verdure engraved 2016 issue # 1
contents pheobe riley law romina giuliani six questions # 1: romina giuliani six questions # 2: katy bentham six questions # 3: vicki bennett / people like us six questions # 4: claire zakiewicz jan eerala eva hesse alvin langdon coburn ferdinand bucina mervyn oâ€™gorman etheldreda janet laing elizabeth blackwell ventilation illustrations b.w. betts rose adler sybil pye karel smirous nehemiah grew cover images and frontispiece by pheobe riley law
pheobe riley law
Romina Giuliani www.rominagiuliani.com
My work is characterised and created exploiting mixed media artworks, from drawings to collaborative projects. Iâ€™m interested in observing human conditions and dynamics among people investigating our collective unconscious and behaviours both in private life and society. Through relations and connections between facts and materials caught from reality, I engage myself to organise different situations in the space, exhorting people to confront themselves with their morality and feelings. The balance between good and bad, tidy and dirty, healthy and sick, is a constant in my research, such as the matter of the artistâ€™s role in the contemporary.
Broken Chair, board, 2015 Putting on an ironic situation and treating the exhibition space as a waiting room, viewers confront themselves with a chair, clearly symbol of the conceptual art, that supports an handwritten board saying “broken”. This is not a welcoming message for enjoying the exhibition, is more and invitation to reflect about what is actually “broken”. The interpretation is an event with immediate effect for each individual, and there is nothing “to get”, because for an unknown reason you should be feel something that you already got.
Untitled/Bambi Sculpture Chair, cardboard 30cm x 150cm x 30cm, 2015
Water it Paper, carton 60cm x 70cm x 60cm, 2014 The necessity to possess “living things”, taking care of them for feeling useful, takes shape in a lush green paper plant, and through the ironic title “Water it” draws attention to the personal awareness. Observing and reflecting on the domestic unsettling, the artist replaces the real with the fake, causing the loss of corporeal and spatial coordinates.
Action #1 Environmental dimension, 2015 The artist accepts the instability of art and society finding a new strength in the precariousness, uncertainty and velocity. Through a simple action in the domestic space this installation attempts to bridge the gap between art and life.
Years/Seconds Worn out shoes, tape 25cm x 30cm x 25cm, 2015 Space and time are represented by a sculpture composed of shoes that have been worn out by the artist. Everything can be reconsidered once it has been chosen and transformed by the artist who wishes viewers to think about the singularity of art pieces and about the true value behind them.
Folder #1 Installation view 300cm x 250cm 2014 In this work I combined different materials and objects, mostly not realised by myself. This confluence of beauty and filth besides chaos and precision, disclose the approach to the opposites and my significant expressive attitude. Saving, taking and re-composing images and objects from private and public life as an urgency and cathartic process give us understanding of the world through pictures and gestures.
six questions series
six questions # 1: Romina Giuliani JrF: how concerned are you with the durability (physical or cultural) of your work ? RG: I'm aware about the general instability in contemporary art and life. I found new strengths in precariousness, uncertainty and velocity. My art production is often realised using unstable and perishable materials, expressing the collapse of the long duration. I'm absolutely not concerned with material value of artworks, indeed, lots of my sculptures or installations do not exist anymore physically. JrF: where is the line between success and failure (you can choose to answer this in terms of your artistic career or the work itself) RG:I'm pretty engaged with this topic. Every one is afraid to be a loser and unsuccessful. People fight every day for achieve any sort of business and social success, often trampling on valuable sides of life. I affront exactly this theme in "Hang in there" (2015). The word "LOSER" traced on a woman's pink sweatshirt beside the title "Hang in there", is an attempt to support and incite any sort of redeem, particularly in the art world. Being successful means keep doing in spite of obstacles, and moving forward.
JrF: given that most artwork becomes a collaboration between the work itself and where it is experienced (physical or online) what is your approach to placing your work ? â€¨ RG: The issue of space is an important aspect for the artwork's experience and for its conception. During the last three years I moved from Italy to Berlin, then from Berlin to London, changing several flats and living conditions. I don't have a studio right now, but despite this I'm working much more in this moment than when I had a studio space. The work has been subjected to a subtraction of worthless elements, becoming more liquid. For example, just arrived in Berlin I realised a collaborative project using only social media and Email (Berlin, kann ich dich in den Arm nehmen?, 2014), but several months later I rented a studio for three weeks realising several sculptures, documented only with pictures. Therefore, my approach mutates. I founded also a blog several years ago, called APNEA Â (http://longapnea.tumblr.com/), which includes a collection of scanned analogic photos, documenting situations, places and people around me. This is a life-long project, a shared virtual space that maps a line that goes through my work and life. JrF: what is the connection, regardless of the role of chance, between your first interest in art and your current explorations ? â€¨ RG: A turning point in my work and life has been the decision to leave my home country abandoning certainty situations and conservative art environments. I believe is truly important take chances in life, without exactly knowing where you are going. My work has changed a lot from the beginning, but the red thread that connects it from that time until now is a constant observation about humankind and the creation of relationship between objects and facts that already exist in reality, reflecting both on artist's position and on human fears and ambiguities. The transfer of private situations in a social context aims to make the public aware about the universality of themes such as death, pain or love.
JrF: do you remember your first experience of ‘art’ and how it felt ? RG: I always felt a little bit different from other children honestly, and often has been not really pleasant for me. Somewhere I could hear a sort of intriguing, hidden and remote noise whereby I had the necessity to find solutions and deal with problems that literally don't exist for “not-artist” person. I believe that the courage I had as an adult to feed constantly these questions made me an artist. JrF: in a world that both values (culturally) and often undervalues (as a sustainable career) art how would you describe the benefit to your daily life of being an artist ? RG: When people ask you: -"What's your job?” and you answer: "I'm an artist"everyone say: "Cool!"-. Is not "cool" at all. Decide to be a valiant artist is decide to to put yourself in a place that you don't know exactly, and require a lot of work and effort for translate your thinking to the public. Since when I was seventeen to thirty years old, I was often looking for an "EXIT" sign for run away from this. Now I recognise myself completely in this role, sometimes also struggling for not caring about what the society and some people require from you.
six questions # 2: Katy Bentham
â€˜In truth i'm a bit scared by the idea of one day being summarised in a paragraph on the back of an exhibition handoutâ€™
JrF: how concerned are you with the durability (physical or cultural) of your work ? KB: I currently take the stance of being dubious about the ‘art object’ and commodification. This is perfectly valid in itself of course – it gives artists a means of making a living to go on making art. However, I think a lot of people, especially the general public, live under the assumption that art is only something you can put a price tag on, put on a plinth or hang on a wall. For now I am perfectly happy for my work to be impermanent - an event or discussion, affect only a small number of people and be completely obscure. This may change in the future but changeability is good too. I don’t think it’s productive to worry too much about these things. JrF: where is the line between success and failure (you can choose to answer this in terms of your artistic career or the work itself) KB: Whilst still studying for my BA, I am simply trying to learn as much as I can and use failure as a tool for growth; to go on learning and growing for years to come. Though an odd contradiction, I consider a failure a success if it is a productive failure: if something didn’t turn out how I wanted but I learnt a lot from it or something unexpected happened. The only things I would consider true failures are the times when I wasn’t really trying; if I wasn’t truly interested or I was only making work to meet a deadline or pad out a portfolio.
JrF: given that most artwork becomes a collaboration between the work itself and where it is experienced (physical or online) what is your approach to placing your work ? KB: More and more I want to be making work that is inextricably linked with its environment – that the place should be an extension of the work. Or for the work to respond to a space, be it in a gallery or outdoors. In a sense it branches out into a curatorial practice. A few years ago I saw a small pop-up exhibition in Peckham situated under a railway line. You could hear the rumble of a train passing over every ten minutes. But the work itself might as well have been placed in a white cube. There didn’t seem to be much thought put into how the place ‘framed’ the work. How one may enhance or complement the other. The frustration over that has stuck with me ever since. Not that I am against white cubes… JrF: what is the connection, regardless of the role of chance, between your first interest in art and your current explorations ? KB: It is interesting to reflect and notice the themes and preoccupations that have persisted in my work since the beginning and in some cases are only just starting to find their feet. For example: my interests in urban environments, growing up in London, personal and collective alienation and utilising personal pop-culture ‘muses’ as tools for enquiry (currently it’s David Byrne). In the beginning I thought I had to express all this through painting and drawing, now it has all been liberated by performance, sound, video and writing: modes that the ideas had been crying out for all along. Recently I am also taking more seriously the significance of being a woman making this work; how I fit into a bigger picture.
JrF: do you remember your first experience of ‘art’ and how it felt ? KB: I didn’t have much of an interest in art – painting and drawing – per se until about the age of ten. I had a late flowering passion for reading too though I had always loved stories: films, computer games or being read to. My most significant early experiences of art came in form of popular 90s music passed down by older siblings. My parents tried to encourage an interest in classical music but I preferred Ben Folds Five and Radiohead! It was my first instance of asserting identity through the things I liked and it was exciting. JrF: in a world that both values (culturally) and often undervalues (as a sustainable career) art how would you describe the benefit to your daily life of being an artist ? KB: On a personal level, being an artist makes me look beyond the
structures and systems of the world – to question everything. To not just accept things as they are. It is a way of feeling present in the world. The environment of a degree course or wider creative communities, in my experience, have been places where fervent creating and discussion on any topic imaginable take place. From conceptual art theory and aesthetics to social engagement and sustainability. There are always insecurities that I am living in a bubble somehow separate from the so-called ‘normal world’ but that comes with the terrible (and frankly incorrect) implication that the things artists do are not valid. Then I look at the radical innovations in performance, painting and sculpture as far back as the 50s and 60s (Allan Kaprow, Eva Hesse, Barnett Newman) and think: why is mainstream culture still shocked and bemused by these things!? I feel there are ways that experiencing contemporary art could be made more accessible to the general public (and not just the middle/upper classes), but with this decade marking one hundred years since Duchamp signed a urinal, it’s ‘them’ who have a lot of catching up to do with ‘us’.
six questions # 3: Vicki Bennett / People Like Us
peoplelikeus.org Since 1991 British artist Vicki Bennett has been working across the field of audio-visual collage, and is recognised as an influential and pioneering figure in the still growing area of sampling, appropriation and cutting up of found footage and archives. Working under the name People Like Us, Vicki specialises in the manipulation and reworking of original sources from both the experimental and popular worlds of music, film and radio. People Like Us believe in open access to archives for creative use. In 2006 she was the first artist to be given unrestricted access to the entire BBC Archive. People Like Us have previously shown work at Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, The Barbican, Centro de Cultura Digital, Sydney Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, Pompidou Centre, Maxxi and Sonar, and performed radio sessions for John Peel and Mixing It. The ongoing sound art radio show ‘DO or DIY’ on WFMU has had over a million “listen again” downloads. since 2003. The People Like Us back catalogue is available for free download hosted by UbuWeb.
JrF: how concerned are you with the durability (physical or cultural) of your work ? VB: It is a concern, but because the nature of my work is that it's digital and that I put all or most of it online to fend for itself on the internet I figure that if it has any value then it will duplicate and transform so long as there is some form of internet as we know it. That said, the internet will change drastically in the next 5-10 years. But I will adapt with it and continue to distribute using the most successful medium. Before the internet it was CDs, DVDs, cassettes, vinyl, and of course radio. Postinternet? We will see! But I'll continue to share in a form that can be easily passed on and transformed. JrF: where is the line between success and failure (you can choose to answer this in terms of your artistic career or the work itself) VB: Success can be defined in so many ways. Artistic success would be the ability to engage successfully with an audience. Beyond that the level of success would be the degree of engagement you were able to have in audience number and also depth of engagement. Beyond that it's not really to do with the content. JrF: given that most artwork becomes a collaboration between the work itself and where it is experienced (physical or online) what is your approach to placing your work ?
VB: I place it where I can, and where I'm able. This can be limited in a
material way compared to what I would wish, so I make the most of what I can get hold of - ie using the internet and also sharing things through having a radio show (http://wfmu.org/peoplelikeus). I's always about how to access an audience and how they can access you, and how you can all benefit from that, primarily through experience, and then on more material levels in terms of trying to build upon that to do more.
JrF: what is the connection, regardless of the role of chance, between your first interest in art and your current explorations ? VB: I’m not sure about what "art" might be. Brian Eno said it's something like "the things you don't have to do". My initial understanding of art (as a teenager) bears no relation to what it later really turned out to be. I used to think that art was the thing you saw in galleries. Now I feel it's everything that you don't find in galleries! With some notable exceptions I'm happy with that definition most of the time, and feel that folk art, apart from "folk art" is where it's at. ie art before commodification is the most potent form of expression. JrF: do you remember your first experience of ‘art’ and how it felt ? VB: Which 'art' might that be though? If you say first experience then I'd say that art was very boring. This was the institutionalised art that was taught at school which was based around skill and measuring how well one could capture form. The only part that they got right was that art is very much based upon imitation, repetition and transformation, and space. Like most composition. JrF: in a world that both values (culturally) and often undervalues (as a sustainable career) art how would you describe the benefit to your daily life of being an artist ? It is my vocation. It isn't who I am but it is what I do, or rather what I use in order to say things in a way that can be interpreted and shared on levels beyond what I am able to do verbally or in text. I wish I could do the latter so well then maybe I could be more effective. In terms of spiritual benefit, art is integral to my life. Material benefit? Disastrous :) But will keep working on it... Thanks, Vicki
six questions # 4: Claire Zakiewicz
www.clairezakiewicz.com Claire Zakiewicz is a British artist from London. She works with painting, drawing, sound, animated film and performance. Her most recent work has emerged from her research into relationshipsÂ between sound and drawing. This exploration has produced paintings and performances that speak of entropy and the depiction of time, space, movement and multi-modal objects.Â Claire was artist in residence at PointB Worklodge in New York during 2014 and has exhibited at Tate Tanks, Tate Modern, The Foundry, Hardy Tree Gallery, Terrace and other galleries in the UK and New York. She has performed on Resonance FM and many venues in London, New York and Bergen. She is based in London but spends much of her time making work in other locations around the world.
JrF: how concerned are you with the durability (physical or cultural) of your work ? CZ: Ideas are what I consider to be of highest value and I'd prefer that ideas are constantly challenged, developed and moved forward, so their durability is more like that of a strong building block. I'd like to see a society where we are encouraged to be more creative with a focus on learning how to develop ideas.Â I'm always aware that paintings have a danger of being nothing more than a luxury product. Their usefulness is limited to decoration if not for the concepts behind the paintings. As well as that I question whether our world really needs more physical stuff being produced. Having said that I still believe very strongly in painting and drawing as a means to be creative. Sometimes my focus is more on process and as such I often work in performance. If drawing is included in the performance then it's often a drawing onto a wall, which is then painted out. Sometimes I document the performances but my main concern is the development of the ideas behind the work and the impact on the audience during the performance.Â Having said that I find my most conceptual practice is actually developing paintings. I think I'm sloppier than I would ideally like to be. I usually want to do too many things at one time and I'm in too much of a hurry. I'm learning to be more patient and make my work in a more careful way with regards to it's durability but I'm also aware that there is a place for fast work as well - it's an access to working intuitively. As such, I try to allow my practice to be fairly flexible so that I can work fast when I'm in the mood to be fast, and more carefully when I'm in the mood to be careful. For that reason, I work on many pieces at the same time. Obviously having access to ancient works of art enables wisdoms and traditions to be passed down generations, and we value these things as human beings because they make life richer and contribute to future creations. Â
JrF: where is the line between success and failure (you can choose to answer this in terms of your artistic career or the work itself) CZ: In my studio I think my time is spent failing and succeeding at a ratio of about 75% failing and 25% succeeding but as a Meisner trained performer I'm reminded by my teachers that there really is no difference. Often times as a performer or when painting the work fails because I'm trying too hard. Just being present and trusting in a chosen process often gets the best results. It's about getting into that zone, which is never a constant state. Recognising when something is successful is a challenge in itself and I have strategies to help evaluate the work. It needs to be done as a separate activity from the making itself. On the whole true creation happens from resolving failure, otherwise, making the work is just mechanics and repetition. JrF: given that most artwork becomes a collaboration between the work itself and where it is experienced (physical or online) what is your approach to placing your work ?
CZ: Â The way we consume culture is in a state of flux in the internet age. I don't know what is best. I currently use the internet to display works that are unfinished as a means to help me develop the work. I'm not sure this is a good idea as I know many people think work should be finished before putting it out to be consumed. However, I prefer not to have a precious attitude about my work and putting work onto the internet before being finished does work for me in the short term and I'm don't have a problem with engaging an audience in my process. The reason I'm doing this interview is because I post my work regularly on Facebook, although I also know Jez from exhibiting my work and performing at the Foundry in London. It's a very good thing to get work out for the public to see. Society needs it. I know too many artists who find it difficult to put their work out into a public sphere.
JrF: what is the connection, regardless of the role of chance, between your first interest in art and your current explorations ? CZ: I always used to draw as a child and my work is still based on drawing. Music was also very central in my family and childhood and as such it is still central now. All the dots definitely join. JrF: do you remember your first experience of ‘art’ and how it felt ? CZ: I don't really like the word 'art' in this context. I remember a teacher saying to me not to make 'art' but to keep things experimental and I liked that advice. I guess experiencing 'art' as a child was going to see the paintings at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, which I thought was quite boring. However, I was always creating with my siblings, we drew, made our own games and we played in a very creative way. I don't like to imagine what it would have been like if we hadn't done that. I hear many people expressing concern that children don't play like that so much anymore with the rise of technology. If something isn't done about this soon I suppose culture is going to become thinner and thinner and that looks like a bleak prospect. (nb. JrF: it was a definite intention of stating ‘art’ in the question to see how each artist views that word / concept - both now and when reflecting on what it meant to them in their childhood. ‘Art’ is defined, in my opinion, by various systems that allow it to be quantified - none of which has much to do with ones personal reaction to it. As children we experience creativity without the weight that gradually sticks to the word as we are taught what it means. How one reacts to, plays with and removes that weight is part of what motivates change and challenge)
JrF: in a world that both values (culturally) and often undervalues (as a sustainable career) art how would you describe the benefit to your daily life of being an artist ? CZ: Personally there is no other career I would have rather chosen in hindsight. My most valuable training as an artist has been to think outside the box on a regular basis and to be able to dream. I've had to learn to connect to my passions, to have a practice where I frequently ask myself what I'm really interested in and what I really want to do. I've had to learn to fail and carry on, I've had to learn to work in solitude for long periods and also how to collaborate, sell my work and market myself. I need to be a business woman as well as a visionary. I've had to learn how to deal with doubting myself and how to deal with procrastination. In return for learning these things I life a life that is outside the mainstream, I have gravitated towards interesting people and I live on the edge of society comfortably. Living the life of an artist is far from easy but I wouldn't want an alternative. As human beings I believe we all have dreams and being able to work on truly creative projects is possibly the most satisfying state of being regardless of success. Too few people know how to live like this and I hope we are able to change our society in the future so more people can live creative lives.
jan eerala 61N 21E
I'm a self taught photographer, former darkroom rat and visual artist, born 1948. I'm living with my wife since 1989 in a little cottage situated in a former fishing village named Makholma on the Finnish west coast by the Bothnian Sea. Today, I'm still documenting what happens inside our narrow horizon, but trying the same time to visualiseÂ sound, or the soundscapes. janâ€™s website, containing his photographs and video work, with field recordings, can be found at: www.eerala.com/weblog
alvin langdon coburn vortograms & early colour photographs
etheldreda janet laing
b.w. betts geometrical psychology 1887
nehemiah grew anatomy of plants 1680
* published by engraved glass / jrf * all content is p&c by the artists involved *
Published on Mar 1, 2016
Published on Mar 1, 2016
arts magazine featuring work by & interviews with: Pheobe riley Law, romina giuliani, katy bentham, vicki bennett / people like us, claire z...