Illuminated intentions the art of Cecilia Westerberg by Kate Gorringe-Smith, acting editor, IMPRINT
From 27 February to 15 March this year, Adelaide Festival of the Arts presents one of the most complex art exhibitions it has ever attempted to stage. Blinc, an international digital art exhibition, features over 30 digital artworks from 18 international artists and collectives and involves live performance and audio pieces delivered in conjunction with video, 3D motion graphics, animation, mapped projections, LED installations and 30 watt laser lighting! Blinc will turn buildings, bridges, trees, a waterfall and even the surface of the river into canvases for digital art. Cecilia Westerberg, The King, 2011, digital 2D animated projection, 3 minutes. Sound: Solveig Sandnes.
ne of Blinc’s exhibiting artists is Cecilia Westerberg, whose practice is solidly grounded in works on paper. I wondered how an artist who paints, collages and makes beautiful artists’ books came to be projecting digital line-animation onto a footbridge waterfall over the Torrens River in Adelaide. The answer lies in a love of narrative. When I asked Cecilia to describe how she came to introduce light and movement into her practice, she wrote: I attended art school in Copenhagen, Denmark and in London. The first couple of years I struggled…to find a way to embed an unfolding narrative in a single image. Transitioning into…animation and artists’ books solved that problem for me. Animation provided me with as many
frames as I wanted to develop a narrative structure, and artist books gave me unlimited pages and spreads to work within. I call my animations drawings that move because I still think of them as drawings, and my approach to the process is very much like drawing on paper. It is very important to me that the lines used in my animations have some of the same quality as the images I draw on paper…I often use white lines on black because the black erases the square-shaped background when you project the image. The white line frees the drawing/animation from the background and makes it easier to merge with a real-life environment. My ideas come through best in animated and site-specific drawings, as well as in my
Cecilia Westerberg, River Creatures, 2015, 4 minutes, digital 2D animated projection.
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beloved medium – the artists’ book…I have experimented with different formats: small and big, flip-books and pop-up books. I have made a handmade and oversized artists’ book called The Atlas of Small and Large Observations. When this book is exhibited, an animation is projected onto its pages. A dragon walks over the pages as the viewer turns them. So far I have published six books and continue exploring this medium. My work is largely figurative and always has a narrative. Depending on the exhibition and the venue I’m working within, I choose a medium that best illuminates my intentions. Drawings fascinate me with their possibility for direct communication, for easily revealing the time used on making them and for the sensitivity of line.1