like to believe that there can exist a sincere relationship between the artist and the gallery owner. This sincere relationship can only develop if the gallery owner has a true interest in the artist rather than merely in the art the latter produces. The work of an artist is only a snapshot of his creative development. If the gallery owner only cares about the work, he is bound to hurt his relationship with the artist by trying to confine him to the type of work that will sell on the market. The gallery owner must accept toPoint, followMixed the media artist trid.piece, in his creative Vanishing 2012 development, without imposing a vision or a

Facing people’s perception of one’s work, explaining one’s approach, sharing emotions and gathering the public’s impression is what makes us, artists, grow and continue down our chosen path. In addition, it seems to me that a work created by an artist cannot really exist if it is not exposed to people’s appraisal. It’s as if a vital bond had to form between the artist and the public through the former’s works. However my photographic work is not influenced in the least by the existence of this vital link. In fact, when I create my photographs, I feel completely disconnected from the world. This emotional state I described earlier leads me not to 17


Peripheral ARTeries

Xavier Blondeau

style that is easily marketable. This freedom to create without pressure from the marketplace is what makes a quality relationship between an artist and a gallery owner. The question that comes to mind is how many gallery owners actually take into account the artist rather than his artistic production? Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Xavier: anything co-ming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

It has been a true pleasure answering your very interesting and relevant questions. I have tried to provide answers that were both sincere and objective. I hope your readers will find the various points discussed to be of interest. Right now I am working on an ambitious project, one that is fairly difficult to implement. Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to produce photographic work jointly with a painter artist. This has allowed me to go beyond the scope of photography and to offer a particular kind of work which blends painting and photography. The challenge was to recreate a photograph using pictorial elements. This entailed a specific four-handed digital work and the collaboration between a painter and a photographer. This work was shown in France, at the castle of la Roche-Guyon. In the near future I would like to use the Shadowy Presence series to create photos targeted at the visually impaired. The idea is to introduce a dimensional relationship between light and heat; the photos would thus be perceived using the sense of touch. The heat sensation, more or less intense depending on how much light is in a particular area of the picture, should make it possible for the visually impaired to mentally construct a picture.

Bad€Weather€on€the€Road ‐ untitled february 2011

This is still work in progress, which should ultimately lead to an exhibition in Paris next October. Stay tuned for more! An interview by Dario Rutigliano peripheralarteries@dr.com 18


Xavier Blondeau

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Peripheral ARTeries

Live performance, photo by Mark Hamburg


Peripheral ARTeries

Gabri Solera (Spain)

#196 Winter 1


Righteous Exploits performance, photo by Matt Lewis 2


Peripheral ARTeries

Gabri Solera

An interview with

Gabri Solera Hello Gabri, and 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 moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork? Do you think that there is still a dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness?

For me a work of art is something that conveys emotions, whether good or bad and can come across a painting, photograph, song, book or even the smile of a loved one. Of course, art is still something as subjective as each person the note, which reminds me of one of my first pictures "playing" with mirrors and "Magritte". The features which make contemporariness I fear often dictates the art market, curators, critics, an interview with collectors and auction rather than the artists themselves. Tradition and contemporariness is a complex dichotomy since the latter would not exist without the former but sometimes seems to want to become independent disciplines (installation, video art, performance) very far from traditional.

Gabri Solera

Would you like to tell us something about your background? In particular, besides your studies at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, you have attended the Escuela de FotografĂ­a EFTI from which you received a Master in Digital and creative Photography: how have these experiences impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I would like to ask your point about formal training... Sometimes I ask to myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle an artist's creativity...

It harmonizes with my journalism studies which helped me to have a double vision intermixing of reality and objectivity of my career at the Universidad Complutense and obsession & imagination of my professors-photographers in the master. I'm agree with you that sometimes try to train technical and design many things can block the inspiration of an artist. One must have the knowledge and then forget about it when you're working on a new series and let others such as intuition and creativity flow.

My first memory of photography is to start an introductory course in 2007 without camera (quite complicated to learn :)). A few weeks later I bought a second hand SLR and the following year I was doing the Masters in EFTI creative photography.

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 tech22


Ulvi Haagensen

Peripheral ARTeries

from La Condicion Humana series

nical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

tion of field work, carrying heavy items (I used a gasoline generator to directly illuminate the scene), meet with "models" and helpers ... making it very stressful to be aware of all the details, but it is also very rewarding when the result is very similar to the "original idea". Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with the interesting "La Condici贸n Humana", a stimulating project that our readers can admire in these pages and directly at http://www.gabrisolera.com/#15 : could you take us through your creative process when starting this work?

My creative process is pretty crazy (like me) because I never know when inspiration will emerge (Picasso said "that inspiration arrives while you are working"). I read a lot, I see enough movies, traveling to different cities, visited exhibitions of different authors .... For me the most important is to have a good idea (I think the most important thing about a movie is the script.) I focus mainly on that and then developing trust with my people (girlfriend, family, friends). In some photographs as "Operaci贸n Recolonizar" series must be added a large produc-

Thanks for recommending my website, I hope that visits rises :) I 'm very fond of "La Condici贸n Humana". It was a work I did in 2009 in less than 23


Peripheral ARTeries

Gabri Solera

an interview with

from La Condicion Humana series

from La Condicion Humana series

a month. It all started in the summer of 2008 when I made my first art series " Real Fiction" with a mirror supported in shady places reflecting lit urban natures. From there I pulled that rope , I was obsessed with surrealism , I found an easel in the trash and everything fit to start " The Human Condition " (that is the title of a painting by RenĂŠ Magritte ) .

And as if it were a refreshing trip, these photographs within photographs, gives us a glimpse into new realities, idyllic settings that make the viewer see past the nature could offer a wealth of feelings of which we are deprived today ". Another interesting work of yours on which I would like to spend some words is entitled "Terrain Vague" which I have to admit have really impressed me: elements of the environment are very recurrent in your artistic production, and besides a merely physical dimensions, space has a more symbolic meaning, it can be a metaphor for emotions and associations... as you have remarked once, there Winter are places where#196 it seems to predominate appa-

According to the curator and art critic, RocĂ­o Ales : "La CondiciĂłn Humana created with the intention of giving the viewer the chance to escape and rebuild their own natural unreality giving us the possibility of a more hopeful dream and magical situation. It reflects the distorted view with a dreamy landscape painter who would like to meet. 24


Laelanie Larach

Peripheral ARTeries

an interview with

Vanishing Point, Mixed media trid.piece, 2012

from La Condicion Humana series, details

6


Peripheral ARTeries

Gabri Solera

rently forgotten memories of the past on the present...

Terrain Vague is my most extensive both in quantity and in time photo series (I'm not even sure if I've completely finished it). They have always struck me these peripheral locations of major cities where large tracts of vacant land mixed with constructions made by humans. I like the definition you do: metaphorical spaces, I think it is very wise to explain these landscapes where more than answers, I try to find questions. The project "Terrain Vague" his has reminded me the concept of non-place elaborated by French anthropologist Marc AugĂŠ. And I'm wondering if one of the hidden aims of your Art could be to search the missing significance to a non-place that would lead us to develop something more personal... Could ever the negotiation between locality and globality lead to a non-conflictual concept of re-territoliarization or should we need to make do with an "happy deterritorialization"?

Yes, non-places are also present in the work of writer J.G Ballard. Local and Global are expressions that are dying or merging into "Glocal" be-

from the Vague Terrain series

Vague Terrain The French term "terrain vague" (in Spanish "wasteland", in English "vaste land") is the term under which architectural criticism has agreed to call certain conditions that, in many different forms, are presented in the city contemporary. First, vague understood as vacant, empty, free of activity, even obsolete unproductive, moreover, vague as vague as regards its inaccuracy and imprecision and impossibility of identifying boundaries.

however, the survival of the English word has more meanings or geological farm. But the French terrain word also refers to larger areas, perhaps less precise, linked to the physical idea of a piece of land in waiting status, and potentially profitable but with some kind of definition in property to which we are external. As to the second word, vague, we must look to the term comes from two Latin plus one German. The latter, root-Wogue HRV refers to surf the waves of the water and has a meaning that is not idle retain: motion, oscillation, instability, fluctuation. Wave, in English, comes from the same root.

In French, the term terrain has a more urban land that English, so it should be noted that terrain is, first, an extension of limits precious soil, building in the city. If I'm not mistaken,

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Gabri Solera

Peripheral ARTeries

cause what happens thousands of miles from our homes can directly affect (a species of butterfly effect). I keep thinking these days in the "crisis" between Ukraine and Russia or the outbreak of Ebola virus in Africa. Most of my photographs of "Terrain Vague" are made in Spain, but I guess that just about anyone who lives near a big city in any country could see reflected their current society, I don't know if that's a happy or unhappy deterritorialization, each person must decide it. Some of the best photographers in portraying these places-non places are Americans: Stephen Shore, Joel Sternfeld ... Maybe it is because America is the Terrain Vague by excellence.

from the Vague Terrain series

But we are interested in further two Latin roots that shaped the French term vague. First, as derived vacuus vague, vacant, vacuum English, ie empty, unoccupied. But also free, available, unengaged. The ratio of non-use, of activity and the sense of freedom, of expectation is critical to under-stand the power that the terrain vague evo-cative of cities have on the perception of it in recent years. Empty therefore as absence, but also as a meeting, as space as possible expec-tation. There is a second meaning of vague overlaps the French as vacant. This is from the Latin word vagus vague, vague, also in English to mean indeterminate, imprecise, blurred, uncertain.

Again the paradox that occurs in the message we get from these indefinite and uncertain spaces is not necessarily a negative message only. They are places where it seems to predominate apparently forgotten memories of the past on the present. They are places where only obsolete certain residual values appear to remain despite their disaffection full activity of the city. They are, in short, external places, strangers who fall outside the circuits of production structures. They emptied inner islands of activity, are forgotten and debris that remain outside the urban dynamics simply becoming des-inhabited areas, in-safe, im-productive. 27

Live performance, photo by Mark Hamburg


Peripheral ARTeries

Gabri Solera

from the Operacion series

Your works are capable of establishing a deep involvement with the audience, both on intellectual side and on a physical aspect, as in "Operaci贸n Recolonizar", an extremely stimulating work that challenges our perception and in a certain sense forces us to fill the "drop-out" what we see...... So I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process,... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

where reality and fiction where, the result is simply attractive and do not mind if you used photoshop or is a straight photo. During these years your artworks have been exhibited in several occasions, ... it goes without saying that positive feedbacks are capable of providing an artist of a special support... I was just wondering if the expectation of a positive feedback- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art... Well, I would lie if#196 I saidWinter I do not mind public opi-

Operaci贸n Recolonizar is the series that have introduced more personal experiences as each photo is a tribute to a painting, book, movie, story... I think there are a lot of autobiographical in almost all artistic process, but of course it's also important to know escape and invent for the public not know 28


Gabri Solera

Peripheral ARTeries

an interview with

from the Operacion series

thoughts, Gabri: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

nion, depend on them, but it is also true that the important thing is to do what you would see on a wall, feel good yoursellf and those around you. Sometimes, there are series like a more knowledgeable and critical audience, the other neophytes with no special interest in art and sometimes the stars align, images dazzle both sides (in the case of "La Condici贸n Humana", for example). In my case there is not much relationship bet-ween Art and Business because they just do busi- ness with my photos, but to achieve higher spheres of art I do think it's important to be surrounded by "Patron" and attend many ope-nings and talks to you take into account . It is what I call the backstage of Art.

The next thing is continue my series "Urbium" where I move closer to the buildings of our cities in an aesthetic / critical mixture. I also want to continue showing my past work, preferably in group or solo exhibitions at such renowned places as Berlin, London, NY ... so if you have any significant contact with galleries and curators, do not hesitate, send them to me ;) Thanks to you, this interview was an unforgettable experience that has helped me to re-think on my own work. An interview by Dario Rutigliano

Thank for your time and for sharing your

peripheralarteries@dr.com 29


Peripheral ARTeries

Gema Herrero (Spain)

"Luz, more light" An artist’s statement

Gema Herrero's work is linked to the photo, the video, the installations and the use of the technology. The sonorous portraits, the texts, the “emotional cartographies� and the photomontage (Intervened Images in with multiple layers of reading). The temporary things, the state of change and the transformations, are a constant in all projects, which feed with the records gathered in the covered trajectories and which are the proper traces and the tracks left by others from the experience of the state of transit and provisional state. Artistic education -school of fine arts- and Master's degree in Audio- visual Production Applied to Multimedia (Univ . Carlos III of Madrid). Professional activity: developed in parallel form to artistic activity during 18 years in the scope of the art direction and transmedia creativity of independent groups of multimedia communication. She is part of the founding team of Nooxfera (professional independent from different areas: audiovisual, design, theater, TV, media and global communication). Professor of monographic courses of design and creativity.

Gema Herrero #196 Winter 30


Project: Children's Game (HeterotopĂ­as)

Final compositions. Register of practices, which takes place in spaces modified by citizens as a result of the economic crisis. Its point of departure is a conflict around which a collective creative and transforming activity has taken place.

Righteous Exploits performance, photo by Matt Lewis 31


Peripheral ARTeries

Ulvi Haagensen

An interview with

Gema Herrero Hello Gema, and 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? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

«If one cannot understand the usefulness of the useless and uselessness of the useful, one cannot understand art». Eugène Ionesco.

an interview with Hi Peripheral ARTeries, it is nice talking to you. Artistic sensitivity can be expressed in many ways. Any type of technique can be used with interesting results. Some nice pieces can be the result of an isolated fact. They are experimental pieces resulting from fortunate coincidences without a solid work behind them to back them up. Many of these artworks are our drafts and they show an artistic sensitivity, but constitute only the prelude of what could eventually turn into a masterpiece. These experiments are ‘possible’ things. Some of those possible things could become ‘necessary’ things when an artwork is complete. Many times, mixtures of these practices are exposed in exhibition spaces and very often, when the eyes of the observers are unfamiliar with art, they are shocked and don’t understand why that piece in front of them is considered to be art and can’t see the proposal behind it.

Gema Herrero 32


Ulvi Haagensen

Peripheral ARTeries

Register of the series “En Tránsito”. Location: Vietnam.

At times, some of those possibilities show a repertoire with a coherent shape…”a round shape”. I don’t think it is necessary to provide the observer with an overload of information to guide him. However, giving him some clues will help him identify the context.

Those artworks, which provoke a reflection, or an emotion, that remains inside of me long after I have experienced them. Then, I ‘examine them minutely’ from several perspectives. In those cases, I do a personal search as I want to know what those artworks have moved inside of me to give rise to such an interest, and I also do a documentary search about the artwork creation.

At best, and regardless when they were created, the artworks arising my interest are those which somehow make me take part in them, even if they don’t ask for any intervention; they challenge me and make me wish to go deep inside them, a feeling which goes far beyond passive contemplation.

I would like to share with you some inspiring paragraphs for those who want to read in Spanish; some unpublished, non translated texts written by Jordi Claramonte from his on online publication ‘Estética y Teoría del arte. Tríptico modal’

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Gema Herrero

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any particular experiences that have impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks?

Each biography and each route are a whole world in itself. In my case, I haven’t followed predictable paths. My waybill has changed as my interests and need for knowledge have evolved. I think learning is a never-ending task and there is humbleness in accepting the fact that there is still a long way to go. In spite of my artistic background and my Master Degree focused on audiovisual production and multimedia, the most interesting things have come to me through other types of contacts; contacts through which I have met other people who have given me something, as they have shared with me visions different from mine. The search starts when one feels the need to materialize something and there are aspects one cannot complete on his/her own. If, on top of this, we are open to let things happen, then a sort of serendipity can take place. By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... what's your point?

I think meeting other people within an open, non-official context is essential because it goes far beyond the practical interest of getting a certificate, thus focusing instead in the exchange and enhancement of knowledge. These searches are elective. They might not offer an immediate ‘practical’ profit, but could lead us towards people we would never have the chance to meet otherwise. So the task is to keep alert and to look for those who can help us grow. Even if not all of them will comply with this goal, some of them will indeed deserve the effort and time invested.

Project: IN|VISIBLES. Installation images

to get automatically what can only be obtained as the result of an individual effort and tireless passion». NUCCIO ORDINE, ‘The usefulness of the uselessness’, translated by Jordi Bayod, Barcelona 2013 Acantilado. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do

«Everything can be bought, that is true. From members of Parliament to trials, from power to success: everything has a price except knowledge: the price to pay for knowing is of a quite different nature. Not even a blank cheque would allow us

#196 Winter 34


Gema Herrero

Peripheral ARTeries

an interview with

Project: IN|VISIBLES. Installation images

In some other cases, the creation process is much slower and is the answer to something that worries me and inevitably draws my attention, giving rise to a long process, which takes time before it can be materialized (Children´s game).

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

Some pieces emerge as a result of “exercises”, practices I set up within the context of experimentation. In those cases, I try to start something that, for some particular reason, is interesting for me. Sometimes these pieces evolve and go further than initially foreseen (IN|VISIBLES).

Each case requires a concrete process. The first results could be those I keep for myself, or maybe not.

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Gema Herrero

I destroy many of the things I create, even if I regret it later. That is part of the game. I need to make myself several proposals. I have recently found out that, surprisingly, one or two of my friends who are composers also share this trend towards creative destruction. As to technical aspects, each case is different. The moment for choosing the final resources comes when the project is finally defined and it has to do with how it will be exposed. One project could have several possibilities. I love installations because of their ephemeral and unique nature. They might need several types of technical resources that should be simplified. In other cases, I use materials. In general, sound and image are always present. The sound understood as the main character, not just as an accompaniment to the image. Technical aspects should not be the most important factor. I think it is interesting to work with a repertoire of known elements with which you can play. In this way, I can always consider changes according to what I want to say or what I want the observer to capture. Regardless the final format for exhibition, the projects can be tracked through the Internet. Some of them are available and linked to a domain, others are in unreachable sites and only temporary, changing summaries witness their existence (“I´m listening to you” hereinafter). Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from En Transito, that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article, and at your website at http://www.entransito.com/ in order to get a more concrete idea of it. In the meanwhile,would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

En tránsito is a “quiet” project, which is little by little consolidating its presence in the Internet. It is always in a beta phase.

Project: “En Tránsito”. 12 different locations

There are many ways of approaching it and sailing through its content. It should not be seen as a traditional web page, which immediately reveals i

ts purpose. It is not a model of conventional ’usability’, but it is neither complex nor unpredictable as other proposals we find in net art. 36


Gema Herrero

Peripheral ARTeries

gies and different connections. The project is shown in the Internet as it is built up. All registers involved in it depend on my movements. At present, the project shows in the upper part a month selector, which allows a type of navigation; but there are also connectors in other elements distributed through the pages as little symbols. This will change in short because the project doesn’t intend to show a chronologically fixed evolution even if a chronology is suggested. The following quotation can be reached through a link from many parts of the repertoire or registers: «The project's work method: I have nothing to say but only something to show. I will not hide anything valuable nor will I steal any deep formulation, But the rags, the scraps, I won’t make an inventory of them. I will only let them conquer their right in the only way possible: by using them. ». (¹) The repertoire of registers before ‘En tránsito’ is EN|TRANSITO 01 , a dynamic cartography of the memory, where events are badly structured and are shown as a group of situations which have taken place according to an order which goes out of control. If we analyse the way the experience is generated, we can often say it is not linear, it simply builds up itself by connecting sometimes events that took place at very distant moments and places. When we want to tell a story in a formal way, we organize the events in order to make it understandable. This is possible when we look at the past, but when we simply observe and internalize the generating sources of the experiences we go through, that order is in fact chaotic.

(¹) Among many of his works, Walter Benjamin compiled quotations. Words said by others that he decided to organize, classify and bind, occasionally adding his own words as a prologue. His presence is reflected in texts written by others....texts that he compiled thus generating a new work.

It is a repertoire of registers. Its navigation and the relationship between pieces change through time, thus establishing new temporal chronolo37

Live performance, photo by Mark Hamburg


Peripheral ARTeries

Gema Herrero

As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your trajectory is double, professional and artistic. The professional activity has brought you a lot of experience in technical and some methodologies applicable to other fields... If I have been asked to choose an adjective that could sum up in a single word your art, I would say that your it's "kaleido-scopic": it ranges from sound performances to the projects as El cuerpo sutil... while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a synergy bet-ween different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Synergy between different disciplines makes me grow. The reason why I pick up synergy among other disciplines is because it is a permanent and curious search. El cuerpo sutil is a project I created years ago. It is based upon a collaborative approach, that is to say, several artists participate and exchange something between each other, while each one of them remains the author of his/her part in the attempt.

Project: IN|VISIBLES. Contents

Several pieces of the project have already been completed and the project is still open, although only a few pieces are available in the Internet. In this game I make the proposal: there are no restrictions and I will accept anything that those collaborating with me want to give me (and whatever they give me, will always belong to them) even if he/she modifies the initial orientation proposed. I’m not looking for the expert opinion of somebody about a particular subject. My proposal is: let’s play a game. During the ‘three first times’ of this project, collaborations are based upon the word. I’m inte-rested in images that can be created through the word. In this particular case, words inspired in images pro#196 Winter posed.

Project: IN|VISIBLES. Contents

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others would implement it. Working in the creation of this type of projects is fascinating because they can be approached in their most creative and experimental stage, the most ‘naïve’ moment of their creation, which imposes an advanced vision of the project at the same time. Afterwards, when the final version is completed, creativity sets its bounds, it changes…. and other factors which restrict the proposal become important.

There will be more skins in this exchange, I might change the story line, music might also play a role, but that will come in the future. Even if they belong to different fields, the professional and artistic activities I carry out definitely have something in common. I have always worked in creativity and art direction. Several years of my professional experience have been devoted to the creation of prototypes. We used to have a sort of a multidisciplinary laboratory, which was somehow free to propose things (at present, this is not possible due to financial restrictions). For us, a prototype meant creating a model in its very initial stage, a model with all its possibilities, including the definition of processes, which would take place later, in order to make the prototype possible when

Just few times ago an artist that I happened to interview told me that "to create an we need physical involvement, great immediacy. Forms mature upon their long being created in imagination" I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think 39


Peripheral ARTeries

Gema Herrero

that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

It might depend on the discipline, the purpose one has in mind when creation starts and on the effect one wants to produce in the observer. It all depends on the goals we have in mind. Sometimes there is a big distance between what is shown and the author (the author doesn’t want to be noticed in his work), however, the observer ends up capturing his way of looking at things. When I can’t find that perspective clearly then I wonder why the author observes what he observes. If I apply this to my particular case, the things I produce are linked to my existence, to a certain way of looking at things, to a personal way of living and to my natural tendency to observe the specific things that calls my attention. This way of looking at things can change eventually. Another interesting piece of yours on which I would like to spend some words is entitled I'm Listening to You... Technology or I should better say, the manipulation of the concept of technology, plays a crucial role in producing the creative synergy that marks your art practice. So I would ask you: do you think that nowadays there still exists a dichotomy between art and technology? By the way, I would

Project: “I´m listening to you”. Visual registers

go as far as to say that in a way Science is assimilating Art and viceversa...

I think the use of technologies offers a wide range of creative possibilities as it fades away the figu-

Project: “I´m listening to you”. Visual registers

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Gema Herrero

Peripheral ARTeries

communication protocols and data that could be found in the Internet and are used to feed the content of the artwork. If we analyse this case in detail, we will come to the conclusion that some elements in that artwork make it difficult to see it as a simple piece of art (painting, sculpture), and there might be elements in that piece that can only be owned partially as they use intangible resources which can be used if you pay for them. There is no need to own these resources; anybody can pay to use them. The digital world shakes and alters somehow traditional classifications. Complexity grows when efforts are made to display and keep these artworks through the years, as the ephemeral nature of technologies, software and devices will demand constant updating and resources adaptation, keeping at the same time the author’s and the artwork’s intention. I also think that the use of technology implies more collaborators. This again breaks with the idea of the author-artist secluded in his studio, mixing up colours in his palette to become an activity in connection with others, which implies learning on a permanent basis. As far as “I´m listening to you” is concerned, it is a project I started long time ago. It’s always alive and it demands collecting a huge amount of content for each sound piece. It builds up slowly in time because its result depends on the trace of my movements. The crucial thing here is not the trace of my movements in itself, but the connections to be established later between the resulting materials.

res of both the artist and the exclusive owner of the artwork. I’ll give you an example: Let’s imagine an artwork, which requires several resources for its execution: software, servers, 41

In this project I work in the acoustic environment by recording sound elements: voices, tonic sounds, sound signals, sound brands… Registers are made in several places; always public places. The original recordings (the non-edited material) are “landscapes” formed by events that can be listened to. I find these landscapes particularly interesting due to their temporary nature. They don’t remain unchanged; they could actually disappear little by little without being noticed. When thinking about work stages, we could identify, in the first place, as in the case of any audiovisual production, the stage devoted to capturing the non- edited material. All these recordings are edited later, in order to extract Live performance, photo by Mark Hamburg


Peripheral ARTeries

Gema Herrero

from them the elements required for each sound piece, focusing on the individuals in the different spaces; individuals who tell short chapters of their lives protected by the anonymous crowd. Once again, the best final result is an installation. You work often reveal a socio-political criticism, and moreover - as in IN|VISIBLES, which I have to admit is one of my favourite work of yours- in my opinion it also seek to challenge art in its conventions of exclusivity and question the audience’s role as passive consumer: and I'm sort of convinced that Art these days could play an effective role not only making aware public opinion, but I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can steer people's behavior... what's your point about this?

Sometimes, the artist shows up things that others don’t show up any more, and he does so from a different perspective, which is way far from conventional criteria. But, to answer your question, in order to steer people’s behaviour Art should easily reach people and that seldom happens. Art gets to people through its own channels. Sometimes it does happen, especially when certain artworks come off those channels and seep in through cir- cuits outside of art. Register of the series “En Tránsito”. Location: Port

IN|VISIBLES, Children´s game, and other projects we don’t mention here, are the result of observation and of a particular concern. Children´s game (heteroto-pias) is a register of practices, which takes place in spaces modified by citizens as a result of the economic crisis. Its point of departure is a conflict around which a collective creative and transforming activity has taken place. The registers - which mix together with other elements and written texts – show something totally temporary because of its changing nature. These registers do not fit any fixed pattern and might disappear in a short time. As to IN|VISIBLES, this project was initially conceived as part of El Cuerpo Sutil and it grew up unex-pectedly. I chose the installation format be#196 Winter

Project: “Children´s Game”(Heterotopías). Installation

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fects produced by the different screenings and contents with no start no finish. I’m particularly interested in those cases in which the role of the spectator as a passive consumer is under discussion. I think this is a delicate subject, difficult to deal with. A couple of cases come to my mind: interesting media art artworks, which go beyond traditional classifications and change the concepts of artistic authorship and the relationship between the public and the artwork. PAUL SHERMON, TELEMATIC VISION . INTER [IN] VENTION. Collection ZMK| Karlsrue An installation connects two spaces in different locations. Both spaces show exactly the same furniture layout. Through a broadcast system and by means of a ‘chroma key’, spectators in both locations mix up with the image thus sharing the same virtual space shown through monitors located in both spaces The spectator observes himself. He is the changing element in the artwork and makes part of it. This is precisely my photograph, the one I provided to illustrate the interview. The image is composed of fragments of this installation and fragments of another one I will mention later. The photograph proves my presence as an observer and as an integrating part of the artwork. Without posing, I show curiosity and relief after a group of students invading my field of vision as they performed a balancing act and acrobatics in the connected space, finally leaves my shared virtual space.

ugal.

PETER WEIBEL, OBSERVATION OF THE OBSERVATION: UNCERTAINLY. INTER [IN] VENTION. Collection ZMK| Karlsrue

cause it fitted better the contents I wanted to create. Installations allow the display of all the project material: photographs, written texts, video and sound. Screenings are done on translucent materials and the public walks through those materials thus reflecting the images over their bodies.

An artwork created in the 70’s, which deeply analyses participation levels and uses installations in a closed circuit. It is an installation based upon a closed circuit, which is only understood thanks to the presence of the spectator. Broadly speaking, the spectator moves within a physical, circular space with cameras and monitors displayed in such a way that they only register and project the image of his back.

The observer does not make the artwork possible, but he is present in the artwork, even if he doesn't want to, because in order to look at it, he has to “invade” it. I found the effects of that invasion very interesting, as many observers felt they had entered a very private space. That opinion surprised me because the installation suggests a sort of chaos to visitors and still, they didn’t run away; they stayed there, listening and observing the ef-

The spectator is then a co-creator and makes part of the artwork in real time. He doesn’t play the role of a passive spectator anymore and becomes an essential element, which makes the artwork possible. The control concepts are evident in the artwork. 43


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Gema Herrero

It goes without saying that positive feedbacks are capable of providing an artist of the indespensable moral support to go ahead with his art production an artist... I was just wondering if it could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

The spectator completes the artwork; his involve-ment is crucial. The artist should often question himself as he works in an artwork, and should also put himself in the shoes of the observer. He must be coherent in terms of what he wants to transmit. The process of each artist is a very personal mat- ter and I think each artist should adopt an attitude, according to his objectives and priorities in relation to his work and to the “audience”. Feedback from the audience is important, but how this feedback gets to the artist is even more important. The most valuable answer is the one the artist gets personally, through a direct contact with the audience. As I try to answer your question, I wonder if there is another good formula, more or less automated, to know the effects produced by the observation of an artist work. I might stray off the subject you propose, but I honestly think we should always be critical when confronting systems and concrete platforms, which provide automate answers. Using technology is most interesting, but it is never neutral. When a programme is conceived, an interaction model is being designed in advance; this interaction model will allow the type of information to be gathered and the answers. It imposes a rational model, which might not be the adequate one. An automatism of the type ‘I like it—I don’t like it’ casts doubts on concepts such as ‘artistic autonomy’ and ‘aesthetic experience’ thus trivializing the answer. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Gema. 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?

Thanks for your interesting questions. As to my plans for the future, the only thing I can say is that I will go on with my activity and my projects. Many things concern me at the moment. We just have to take a brief look at reality to find an inexhaustible source of worries and conflicts. If they become creative facts, I guess I should not stop in a long time.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano peripheralarteries@dr.com 44


Gema Herrero

Peripheral ARTeries

audio video installation time of light, water memory

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Live performance, photo by Mark Hamburg


Peripheral ARTeries

Ulvi Haagensen (Australia/Estonia)

An artist’s statement

I am inspired by ordinary, everyday events and tasks that are taking place all the time, all over the world. Someone living in comfortable suburban Australia washes the dishes, while someone in war-torn Syria is also washing the dishes… or tying their shoelaces, or hanging up the washing. It seems that the time and effort spent repeatedly on mundane tasks acquires a deeply felt importance on the personal level. In this way, the everyday functions like a living artefact, much like ordinary items unearthed by archaeologists, offering clues to the substance of people’s stories. In my work I use a variety of media and contexts to express this interest in the commonplace. The act of drawing is an elementary form of expression – it is direct, simple and straightforward. The steel sculptures are like tangible drawings in space – controlled and defined. The plaster pieces also convey a sense of stability but my drawings with pencil on paper, acrylic on canvas, charcoal on a wall are more disordered. My work tends to hover between the real world and the world of art and illusion, but it is an illusion and order that often falls apart. A three dimensional piece in steel that “works” from one angle, no longer tells the “right” story when viewed from another, and instead presents a strange, uncomfortable distortion of space. Carefully considered, repetitive lines and marks on drawn surfaces end up conveying a sense of chaotic disorder or uncontrollable growth and the simple and everyday become foreign and unpredictable. Ulvi Haagensen

#196 Winter 46


Righteous Exploits performance, photo by Matt Lewis 2


Peripheral ARTeries

Ulvi Haagensen

An interview with

Ulvi Haagensen Hello Ulvi, and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork? Do you think that there is still a dichotomy between Tradition and Con-temporariness?

It is very difficult to define what makes an artwork, because there are so many different types of art and ways of making art that are all relevant. I could try to answer in regard to my own practice, but even that is hard. I stopped attempting to justify art a long time ago. I also stopped questioning whether I really was an artist or not. I just am. At the of sounding arrogant, anrisk interview with I suppose anything that I make and call art is art. For me I think the contemporariness of an artwork or art project is based on its relevance in the world that it occupies. I believe that sincere, genuine art is part of a dialogue – a dialogue, which includes artworks by other artists, but also ideas, politics, beliefs. Art is about communicating.

Kitchen of dreams" 2012 Part of the exhibition ”Silent Revolution” Tallinn Art

I do not believe there is a division between traditional and contemporary art.

during WWII and went as migrants to Australia. Paradoxically I now live in Estonia. Because of my own experience, and also that of my parents and grandparents, the unifying concept of home, and as an extension of it, domesticity and the everyday, has always been a source of inspiration.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that particularly impacted on the way you produce your art nowadays? In particular, besides a Master of Fine Art that you have received from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, you also studied Jewellery Design. So I would like to ask your opinion about formal training... Sometimes I ask to myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle an artist's creativity...

When I was doing my MFA in Sydney my ideas and interests really started to focus, but even now I am sorting them out and am still working out what interests and concerns me. Yes, I did study jewellery, but it was not long before I realized that I did not want to make work for the body. Fortunately, my teachers, one of whom was a sculptor, encouraged me to stay in the course

I have drawn inspiration from my background. I grew up in Fiji and Australia. My parents left Estonia 48


Ulvi Haagensen

Peripheral ARTeries

Kitchen of dreams" 2012 Details

do something, and I get a fleeting glimpse of how it might work, it starts to take shape…from then on it is important to know when to stop. 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, which

Hall (31 July–5 September)

and it was there that I learned to weld and started making sculptures. I do not think formal training stifles creativity. On the contrary, it opens up the world of art with all its possibilities – as a student, and now as a teacher at the Estonian Academy of Art, I believe it is important to know what is going on in the world of art, both past and present, to meet different artists and see all the different ways that art can be made. But what can stifle creativity is when we become good at something – a technique or a process. The most exciting part of the creative process for me is that period at the beginning of a project when I am in the dark, I do not quite know how to

Kitchen of dreams" 2012, Details 49


Peripheral ARTeries

Ulvi Haagensen

the meanwhile, could you take us through your creative process when starting this stimulating project?

These drawings began while I was in a lecture doodling on a piece of paper. Later I asked myself the simple question, “What happens if I keep going?” At first it seemed crazy and pointless, especially since I have always preferred to draw the things I see around me and now for the first time I am making abstract art. I call them “knitted drawings” because like knitting they are composed of loop-like elements, that attached to one another can grow into something that could be infinitely large. I am especially inspired by contemporary Chinese artists – who have endless patience to repeat a simple action or element that looks insignificant in isolation, but when repeated assumes incredible power. Making them is time consuming but also meditative. In today’s busy and stressful, and even scary world I find it reassuring that there will always be everyday daily tasks. Even in wartime the dishes and clothes need to be washed. Maybe the sockan interview with knitting, which was practiced in wartime, was not only to provide the soldiers with socks, but was also

Knitted drawing, 2013 pencil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm

therapeutic for the women at home who could do little but wait and hope. In this way the everyday provides a mantra through which we can manage and even survive when faced with difficulties – everything from the normal daily difficulties to full-on crises. Then there is the formal level – as the knitted drawings emerge they produce the illusion of an undulating surface on what is otherwise a simple flat sheet of paper or canvas. I did not anticipate when I started, and nor did I imagine that they would look so organic; like creatures growing and spreading. If I have been asked to choose an adjective that could sum up in a single word your art, I would say that it's "kaleidoscopic": as you have stated once, your work straddles the grey area between drawing, sculpture and illusion... while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever to realize that #196happened Winter

White drawing I, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 25 x 25 cm

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Laelanie Larach

Peripheral ARTeries

an interview with Silent Whisper Mixed media / Tridimensional 30x40 in, 2012

Vanishing Point, Mixed media trid.piece, 2012 6


Peripheral ARTeries

Ulvi Haagensen

Kitchen of dreams, 2012, welded steel, cloth, wood, charcoal, pencil and ink wash on wall

a synergy between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

re in a room. Sculptures are interesting because like objects they occupy space, but unlike objects they belong to the world of art – another world with different expectations where different rules apply.

I have never thought of my work as kaleidoscopic. If you mean it in the sense that through a kaleidoscope we see the world a different way to what we are used to, from different angles, with different parts and elements juxtaposed, then I suppose it is an apt description. I enjoy that hazy area between drawing and sculpture.

Indeed, I have a number of different ways of working and a range of different media – drawing on paper, drawing in space with wire or wooden sticks, welded steel sculptures, large installations, small handheld pieces and so on, but my interest in the mundane, the ordinary and the everyday continues to be an underlying foundation for everything.

I also enjoy playing with the real and the illusory, and making works that occupy that strange undefined space between the second and third dimension, with shadows only adding to the confusion. Space and objects in that space intrigue me, as does the effect of re-arranging furnitu-

Another interesting project of yours on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Pantry which I have to admit have really imp52


Peripheral ARTeries

Ulvi Haagensen

Pantry, 2008, welded steel and paint, 16 x 16 x 6 cm

ressed me: elements of the environment are very recurrent in your artistic production, and besides a merely physical dimensions, space has a more symbolic meaning, it can be a metaphor for emotions and associations...

For Pantry I made a collection of everyday objects one might find scattered around a kitchen. The works were small and had originally grown out of an annual exhibition organized by Defiance Gallery in Sydney. For that exhibition sculptors are asked to submit work that measures less than 6 inches (15 cm). Pantry, 2008, detail

At first it seemed impossible to make anything so small because previous to this I had been working on a much larger scale and even putting together installations. But once I got the hang of it I began to enjoy it. Your works are capable of establishing a deep involvement with the audience, both on intellectual side and on a physical aspect, as in Homeworks, an extremely stimulating project that explores the relationships between draw-

Kitchen of dreams, 2012, detail 53

Live performance, photo by Mark Hamburg


Peripheral ARTeries

Ulvi Haagensen

Stand I (chair at desk), 1997

Beneath the Table, 2000

ing and sculpture... So I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process, both for conceiving an artwork and in order to enjoy it... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I could not imagine making art without involving personal experience. As I have said am interested in everyday and ordinary things. When my children were younger I spent lots of time with them on the floor and I saw the world from a different angle. I saw the underneath of tables, chairs from side on and so on, and this caused me to see space in a different way. I made what I saw. The Homeworks series is from this period. It was also the time when I really started to explore the relationships between drawing and sculpture.

View of exhibition ''Homeworks'', 2001 at Ivan Doughtery Gallery, Sydney. #196 Winter 54


Laelanie Larach

Peripheral ARTeries

an interview with

Aagh!Oehh, view of exhibition, 2013, charcoal, cloth, plaster

During these years your artworks have been exhibited in several occasions, both in Europe, Asia and in Australia: it goes without saying that positive feedback is capable of providing an artist with a special support... I was just wondering if the expectation of positive feedback- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is feedback for you? Do you ever think about who will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between busi-ness and Art...

be side tracked by what people say, whether it be positive or negative. Staying focused is one of the things that I struggle with. I have so many ideas for things I want to make – new exciting ideas that distract me from what I am currently working on. Sometimes I think about a possible audience, but only in a general sense. Every now and again I need to re-focus and remind myself of the things that deeply interest me – drawing, the magic world of illusion and the place where objects, lines, and shadows become confused, and the art making process itself. I need to listen to my work and to be ready to follow it. I also believe in the materiality of art, the quality of

Positive feedback is helpful but it is also important to maintain focus and not allow yourself to

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Ulvi Haagensen

the brush marks, file marks on steel and that art communicates in a way that words, either spoken or written, never can. Thank for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Ulvi. 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?

A new direction in my work that excites me is the idea of revealing to the public the process of art making. So, in my recent exhibitions I have been present at the exhibition, in a sense I am part of the exhibition. The first time I tried this was in my exhibition Studio where I used the gallery as if it were my studio. Everyday I went and spent as much time as I could there. I worked, looked, re-arranged. I observed how people looked at my work. This direct contact with the public was intriguing. Since that exhibition I have done two similar projects Kitchen of Dreams and Aagh! Õehh!. In both of these I drew on the walls of the gallery during the exhibition and the public could come and see how the work progressed. In Aagh!Õehh! the centre of the gallery was strung with white “washing” that had been coated in plaster and provided me with subjects for my drawing. The washing was stiff and strangely sculptural, and seemed to suggest that for a moment time had stopped – this was in contrast to the chaotic, layering of charcoal drawing on the walls. Drawing on such a large scale (and publically) was exciting, but also scary. I loved the feeling of being surrounded by so much drawing. Close up I could barely see what I doing and therefore felt removed from the result. It was like it was not me. I was not responsible for it. Communicating the process of art making and engaging with the public is what excites me at the moment.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano peripheralarteries@dr.com

Aagh!Oehh, detail 7


Ulvi Haagensen

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Peripheral ARTeries

Live performance, photo by Mark Hamburg


Peripheral ARTeries

Kalli Kalde (Estonia) An artist’s statement

Last twenty years I have lived in the countryside, in an old farmhouse in the forest and by a little lake, in the South of Estonia. The lake is the first thing I see in the morning and the reflections on the water still catch my eye for long hours. I have tried to capture the magic of my lake in my paintings. Laozi thought water was the most humble of substances, and its humbleness the most€ powerful thing in the world. Really, water has no colour, no taste, no€ form, thus it can take any form, reflect anything, be responsive to€ everything. In water, there is place for everything, looking at water,€ you see the sky, the trees, the sun and the stars. But you can also€ see yourself. Looking at water is a kind of a meditation, an encounter€ with yourself, with your emotions, thoughts, your past and present. All this is in yourselves: the sky, the clouds, the trees and the€ grasses swaying in the wind. The water, its ripples and waves are in€ yourself too. In my graphic art I like to play with photos and electrical schematics. Year after year the communication between people has changed to more digital. E-mails, communication networks, messages through computers and phones replace the face to face conversations, smiles, welcoming and farewell hugs. Every day we are digitally connected with people we have never seen in person. Information, emotions, even expressions of love move as sequences of numbers from one device to another, one person to another. Electricity switches on-off, black and white, like traditional graphic art, light and dark changes in eternal information flow. Nowadays there is another world beside the visible world - electrical field carrying information. Even seemingly pure and untouched nature and isolated places are filled with electromagnetic waves and information flood. In my pictures I try to visualize information field surrounding us. Also I have been inspired by cosmic literacy – the programming languages that allow us to teach satellites to see and operate. The th Estonian Student Satellite ESTCube-1 was launched on the 7 of May, 2013 to experiment with the solar wind sail. In my works I have played with the idea of the solar sail. Come to think of it all great space discoveries have probably begun with the childhood dream and an airplane folded of paper. Kalli Kalde 58

#196 Winter


Righteous Exploits performance, photo by Matt Lewis 2


Kalli Kalde

Peripheral ARTeries

An interview with

Kalli Kalde Hello Kalli, and a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Good art should be visually appealing, a piece with unforgettable figure language that creates new connections and induces train of thought. In my opinion, the intellectual aspect of art should not suffocate the visual one. Being an artist is only reasonable when there is no other way, when visual expressions are important an interview with for finding inner balance. Artist should enjoy the process of creation and the piece in progress should also touch the heart of its creator, by doing so, others will experience the result with greater emotion. Artist should strive for perfection, seek eternity. While creating art, one should not forget that life is more important than art and being a human is more important than being an artist.

Laura Guoke

Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have studied ay the Tallinn University, Department of Drawing and Manual Training: how has this experience impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...

tion to things that seemed important. People did not hurry as they do now, there was enough time to improve their skills. Working with pencil and paintbrush requires experience and commitment, years of practise gives freedom to visualise one’s thougths.

I spent my childhood and art studies in the closed society of The Soviet Union. I received traditional art education which valued drawing and painting the nature. In such closed society, people did not have as much options as they have now, but lack of choices allowed them to concentrate their atten-

Modern day European art education follows different principles and teaching techniques than Estonian art schools in the 80’s and 90’s. Now it is important to improve creativity, but usually there is not enough time to polish skills. Each era has its pros and cons. 60


Kalli Kalde

Peripheral ARTeries

view. New ideas may be inspired by conversations, movies, books, some random phrase or a poem line. To me, travelling is very inspiring as it offers a chance to step out of daily routine, see new places, meet people, explore different cultures and wander around at airports and train stations. At times, one should take time to do absolutley nothing. Sometimes an idea keeps swirling around in the head for a long time, searching for its suitable visual form. When it happens, I sketch, Iwalk around with a camera, try to find suitable composition, colour and exposure. The contents of an image has to affect me emotionally. To me, it is important that it would be comfortable to stay in one room with my pictures. Colours on canvas are beautiful to the eye and the heart, I paint what is dear to me and what is worth preserving. Painting is a process where the creator is alone with work and thoughts, cleaning what is important from what is not. It takes me a lot of time to paint a picture as I do it layer by layer, making sure that the previous layer is dry before applying a new one. My paintings and graphic art tell stories. Sometimes, a piece changes during the process and transforms into something very different, containing only fragments of the original story. In most cases, I do not find it essential to explain the original inspiration of a painting to the audience.

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

I like it when my work inspires other people to create their own stories. I try to avoid putting a painting to a strict position by using a strong headline, but rather give neutral names in order to leave the audience freedom to fantasise. Different from the solitude of painting alone, I am fascinated by the social atmosphere of collective studios. I seek different opportunities to print graphic art from different art studios around the globe. This way, I am able to learn new techniques from masters of graphic art and also find inspiration from new places and cultures.

The birth of each piece of art is unique, although it is possible to point out some patterns and stages of the process of creation. Flow of ideas may spring from visually attractive 61


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Kalli Kalde

On the ice, 2013, size 64,5 cm x 19 cm

Working together with other artists at graphic art studios gives me opportunity to see different processes and technical details. It is an enlightening experience.

cuits. How to write neccessary command lines into a robotic brain? How to teach man-made technical objects to see, read and act? The world is in space race. My graphic works have been inspired by cosmic literacy – the programming languages that allow us to teach satellites to see and operate. Are we literate enough to read what is there in the space between the stars? This spring 2013 Estonia became one of the satellite launcher countries.

Now let's focus on your art production: I would like to start with your interesting project entitled Hoisting the Solar Wind Sail series that our readers can admire in these pages and I would suggest our readers to visit your website directly at http://kalli.kalde.eu/ in order to get a wider idea of your work: in the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of the project behind these pieces? What was your initial inspiration?

The Estonian Student Satellite ESTCube-1 was launched on the 7th of May, to experiment with the solar wind sail. In my work I have played with the idea of the solar sail. Come to think of it all great space discoveries have probably begun with the childhood dream and an airplane folded of paper. Jennifer Sims

To me, very fascinating and mysterious is technical writing skill – programming language, electric cir62


Kalli Kalde

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This small student satellite saw daylight thanks to bold dreamers. In my works, I tried to visualise the journey from small childhood dreams to great space journeys. It is important in life to follow dreams and not let them fade away in everyday routine, even if years seem to fly by. Another interesting pieces of your that have particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words are Evening and Dream Green: as you have remarked in your artist's statement, "the lake is the first thing I see in the morning and the reflections on the water still catch my eye for long hours. I have tried to capture the magic of my lake in my paintings."... so I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do

Jennifer Sims Ice, 2011, size 21 cm Ă— 16 cm 63


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Kalli Kalde

Caption 4

you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

For the last two decades I have been living in a small farmstead in South Estonia. I moved to countryside on romantic aspirations, as I value beautiful scenery, nature and open space around myself. Countrylife with its serene and silent atmosphere is a perfect setting for creativity. I live in sparsely populated area, from the windows I can see a lake, a forest and numerous birds and animals. The lake is the first thing I see in the morning. Sometimes I forget my glance on the changing world of water reflections. I am inspired by wild nature, I admire beavers swimming around the lake at sunset or the sound of cranes whose calls remain echoing through the forest. As an artist, I concentrate my attention on surrounding environment. I value the fact that my children can grow up surrounded by the nature. What a person sees every day, affects his or her thoughts as well as creativity. A lot of spare time and proper light is needed for painting. I find more time to paint in winter, when the nature is covered with white snow and darkness together with freezing temperatures make you want to stay inside.

Caption 5

The colder it is, the warmer and brighter become colours on the canvas and paintings get that dreamy touch to them. Somewhere, there is always summer, hot and full of sunlight, even if it is cold and dark in Estonia and lakes are covered with thick ice. Paintings with tropically bright colours bring warmth to the heart and soul in northern frost. By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "enc-

Jennifer Sims 64


Kalli Kalde

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Caption 6

The fact that I am living in countryside between deep woods, makes me notice and painfully react to people’s behaviour in the nature. Modern human being loves chainsaws more than living trees, economic profit is more important than the nature. Land owners count trees in forests like money in their pockets. The meaning of forest to people has changed right in front of me, Estonians have changed, country people have become city people. According to Estonian natural religion, the nature was sacred, all native trees and forests deserved respect and preservation. Visiting the woods purifies the soul as going to sauna purifies the body.

Where You Are, Installation

While driving around, it is more common to see clear-cuttings and less common to see untouched forests. What are those dreams that money from selling wood helps to fulfill? More fancy cars? Wilder parties or tropical vacations? Bigger TV, modern technology, softer furniture? Will it get any better? How long will these things stay?

rypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

My art is a reflection of my world. A great number of my works could carry a common name of „still-life�, still-life with a lake. I am sure that when living in a big city, I would be a different artist with different kind of artwork. I love silence.

By valuing momentary satisfaction, several generations old trees are cut down. The time it takes trees grow back on empty areas is longer than the lifespan of those who profited. 65


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Caption 2

Koifishes Now let's deal with the tones of your pieces: I would focus on Floodin Forest and in particular on Koifishes: far from being the usual blue that we should expect to see in a paintings with such titles, it's a thoughtful thoughtful nuance that seems to create a prelude to light as well as in Turquois... and what has mostly impressed me is that it is capable of establishing such a dialogue, a synergy with all the other tones instead of a contrast... By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

climate is getting warmer, ice in the Artic melts and the sea level rises. This is a powerful sight dreadful and beautiful, when water floods cities and forests, powerful flows show their strenght and water rushes into populated areas and into our daily lives. Fish swimming around in our rooms and between treetops. Which colours to use to express the elusive power of water? Devastating water is not blue, it carries along mud, filth and death. Even under cloudy northern sky there is no blue water. Blue colour in my paintings is like a dream, expressing dreamlike eternity and tropical paraSimsbodies, it is like silence dises moreJennifer than real water

I am playing with a thought about great flood. The 66


Kalli Kalde

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Turquoise

after the storm. While painting water in Turquois painting, I used oil painting materials to create light and aquarelle mood, as water reflecting the sky is so unearthly fragile and bright. How to paint the wonderful lightness of the sky and longing for the light? As you have remarked in your artist' statement and as our readers have already noticed, in your graphic art you like to play with photos and electrical schematics, as in Something Around Us and in Waiting For The Spring... I'm sort of convinced that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between art and technology and I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?

Year after year the communication between people changes to more digital. Emails, communication networks, messages through computers and phones replace face to face conversations, smiles, welcoming and farewell hugs. Every day we are digitally connected with people we have never seen in person. Information, emotions, even expressions of love move as a sequences of numbers from one device to another, one person to another. Electricity switches on-off, black and white, light and dark changes in eternal infor-

Jennifer Sims Caption 3

Something Around

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mation flow. Nowadays there is another world beside the visible world - electrical field carrying information. Even seemingly pure and untouched nature and isolated places are filled with electromagnetic waves and information flood. In my pictures I try to visualize information field surrounding us. During these years your artworks have been exhibited in several occasion, across Europe and you have recently had a solo at the Mikkeli Gallery, Tartu. It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award -or just the expectation of a positive feedback- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?

Organising an exhibition is important for an artist because it is the best way to introduce his or her works to broader audience, which in turn, helps to find support to new projects. Participating in group exhibitions creates new contacts and gives new ideas while comparing works by other artists to your own. In addition to chances of success, exhibitions give opportunity to explore something longer and thoroughly. Deadlines motivate people to turn ideas into reality faster. Transporting works from studio to exhibition and displaying them allows to see everything in new environment. It will be clear whether everything is complete or more variations will come. Of course it is pleasant to receive positive feedback on an exhibition, but to me, it is not the force that starts art projects. I have realised that, it is important to do something that really matters to you. If it is not contract work, then I am not thinking about potential buyers. Creating art is not my only income, I also work as a part-time teacher in art school. Additional income gives me greater freedom, I do not have to worry about demands of potential clients. I can choose if, to whom and when I sell my paintings. Of course it is important for every artist to be appraised and valued in society. 10) Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Kalli. 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?

At the moment I am working on a large format series of litographic pictures called „Cosmic Mazes�. These are technical compositions inspired by electric circuit of a satellite. As soon as I am finished with this set of graphics, I want to return to painting. I will continue my oil painting series of the flooded world. When travelling somewhere, I will pack some aquarelle paper for sketches as well. Sitting quietly and observing everything around you makes you notice things that otherwise would be lost in this fast-paced world.

SummerBlue

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Peripheral ARTeries

Ard Doko (The Netherlands/Albany) An artist’s statement

I've been chased by cops, Someone pulled a gun on me, I fell off of roofs Coughed up blood, Lawsuits, Some say artists suffer for their artwork, I do not. It has kept me and my art alive. As a graffiti artist, you're used to paint for your own sake. Nobody is going to pay me afterwards when I finish a wall, yet it still motivates me to go out and paint. My style tends to be explosive and chaotic, just like myself. I don't want people to see the standard poppy stencil kind of stuff with happy stories. Instead, I want to show them life, my life and of those who have suffered through war or misdiagnose. Sadness can be beautiful and even though it's hard for people to cope with I think it can be in perfect harmony. Ard Doko #196 Winter 70


Righteous Exploits I wanna be cruel be kind performance, photo by to Matt Lewis 2


Peripheral ARTeries

Ard Doko

An interview with

Ard Doko Hello Ard and a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. To start this interview, I would pose you my usual ice-breaker question: what in your opinion define a work of Art? In particular, do you think that there's a dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness?

That’s a tough question. I guess for me a work of art means: something that even if you don’t look at it or listen to it you’re thinking about it or it keeps recurring in your head. I think Tradition is something from the past which is so extremely good that it’s still relevant till this day. Contemporariness is something that is happening now, but who knows? Maybe our contemporariness will become tradition an interview with in a 100 years. I can’t tell right now, it’s probably a question that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly impacted on you and that have influenced the way you currently produce your works?

Ard Doko

I would draw my nightmares there and the events, like suicide or auto-mutilation, that happened around me.

I grew up in a small place in The Netherlands but my family is Albanian. At a young age I saw the war my family was in and I saw my parents desperately trying to call our family to see if they could flee Kosovo.

In my recent solo show „Deathdance of the Frogfish” you can clearly see the distorted environment I’ve spent my time in as a teenager.

Those images, and the way I saw my parents behave made me afraid of people at a young age. I remember there were times I was scared that, even though the war was over, we would be killed. I didn’t fit in with the kids around me and started to become more on my own, which led to depression. Because of suicidal tendencies I was transferred to a psychiatric hospital at age 14, which was an awful experience but made me pick up drawing.

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 usually start out combining a couple of sketches into each other. Then, I will digitalize my design 72


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I Realised Every Word she Said Was True

Peripheral ARTeries

Liebeist Krieg

started to admire in the introductory pages of this article and that I would suggest to view directly to your website at http://arddoko.nl/art/ in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production: in the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of these interesting work? What was your initial inspiration?

and shift through the different colors which I think would be good for the painting. Because of my street art background, I like to combine my stencil technique and spray can controle with fine art painting. I always use a piece of wood, it can endure the way I slam my stuff on the surface without breaking. The most fun part for me is that I plan everything out, with the colors etc, and I will do it completely different when I start to paint. I just let the vibe take over, It’s a controlled chaos I guess.

Liebe ist Krieg is about my struggle with love. Not just the type of love like boyfriend and girlfriend, but the acceptance by people in general. I don’t know my Dutch family, and I see my Albanian family once a year, so that pretty much left me with only 2 parents and classmates that didn’t understand me.

Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with Liebe ist Krieg and I wanna be cruel to be kind, that our readers have already 73


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Ard Doko

an interview with

Doublelminded

Because of loneliness and the thought that my future self would be a lonely alcoholic, I would date girls I didn’t even like that much. With one girl in particular I had a lot of fights and there were some hurtful things said my direction, so I decided to call it quits. I cheated on her on April fools. A week later I had to live paint in a theatre in Amsterdam. The subject was „infidelity in your relationship”. I created the piece in one night, painting out all of the frustrations I had from a 1,5 year so-called relationship. As for „ I wanna be cruel to be kind”… It is a message to the younger me. I wasn’t a role-model when I grew up and I did a lot of stupid things. I projected my hate towards others even though I hated myself. #196 Winter 74

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Ard Doko

Peripheral ARTeries

The title is partly a line from a song: „Oh suffer to be mine, I want to be cruel to be kind” . It’s a way of saying: you went through a lot of shit, here is your reward. I wanted to paint 2 different ages in one. On the one hand you will see a kid who turns his back on you, on the other hand you will see a kid embracing you. Another stimulating pieces of yours that have particularly impacted on me and which I would like to spend some words are Chemistry and Doubleminded... Although your works may seem in a certain sense directed to our inner life, I can recognize such a socio-political feature in such aspects of your Art... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that Art these days could play an effective role not only making aware public opinion, but I would go as far as to say that nowadays Art can steer people's behavior... what's your point about this?

an interview with

My goal with my art wasn’t to become a populair artist with lots of money in the bank. I started out as a pop-art painter and that made me earn money, but it didn’t satisfy me. I wanted to help people who are in the same boat as I was. I’m pretty open about my mental history, not because it’s easy but because I want to make mental illness a talkable subject without having to deal with the stigma of contemporary society. With the exhibit „Deathdance of the frogfish” I wanted to show people that even though life is hard and your environment isn’t the most ideal location to pursue your career, you can achieve it. With paintings like „double minded” I wanted to show people the nice side of life, the one you always decide to share via Facebook etc, and the layer beneath which is grief. We all have our happy moments and sad moments, but most of the time we don’t show our weaknesses to others. People came up to me to tell me about their problems as well like addiction or depression, which for me means that we created a fundament to build something up. As you have stated once, your work as Deathdance of the frogfish and Das Kind heißt Einsamkeit, often shows represents the process of overcoming the sorrow that you have encountered in your life and it effectively establishes such a direct narrative of the stories that your works tell: so I would like to ask you Vanishing Point, Mixed media trid.piece, 2012 75


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Ard Doko

Give me a sign

Das Kind heist Einsamkeit

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

During these years your works have been widely appreciated throughout multiple art segments and you have exhibited both in Europe and the United States: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of postivive feedback- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

I believe a big percentage of the galeries doesn’t care about the personal experience, and frankly if I look at the art that is populair nowadays it isn’t about the story but creating a nice image. For example, the paintings you mentioned didn’t get as much response as painting of a cat I did. So I’m stuck doing both. However I do believe work made from personal experience is more sincere and has more strength. In the end it is your own decision: do I want to paint with emotion or do I want to paint something for a broader audience?

No. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing what I do. 76


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this word- of Pictorialism and it effectively establishes such a direct narrative of the stories that your works tell: so I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The art goes a long way . I think you can make art from your own experience , but also I believe in the power of art can to give you a new experiences and to set ideas from the imagination. For example; The work that you mention ( Gran paisaje saturado, number 1) , it is a work clearly linked to the experience and the material conditions of production. 1) The Size (4 x 7.5 m) is identical to some advertising billboards hung in public spaces of Santiago.

This means an allegation of economic violence that it produces in different places. I dont know if public opinion changes, I think, it just manifests what we already know. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impressed me and on which I would like to spend some words is Gran Paisaje Saturado an extremely interesting piece which, besides highlighting the contrast between the artificial and nature, shows the immediate nature of Art mixed with the death dance of the frogfish "contemplative attitude" - if you forgive me 8

Live performance, photo by Mark Hamburg


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Ard Doko

I’m 22 now and the past 4 years have been amazing for me but art business isn’t genuine at all. It’s all about money, it will always be about money and that is their job. Galleries would change the titles of my paintings, or take them down because they were to controversial. I made a painting a couple of days after 2 people I knew committed suicide in less than 2 weeks apart from each other. It got sold but they changed the story behind the painting. They said it was about the fact that I was so happy at the moment when in reality I was crying my eyes out. As for positive feedback, I really appreciate that. But if 100 people look at my work and 99 people like it ,I still will be upset about the one person who doesn’t like it. It’s just in my nature. A recurrent feature of your pieces that has mostly impacted on me is the effective mix of dark tones which are capable of creating such a prelude to light and I couldn't do without mentioning Bota Vuan, an extremely interesting work that I have to admit is one of my favorite pieces of yours... I also noticed that several nuances of blue and red are very recurrent tone in your works, as in Give me a Sign. By the way, any comments on your choice of your pallette and how it has changed over time?

When I started selling my work through a gallery they said that I should paint happy pictures. I made a lot of the backgrounds with colored drips, bright yellow, light blue, fluorescent pink and so on. When I started working on personal pieces I wanted the color to have a function. Red stands for anger, blue for sadness, black and white for depression and pink for happiness. I often keep my backgrounds white, just because to me it resembles the hospital. With Bota Vuan it was a mix of feelings I had at the time. Bota Vuan means (loosely translated in Albanian ): „The world is suffering on”. To me this was something I could be sad about, but I could also laugh about. How is it that we progress in time, invent new ways to make our lives easier and still have conflicts like war, hunger and countries that prosecute people who think differently. #196 Winter 78


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By the way, not only the poor countries have those problems, here In The Netherlands we have food stamps as well. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Ard. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Currently I’m busy with setting up a business called Art to cope. I’m raising awareness and funding for creative therapy and art projects for children and teens with depression, PTSD and other mental problems. Our government cut the funds for mental healthcare, which leads to longer waitinglines for treatment. Certain therapies like music therapy and creative therapy can’t be given anymore due to lack of money. Other than that I will be doing more live painting for the music label Liquid Geometry I’m with, and some solo and group exhibits.

an interview with

an interview by peripheral_arteries@dr.com

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Bertholdus Sibum (The Netherlands) An artist’s statement

As a pensioner structural project engineer (born in 1948) and master in anthropology, I have a very wide view and many interests. I lived and worked for several years in Ivory Coast, Niger, St. Maarten (Dutch Antilles) and of course in the Netherlands. As long as I can remember I always have made paintings and drawings, most often using watercolors, crayons or ink. My favourites were the frenchman Topor and the dutchman M.C. Escher. Music was and is always an important issue in my live. Looking for new forms and sounds in the music. Not staying by one or a certain kind of music (or artexpression) , but looking further for something new, especcially in all the countries and cultures where I lived. Authentic-, folk-,etnic-, pop-, jazz-, contemporary- and classical music. You may think that I like everything, but that´s not true. I like the music and the different art forms when it touches me, makes me wonder, makes me thinking, gives me goosepimples (goosebumps). Curtly, music gives me all kinds of emotions. In my art of painting, drawing and composing music I use every material that is available at that moment. All start with a choise you make, its a process of coincidencies and accepting the consequences of the choise you have made before. And from there into the unknown till the result you like the best.

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Righteous Exploits

from m=microscope performance, photo by Matt Lewis 2


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Bertholdus Sibum

An interview with

Bertholdus Sibum Hello Bertholdus, and 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? By the way, what could be in your opinion the features that mark an artworks as a piece of Contemporary Art? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

A work of art is emotion and relive of unknown emotions. The features that mark an artwork as a piece of Contemporary Art is the use of nowadays materials, including the different media. You see so many art expressions in daily live, think of nature and things that have the impress `art`. I like for instance very much the paintings of Anselm Kiefer, the thick layers of paint and what more… I an interview with can sit there and looking at it for hours. But the art work of Jeff Koons… I´m looking for about seven seconds and walk through. It doens´t give me any emotion. I respect his work, but it don´t touch me at all. And then were talking only about paintings and statues. What do you think of architecture, dancing performances, poetry, writing and so on. Sometimes art brings emotions to you as a surprise. That is also the function of art in our society. There is not a definition of art, there are simply touchable things that makes you cry… In that case there is not a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness if art is emotion.

Bertholduls Sibum

worked in different positions in the construction world as supervisor on the building site, constructor, architect and policy officer. Meanwhile I paint, make drawings, write poems, establish a publishing house: Scripta Manent and illustrate my poems with pointillism drawings.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly impacted on the way you currenly produce your artworks? I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...

I have no education in music writing or playing instruments. I compose, play, sample, make sounds and produce music on my computer. I’m a selftaught man.

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skills and to combine them. If an artist respects and stays at the formal training and instructions than it stifles the creativity. I think without a formal training you experiment more and you get the knowledge of using different materials by doing it. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

In my paintwork work there is no absolute rule, everything is possible and I like to use various types of materials. Sometimes I start with cuttings from a decoration magazine or I start with an ink-line on paper. I use water colors, ink, chalk pastels, felt tip pens and aquarel pencils. The last two months I started with acrylics. In my music everything is possible. I use my computer and the different programs with instruments to compose the music by using preset sounds like kicks, snaredrums and loops, samples, commercials, news facts, politics, nature sounds and all sorts of media. I compose first the drums, the bassline or the piano and mix them with special sounds. I make the special sounds by playing, recording and finaly looping them at a new tempo, to have the sounds that I need for the composition. Sometimes it is surprising and that gives me other possibilities to continue and finish the composition. It takes a lot of time for one composition because I have to play and listen to every note. I publish the music under the name of Mubis. First I publish my music (including art work) on the peer to peer site Soulseek.

Living for years in African and Caribbean cultures gives you another and wider view on the world, especialy when you have also interests in those cultures and want to known everything about it. All those experiences have of course impact on the way I produce my artworks.

Later on I publish the music on Soundcloud ( www.soundcloud.com/bsibum), and in april three records (including art work) on Bandcamp (http://mubismusic.bandcamp.com). The video’s ( www.youtube.com/mubismusic) start most of the time with the music and then I choose my painting work, collages and films that suites with the atmosphere of chosen composition.

When I returned to the Netherlands for good I studied anthropology. As pensioner I’m fully free now and I have more time to develop my different

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Bertholdus Sibum

from m=microscope

from m=microscope

Now let's focus on your art production: I would start from m = microscope, that our readers have already started to admire in the introductory pages of this article and that I would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF2bpcg_ JZk. Would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

an impression and therefore the music is changing every eight seconds. One composition with respect for each painting.

Surfing on the Internet I saw a picture of an infection under a microscope. The forms are facinating. I also like the structure of moss and moss-like plants, the structure of old desolated buildings when nature takes it over. So I started to paint one `infection under a microscope` and add forms to make it better. The result of the painting was satisfying and I liked it. So I painted another one, and another one. It gaves me a tremendous drive. When I got thirtyfour paintings I start to make the music especially for this project. Why thirtyfour? I don’t know. Each painting is visible for about eight seconds, long enough to get

from m=microscope

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from m=microscope

Just few times ago an artist that I happened to interview told me that "to create a work of art we need physical involvement, great immediacy. Forms mature upon their long being created in imagination" I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative pro-

cess... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I will make a small nuance on your question. I think that personal experience is also an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process. Personal Jennifer Sims experiences makes you what you are, what you

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Bertholdus Sibum

from Another World

do, which choises you make. Your experiences will be with you your whole life, also those you have forgotten. Years later (or on the moment) you recover that the things that you have made, are connected with for instance experience from your stay in Africa. To give answer on the second part: a creativeprocess is not disconnected from direct experience.

anguish and thoughtless, maybe hidden happiness... I would go as far as to state that this piece, rather than simply describing, pose us a question: forces us to meditation...

Thanks. It has made an impact on you ? So I may conclude that I succeeded in making art? Don’t forget that the unusual music composition is also important. It supports the collages and gives the work, as you say, something anguish, thoughtless and hidden happiness.

A feature of Another World that has mostly impacted on me is your capability of creating a deep intellectual interaction, communicating a wide variety of states of mind: even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I have to admit that in a certain sense it unsettles me a bit... it's an effective mix between

Another interesting pieces of yours on which I would like to spend some words are Nazak and November Clouds, that I have to admit is one of my favourite projects of yours... By the way, the music that I can listen to in your works has

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from Nazak

often a synth feeling effectuvely mixed to a solid melodic path... Technology or I should better say, the manipulation of the concept of technology, plays a crucial role in producing the creative synergy that marks your art practice. So I would ask you: do you think that nowadays there still exists a dichotomy between art and technology?

technology. Technology is often art of his own, like nature is. There are people who have a fixed definition of art wherein is no place for technology. So be it‌ it’s only a problem of definition and mental atti tude.

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Jennifer Sims

mubismusic - bandcamp 5


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from Another World

It goes without saying that positive feedbacks are capable of providing an artist of the indespensable moral support to go ahead with his art production an artist... I was just wondering if it could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces? I sometimes wonder if it could ever exist a genuine relationship between business and Art...

Concerning your last remark: business and art are two different disciplines with two different interests and with compromises they come together. It is a case of making choises. Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Bertholdus. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

My future plans are not spectacular. Just continuing making art and enjoy my free life as long as possible in good health with my family.

Feedback is important but not deciding. As long as I like to make art I continue making it without thinking of my audience. Some people like this piece and others like another piece.

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Tom Rawles (USA)

An artist’s statement

Using prominently oil paint self-taught artist Tom Rawles creates worlds heavy on narrative whilst avoiding fixed messages or morals. Having grown up in Laugharne, the small town in west Wales famed for being the home of Dylan Thomas there is often an appreciation of language found within Tom’s work. This sometimes surfaces as text but can also be found in the interaction or expressions of people painted. Works address contemporary culture through renaissance-esque scenes, a modern world where halos are more bling than holy.

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#196 Winter


Righteous Exploits

Sub Saharan performance, photo by Matt Lewis 2


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Tom Rawles

An interview with

Tom Rawles Hello Tom, and a warm welcome to Peripheral ARTeries. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? By the way, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork? Do you think that there's a dichotomy between tradition and contemporariness?

Hi, wow what a question. Basically I think it's up to the viewer whether something is art or not. People don't need to agree it's up to you. In this the maker is also a viewer of their own work. If it's art to you call it art. The eye of the beholder kinda stuff. The second part of your question depends on the defini-tion of contemporariness used. Every so often somebody comes along and spurned an interview with by experience or a mind that works differently they make something unique which creates a new path. In this work there is a dichotomy between the old and this new. The rest of us are part of multi overlapping spectrum, treading the paths of others but existing in the contemporary and as a result (hopefully) adding to the tradition, extending the path to keep with the metaphor. Would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly impacted on the way you currently produce your artworks? By the way, I sometimes I wonder if a certain kind of formal training could even stifle a young artist's creativity... as a self-taught but gifted artist as you are, I think our readers will be interested in your point about this...

I didn't really draw or paint until I went to college. I didn't grow up wanting to be an artist. I was enrolled on to a course in media by a careers advisor at the job centre because I mentioned that I quite liked photography.

Esteban Gรกrnica

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I was big in to hip-hop and at lunchtime I started drawing the rappers from photos in the cd sleeves. I think my tutor, Richard Lewis, saw that this was me finding my thing. He would let me draw during lectures and recommend magazines and books for me to read. I've always been grateful for that encouragement. You're right I am completely self taught and I wouldn't change that. I know people who've had amazing educations in art but they often seem weighed down by their knowledge of critique and art history. I paint because I like getting the images in my head out and that's it. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?

Half of my time is spent on the preparation. I paint on wood and can spend a long time filling, priming and sanding back looking for the smoothest possible surface. Before starting I already have the exact image I want to paint in my head, usually formed whilst painting the previous piece. I can spend days sometimes weeks on the internet looking for a photo of this, then I face facts and admit it probably doesn't exist and take bits and pieces from lots of photos I've found and build the image I want, collaging them together in photoshop. I should really just use my own models. When I've got the image it's very much a process, painting using oils. I don't often have room for experimentation or spontaneity because for me painting is simply the process I use for getting the image I have imagined to exist. Now let's focus on your art production: I would like to start with "The Bravest Man In The Universe" and "Sub Saharan" that our readers can admire in these pages and I would suggest to our readers to visit your website directly at http://www.tomrawles.com/gallery/ in order to get

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a wider idea of your work: in the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of the project behind these pieces? What was your initial inspiration?

The Bravest Man In The Universe came about initially because I wanted to paint a man in sunglasses and after 4 days of looking on google images and flickr I was walking home square eyed with Spotify on shuffle when a Bobby Womack track came on, I realized instantly he was who I had been searching for, I photoshopped in the sky and in minutes had a picture to work from. Sub Saharan was a bit different. I wanted to explore and deconstruct African patterns. The top of the painting is of the Southern hemisphere's night sky.

an interview with

Captions

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The aim of painting the sky was to set the scene and bring a landscape feeling to what is a very abstract painting. Sub Saharan was a much freer not very typical process for me. Another interesting pieces of your that have particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words are Western Perspective and Bee Eaters: I have highly appreciated the way your Art is capable of establishing a deep involvement in these pieces, so I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

If by direct experience you mean first person experience then my paintings are disconnected.

an interview with

Bee Eaters

western perspective Vanishing Point, Mixed media trid.piece, 2012

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Most of my ideas are formed from bits of news, something on the radio or books. Western perspective is a thought about how I hear so much about the fact we know so little about China. I use birds in paintings like Bee Eaters but more especially Wrapped and Belonging/s as a representation of nature, I think lots of us have become disconnected from it. Birds are my attempt at addressing this. By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need -in a wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Yeh I think so. I'm reluctant to properly explain my paintings because I'd like everyone to find their own meaning. I want to start conversations not tell people what to think. But I do have biases, interpretations of things and they are in my paintings but then you're welcome to disagree with them or read them differently if you like. I want my paintings and especially the people in them to look at you or outwards with expressions that lean towards an intended emotion but are left to your preconceptions, paranoias, your inner nature if you like to interpret. Now let's deal with the tones of your pieces: I would focus on Eternal Sunshine : far from being the usual blue that we should expect to see in a paintings with such titles, it's a thoughtful thoughtful nuance that seems to create a prelude to light as well as in Whole... and what has mostly impressed me is that it is capable of establishing such a dialogue, a synergy with all the other tones instead of a contrast... By the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?

Eternal Sunshine is a painting of the song of the same name by Jay Electronica. I wanted to do a series of paintings of songs that exhibited with mp3 players and headphones next to them so that they could both be experienced together. Eternal Sunshine is the first of these.

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The track is 12 minutes long and after a long time listening to it I had a list of over 100 images mentioned in the lyrics. My painting contains the ones I think help tell the story best. We've already mentioned my lack of an art education but I have read several books on colour theory, To paint the way I want to an understanding of tone and value is really important. My palette evolves as my ability to control it gets better.

Eternal Sunshine

Wrapped


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Tom Rawles

And I couldn't do without mentioning Carbon, which I have to admit is one of my favourite pieces of yours: I love the way your brushstrokes have been capable of creating a dynamic piece as this... As you have remarked in your artist's statement, your art practice avoids fixed messages or morals... but I can recognize such a subtle but effective social criticism in the way you tell us your stories of beauty... So I would like to ask you if in your opinion, besides providing of a platform for an artist's expression, Art could even steer people's behaviour...

Can art steer peoples behavior. I don't know. I think in life generally people look for the things which confirm their own already established ideas and beliefs, confirmation bias, it's easy to dismiss or completely ignore the stuff you don't agree with. I think the best art forces you to experience it and in that way compels you to think about things in a way you may not have before. So yes maybe it can. Carbon is a story of beauty! that’s a really nice way of putting it thanks. It is a painting of Naiomi Campbell made during her court case for accepting a bag of diamonds from a man who knocked on her hotel door in the middle of the night. That is a situation I strugglewith to comprehend. It got me thinking an interview about diamonds and the lure of them. Rocks of bonded and aligned carbon particles. To put it crudely really old crushed and heated trees that people find beautiful, that people give to beautiful super models in the middle of the night, that people die for. It goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist: I was just wondering if an award -or just the expectation of a positive feedback- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?

The first person I look to please with my paintings is myself, then if other people like it too that’s a bonus. A great piece of feedback is somebody buying a painting. Spending they're money on my work, my ideas. It also funds the next painting and for me it's always about the next painting. The internet has made receiving feedback much easier but as a result can devalue it. Clicking a 'like' button is not the same as taking the time to tell somebody you like they're work. #196 Winter Carbon 98


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an interview with

SubSaharan Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Tom. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you?

I’ve just had an exhibition and always take a bit of time off afterwards to think about what new direction, if any, to go in. I am always open to offers, so if any of your readers want to get in touch they can find my contact details on tomrawles.com. In the meantime I have just released 'Wrapped' as a print that I'm really happy with, there's more details on my website. Finally I would like to say thank you for questions that have made think. Vanishing Point, Mixed media trid.piece, 2012 99


Peripheral ARTeries Art Review June 2014