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LandEscape A r t

R e v i e w

Anniversary Edition

Doing Fine on Cloud Nine and Clouds One Through Eight of Nine (punched) Works by Bethany Taylor (USA)

LISA BIRKE OLGA BUTENOP NOAH KLERSFELD RART & SETE' CHRISTIAN GASTALDI ALEXANDRE DANG IRENE POULIASSI DMITRY KMELNITSKY BETHANY TAYLOR


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Alexandre Dang (France)

Irene Pouliassi (Greece)

Dmitry Kmelnitsky (USA)

Christian Gastaldi

I seek to create multi-dimensional poetry that opens portals onto the transcendent by applying artistic vision, creative expression and innovative uses of technology to the interplay of physical, virtual, musical and visual forms. In my art practice I embrace the convergence of installation art, video art, animation, graphic design, architectural and industrial design form, as well as audio composition and performance.

(France)

I am a painter who takes colors from used, distressed material, for whom brushes strokes are tears of posters or magazines. Art is for me a process of sublimation. It is most challengingly achieved using plain, everyday life material not perceived as ‘beautiful’ because of their mundane functions.

Noah Klersfeld

My artwork takes a critical view on the narration of time and its effects exploring the human body as a manifestation of nature and universe. I implement time as both a tool and an idea so it attains temporal qualities as it experiences change and fluctuation. My work reproduces familiar visual stimuli such as the temporary nature and distortion of the human image transformating artwork to a memento mori.

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(USA)

My work in digital video highlights moments of careful observation that have been restructured in systematic, fanciful ways. Working with surface and depth, color and light, timing and rhythm, I use video to create new visual systems, harmonizing multiple timeframes that are bound within predetermined, structural forms.

Alexandre Dang comes originally from a scientific background. Convinced of the need to raise awareness of the potential of environmental friendly technologies and sustainable development, he developed his artistic creation often incorporating solar energy as source into his works. Through his work, he contributes to educate the general public on contemporary themes which represent a major challenge for the future.

Rart and Sete' (United Kingdom

Our work often looks at self, sexuality and contemporary society and all the contradictions therein. We have a penchant for dark humour, our assemblages speak of taboo subjects not commonplace within the sphere of the contemporary and modern art gallery scene. We often can’t be arsed to go to our own private viewing nights and sometimes the whole exhibition.


In this issue

Lisa Birke Lives and works in Zurich Installation, Performance

Noah Klersfeld Lives and works in New York Video

Christian Gastaldi Lives and works in Paris, Frace Mixed media

Irene Pouliassi Lives and works in Athens, Greece Fine Art Photography, Video Olga Butenop

Lisa Birke

When you think of fairy tales, youmight think of a beautiful princess with long golden hair, ahandsomeprince in shinning armor, or a fairy godmother performing miracles.Think again. The sweet,innocentchil dren's tales known today did not always endwith “happily ever after”. The meaning, toneandcontent of older versions of these fairy tales,collected by the Brothers Grimm, was dark, evenugly.

Alexandre Dang

(Russia)

(USA)

Bethany Taylor (USA)

My work is also interested in the revolutionary aspect of destruction as a way to comment on our disastrous relationship with the world. I often lament about humans; that our “natural” relationship” to nature is often one of opposition and consumption; to want it, to own it, to use it, mis-use it, or to bring it into our submission.

Olga Butenop is a video, installation and mixed media artist. The themes of her works based on perception and memory, the relationship to time and living space, change and transformation of reality and consciousness. Her scientific background influences her attitude to the surrounding reality, which in turn resulted in her practice where she is used to applying an analytical and research-based approach to create art works. ).

Lives and works in Paris, France Installation, Mixed media

Rart and Sete' Lives and works in London Installation, Mixed media

Dmitry Kmelnitsky Lives and works in Shangai Video, Installation

Olga Butenop Lives and works in Moscow Performance, Video, Installation

Bethany Taylor Lives and works in Gainsville, USA Mixed media, Installation

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LandEscape 40 Art Review

“Pictures in an Exhibition” six channel digital video installation at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, video projections left to right: red stripe painting; walking the line; red carpet (left), Fragonard’s swing; Miss La La; hung out to dry (right), ), 2013 (image credit: Brian Limoyo)


LandEscape 2 Art Review

Lisa Birke Lives and works in Canada

An artist's statement

L

isa Birke is a Canadian artist who situates between the tradition of painting, digital video and performance art. She received an MFA with distinction from the University of Waterloo in 2013, where she held the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Master’s Scholarship and the University of Waterloo President’s Graduate Scholarship.

She has had solo exhibitions across Canada and her short films have been screened at film/video festivals and media centres internationally, including amongst others: Athens International Film + Video Festival (USA), ARTVIDEO LAB (France), InShadow International Festival of Video, Performance and Technologies (Portugal), Cologne OFF X (USA, Israel, India), Cyprus International Performance Art Festival (Greece), Cold Cuts Video Festival (Canada), International Short Film Week Regensburg (Germany), and Videoholica (Bulgaria).

Recently, Tea Service was presented at the National Art Centre’s “Ontario Scene Festival” at SAW Media Art Centre in Ottawa (Canada) and Calendar Girls was awarded a “Jury Award for Creative Achievement” at the Arizona International Film Festival (USA) in April 2015. Lisa Birke examines notions of ‘self’ through the lens of gender, bringing the cultural tropes of woman into focus and into question. Filmed unaccompanied in the Canadian landscape, absurd yet insightful performative acts become entangled in nuanced and complex narratives in single and multi-channel video works that make reference to art history, mythology and popular culture. Revealing what lies beneath the surface of femininity, her work toys with a conclusion that is problematic, comi-tragic, and most essentially, human.

Lisa Birke


LandEscape 3 Art Review

LandEscape meets

Lisa Birke An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator landescape@europe.com

Lisa Birke explores the notions of ‘self’ through the lens of gender, bringing the cultural tropes of woman into focus and into question: through an incessant process of recontextualization, her multidisciplinary approach combines painting, digital video and performance art into a consistent and lively unity, to provide the viewers of an extension of the ordinary perception, accomplishing the difficult task of evolving from a passive audience to conscious participant, inviting us to rethink about the way modern society's cliché that unsuspectedly nestle in gestures, symbols and situations I'm particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her multifaceted artistic production. Hello Lisa, and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You recently graduated with a MFA from the University of Waterloo: how has this experience influenced you as an artist and impacted on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Thank you so much for having me in LandEscape, it is such a vibrant forum in which to express ideas and creative vision and I am so happy to participate. Yes, I came to my video art practise somewhat by accident. Before 2011, I Juerg Luedi


Lisa Birke

LandEscape 4 Art Review

Semiotics of the {Postfeminist} Kitchen (after Martha Rosler), performance/promotional image (image: Lisa Birke), live performance at Sounds Like Audio Festival: AKA Artist Run, Holophon, and PAVED Arts, 2014


LandEscape 5

Lisa Birke

Art Review

was engaged in a twelve year painting, drawing and installation practise that was concerned with the overflux of information and the accumulation of material goods in our digital and commodity-based society. Alongside my more contemporary themes I also had one foot firmly planted within art history and was particularly enamoured with the narrative of the figure within the landscape. The winter before beginning my MFA, I spent six weeks at the Ted Harrison Artist’s Retreat Society (THARS) that runs a Residency Program at Crag Lake, an isolated community in the Yukon, in northern Canada. It was January—and extremely cold—yet also stunning and undeniably magical. On a whim, while taking a break from painting, I decided to take my tiny point-and-shoot camera and filmed a type of endurance performance outside in the nude, in the snow. I was inspired by the Arctic Games and was looking for an outlet for the current obsession with Yoga that was playing-out at the time in my home of Vancouver. I thought it would be both humourous and interesting to transplant the Yoga pose even further out of its original context into this unhospitable (and quite literally cold and white) environment. In order to introduce ourselves to the MFA program at the University of Waterloo, all incoming grads were asked to participate in an exhibition upon our arrival. As I could not afford to ship my large canvases, I decided to show the videos that I had made in the north. After this point, everyone thought that I was a video artist and my fate was somewhat sealed. This was terrifying as I considered myself a luddite and technophobe at the time. My extensive background in dance cushioned my transition and producing the videos has, surprisingly, felt quite intuitive and natural. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and detail from myFunerals, Performance

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?

Usually, the works happen quite organically. I


Lisa Birke

LandEscape 6 Art Review

“Pictures in an Exhibition ”

a six channel digital video installation at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, video projections left to right: Leda and the Swan; pool toy; plastic pornography, lost; Stella; looking glass(es), Sisyphus yogi ; Renaissance woman; somersault, and white on white, marrying the wind; runaway bride, 2013 (image credit: Brian Limoyo)

get a snipit of an image or even a fully formed idea in my head that won’t stop pestering me until I realize it. These ideas may be inspired by previous projects, something that I hear on the radio, or they appear randomly as I am looking for costumes at the Thrift store or am making my props. As many of my projects are

filmed over a long period of time (up to a year or more), some of these ideas build in complexity as I am going along and other ideas take several tries until they coalesce. Other ideas end up on the cutting room floor as soon as I see the first footage. There are always several projects happening at the


LandEscape 7

Lisa Birke

Art Review

red stripe painting; walking the line; red carpet (red carpet), video still, digital video loop, 20min, 2013

same time so cross-pollination happens. Because, I go through a lot of physically demanding scenarios when I am filming many of the things that happen in the scenes are accidental and unplanned. These failures also lead to new ideas. I spend a lot of time scouting locations—this is

where my painting background comes in—and I tend to choose very traditionally “romantic” settings and compositions. I want the final scene and overall image to appear ‘constructed’, Picturesque or already mythologized in some way. Then I wait for weather. I often wake up at 3-4am to assess


Lisa Birke

LandEscape 8 Art Review

equipment into the field, so I have to consider being able to get both in and out of the locations I shoot in. When it is below -20 degrees celcius this becomes a very serious consideration. I have very nearly gotten myself into some trouble with the cold in the past, so I am a little bit more careful now. As in all film and video production a lot of time is spent with the editing (and I am happy to report that I have shed my ludditeness and have become a bit of a techie). My work utilizes a lot of invisible loops and changes in play speed. The audio tracks are generally constructed from the live-capture sound in the camera, field recordings on a digital audio recorder and manipulated tracks of my own voice. The soundtrack for “Pictures in an Exhibition”, for example, took several months and underwent several versions before it was completed. “Pictures in an Exhibition” came together over the course of one year. Because I was in a graduate program, I was able to dedicate most of my time to this project. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Pictures in an Exhibition, an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit directly at http://www.lisabirke.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

the weather situation and then decide whether I head out or go back to bed. Dawn always provides the best light and there are usually no other people around. Logistics are also always part of the picture because I always work alone on my projects, start to finish. I have to carry all of the gear, props, costumes, and camera

There are a number of lines of inquiry that I attempted to tackle in Pictures. Firstly, representation, and more specifically our expectations of the representation of the female form as embedded, performing, or perhaps even trapped with the natural landscape. There is a tradition of depicting the female as part of Nature: she is considered


LandEscape 9

Lisa Birke

Art Review

naturally part of or at home in the natural tableau in various levels of undress. These mythologized views are very interesting to me and I wanted to see what would happen when I physically played-out some of the historical narratives. Of course, the result is anything from glamourous. It is muddy, there are bugs, and it is often really cold and prickly. Ergo—the female form is not naturally at home in nature. Following this, I was interested in unravelling some other myths. As the project built—and because of a certain reluctance in being able to let go of my comfort zone, the medium of painting—I decided to make an installation of six moving ‘paintings’, but all in the video medium. Each ‘tableau’ took its inspiration from an art historical or modernist painting that reveals the act of looking or challenges the materiality of the art form and thus challenging representation itself. The paintings were also selected to posit interesting themes that I could work with: spirituality/transcendence, pornography/sexuality, control, scopophilic viewing and the modern gaze, and entrapement. I wanted to viewer to be aware that they were looking at a constructed image, thus bringing awarneness to the “looking” and “interpreting” process—one that was both familiar and unnervingly uncertain here. I attempted to present stories, objects, and symbols that are already embedded into our cultural consciousness but worked to confuse the signification of these tropes and rendered their meaning uncertain. For example, in “red carpet” we are presented with the symbol of the movie industry: the red carpet. The symbol of fame, stardom and presentment, it is a powerful emblem that is usually only seen off screen and not in it—in “red carpet” is has been transplanted to the center of the frame. A woman walks the carpet, yet there are no media scrums and she is seemingly alone in her

poised and stoic journey. She is not presenting herself ‘to’ the camera but rather walks endlessly away from it, forcing the viewer to follow behind her throughout the passage of the seasons. Thus, while it subverts cinematic space, it is also a tale about transcendence and literally walking the line, negotiating loneliness, and coming to terms with the human condition. It also reawakens a warning given in Agamemnon by Aeschylus, the first Greek play to use the symbolism of a mortal walking upon tapestries. It is a warning that has long since been silenced: beware all mortals who attempt to act as gods and walk upon such extravagences [artist’s paraphrase]. Out of interest sake, the paintings that inspired “red carpet” were Barnett Newman’s “The Wild” (1950) and “Achilles”(1952), two of Newman’s red “zip” paintings . The works in Pictures attempted to subvert the viewer’s expectations and also frustrate him/her in not providing a concrete resolution to the narratives—things are not always what they seem or are ‘seen’. Art, for me is an investigation into how we construct meaning for the world. Both power and danger lie therein: we often take what is presented to us as truth—especially when a certain image or narrative is repeated over and over again without questioning. The church understood the power of the image in the middle ages, yet we often don’t challenge tropes or mythologized representation in contemporary society. I should add that if there is further interest in some of the background information on the source paintings and the mythologies explored in Pictures my MFA thesis on this body of work can be found here: http://www.lisabirke.com/writings/pdfs/lisabirk e_thesissupportdocument_2013.pdf . I have appreciated the way Pictures in an Exhibition takes an intense participatory line on the conception of art. In particular,


Lisa Birke

LandEscape 42 Art Review

"Pictures in an Exhibition� six channel digital video installation at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, video projections left to right: white on white, marrying the wind; runaway bride (left), red stripe painting; walking the line; red carpet (centre), and Fragonard’s swing; Miss La La; hung out to dry (right), 2013 (image credit: Brian Limoyo)


LandEscape 11

Lisa Birke

Art Review

your investigation about the intimate aspect of constructed realities has reminded me of Thomas Demand's works: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion 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?

That is a great question. No, I feel that sometimes we artists like to feel that we can separate ourselves and/or our personal lives from the ‘greater concept’ we are working towards, but I feel that this is an impossibility. Of course, all our direct experiences cannot but wholly influence what we produce. Even when suppressed, the everyday, the mundane, our individual fears, joys, insanities and all of our processed experiences will filter out into the work in some way, if not directly than indirectly. In my own work, I have really had to contend with the fact that I am physically present in the work—even if only as a physical stand-in for an architype, or as an abstracted concept. Initially I used my own body because it was cheap, it was willing to do questionable things for the sake of the art and it was always available to me. It has been a challenge to present the work publically because of that thing we all carry around, called shame and self-consciousness. I have learned to let this go, for the most part. I have become more interested instead in both the physical endurance and discomfort of making the work and in the awkward director/actor relationship that heightens the tension and questions the methodology of control in the image. I hope that because I am just a regular person (and not a trained stunt double) putting myself into these scenarios, that there is a certain degree of

Calendar Girls, video still, digital video, 4 min, 2014

empathy that strengthens the issue of direct experience for the viewer.


Lisa Birke

LandEscape 12 Art Review

Humourism plays a relevant role in your

effectively question the societal expectations

practice and in the Calendar Girls you

of woman not only as a stricly human


LandEscape 13

Lisa Birke

Art Review

Calendar Girls, video still, digital video, 4 min, 2014

aesthetic symbol but especially highlighting her spontaneous, direct position in a wide, natural environment. In this interesting project I can recognize a subtle but effective investigation about the emerging of language due to a process of self-reflection, and what has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of a track of our existence. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that invite the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... 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 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?

It is really important to me that the viewer can bring their own experience and interpretation to the work—the vulnerability and awkward humaness that are revealed in my acts and epic failures hopefully allow for a relateability of sorts. I believe that humour can uncover some of our deepest hang-ups, misconceptions and perhaps even hint at an unfettered truth. Calendar Girls was initially a reaction to the “selfie” culture and all of the amateur dance


Lisa Birke

LandEscape 14 Art Review

Calendar Girls, video still, digital video, 4 min, 2014

videos that are produced for Youtube. This is working alongside the more obvious commentary on the tradition of the Calendar Girl and the objectification therein. Both of these media forms are facinating arenas of objectification and presentment/masquerade. The joke was that I was presenting myself to the camera but had my face covered, frustrating the purpose and also making the audience again more aware of the other signs at play. Although their faces are not revealed, I attempted to portray a more rounded and complex female character type(s)—rather than the usual flat yet aesthetically ample pin-up girl. The reoccuring Nature theme was at work again too: women associated with the seasons, the passing months

and with passing fancy. I am also playing with some social cues and narratives, ie. dancing with a lampshade on one’s head, living with a box on one’s head, or becoming a social deviant by stretching a nylon stocking on one’s head. I carefully combined these symbols with a very specific and culturally significant and charged ‘dance’ outfit, and yes, positioning them within a larger environment—both natural and sociocultural. When the women enter their natural stages, we expect that there will be a performance or spectacle and we already know what it will look like, as determined by the outfits—this is a type of encrypted knowledge for sure. And this ties back to some of the things that I was discussing earlier.


LandEscape 15

Lisa Birke

Art Review

Knock yourself out (after Muybridge), digital image, digital print on fine art paper, 2012

I am making the point also in this work that we often feel like we have to hide our inner ‘Natures’ in order to ‘fit-in’ to societal expectations and norms. This is very confining and makes it difficult to see where we are going, literally and metaphorically. When all layers (and clothes) are pealed away in the month of December, an overt sexuality is not displayed, as one would expect. Rather, a silly yet heartfelt joie de vivre is expressed restoring the Calendar Girl’s humanity. As Marina Abramovich once stated, "to be a performance artist, you have to hate theatre", to reject the idea of a fictional representation of the reality you are questioning in your works. But when it comes to investigate about symbols and semiotic labeling as you did in House Broken it is almost impossible to split form from substance: social clichés embedded in a male-constructed culture are conveyed by apparently innocuous epithets that refer to

a fictious reality in order to convince people to take it as true... what's your point about this? In particular, the capability of discerning the essential feature of a concept to translate it into an accessible visual is a key point of your practice: how much do you explicitly think of such communicative aspect for your work?

I am always working with double meanings, puns and literal subversions in my work. I really like how language is contradictory: it is slippery and difficult to pin down yet weighs very heavily when imposed onto a subject or group of individuals with the intention of locking it/them down with a definitive definition. I think that people are generally more comfortable when things are categorized into neat boxes with tidy labels. When we are presented similar stories and representations over and over again, we are happy to accept these as truths because these categorizations make it easier to define our own selves in


Lisa Birke

LandEscape 16 Art Review

relation to them. We know where we stand and where we belong, so to speak. This is both a relief and comforting...until one realizes that one is being suppressed or controlled. In a number of the images from “House Broken” I take advertisement-style domestic scenes and turn them into surreal tableaus through building on our lexicon of reference points and subtle meanings, manipulating these through our system of language and semiotics. In “House Bunny” and “Cougar” I am working with the ‘animalization’ of the female. In Canadian English, a male usually has other words that are associated with his penis used against him if the intension is derrogatory (odd, considering these words are still symbols of power and thus not really degrading.) Women are much more readily associated with the animal kingdom—again that pesky Nature! So my intention was to reveal this language use in a purely visual form. In “House Bunny” it is not the female domestic that is the house bunny as

we would expect from the title. Instead, our subject has been surprised and rendered offbalance while washing the dishes by a giant kitsch ceramic bunny visible in the window—a literal House Bunny intruding on her space. We often don’t see these subtle power dynamics at play in our language systems—or maybe we don’t want to see them—like the big bunny in the window or the elephant in the room. The “Cougar” (an older woman who preys on younger men) in my image has been stuffed and put in the museum with the other curiosities. Again, it is through the overt humour and lightheartedness in the work that I hope these sytems of signification become apparant to the viewer. So yes, I think about the accessiblity of my imagary and I use the tropes and stereotypes that are already familiar to the viewer and understood by them on a subconscious level. In subverting these cues, I see the potential in saying something meaningful by upsetting the normative social


LandEscape 17

Lisa Birke

Art Review

code. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Semiotics of the {Postfeminist} Kitchen. This stimulating performance parodies the idea of hometown domesticity, subverting the stereotyped imagery about femininity through a visual and semantic détournement. It is pervaded with a subtle but perceptible sadness, however, you seem to imply that in our hectic, entropic contemporariness there's seem to be space for a glimpse of hopeful humanness: in this sense, you shows such a way out from our problematic society, urging us to evolve from being a passive spectator to more conscious participants... By the way, although I'm aware that this might sound a bit naïf, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadayscould play an effective role in sociopolitical issues: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

Just a quick note about the work you reference before I tackle the bigger question here. Semiotics is an homage to Martha Rosler’s original performance-for-video Semiotics of the Kitchen made in 1975. The original work is morose and Rosler’s actions with the kitchen implements show a constrained frustration and implied violence that serve as a catalyst for both comic relief and powerful social commentary. I felt that the contemporary semiotics of domesticity are quite changed in their mood and I wanted to address these changes in the tongue-in-cheek {Postfeminist} version. The kitchen has become much more sexualized since the 70’s and some of the boundaries between, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen have blurred. The contemporary

House Bunny, digital image, 2012

kitchen is also much more plugged-in, so in my version the din and then roar of the electric gadgets as they are cumulatively turned on drown-out the spoken semiotics, confusing the linear order and creating a type of white noise. Now to get to your question: you have probably


Lisa Birke

LandEscape 18 Art Review

Cougar, digital image, 2012

already realized through this interview that I also have some pretty lofty ideas about the power of art! I think one has to remain hopeful that one may still be affecting some change in the world—if only very minimally. Art is difficult—it is not just entertainment made for

the purpose of escape. Most people are tired from their everyday stresses and do not want to have to think when they are at home or come home from work or school, they want to winddown with entertainment. In order to really understand or “get” art you have to think for


LandEscape 19

Lisa Birke

Art Review

yourself, put the effort in and ask difficult questions. Thus art is not usually mainstream enough to have an immediate and wide ranging impact. However, I believe that art works more like a dormant virus that festers under culture’s skin until it has the opportunity to come to the surface. Once that wound opens, it spreads. This takes a lot of time, education, external resources and global platforms. The internet and digital art forms are definitely emerging as a potential for changing the geo-political landscape as more and more people have access to these expressive media, so I do see a lot of hope in this regard. I also beleive that the world would not function without forms of art, so I have no fear of them ever dissappearing. I read an interesting article lately that claims that most people secretly don’t trust or even like creative thinkers—creative thinkers rock the boat and bring about uncertaintly. I hope that society will continue to realize the depth and value that artists and art bring to the human experience. In evolution, isn’t it often the mutant in a group that allows the species to survive? Before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a but cliché question, but an interesting one that I'm sure will interest our readers around the world... it goes without saying that feedbacks are capable of providing an artist of an important support, which is for sure not absolutely indespensable, but that can stimulate to keep on with Art: I was just wondering if the expectation of positive feedback could even influence the process of an artist... In particular, how would you define the nature of the relation with your audience?

I am terrified of the audience yet art is made for an audience, so therein lies an inexplicable paradox for me. I have only attempted a few live performance projects and each time I nearly passed-out. This is why I hide behind the

Sisyphus yogi ; Renaissance woman; somersault, video

screen—the audience can see me, but I can’t see the audience—at least not when the work is being filmed. No, quite seriously (and there is a lot of truth to that first statement), I often have an unexplainable impulse and urge to do what I do (and I realize this is also cliché). I have attempted to stop producing work for short periods of time and witnessed my health and mental well-being deteriorate surprisingly quickly. The difficulty of making art is a life-long challenge that I can’t seem to dissengage from. That being said, I also usually make the work and don’t think about having to present the work to a live audience until much later in the process. Despite my irrational fear of audiences, I am not afraid of negative feedback. When it does come my way it really helps me figure out how the work is communicating or miscommunicating. All


Lisa Birke

LandEscape 20 Art Review

still: digital video loop, 3min 20sec, 2012

responses to the work are equally valid and helpful. Of course, positive feedback is very heartening and gives me the impetus to keep working. When even one other person ‘gets it’ and the work is able to impart just a bit of contemplation or emotion, it is very rewarding. And it feels just a little less lonely. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Lisa. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. How do you see your work evolving?

I have a number of projects on the go, some very long term that I will hopefully work on for decades and others much shorter in scope. Currently, I am interested in exploring simple video special effects (still involving the figure and landscape) and hopefully will have a new

work finished by the end of the summer. I am also very excited that I received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to produce a collaborative video work with my Mom who is a textile designer and craftsperson extraordinaire. This will go into production in late summer/early fall. This should be another adventure with just a few of those continuing growing pains thrown in for good measure! So I hope that the work will evolve in scope and complexity. Maybe one day I will even start painting again. Thank you so much for having me and asking such engaging questions.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator landescape@europe.com


LandEscape 40 Art Review

“Four Corners” installation at The Boston Society of Architects, Boston MA Collaboration with Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest. Photo © Aaron Forrest, 2014


LandEscape 25 Art Review

Noah Klersfeld Lives and works in New York City

An artist's statement

M

y work in digital video highlights moments of careful observation that have been restructured in systematic, fanciful ways. Working with surface and depth, color and light, timing and rhythm, I use video to create new visual systems, harmonizing multiple timeframes that are bound within predetermined, structural forms. Focusing mainly on patterns, I reorganize motion in an attempt to look at time in spatial terms, using the pattern itself as the framework for temporally redistributing all of the surrounding activity. This method allows me to consider time on an inch-by-inch basis rather than day-byday.

Noah Klersfeld

Noah Klersfeld is a video artist living and working in New York City. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He is currently an artist in residence at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York City. Klersfeld’s solo exhibitions include The Hunterdon Art Museum (Clinton NJ), The Islip Art Museum (Islip NY), Mixed Greens Gallery (New York NY), Freight + Volume Gallery (New York NY), and The Soap Factory (Minneapolis MN). His video project, "Payroll," has been on two national tours (with Rooftop Films and Hi/Lo Film and Video) and has received awards from the Center on Contemporary Arts (Seattle WA) and the ASU Film and Video Festival (Tempe AZ). Klersfeld recently completed a long-term video commission with collaborator Patty Chang at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Tom Bradley International Terminal, a project that was granted by the Percent for Art program and commissioned by the LA City Department of Cultural Affairs in conjunction with Los Angeles World Airports. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Modern Painters, and ARTnews, among others.


LandEscape meets

Noah Klersfeld An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator witht he collaboration of Katherine Williams landescape@europe.com

A careful process of harmonization of multiple timeframes allows New York based artist Noah Klersfeld to create videos capable of offering to the viewer a multilayered experience, urging to rethink about the ambiguous dichotomy between the perception of space and time. While reorganizing motion in an attempt to look at time in spatial terms, his unconventional approach creates an unexplored area of interplay where we are invited to explore unexpected relationships with reality and the way we perceive it. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Noah and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, you attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture: how did these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? In particular do you think that formal training did inform the way you currently conceive your works?

I attended RISD from 1991 to 1996. My main focus heading into RISD was architecture. RISD has a wonderful program where all first year students, regardless of major, take one

Photo of Noah Klersfeld Š Corinne Nelson, 2015

year of courses devoted to the foundations of art, art history, and artistic creation. For me, this established the beginning of a crossdisciplinary way of thinking and working. RISD’s academic structure encourages an Juerg Luedi


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exploration across disciplines, and I took advantage of this working in architecture, sculpture, photography, metal casting, welding, printmaking, writing, and deductive reasoning, a course I took at Brown University.

As a student of architecture, what I enjoyed most was organizing time and space through material forms and the poetics of material construction. This “materialism,� as I call it, carries with me to the present day. Now I am


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Fall color of Paris Watercolor on Paper 14 x 11

Video still image of “4:52:45PM-4:55:53PM”. Image © Noah Klersfeld, 2014

interested in the material of digital video and how the poetics of its construction can orient time as the catalyst for new spatial forms. I detail from myFunerals, Performance

attended Skowhegan in 2003. Skowhegan is where I developed my current technique, a process by which I can isolate the temporal


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Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from "4:52:45PM-4:55:53PM", an extremely interesting work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to visit http://www.noahklersfeld.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

When I made 4:52:45PM-4:55:53PM I had been working with chain-link fences for a couple of years, as one of many parallel series of work. For me the ubiquity and banality of the fence was powerful as a framing technique where I could imagine different worlds within each void of the fence, harmonized into a single form. As a metaphorical device, this series points to the constant visual conflicts of an urban environment, not least of which is the tug-of-war between attraction and distraction. The first works in this series focused on recreation sites like Central Park. The second focused on commuter sites like subway entrances and exits. The third, where this one lands, focused on tourist sites like The World Trade Center and Times Square. The move to Times Square intended to capture, in a media rich landscape, the ambiguous trajectories of its inhabitants and the interplay between two and three-dimensional visual structures.

elements of a moving image from the static ones.

When I first happened to get to know "4:52:45PM-4:55:53PM" I tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its content: in your videos, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say


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that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

An important aspect of my work is to create an experience where the viewer has a direct relation to the work, one that is in the moment. When viewing my work, there is no narrative arc so there is nothing that the viewer is waiting to see happen. One can enter and exit the work at any time and only through duration will the viewer begin to develop his or her own understanding. I see this as an ongoing present; a drawn out moment in time that is framed by what’s immediately visible from a fixed point in space. This has lead me to consider time from a spatial position, asking for example, what is the duration of a fence, a street, a brick and so on. My work is empirically conceived, systematically processed, and intuitively finished. I am always balancing between systematic and intuitive influences. This idea of balancing rules with freedoms is something I learned initially in architecture designing fixed spaces within which people move about freely. Your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of intellectual interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience. In particular, your process of semantic restructuration of a view has reminded me of the ideas behind Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". While conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you explore. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a


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“Party in The Bathroom” installation at Mixed Greens, New York NY Photo © Etienne Frossard, 2014


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Video still image of “Percussive Lights with Bathroom Floor #8”. Image © Noah Klersfeld, 2014

creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The creation of a work of art is inherently a

result of the artist’s personal experience. This may not be a lived experience but in one form or another it is related to his or her personal


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way as to appear automated. This level of apparent automation helps remove my hand from the viewer’s ongoing relation to the work and provides a more immediate experience. I believe that the relationship between the viewer and a work of art can be disconnected from direct experience. This is what draws me more and more to work in the public realm. I like when a work can exist in the landscape, independently, and allow for more casual interactions with the viewers. Another interesting project of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled "Percussive Light with Bathroom Floor": the ambience created by your careful juxtaposition has reminded me the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by Michel Foucault. What has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to signs, and in a wide sense to re-contextualize the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach, that provides the viewers of an Ariadne's Thread, inviting them to challenge the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... 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?

history. My projects, while filmed in “real space,” use digital technology to reinterpret how time is perceived and are crafted in such a

I am attempting to work with time in a practical, almost utilitarian manner and there is something uncanny about this approximation. The first person perspectives of the Bathroom pieces add a commonplace reference for the viewer who may remember staring at bathroom tile patterns over and over, when being held captive by the toilet, sink or shower. Now those moments,


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temporally animated, bring the viewer back to that physical place but in a way that’s initially cognitive. It is a very personal experience, expressed systematically, which I hope brings emotion to inanimate objects, surfaces, and spaces. The impetuous way modern technology has nowadays came out on the top has dramatically revolutionized the idea of Art itself: in a certain sense, we are forced to rethink about the intimate aspect of constructed realities and especially about the materiality of an artwork itself, since just few years ago it was a tactile materialization of an idea. I'm sort of convinced that new media will definitely fill the apparent 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?

I guess it would depend on how we define modern technology. In one view, Art and Technology have always been working together and have always been equally responsible for the development of new art forms and new technologies. If we are talking about the threat of an all-digital future, this, for me, is a very real concern. I am always striving to strike a balance between the tactile world and the world within the digital field. I am not interested in a digital reality that does not test the ideas of tactility. To this end, I limit my digital modifications to temporal ones while capturing footage that can only be found in real space. This is an important distinction for me. By definition video is rhythm and movement, gesture and continuity. In your videos you create time-based works that induce the viewer to abandon himself to his associations, looking at time in spatial terms and I daresay, rethinking the concept of space in such a static way: this seems to

Video still image of “8:42:13AM-8:46:40AM”. Image © No

remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal


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ah Klersfeld, 2013

form. How do you conceive the rhythm of your works?

My feel for timing and rhythm comes from my

childhood, growing up playing tennis and drumming from an early age. This has no doubt set the baseline for the way I see and


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Video still image of “200-67-181”. Image © Noah Klersfeld, 2013

interpret much of the world around me. Both activities have taught me how to see and set patterns, establish expectations, visualize

variable outcomes, and implement the element of surprise. When working on a piece, I go through a long series of timing tests until I feel


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work so I will either reshoot the piece or abandon the project all together. This is where the real time motion often plays a dominant role because its something I cannot control. It provides a certain level of resistance and unpredictability that is critical. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, taking advantage of the creative and expressive potential of Video as well as of Sound: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Yes, all the time. While my work is rooted in digital video, the concepts and ideas I am working with have generated a variety of multi-media projects that include sound and video, architectural design, musical composition, marketing, android apps, and public interventions. It is also true that to express certain concepts, a singe medium or discipline is necessary.

there is a proper balance between the real time motion, the structured pattern, and the temporal shifts. From time to time this doesn’t

During these years your works have been screened in several occasions and your project Payroll has been on two national tours and has received awards from the Center on Contemporary Arts, Seattle and the ASU Film. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I certainly select works for a particular screening or exhibition based on the theme,


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“DUMBO Glow” installation at The Manhattan Bridge Anchorage, Brooklyn NY Photo © Noah Klersfeld, 2013


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Video still image of “The Main Street Bridge at South Raritan River”. Image © Noah Klersfeld, 2013

audience, or context, but I do not create work with an audience in mind. The design of my installations is more tailored to the viewer, I would say, than the work itself. I have no predeterminations for a piece in terms of how or where it needs to be installed. From the start, any piece can be installed anywhere. Before designing an installation I first interpret

the conditions – space, scale, proximity, light, configuration, duration, and points of egress – to determine the best way forward. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Noah. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your


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future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I am experimenting now with a variety of lighting techniques for a new series of work dealing with burglary and home invasion. I am completing drawings on two architectural installations and am in the planning and

negotiations phase for a few new window installations. For my next series of work I will be looking purely at the video plane in a series currently titled “In Formation�. An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator witht he collaboration of Katherine Williams landescape@europe.com


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Sous le Pont CLIX - 2013 - 41 x 33 cm


LandEscape 43 Art Review

Christian Gastaldi Currently lives and works in Paris, France

An artist's statement

I

am a painter who takes colors from used, distressed material, for whom brushes strokes are tears of posters or magazines. Art is for me a process of sublimation. It is most challengingly achieved using plain, everyday life material not perceived as ‘beautiful’ because of their mundane functions.

Two solo exhibitions in Barcelona and Baku (Azerbaijan) in the Center of Contemporary Art. 2013, one of my work makes the cover of the Art and Literature American RiverLit. 2014, participation with HLP galerie to the Art Fairs in Cologne (Kölner Liste, Cologne Paper Art, Art Fair). Five pages article in the Art magazine ‘Art dans l’AiR’.

I was born in France, on the Mediterranean Sea shore, in an ‘Island city’ penetrated by salty waters. I did not study Art.

My work can currently be seen at the ‘Galerie Plurielle’ in Sète (France), ‘Galerie HLP’ in Cologne (Germany) and at ‘Die Hamburger galerie’ in Hambourg (Germany).

Instead, an engineer diploma allowed me to live and work abroad. In 2005, the artistic project became an absolute necessity. Studios were put in place and moved around with me (Levallois, Luanda, Courbevoie, Baku, Frontignan). 2011, Redfox Press published a book in their ‘C’est mon Dada’ collection on my visual poetry work ‘Poems from inaudible voices’. 2012, I realised a commissioned work on a wall of 2.4 m by 7.5 m, for a new hotel in Barcelona.


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Christian Gastaldi An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Claire Russel landescape@europe.com

Focusing on the expressive potential of juxtaposition, Christian Gastaldi invites the viewers to a captivating multi-layered experience: in his collages, his refined investigation about the relationship between Memory and Experience urges us to unveil the intimate connections between the reality that we perceive and the ambiguous dimension of our inner world. Gastaldi's most convincing aspect is the way he accomplishes the difficult task of creating a concrete aesthetic that engages viewers, while conveying emotional and rational approaches into a consistent, coherent unity. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Christian, and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You are basically self-trained, so I would like to ask you if there are any experiences that have particularly influenced your evolution as an artists and how do they impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works.

In my view it is impossible to separate the art you create from your entire life experience. No one has this freedom. We are products of past events, of interactions we have had with people in the places in which we have lived. Now, what are the driving forces, the triggering events that push you into creating?

You may not be aware of what they are, at least immediately, and you also may not be the best placed to understand what they are! This perception comes through time, as small hints, feelings that you perceive and that sometimes fail to materialise into clear concepts. Interviews help in that respect, forcing you to put into words vague feelings, imprecise sensations. I was born in France, in Sète, along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in a city surrounded by salty waters, almost an island. Sète is a place where most inhabitants are a mix of French, Italian and Spanish origins, as I am. I came to think that the geographic setting has a strong influence on people. Sète is a place that gives you the irrepressible need for freedom and the desire to discover what lies beyond the horizon. So, I studied and worked abroad (Holland, Brunei, Argentina, Angola, Azerbaijan…) coming back regularly, as if in exile, experiencing the joy and sadness of departures. As described by Fernando Pessoa in Oda Maritima: ’O mistério alegre e triste de quem chega e parte’. Living abroad, doing geosciences research and practicing sports provided me with the emotions I needed. Then Art became a necessity. I needed the emotional rewards of the creation process, the entire mobilisation of body (soul and flesh) into a transcendent experiment. I had no choice, I had to create.

Juerg Luedi


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MPL00 - 2012 - 7.5 x 2.4 m - Reception room of hotel Vincci Bit (commissioned work) - Barcelona, Spain

If now one looks at my work, it may not be obvious at first sight, but I am a painter. And the fact that I do not use paint is a detail. I conceive my work as a painter. The graphic and chromatic equilibriums of the work are paramount.

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?

Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our

Through the years, I became fond of literature, of the rhythm and musicality of sentences. I did

detail from myFunerals, Performance


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not care so much about the stories, but the style was critical. ‘Voyage au bout de la nuit’ of LouisFerdinand Céline and ‘L’amant’ of Marguerite Duras are great examples for me of what can be achieved through style. This is what I want to achieve in Art.

How does a writer arrange the succession of words to resound with the inner self of the

reader? How can the rhythm of written words create transcending feelings? I have similar questions in mind when I do my work. How can I create rhythm and equilibrium in a frozen frame? How can I arrange linear elements to create movement? How will the picture be balanced if I accumulate elements in one place? ... In addition to Rhythm and Equilibrium, the material used is critical. The


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transcending nature of art is reinforced when working from mundane material, from elements that contain dismissed traces of life. That’s the reason why I work from used magazines, newspapers or distressed posters recovered from illegal billposting places. The time spent to create a piece is variable with the nature of the material used and the size of the piece. I generally spend more time collecting materials or finding the places where posters can be collected, than doing the work itself. I try do a sketch before starting the work, by arranging the paper elements side by side on the floor before going into the gluing process. But this is impossible when I work on a piece which is purely focussing on rhythm from typographic elements, like ‘Sous le Pont XCII’. In that case, I put together the elements of typography I want to use and start straight away without knowing exactly where I will end-up, except that the direction was clear: I had decided, in this case, not to use any vertical or horizontal lines. I wanted to create a piece that flows. In 2013, when I did a commissioned work for a hotel in Barcelona on a 2.4 m by 7.5 m wall, it took me a day to do the initial compositional sketch on the floor, then 15 days to finalize the work on the wall, out of which, one day was spent to complete the final half square meter without destroying the equilibrium of the entire wall! Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from your Landscape that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit your blog http://christiangastaldi.centerblog.net or your website http://christiangastaldi.webgarden.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic

production... In the meanwhile, would you like to tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

Landscape was my first series. At that time I was mostly working from torn magazines. The series started with the intention to study how the chaos of juxtaposed paper blocks and the usage of bright colours could be organised to create forceful, yet harmonious, landscapes. In the process, I sometimes deliberately unsettled the composition to see how it could later be recovered. As the series progressed, the colours became fainter and the works moved from figurative to abstract until I discovered Nicholas de Staël landscapes. It disturbed me. I had evolved towards the type of abstraction and cold colours he had used. So I stopped. The choice of the theme had also to do with the fact that Landscape is a ‘classical’ subject of painting. I decided that, if starting in Art, I had to confront myself with classical topics right from start. Even more so with the unusual type of material I used. Before the Landscapes, my earlier subjects were even more classical: Christ and Madonna! The picture ‘Monocromo azul (casi)’, though part of ‘Monochromes (quasi)’ series, is conceived as a landscape. It is a tribute to my Mediterranean origin. An important aspect of the way you organize your works in series comes from the original place you pick the materials: the bond between the past of the images and their new life unveils the subtle but ubiquitous connection between Imagination and everyday life: your vision seems to speak of a kind an abstract beauty that starts from a mundane imagery but that brings a new level of significance to images. I would go as far as to state that in a certain


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Sous le Pont CLXIX - 2013 - 41 x 33 cm


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Sous le Pont XII - 2010 - 120 x 150 cm

sense your works challenge the viewers' perception in order to going beyond the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but the way we relate to it... By the way, I'm sort of convinced that some information and 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?

My work should certainly force the viewer to reconsider his environment. As I pick-up elements, visible in everyday life, under other


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Les Sablons I: Tiens le Mont St Clair ! 2008 - 60 x 60 cm

Bakou 14 - 2013 - 33 x 24 cm

functions (and therefore with other meanings) I take the viewer to question the perenniality of the messages, of the images. Displayed in a canvas they acquire a new function. To keep the viewer totally free in his re-interpretation I systematically destroy the original messages and images. They are re-incorporated in a new chaos of onomatopoeia, the Babel world of today. Using everyday life material not perceived as ‘beautiful’ you establish an effective symbiosis between Memory and Experience

that takes an intense participatory line with the viewers. While creating such intimate involvement, you seem to remove the historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more absolute, almost atemporal form. So I would take this occasion 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?

As we discussed earlier I don’t think it can be. And I would even say it should not. Art without the projection of the personality of the artist is a negation of Art, a senseless activity. There are already so many of those meaningless activities in our surrounding environment, not


LandEscape 52 Art Review

MPL23 - 2014 - 60 x 60 cm

Christian Gastaldi


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to add Art to this list. I believe in Art as both a product and a source of emotions. I cannot conceive it as a pure intellectual activity. Of course thinking goes into a piece of art but it is for the benefit of the creation of emotion, not as a substitute, a justification by itself. Experience is the soil that feed the art. I started late my artistic activities. Maybe I needed more time than others to assimilate life experiences. I daresay that your visionary approach to re-contextualization that emerges with a particular energy in Sous le pont has suggested me the idea that environment acts as cornerstones for a fulfilment process that has reminded me of German sculptor and photographer Thomas Demand, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead": what's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

The environment, and the way it expressed itself into the material, is critical to my work. My series from distressed posters are organised by the places where the material was collected. The characteristics of the place and of the people that live there, are influencing the specificities of the colours and typography used. They provide a humanity to the medium that I want to reveal in the creation process. So it is right to say that, in that case, the environment provides the narrative elements of the creation. I have also experienced in my work, that I sometimes use a narrative analogy to help structure my creation. A strong tear, through stack of posters, will be perceived as an analogy of a sea shore line, separating two physical worlds, like in ‘Sous le Pont CLIX’.

I have appreciate the investigative feature of the way you explore emerging visual contexts: in particular the posters that you used for MAR-POI, a project that I have to admit is one of my favourite of your wide production, have been collected in Paris subway stations and show an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between colours associations and arrangement of textures. Like many art forms, collage can borrow elements to create new art: your main sources are tears of posters or magazines: in your opinion are there limits to what can or should be used to create collages? In particular are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating collages?

The only acceptable limits in Art are those that you imposed to yourself. Those constraints are a stimulus to the creation process. Any material, in particular in collage, can be used. I am an admirer of Rosalie Gascoigne’s work, and of the old painted wood she used in some of her creations. My current preference is for material which has been exposed to life. The ‘MAR-POI’ series originates from old posters collected at the Paris subway station ‘MarcadetPoissonniers’ undergoing refurbishment. At that occasion, the recent posters had been removed from walls, leaving to the surface old posters, hard to remove. They were several decades old. The passing of time had given them specific textures and altered colours. They had a fragile beauty that interested me. Only small elements could be recovered, difficult to manipulate. In that case my work is on subtlety. If most of ‘Sous le Pont’ series can be seen as, as you said, energetic, sort of fights within canvasses, MAR-POI is a caress. In MAR-POI 10, I decided to use only colours elements. No line, no letter, no figurative element. A pure chromatic palette. In doing so, I am, more than


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One source of the MPL series: Street of Montpellier, France

never, a painter. The challenge was to find an arrangement of colours that vibrates with the perception of textures. Softness of the tears, conveyed the fragility I wanted to achieve. I particularly liked the fainted colours that reminded me of old Japanese prints and the manner they were later interpreted by Van Gogh and Gauguin.

The associations expressed by the juxtaposition process seem to avoid any precise politicized meanings: however, it's almost impossible to deny that giving a second life to images -and sometimes to the concept behind them- could be defined such a politicized practice itself. By the way,


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although I'm aware that this might sound a bit na誰f, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art -especially nowadayscould play an effective role in socio-political questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer

people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

I totally agree with you that giving a second chance to images (and elevating them into pieces of art) is a politicised stance. Even more so when there is no explicit political messages imposed on the viewer. I find a bit obscene,


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even if the word is a bit strong, to have messages on a canvas. As a viewer I want to be free to think on my own. It also distracts the viewer, steers him to the trivial, when what is essential is to emotionally react. My pictures do not have political intentions. But, by the choice of material, I would like to contribute to making people proud of themselves. They are much more capable than the politicians or the society want them to believe. Seeing elements that they are familiar with, in a new context, could help them rethinking their role in society. Will it steer people’s behaviour? I would like to be as optimist as you are! During these years your works have been extensively exhibited in several occasions, including the recent Art Fairs in Cologne in 2014. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Originally you create for yourself, because you need it. At least, this is what happened to me. Then comes the need or desire to show it to an audience to check whether it can creates for them similar feelings than what you experienced when you created. At that stage, there are risks that the feedback received unintentionally alters your original intentions. Occasionally relevant questions or observations will provide new insights into your work. It helps clarifying the approach. But it has to be treated with care to avoid affecting the works to respond to people’s expectations. Lately, during an exhibition in Germany with HLP galerie, the owners had

beautifully arranged my works on the wall and I had the impression of discovering the work of another artist I had forgotten about. I was surprised to see how daring I could have been in some of my early works where the original intentions were totally immune from the way it may have be perceived by others. Since then, I try to keep that in mind and avoid that, unintentionally, others’ perceptions alter my work in a way that I do not fully endorse

Thanks a lot for this interesting conversation, Christian. Finally, I would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Currently I am for a month in an artist residency in Moncontour in France. My intention is to work on large formats on the MPL series. Then I will customise a cow for the Paris ‘Cow Parade 2015’, go to Sète for the opening of the ‘Transformations Urbaines’ exhibition at Galerie Plurielle (June-October) and install a solo exhibition at a winery in Var, south of France, during July-August. In October, I will participate to the Salon Réalités Nouvelles in Paris. Before that, I will most likely go back to Montréal (Canada) to work with OXYD Factory on the second phase of our common project where we combined old car parts with distressed posters into creations focussing on textures.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator and Claire Russel landescape@europe.com


Christian Gastaldi

LandEscape 57 Art Review

MPL08 - 2013 - 60 x 60 cm


LandEscape 40 Art Review

LandEscape 40 Art Review

The Direction Molded Plaster and Oxidized iron, 2015


LandEscape 5 Art Review

Irene Pouliassi Lives and works in Athens, Greece

An artist's statement

M

y artwork takes a critical view on the narration of time and its effects and it explores the human body as a manifestation of nature and universe. With influences of Vladimir Veličković and David Altmejd 's bodies and studing the tryptych Nature -Human-Genesis I want to state human has with its own nature. I implement time in my work as both a tool and an idea so it attains temporal qualities as it experiences change and fluctuation. Having engaged subjects as desintegration and existentialism my work reproduces familiar visual stimuli such as the temporary nature and distortion of the human image transformating artwork to a memento mori. The iron rusts being free in nature just like a human ages. Landscapes seek resemblance with lying bodies reminding us that human and nature has the same design. While I use a variety of mediums in each project the

methdology is the same: Design-DesintegrateNarrate. I travel from one medium to another citating a continuity among the projects. The subject defines the medium and the “Landscapes” as well as the “Bonescapes” serve as storyboards viewed under the microscope. As my main materials I use plaster and iron, Oxidated or not. And I use them with a purpose on creating flesh and bones through minerals and resembling the prossess of aging through oxidization. The time narrates its own process and let the ''Landscape'' reach both zenith and Nadir at the same time. Seeing something as it matures, you can accept more easily the passage of time. ''Given sufficient time, oxygen, and water, any iron mass will eventually convert entirely to rust and disintegrate''

Irene Pouliassi


LandEscape 6

LandEscape meets

Art Review

Irene Pouliassi An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator landescape@europe.com

Marked with a stimulating multidisciplinary feature, Irene Pouliassi's work provides the viewers of an extension of the ordinary perception, in order to manipulate it and releasing it from its most limbic parameters: rather than lingering on merely decorative aspects to seduce the viewers, her interdisciplinary approach allows her to conveys the evokative potential of different materials to create a coherent work marked with a lively and consistent unity. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Irene, and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and as soon as you received a B. A. from the AKTO College you have been accepted with distinction at the School of University of Western Macedonia, where you are currently studying in the 3rd Visual Arts Lab. How do these experiences influence your evolution as an artists and how do they impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Hello and thank you for selecting me in LandEscape Art Review. From a very young age I was a fan and avid reader of graphic novels. The ability to narrate through illustration, the compelling compositions and visual storytelling made a lasting impression

on me and I realized it was a way of expression fitting to my artistic approach. Combining visual arts with graphic design helps me to evolve as a creative individual and to impose critical thinking and analysis on my thought process. The principles of Design and foundations of human anatomy help me solve the technical issues and concentrate on storytelling. I find inspiration in human body and by studying its anatomy I can understand its mechanics and physiology. In my opinion a solid foundation renders you able to articulate and visualize every kind of idea you might want to express. 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?

It is a lengthy process, I would really like to be more productive but before I start a piece I explore variants numbering in hundreds. My field of study is time, space and the effect of desintegration on the human body. I see human body and energy as a manifestation of nature and universe. First and foremost, studing human anatomy, I am exploring for the forms. The a very interesting thing about the Juerg Luedi


LandEscape 8

Irene Pouliassi

Art Review

Human Landscape Plaster and Oxidized iron, 70X120 cm, 2014

body is that under a microscope you can observe forms that narrate the passage of time and prove our physical existence. Then after many sketches and story drafts, I lay down a visual composition and start detail from myFunerals, Performance

experimenting about technical aspects. I prepare the right surface,oxidize the iron and arange its color variations. Firstly, I place the metals and then I pour the liquid plaster. As the water evaporates the plaster dries and


Irene Pouliassi

LandEscape 9 Art Review

Human Landscape Plaster and Oxidized iron, 40x40cm, 2014

our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit your website directly at http://irenepouliassi.blogspot.it/ in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production... In the meanwhile, would you like to tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

rust emerges. For a lengthy period of time its form is in flux until it reaches a stable peak. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Human Landscape that

As I mentioned,it all started with anatomy studies. I am very fond of illustration, sequential art and narrative drawing. It led me to visualise the anatomy as microscopical storyboards and it allowed me to connect factual ideas of human existence as part of a natural order. I consider it to be a similar narrative contructed of different matter but


LandEscape 12 Art Review

Human Landscape Plaster and Oxidized iron,70x90 cm 2014

Irene Pouliassi


Irene Pouliassi

LandEscape 13 Art Review

Detail of the Bonescapes series, Plaster and Oxidized iron, 2015

with entropy as its common denominator. It focused my attention to the passage of time and the afflictions it lays upon the human body as it experiences change desintegration and eventualy death. Its a neverending circle which you can observe in every aspect of life. Regarding materials when I began “Human Landscapes” I was already working on “simulacrums” and it made me realize that iron which also exists within the human body bears a striking resemblance to the skin as both of

them are harshly affected by the passage of time. An important aspect of "From Bodies to Landscape" that has particularly impacted on me is the way you unveil the inner connection between Man and Nature: you seem to appreciate an abstract beauty and sense of geometry that goes beyond a stereotyped idea of landscape, bringing a new level of significance to images and I would go as far as to state that in a certain


LandEscape 14 Art Review

Bonescape study Watercolors on paper, 50x70, 2015

Irene Pouliassi


Irene Pouliassi

LandEscape 42 Art Review

Simulacrum study Watercolors on paper, 50x70, 2015

Earthly Tether Acrylic on Canvas, Part of "From bodies to landscapes"series 60x120 cm, 2014

sense your works challenge the viewers' perception in order to going beyond the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension. . . 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 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?

This is a very insightful description,regarding ou inner dimension. In my opinion, draws


LandEscape 8

Irene Pouliassi

Art Review

Patron Saint of Regret Collaborative Installation with Kyriakos Bournas, 2015


Irene Pouliassi

LandEscape 42 Art Review

inspiration from an archetypical ideal. For every person there is a fixation in such an ideal although artists strive to articulate both the fixation and its source, as human beings. They are challenged by the magnificent size of such ideals and the effort it requires comprehend internalize and express it through their art. In my opinion there are no unexpected sides of nature only unseen and misunderstood, Because creating art is such a personal and at the same time universal thing, each individual artist presents an unique insight on the core of those matters. Art has educational investigative and critisizing purposes it tries to make us aware and realize of what we subconsiously already know yet we refuse to aknowledge. In ”From bodies to Landscapes“ I expose a part of the prossess as “Simulacrum“ is becoming “Landscapes”. Personally, I consider my artwork to be a visualization of the archetypical concept of death. No part of death can be considered unexpected: everything and everyone eventually die. What I can offer is an opportunity for the viewers to witness that natural process through my understanding as a transition of energy and not just the end of something. As you have remarked once, "given sufficient time, oxygen, and water, any iron mass will eventually convert entirely to rust and disintegrate" I can recognize such a political value in this statement: in a wide sense, your vision often re-contextualizes the idea of the environment we live inviting the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive the world we inhabit in... Many artists as the photographer Michael Light and Edward Burtynsky often reveals some form of environmental or political message in their works. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

Both of them are amazing artists and I can visually identify myself with their work. My


LandEscape 14

Irene Pouliassi

Art Review

Bonescape Molded Plaster and Oxidized iron, 2015

questions are not political, but existential. Although living in a country with in such political turmoil, talking about politics is going for the low hanging fruit. Maybe it is a subconsious reflex to being exposed everyday in such a political climate. Nowdays you can use politics to justify every way of action and as such I try to maintain a more neutral approach. The symbiosys between organic materials and iron provokes a reference to parts of

human body, as in the interesting Bonescape: in this sense, your art practice takes such a participatory line with the viewer and one of the features of "Bonescape" that has mostly impacted on me is the way you create an intimate involvement with with the viewer. At the same time, you seem to remove the historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in


Irene Pouliassi

LandEscape 42 Art Review

The master of all organs Molded Plaster, installation, 2013

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?

Mastery over your mediums is a crucial requirement. Only having attained that you may be able to express your artistic character through them. When I started exploring my materials I had technical issues with the ratios, I had to understand their nature and

work with it and not against it. When I achieved competency I had yet to implement my personal esthetics on it. Is is a continuous balancing act beetween the how, why and what. It works the same way you would might explore yourself, asking the right questions and finding not just correct but fitting answers. �Bonescapes� is a detail of somebodys identity, there is underlined irony and controversy. In one hand you have a Molded replica of teeth, your post mortem identity, static in time and then you have


LandEscape 14

Irene Pouliassi

Art Review

rust changing time over time. You depict a infenently small time window which originates from a temporal eternity. I have highly appreciated the way you explore the boundary between Imagination and Experience and the interesting Simulacrum you seem to take advantage of Collective unconscious about the idea of human body in order to disclose the unrevealed narrative behind the instant you capture. Accordingly, I daresay that imagination acts as cornerstones for the fullfilment process of the viewers that has reminded me again Thomas Demand, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead": what's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

Narration is the key,”Simulacrum” contains narratives and ideals considering our body and its nature. In “Definition” I let the hands define the space . According to Aristotle,the hand is the “Master of all organs” the one that can defne space. And in the “Patron Saint of regret”, I remove the vertebrae and I replace them with fingers. I think it posseses a sense of theatricality. Everything starts from concept exploring sketches. With every project being either a sequel or a prequel in a ongoing personal narrative. Art had always a narrating purpose which even in symbolistic approaches, the events narrated had a place in a temporal line. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, taking advantage of the


Irene Pouliassi

LandEscape 42 Art Review

The Crown Part of the bonescapes series, Molded Plaster and Oxidized iron, 2015


LandEscape 14

Irene Pouliassi

Art Review

creative and expressive potential of Sculpture as well as of Painting and Drawing: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

If you want to narrate a story or a concept, you have to consider and chose your words wisely,as you enrich your visual vocabulary you produce a highly compelliing and articulated result. I am very interested in discovering and becoming aquainted with new mediums, its similar to be knowledgeable of several spoken languages. In my work the narration transitions from one medium to another. A continuous shift between two dimensional and three dimensional art with time being the only constantly present variable. I try to fulfill the requirements that are present in every concept, but sometimes it feels as being a slave to them. Thanks a lot for this interesting conversation, Irene. Finally, I would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Thank you for Asking me all this chalenging questions and for this productive interview. Many things coming up, First of all my final thesis Project which I will exhibit next June under the coordination of Harris Kontosphyris and Thomas Zographos. But for now I will participate in Incumbarte International Art Fair in Valencia, Spain and in Art Athina as a member of artistic team En Flo.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator landescape@europe.com

Towards Heaven from the simulacrum series, 2013


Untitled Part of the Bonescapes series Molded plaster and oxidized iron 2015


LandEscape 40 Art Review

25 May 2009: "Dang’cing Solar Forget-Me-Not" At the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, Brussels, Belgium


LandEscape 5 Art Review

Alexandre Dang Lives and works in Basel, Switzerland

An artist's statement

A

lexandre Dang comes originally from a scientific background. Convinced of the need to raise awareness of the potential of environmental friendly technologies (eco-technologies) and sustainable development, he developed his artistic creation often incorporating solar energy as source into his kinetic art works. Through his work, he contributes educating the general public on contemporary themes which represent a major challenge for the future.€ Though the sun provides 10,000 times more energy to the earth than humans need, more than 1.3 billion people still do not have access to electricity. The pressing need to address this issue is the driving force of Alexandre Dang’s artistic commitment, where he combines scientific approach, environmental concern and humanism.€ He designs in particular: “Dancing Solar Flowers” and “Wind Flowers”. The flowers are set horizontally to form a “field” or vertically to form a “vertical garden”. Flowers embody by essence the beauty of nature. In his works, Alexandre Dang tries to give them a dimension which is poetic by breathing life into them using renewable sources of energy. These flowers often trigger surprise, wonder, questioning… and thus bring the viewers to think about the underlying subjects which are addressed. Apart from the esthetical aspect of his work, his creations also invite the spectator to question our

current use of energy, and to think about the possibilities that renewable energy can offer. Indeed, his works reflect the instability of a world in constant turmoil, questioning, transformation… especially concerning sustainable energy, as energy is a major issue for the future of humanity. Alexandre Dang has also developed a pedagogic aspect to his sustainable art, using it to educate young people about the potential of eco-friendly technologies with a focus on renewable energy. He has founded Solar Solidarity International (a nonprofit international association) to raise awareness on the potential of renewable sources of energy and to support solar electrification of schools in developing countries.€

The “Dancing Solar Flowers” have become an iconic work of the commitment of the artist. They have toured around the world and have been featured in sites including the Belgian and European Pavilion of World Expo Shanghai 2010, the Palais des Beaux Arts (Bozar – Center for fine Arts) in Brussels, the Singapore Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Taipei, the Central House of Artists ("The State Tretyakov Gallery at Krymsky Val"), the Musée de Plein Air du Sart -Tilman (Liège), the International Exhibitions of the United Nations on Climate Change (2008 Poznán, Copenhagen 2009, Cancún, 2010), the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken (Brussels), the Royal Palace of Brussels, the European Commission (Brussels), the European Parliament (Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg), the Council of the European Union (Brussels) etc...€


LandEscape 6

LandEscape meets

Art Review

Alexandre Dang An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator landescape@europe.com with the collaboration of Theresa S. Sutton

Establishing an effective synergy between Art and Technology, Alexandre Dang's works stress the way in which perception depends on cultural perspectives, accomplishing the difficult task of educating the general public and especially young generations on contemporary environmental and energetic issues. His Dancing Solar Flowers that we'll be discussing in the following pages invite us to rethink about way we perceive not only the environment we inhabit in, but also and especially our role and our relationship with Nature. The power of Dang's approach lies in his incessant research of a point of concurrency of various meanings of beauty to create a coherent and multi-layered narrative: so it's with a real pleasure that I would like to introduce our readers to his stimulating works. Hello Alexandre, and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid scientific training and you degreed at the prestigious École Polytechnique in Paris. How has these experiences influence your evolution as an artists and how do they impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Hello, Many thanks for your interest in my

work and for asking me questions. To answer this first question, I would say that having a scientific and technological background enables me to conceive and realise some works integrating technological means notably electronics, mechanics, physics etc.. The scientific background gives me also a sort of reading grid on things that surround us, hence perceiving them from a scientific and technological point of view. 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?

When viewing my artworks notably the “Dancing Solar Flowers”, public often have a smile: I appreciate this very much, because one aspect of my works is to bring poetry, emotion and in particular smile to people. Everyday's life is difficult enough when viewing all catastrophes and problems that occur just around us and worldwide. Although the works bring smile and seem easy, realising them is not just a children's game, it is really a lot of work! I have to conceive a first draft, do some pre-testing, address the issues (notably technical!), find solutions, do some further tests, find again solutions, finetune etc… Realising a new work takes some months or sometimes some years. It's important to Juerg Luedi


14/ 4 June - 24 July 2011: "Field of Dancing Sunflowers" At the Cultural Centre "Hospice d’Havré - Maison Folie", Tourcoing, France


LandEscape 8 Art Review

detail from myFunerals, Performance

Alexandre Dang


Alexandre Dang

LandEscape 9 Art Review

highlight it, as when it is realised, everything seems so easy… Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from "Field of Dancing Solar Flowers" that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to our readers to visit your website directly at http://www.alexandredang.com/ in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production... In the meanwhile, would you like to tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

I just saw the Field of Dancing Solar Flowers my mind! I told some friends about it and they could not understand what I was speaking about. So I realised it! I remember the first Field of Dancing Solar Flowers exhibited in February 2006. It was in Brussels in an international surrounding, with people from all over Europe. I could understand only very few comments as they were speaking lots of different languages like Hungarian, Polish, Czech and Romanian… but I saw their expression in their faces and also all the body language… Apparently they seemed to appreciate and this was my best reward. A relevant feature of "Dancing Solar Flowers" that has particularly impacted on me is the way you highlight the inner bond between Man and Nature: you invite the viewer to appreciate the intrinsic but sometimes disregarded beauty of geometrical patterns, bringing a new level of significance to the idea of landscape itself. In particular, the evolving nature of the installation at Queen Fabiola Children Hospital offers a multilayered experience and can be read at two levels: first, it give the intuitive idea of beauty conveyed by flowers, on the second hand the interaction with external light reveals the geometric substratum on which


13 October 2014 – 18 March 2015: "Dancing Solar Flowers"€ At John Jay College, City University of New York, USA


LandEscape 12

Alexandre Dang

Art Review

such beauty is grounded... Like Jean Tinguely's generative works, this installation raises a question on the role of the viewers' perception, forcing us to going beyond the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... I'm personally convinced that some information are hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need 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?

Yes, I fully agree. When I see the public looking at my works, I always wonder on which side is the work. Is it the work displayed or is it the expression in the face of the viewer hence revealing her/his inner Nature and Beauty! Marked with careful pedagogic aspect, your works accomplishes the recurrent but difficult task of instilling a consciousness about the potential of eco-friendly technologies and renewable energy, especially in young generations. In this direction, the chance of taking a participatory line with the viewer both on an emotional aspect as well as on an intellectual one is a crucial point of your Art: while referring to an easily "fruible" set of symbols as starting points, you seem to remove the historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more absolute form, in order to address us not only on a mere contingent view but especially to invites us to rethink about our future. So I would take this occasion 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?

Direct experience is not only important but even key for me and in particular for my creation.


Alexandre Dang

LandEscape 13 Art Review


LandEscape 14

Alexandre Dang

Art Review

14 March - 13 June 2015: "Dancing Solar Flowers" At Oldham Gallery, Oldham, Manchester, United Kingdom

I think it's important to mention that besides conveying environmental messages through your artistic production, you have founded Solar Solidarity International, a non-profit international association whose website can be visited at http://solarsolidarite.org) to raise awareness on the potential of renewable sources of energy and to support solar electrification of schools in developing countries. Although

I'm aware that this might sound even a bit na誰f, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art could play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... In particular, I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

I'm convinced that art can significantly


Alexandre Dang

LandEscape 42 Art Review

18 - 28 June 2012: "Field of Turning Solar Sunflowers"€ At the European Commission (Berlaymont), Brussels, Belgium

influence the world. In very concrete terms, I organise workshops where participants are first sensitized as regards the potential of renewable sources of energy and issues linked with sustainable development, and then they realise their own “Dancing Solar Flowers” from the edition "Fill in your own pattern!". These workshops were originally devoted to young public: children, teenagers… but we

discovered that adults were also very fond of these workshops! These workshops as a prolongation of the works reinforce the impact of the works. I'm also glad, through Solar Solidarity International, to be able for some years now to support with my copyrights some solar electrification projects like solar electrification of schools, hospitals, orphanages… in the developing world for instance in India, Togo, Tanzania, Mali,


LandEscape 14

Alexandre Dang

Art Review

Morocco, Kenya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Nepal, Haiti, Ecuador‌

pursuing it or do you prefer to maintain a more neutral viewpoint?

Maybe because I have a scientific background myself, I strongly believe of convinced that the boundary between Art and Technology will come more and more blurry, with a mutual convergence between such apparently different disciplines. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between Visual Arts and Technology, taking advantage of the creative and expressive potential of Sculpture as well as of the interactive nature offered by Technology: while crossing the borders of these fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

All over the exhibitions in the world, I can see a very universal response from the audience: people mainly smile and start asking "How is this moving? What does it mean?" And this is for me the most important: bringing people to smile and to think about important contemporary issues.

I'm often asked about the difference between art and science. For me, there is more a complementarity. In fact, art and sciences are like a pair of eyes that enable to see in 3D! During these years "Dancing Solar Flowers" have been internationally exhibited in several occasions: from Europe to China, from Korea to the United States: what experiences have you received in these occasions? In particular I would like you to tell me if you have noticed particular differences in the way your audience reacts to a combination between artistic aesthetics and scientific ideas. Moreover, since your Dancing Solar Flowers are feedback systems themselves I would ask you the importance of the feedback of your audience: does a positive response to a particular idea push you into

Thanks a lot for this interesting conversation, Alexandre. Finally, I would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

There are plenty of upcoming exhibitions in the coming weeks for instance in Paris, in Boston, at NordArt in the north of Hamburg, in Venice, in Japan, in Singapore‌ so I would love that the readers have a look at a real installation. In the meantime, it is possible to have a look at some videos in the video section on my website www.alexandredang.com: this can already give some flavour. Many thanks again for your interest in my work and for taking the time to ask these very interesting questions.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator landescape@europe.com with the collaboration of Theresa S. Sutton


Alexandre Dang

LandEscape 42 Art Review


LandEscape 40 Art Review


LandEscape 93

Rart and Sete'

Art Review

Live and works in London

O

ur work often looks at self, sexuality and contemporary society and all the contradictions therein. We have a penchant for dark humour, our assemblages speak of taboo subjects not commonplace within the sphere of the contemporary and modern art gallery scene. We often can’t be arsed to go to our own private viewing nights and sometimes the whole exhibition. We have a diverse portfolio of work including installations, sculpture, oil painting and water colour artwork and some that we really can’t describe. Human bodies are messy, funny, odd, disgusting, beautiful and wonderful all at the same time. €Sex as a mutual consenting adult act is pretty ridiculous, when you really think about it. €It’s quite common for it to be mocked in writing and film, so why does it always have to be treated so seriously in fine art and installation? € Our approach to this subject is different, choosing to use a humour instead of guilt as an angle and playing with words in pieces such as Bill and Bender. €Pieces like Second Class, make very clear satirical points about other attitudes, such as class structure. €Our work has a political element to it, disguised in mockery. We really came together in a pub, of all places. It wasn’t really a conscious decision more of an organic process, gradually evolving from batting ideas around and found commonality in our sense of humour and some of our artistic perspectives. The friction caused by artistic differences makes working together a bit of a knife edge at times. We're never really sure if our next bust up will be the final blow for our partnership. Sometimes it’s like we both want to be Batman and neither is willing to be Robin. However we hope we somehow manage to channel this into our work, and that enhances it rather than detracts from it. It's possible I suppose that we could have ended up producing disjointed ill at ease pieces, but fortunately there seems to be a sort of symbiosis when we pass the conceptualisation phase and start developing a piece. We approach art and sexuality with a real sense of humour. We like to think our pieces can be seen as both intelligent

and funny. We do like to entertain, that I suppose is our main drive. We love to hear laughter in a gallery, after all there is so much depressing crap about. That said of course we like to surprise too. Many of our pieces have other sides to them not obvious at first glance so they can surprise. If the viewer is willing our work can be viewed outside of its entertainment value and be enjoyed at another level altogether. If we shock or occasionally provoke outrage we quite enjoy that to, but to try to shock just to be shocking would, for us, feel rather pointless. Censorship when it comes to art is quite an interesting thing especially when it comes to pieces which are about sexuality. Sexuality has both a personal and public aspect to it and being told you can't show a piece due to your expression of sexuality being 'wrong' in the eyes of the censor can be very frustrating, we find that bringing what can be seen as personal sexuality to a public arena is when people get twitchy, especially when the social norms are not portrayed, this of course is moot as we all know that this social norm in reality covers a much wider range of sexual desires and sexuality than those wielding the red pen would like. € We do feel that this awkwardness is very prevalent in the UK, sometimes though we get the impression that this can be window dressing for what is felt to be "acceptable". We try to use this in our work as we are sure that underneath the clothing of respectability could be something quite naughty, and very probably naked. With the digital age upon us we would like to experiment, however 3D printing on the scale we would like to use it would currently be cost prohibitive, and although computer graphics hold interest for us we much prefer something tactile that you could if you wanted to, touch and feel, again linking with sexuality. Also we currently recycle things into our artwork. This can be done with plastics and 3d printing but is far less viable with other digital media. For us producing work is a compulsion, it’s something we have to do. We can’t currently see a point where we will stop. Of course that could all change when we have our next argument.


LandEscape 94

LandEscape meets

Art Review

Rart and Sete' An interview by Michael W. White and Dario Rutigliano

Using a multidisciplinary approach, Rart and Sete' has developed an interesting style capable of investigating the relation between the outside world and way we perceive it. Viewers are urged to force things to relate, exploring suspended worlds and fill them with their personal experiences, to embrace their provoking take on reality and to discover our unsuspected ability to bring a new level of significance to apparently well-acquainted concepts social conflicts, sexuaity and taboos. I'm particularly pleased to introduce our readers to their stimulating works. A warm welcome to Rart and Sete', from the whole editorial board of LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? Are there any experiences that have particularly influenced you as an artist and informed the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

We come from the east end of London which has always had a very mixed culture and a strong work ethic, with typically working class attitudes and social norms. There is also a strong identification with humor possibly to make the best of a hard time. We met in a pub and found we had lots in comon including this sense of humour. We started to make things, sculptures mainly, out of found and sometimes stolen objects which we would take pictures of

and show our mates who were typically builders and van drivers etc not in any way connected with art. Our mates would laugh or suggest other ideas for us to try and make. Always tongue in cheek poking fun at some element of society and social norms. In the end we had quite a collection and one night someone (we cant remember who) said “thats art that is” and we laughed and joked about being artists. After some time that thought stuck with us and we wondered it might be art after all. We didn’t really know how to find out so we thought if anyone could tell us it would be the TATE gallery. So we sent them a letter and some images and they said it was art. Instantly we were artists. 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?

Having never been to art school (except for a Thursday afternoon at Goldsmiths to do a talk) our technical approach is “suck it and see” if it works then all good, if not we tend to smash it up and bin the idea. Preparation time is next to nil, we have an idea or a concept and launch straight into production. The only hiatus to that process being either due sourcing materials or Juerg Luedi


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financial constraints. Some pieces are created in a matter of minutes while others take many months or even years. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from "Measuring Up" an interesting work that our readers can admire in these pages: and I would suggest to our readers to visit your website directly at http://www.rartandsete.com/ in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

The main inspiration for measuring up was the size of our cocks, and stemming from that the seemingly bottomless obsession with the length and girth of the phallus by both men and women. Society seems to demand that you have to have a big willy, not everybody does. Luckily we have enormous ones. Another interesting works of your that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled "Fight" and examines the way cultural differences might lead to conflictual situations: I like the way you have created such a semantic juxtaposition between the idea of conflict and an apparently playful remind to jelly babies... as you have once stated, you like to entertain, but at the same time your works forces the viewers to question about the issues you refer to, as in "Second class"... and most of the times you refer to living matters, as in this work. Not to mention that Art has been used for political aims of any kind, but although I'm aware this might sound a bit na誰f, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art could play an effective role in facing sociopolitical issues: and not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression: I would go as far as to state detail from myFunerals, Performance

Measuring up Dimensions: 115 x 31 x 32 cm Medium: Fibre glass, rubber, plastic and pubes Description: Male figure from the waist down complete with bollocks and a 12 inch ruler the same size as our knobs (combined)

that Art could even steer people's behaviour... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

Fight examines different cultures, creeds and religions, and how they are a source of


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Fight Dimensions: 120 cm diameter Medium: Jelly babies Description: The piece examines different cultures, creeds and religions, and how they are a source of conflict, and yet at the same time can be drawn together regardless of these issues.

conflict, and yet at the same time can be drawn together regardless of these issues. The various colours of the individual jelly babies are a representation of the differing factions within society. The 'Fight' being between two

of these factions, yet the same two colours can be seen alongside the other factions, united by the forthcoming event. The two colours 'walking away' are united in the rejection of the scene, although they belong to


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the same faction as those preparing to do battle, and are therefore divorced from the whole ensemble creating a sociological sub group.The choice of jelly babies to create this piece is to give reminiscence of childhood innocence and of playground fights, and by doing so indicate that in a child's eye all are equal, until nurture informs them otherwise. At the same time the piece reflects global divides by its circular presentation. The scene is on the brink of conflict, but whether the 'Fight' will actually take place or not is left undecided. Art may be able to open the viewer to behaviours or thought patterns that they have or that they see and possibly enable the viewer to see these in a new light. This could lead to a change in thought processes and consequently behaviours, which could be worrying. However it is more likely that a viewer will see the work from thier own perspective and interpret it in that vein reinforcing preconcieved notions rather than changing them. Your works, as the interesting "Muff Diver" are always pervaded with a deep sense of narrative: but at the same time you seem to be particularly interested to the intrinsic expressive potential of the medium. As an artist that I once happened to interview used to remark, the tools are as exciting as the idea behind the work. This aspect of your approach reminds me a quote of Thomas Demand, when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead": what's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

For our work the narrative, both psycological and physical are as much a part of the work as

the tools and the actual piece. It is not so much symbiosis of the work and the narrative more an intrinsic element forming a whole. The idea behind the work has to find the right expression within the work, not necessarily to communicate that idea directly but to encourage and provoke dialogue with the viewer.


Rart and Sete'

Muff Divers Dimensions: 33 x 43 x 28 cm Medium: Plastic, gravel, ceramic, paint and pubic hair. Description: Fish tank with a gravel bed and a minge suspended by a fishing hook and line, being apprehensively addressed by a deep sea diver.


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The menstrual cycle Dimensions: 120 x 90 x 55 cm Medium: Push bike and jam rags Description: This could be described as a period piece. Ladies bicycle painted in high gloss red and copiously festooned with a profusion of sanitary products


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Oar Dimensions: 75 x 120 x 120 cm Medium: Wood, paper, metal. Description: Pair of well worn oars, cut and explicitly shaped to an unnaturally brazen angle revealing a ÂŁ5.00 note draped over the apex, in front of which lies a casually tossed 3p tip.

Your installations, as the stimulating "The menstrual cycle" relate to taboos as well as sexuality in a very wide sense: but the dark humour that pervades your works highlights the tension between reality and the way we perceive it In particular, when I first happened to get to know with this work I tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. I later realized I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content... so I

would take this occasion 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?

On first viewing our work can be taken at purely face value. We are not precious about this and don’t demand that the viewer look any deeper. It is only ever what the viewer sees, to the viewer. However take the time to look further and there is more if you want to see it. We


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Bust

fluffer

don’t normally go into detail on these elements but as an example with the menstrual cycle there are no tyres, as you don’t need rubber. There is no chain as it cant be ridden in the normal way. As for direct experience being indespensable, we think that you can create without a direct experience if you are using your own or a known or even an imagined perception. Our work often takes an attitude, perception or moment, encapsulates it, with all its inherent social ramifications, out of its natural context, then reconstructs and redefines that moment as a permanent record.

I have truly appreciated your investigation about the ambiguity of the viewers' reaction to provoking images, as Oar: I like the way you seem to unveil the reference to the heavy matter aspect of any abstract interpretation of reality, which in a certain sense trascends the intrinsic ephemeral way we refer to the idea of narration. And it has reminded a quote of Thomas Demand when he stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative


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Piss artist

for your works?

Oar takes the theme of prostitution and the link to dockyards and waterways putting an interpretation of this into a single physical form. The initially “light� play on words diguises this

darker side. This could be viewed as similar to the way that the dangers and the darker underbelly of the sex industry is disguised or defocussed in many peoples minds not least through the now more acceptable face of porn.


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Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, taking advantage of the creative and expressive potential of Sculpture as well as of Painting and Drawing as Piss Artist and Sac: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Using any material exclusively is not our style. Some disciplines work better with particular ideas or messages than others, being multidisciplinary gives us the oportunity to use whats best for each project. We will sometimes start with one discipline and decide its not right, smash it up and use another. Using several disciplines at once can give the right emphasis to an element within the work. If it doesn’t feel right while creating the piece then it will end up a disjointed mess. Piss artist in particular being a double bed sized “water colour� could have been painted but really needed bodily fluids to be passed on it in a more natural way to make the piece work. Whereas sack would not have worked without actually using a full size engine hoist, farmyard sacks and birdseed. The audience's feedback is not essential for creating, but it goes without saying that it's very important: so, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

To be honest an audiences feedback or reaction is enjoyable and interesting but not in any way important to the concept or making of our work.

The Bottom Line

We make the work we want to make and dont particularly care whether anyone else likes it or even sees it. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Rart and Sete'. Finally, would


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you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

We have been working a lot recently with “The

Sweet’art collective” and are planning a summer project with an artist we sometimes exhibit with but can't release any details yet.


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Dmitry Kmelnitsky Lives and works in Los Angeles, California

An artist's statement

I

seek to create multi-dimensional poetry that opens portals onto the transcendent by applying artistic vision, creative expression and innovative uses of technology to the interplay of physical, virtual, musical and visual forms. In my art practice I embrace the convergence of installation art, video art, animation, graphic design, architectural and industrial design form, as well as audio composition and performance. I thrive on the creative amalgam of independent and collaborative modes of art production that lead to more complex artworks which bridge different disciplinesart, design, dance, theater, music, architecture and film. I am interested in exploring the intersection of virtual and physical dimensions resulting in hybrid experiences that can engage audiences on both micro and macro levels- from miniature pieces to large-scale immersive installations. I am particularly keen on exploring the transformation and sensory revitalization of space whether it is a gallery,

a city wall, a gymnastics structure, a fountain or a warehouse. My artwork draws inspiration from mythology, the interplay of the mystical, human and natural realms, exploration and transformation of cultural identity and memory, as well as the phenomenology of space and perception. I am drawn to exploring the beauty and poetic states of the urban landscape and the wonder of nature’s distortion as processed by the senses. Conceptually and aesthetically the work simultaneously recalls a distant past and a vision of the future. In terms of artistic style, I am keen on subverting the vernacular of commercial media (filmmaking, visual fx, graphic arts) to craft more personal messages and experiences imbued with abstraction and symbolic meaning

Dmitry Kmelnitsky


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Dmitry Kmelnitsky An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator landescape@europe.com

The very first feeling I got when I had the chance to get to know Dmitry Kmelnitsky 's works, is that Art and Technology are not separated at all, and that it's always possible to go beyond any artificial boundary that limits the intrinsic continuity between a rational approach with a transcendent sensibility. Kmelnitsky shows how this symbiosis is not only possible, but at a certain point unavoidable: his incessant search of an organic synergy between several viewpoints offers to the viewer a multilayered experience and his insightful gaze to nature in its infinite structures establishes an area of deep interplay with the viewers: I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating works. Hello Dmitry and welcome to LandEscape: I would start this interview, posing you some questions about your background. You have a solid formal training and you hold an MFA in Design and Media Arts, that you received from the prestigious University of California, Los Angeles: how did this experience influence your evolution as an artist? Does it still inform the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

While I was interested in diverse forms of creative expression from an early age, it wasn't until graduate school that I began to

see the possibilities and the means by which they could be integrated. The MFA program at UCLA provided an exposure to visionary artists, art forms and platforms. Figuring out how to absorb so much information and then try to do something creative and innovative was exciting and overwhelming and it certainly did set the tone and pace for my multimedia arts practice to come. It also taught me a more research-based approach

Dmitry Kmelnitsky is the founder/creative director of Lustre - a multimedia art studio, producer/creator behind musical act KEMELL and Associate Professor of Multimedia Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Dmitry Kmelnitsky holds an MFA in Design|Media Arts from University of California, Los Angeles. Born in Soviet Ukraine and raised under Hollywood’s mythical glow, Dmitry Kmelnitsky has envisioned multimedia and time-based artworks for the stage, the screen, the gallery and the city. Working at the crossroads of art, design, music, film and architecture, Kmelnitsky’s multidisciplinary art explores the transformation of surface, form and space to facilitate transcendent states and experiences infused by myth, memory, and culture. From projection-mapped environments, concert visuals, video art, musical compositions and multimedia performances, his work has been presented nationally and internationally at venues such as Art Basel Miami, Art Platform, Glow Festival, 404 Festival of Art and Technology, Digital Graffiti Festival, Optronica, Athens Video Art Festival, Gallery 825, Grand Performances, and the Fowler Museum at UCLA.

Juerg Luedi


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to art making, especially in the context of multidisciplinary multimedia work. Your artistic approach is marked out with a deep multidisciplinarity and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, ranging from video and animation to audio composition and performance: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

I believe universal concepts such as beauty can be communicated and expressed through each singular creative form, however, the integration of multiple forms can facilitate a multidimensional experience of an idea or concept. Sometimes its best to express an idea within a specific form or media. Perhaps one media is more compatible mode of expression of a concept. It may be more pure and elegant. However, there are many ideas that could never be expressed within a single form and that do require a symbiotic relationship between diverse forms, media, and technologies to come into being. I tend to lean towards this symbiosis that engages the senses on multiple levels, yielding transportive and immersive experiences. When I was working on my thesis project, SublimeConcrete" back in graduate school my mentor, the media artist Bill Seaman, told me I was trying to create a "gesamtkunstwerk". Perhaps, I was putting all these ingredients into the melting cauldron to see what kind of magic could be conjured up. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from SOURCE, detail from myFunerals, Performance

A still from SOURCE

an extremely interesting project that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this


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article: and I would suggest our readers to visit http://lustrecreative.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted

artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this stimulating project?


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A still from SOURCE

What was your initial inspiration?

SOURCE came about as an initial

exploration of some of the concepts that were informing my research and development of the multimedia installation SPaRks. All life


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areas of investigation. The creation story is part of every culture and it continues to be explored time and time again in new ways as humanity continues to write its story. There's something sublime in realizing that every time we create we are connected to the beyond, to a larger cosmic fabric. When we jump into one source it is easy to emerge on the edge of another surrounding source or surface. When I was working on SOURCE I was jumping across diverse resources and spheres of information- astrophysics, cosmology, string theories, neuroscience, Kabbalah, and other other mystical traditions such as Zen and Sufism. I found it interesting how each of these areas could serve as portals onto each other. Somehow perhaps, aspects of each of them infiltrate into the final art work which is kind of stream of consciousness across many inspired notions. A feature of SOURCE that I would like to highlight is the way your exploration of the mystical origins of creation seems to deconstruct and assemble memories in order to suggest a process of investigation: 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?

I think that one of the roles of the artist, whether it is consciously or unconsciously, is to create connections that reveal unexpected ways of perceiving nature and reality. Sometimes these connections could lead to new understandings and discoveries, whether for the self or for the world at large. In SOURCE it is unclear whether we are looking into the future or the past. In some way memories are explored as these mystical artifacts of culture and the self. participates in the process of creation on multiple levels. As an artist I can't help but be drawn to mythology and cosmology as fertile

I like the way SPaRks urges the viewers to see the beauty in the broken, creating an area of intense interplay that invites us to


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A still from SPaRks

evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience: in particular, your investigation about the liminal area between physical and virtual reveals the intimate consequences of constructed realities: while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes beyond the ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion 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?

I think this could be answered in contradictory ways depending on the context, so yes and no. I think that for the creative process to be truly successful it needs to rely on a foundation that facilitates an artist to create on both conscious and unconscious levels. Having a certain level of proficiency in creative methods and approaches to both concept and craft allows artists to conceive and construct works that don't necessarily stem out of any direct


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A still from SPaRks

experience. If one can break down the subject of inquiry into its elemental form- theme, motif, essence, than it is possible to create with the imagination as the catalyst rather then the direct experience. Our lives are just as dependent upon virtual experiences as they are directly lived experiences. We are capable of empathy and complex reasoning. The more personal experiences that we have the more we become capable of understanding situations through a multifaceted lens.

One can also argue that it is not possible to disconnect the creative process from direct experiences because even virtual experiences can ultimately become direct experiences just as memory is susceptible to manipulation, . The ambience created by The Lure of Sirens has reminded me the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by French social theorist Michel Foucault and what has mostly impacted on me is the subtle but pervading sense of narrative: although each of your project has an autonomous life,


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there's always seem to be such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose ideas and media: German artist Thomas Demand stated once that "nowadays art can no longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". What's your point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

I think that in many ways humans are programmed to look for narrative, whether it is there or not. Storytelling is so innate that it is truly one of the defining characteristics of human beings. I don't believe it is necessary for narrative to be an explicit force within the conception of an artwork. It depends on the nature of the work of course. I find that in my time-based and installation work a narrative structure is often abstracted and is secondary to a kind of visceral experience that the work is attempting to illicit. I think that my art straddles a fusion of narrative and ambience. I am very interested in the poetics of space, whether it is a physical environment or an imagined space, and how it can yield transcendent experiences. Lure of the Sirens is a video piece that emerged out of an audio-visual installation, Spirited Sails, which was a commissioned for the Glow Festival in Los Angeles. The installation re-imagined a traveling ring gymnastics apparatus on Santa Monica beach into a holographic vessel immersed in video projections featuring mythical characters inspired by the Odyssey as well as other sea legends. I collaborated with my art studio partner, Kalim Chan as well as Chad Michael Hall, a choreographer and dancer. We conceived of different archetypical characters and developed movement for

A still from Lure of the Sirens

them that could be refashioned in a variety of ways. The video recombined the dance performances with visual effects and


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animation and composited the footage in a multichannel projection environment. A year after the work premiered at the festival, I felt

the need to breath new life into the work by creating a standalone video narrative. This is how Lure of the Sirens emerged. I created


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A still from Lure of the Sirens

additional assets and re-edited and composited the elements into a more narrative piece about a character's journey

towards a state of transcendence. While originally conceived for a site-specific piece, in the form of a video the material was able to


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You seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several viewpoints out of temporal synchronization: moreover, the reference to the universal imagery of childhood that recurs in your works seems to remove any historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, I daresay that the semantic juxtaposition between sign and matter that marks out your art, allows you to go beyond any track of contingency...

I find it particularly poignant that a once lived time-dependent event can be experienced in the future in a more fractured manner through memory recall. Aspects of an event can be freed from their initial confines into an undefined space-time. My art process is inspired this kind of thought process. I want to create work with multiple entry points. This implies that each moment is crucial as a means to pull you into the work. Atemporality plays out in a variety of ways in media art. In the context of installations, viewers can experience a video-based work from different viewpoints and enter and leave at any point. The same work can be experienced linearly or nonlinearly depending upon the space it is projected or exhibited in. The contexts such as a movie theater, gallery, or public space can all contribute to differences in the perception and experience of a video.

travel to different digital film and video art festivals around the world and be experienced by a diverse global audience.

Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Magnetic Field: when I first happened to get to know this experimental piece I tried to relate all the visual and audio information to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual unity suggested by


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A still from Magnet Field

the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather than a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

I am inspired by the tradition of visual music as a means to achieve a kind of synesthesia between sound and image. In my work I

often use sound as a means to lure and lull the viewer into a kind of dream space. Magnetic Field is in fact a drift through the topography of a dream. The inspiration for this work came from the experience of nocturnal flight returning to Los Angeles. Hovering over the outstretched city lights below gave the sensation of being drawn into some strange digital and electrical network possessing infinite connections and possibilities.


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A still from Magnet Field

I do believe that interdisciplinary collaboration as the one that you and Kalim Chan have established together is today an ever growing force in Art and that that most exciting things happen when creative minds from different fields of practice meet and collaborate on a project... could you tell us something about this effective synergy? By the way, the artist Peter Tabor once said that

"collaboration is working together with another to create something as a synthesis of two practices, that alone one could not": what's your point about this? Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists?

I have a tendency to try create every aspect of a project. Knowing this I try to seek out collaboration in order to bring in some aspects of surprise, the unknown, that can augment


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A still from Lure of the Sirens

and transform a project to be less about my creation and more about the potential of the work itself. Kalim Chan and I met while at the UCLA Design|Media Arts program and we ended up collaborating on each other's MFA thesis projects. We had a creative synergy that propelled our art practice. Our varied skills proved to be complimentary rather than competitive obstacles. I think he has an edge over space-based approaches while I have an edge over those that are time-based. After a series of continued collaborations we formed the art studio, Lustre, as a way to engage in more multifaceted media projects. These

projects often take on a larger scale, such as installations or performance oriented work. Over the years we have had a chance to engage in collaborations with choreographers, dancers, architects, musicians and other artists. During these years your works have been screened in several occasions around the world, including your recent participation to the 404 Festival of Art and Technology in Rosario, Argentina and to the Athens Video Art Festival. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of the


A still from Lure of the Sirens

relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision- making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

I think that each project can take on many life forms and be experienced by diverse audiences. I usually strive towards a more universal iconographic language. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Dmitry. Finally, would you like to tell us readers

something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

There's a mix of projects underway- new music compositions, an art installation and a dance/theater piece. I am currently in development on a collaborative performing arts work entitled Ancient Matter which blends in Taiko drums, dance performance, as well as, live projection-mapped video with mythology.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator landescape@europe.com


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A still from Behind the walls, 2014, video


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Olga Butenop Lives and works in Moscow, Russia

An artist's statement

O

lga Butenop was born in 1985. Currently lives and works in Moscow, Russia. The first education of Olga was related to science, biology, she was graduated from Moscow State University. This fact influenced her attitude to the surrounding reality, which in turn resulted in her practice where she is used to applying an analytical and research-based approach to create art works. She also was graduated from the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA Moscow). Olga Butenop is a video, installation and mixed media artist. The themes of her works based on perception and memory, the relationship to time and living space, change and transformation of reality and consciousness.

Olga’s projects were exhibited in Moscow, Krasnoyarsk, Kazan and London. She participated in such art projects as International Exhibition Of Young Art "Workshop 20’12"; 17 International Art Fair (Central House of Artist), Moscow; "Border actions", MMOMA. Moscow; "Here, the other side", APT Gallery, London, United Kingdom; "The Voice of Moscow", The Cultural Foundation "Ekaterina", Moscow; International Video Art Festival "Now&After’14"; IV Krasnoyarsk International Media Art Festival and others.

Olga Butenop


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Olga Butenop An interview by J. Ryder and D. Rutigliano landescape@europe.com

A deep synergy between a rigorous analytical approach and a refined allows Moscow based artist Olga Butenop to accomplish a suggestive investigation in the blurry area of interplay created by the coexstistence of memories and perceptual reality. Unlike artists as Carsten Hรถller, Butenop does not let the viewer in the foggy area of doubt: her analytic gaze drives us to investigate about the relation between reality and the way we perceive it. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Olga and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? In particular, besides your studies a the prestigious Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow, your previous education in scientific fields has informed the way you currently relate yourself to Art. Would you like to tell our readers how an analytical and research-based approach creates a so effective synergy with an artistic one?

The artist can't create without the base on feelings and emotions, but due to my scientific background I can systematize these feelings and emotions. When the idea of rather new project comes to me, at first, I perceive it at

the emotional level, but then I develop the concept analytically. I investigate a life situation or a psychological state through a reconstruction of an object metaphorical model in the reality. Moreover, I often attract various data flows as an additional context received both as a result of people polls, and as a result of collecting from different sources. These data flows, which exist in many of my works, merge in quite senseless mass of signs and are always a certain reference point of the present time, time of information fatigue. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Behind the walls, an extremely interesting work that has been featured at the IV Krasnoyarsk International Media Art Festival and that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest our readers to visit directly at http://www.olgabutenop.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something about the genesis of this interesting project? What was your initial inspiration?

This project was realized in the abandoned building of children's sanatorium "October" in the suburb of Moscow. The function of this building was changed several times since its foundation, at the end, there was the children's sanatorium where different pulmonary diseases were treated. Juerg Luedi


Olga Butenop


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Olga Butenop

Art Review

It was a big project where many artists took part, everyone worked with his own room in the house. The idea of lives' plurality passing in this building and the present state of the building, destroyed and plundered, were especially interesting to me in that project. I recreated one of the destroyed rooms of this sanatorium in the small model in that look when there still lived children. It was important for me to destroy a linear current of time. I combined the past and the present of this place in one place. It was important for representation of fears in front of the change of own reality. Because often it seems to us that, having changed something during the life, these changes will appear before us not as something new, but only as ruins among which we certainly will be lost. However, on the other hand, change and fast movement, unconditional distinctive features of our time, are often negative. Therefore there is also a question of finding of a border between sharp change and a natural current of life, on how deeply it is possible to internalize these states. The ambience created by Behind the walls has reminded me the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by French social theorist Michel Foucault. What has mostly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to the signs of absence, that invites us to rethink about the concept of the environment we inhabit in. This is a recurrent feature of your approach that I can recognize also in other works as In the timelessness: you seem to urge the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... 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 way- to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal unexpected sides of detail from myFunerals, Performance


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A still from Behind the walls, 2014, video


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Olga Butenop


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A still from ASYLUM, 2014 video, 27:22

Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?

Certainly. I am sure that one of the artist's tasks today is the understanding and interpretation of the information surrounding us. That’s why the artist resembles now a cryptologist who hacks the information processes happening both in the reality surrounding us and in ourselves. However, the task consists not only of finding of definite answers and the statement of the truth, rather in collection of information that will be also as a result a conundrum. The process of detecting of the unusual fragments of information, hidden in space, is an important thing in the artist’s work.

Really, if you look at these two of my works "Behind walls" and "Timelessness" - through a prism of idea of Foucault, these works are very similar. This deserted greenhouse in the Crimea conceals in itself, as it seemed to me, the stopped time, and through the inscriptions, which are scraped off by people on the glass painted door, there is an opportunity to glance in this tranquility from the vain world. When you appear on the border of these two heterotopias, there is an impression that you stand in the middle of a temporary break. As well as in the work "Behind walls", in the work "Timelessness" the subject of a temporary gap between the past and the present is very important. It amplifies historical background of


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this place, since 1977 this place was a part of three different countries. And the theme of fears in front of the reality comes again here. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled ASYLUM: in particular, when I first happened to get to know with this piece I tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. But I soon later realized that I had to fit into the visual rhythm suggested by the work, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content: in your work, rather that a conceptual interiority, I can recognize the desire to enabling us to establish direct relations... Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

As I've already said, I don't answer particularly the question raised in my work, I offer mine, I also suggest the viewer to find himself the answer suitable for him. The work „ASYLUM» tells the viewer about a current of information by which the person creates a shelter for himself, builds the background. The theme of this work is very personal for me. In general, this theme is standard for many countries – the person gets higher education, but then he doesn't work in his own field, there is a sharp change of a kind of activity and a person rushes from one knowledge to another. And this process can repeat several times. There is a question what is really important: in what you want to be engaged or in what you are compelled to be engaged? Against the background, how I methodically build a shelter of information, I read the texts which I faced in my life. These texts are connected with different spheres of knowledge, and they are mixed among themselves, so turns out the senseless text, like informational noise.

A still from ASYLUM, 2014 Video 27:22

Your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of deep, almost physical interplay with the viewers,


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that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience: I definetely love the way Installation. Total experiment

takes such an intense participatory line not only on the way we enjoy Art, but also and especially on its conception. In particular,


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Total experiment. 2013. Project with Natalia Alexander. Still from the video

your investigation about the intimate consequences of constructed realities has reminded me of Thomas Demand's works:

while conceiving Art could be considered a purely abstract activity, there is always a way of giving it a permanence that goes


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

How the person hasn’t tried to think, having abstracted from a concrete situation, his life experience influences his way of thinking. It happens just like last bright impressions force us to notice confirmations of those thoughts and ideas which arose thanks to these impressions. It is impossible to think exclusively objectively, anyway the last experience have an influence on a choice. And art can't be perceived without context, without that life situation in which the artist, without his background, stays. The mentality anyway forms your art. Besides, in my opinion, art has to be sincere, differently we receive only, though beautiful, but empty and only a cover, without filling. The reference to a universal imagery suggested by everyday objects, as in Discussion, seems to remove the historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more atemporal form. In this sense, I daresay that the semantic juxtaposition between semantic sign and heavy matter that marks out your art, allows you to go beyond any dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials from an ancient era and a modern, lively approach to Art: in particular, Discussion reveals an attitude to allegorize the area of interplay that marks out the we perceive Reality an relate to it... do you agree with this analysis?

beyond the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the concepts you capture. So I would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion

It is possible to say that installation "Discussion" is a model of debatable process. The main theme is ongoing for centuries discussions between various cultures, genders,


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Discussion, 2013 (aluminum tubes, acrylic, plastic, LED lights)

religions, etc. Multi-colored pipes intertwine and adjoin, but don't cross each other. In pipes we see stained-glass windows with, apparently, identical images, however, these images aren't identical, they differ in size and in color of figures on them. Stained-glass windows are a

subject of discussion in discussion, it seemingly the same, but everyone represents it in his own way. All problems in mutual understanding appear exactly from here. And the result is not so important, rather the quantity of a common ground.


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In the timelessness. 2014. Still from the video

It was interesting to me to create material model of discussion in this project, to turn verbal process into mute object. More traditional media were necessary for me there. In my opinion, traditional art forms and new don't contradict each other, it is a direct

gradual way of development. Besides, it is remarkable that today we can use both new media and classical and also to connect them together in art. It increases freedom of expression of ideas and, besides, it is much more interesting!


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Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your art practice and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several disciplines, taking advantage of the creative and expressive potential of Technology: while crossing the borders of different artistic fields have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

I think that there is nothing unusual in the use of several various media for creation of the projects by the artist today. It, as I have already mentioned about traditional and classical media, helps the artist to express the thought more stoutly. In the project «Discussion» it was more convenient for me to use more traditional media – installation for expression of the idea. And, for example, in my work "The car of memoirs" I resort to newer media. In this work I asked people from various internet blogs and forums to share with me the stories about the first reminiscence from their life. It was important to me to receive stories from those people whom I never saw, because I didn't know anything about them, so their stories weren't connected with me by anything personal. And then I depersonalized them even more - I recorded these stories by the computer voice. In general, I made the same that all people do today, sharing their thoughts, emotions, feelings in the Internet – all emotions are depersonalized though mostly we don't attach it significance. When my work was ready, some of people, who had taken part in it, were grieved, they wrote me that I was cruel to their stories, as if I took the taste and the smell from the strawberry away. Yes, I made exactly it, after all the same happens to our feelings in the Internet space. And I don't claim that it is bad, simple it is so.

A still from Memory Machine, 2014 Video. 23:33. Played lo

During these years your works have been extensively exhibited in several occasions, including therecent show "Military


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oped

Museum" at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose

a a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as


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being a crucial component of your decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

It is a very interesting question. On the one hand, I am engaged in art, as it is my way of reflection, over the questions, which are interesting to me. It is interesting personally to me. On the other hand, having exposed the project in the museum, it enters into a dialogue with audience. And it is also very important as, in this case, the project gets additional contexts and develops. Contact with audience, an audience response is one of the incentives to further development of the artist. As for a question whether I will change type of language of the work, depending on where it will be exposed, I think –No, it doesn’t matter. Now I am in a such condition that I work only with those subjects which are really interesting to me, I am not arranged under a concrete exhibition, rather if the subject of an exhibition approaches under my project or under my mood, I will take part in it, not on the contrary. I can tell the same about the audience. In general, the viewer's subject in the modern art is very burning in Russia. Our viewer loves classical art more, and they don't understand and don't accept modern art. Therefore audience of the modern art is not so large. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Olga. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Yes, now I prepare new projects. I continue working with object, tactile, more traditional art, I prepare such project now, I’ll work with sand. Actually, there will be also performatory part in this project, it is a rather unusual direction for me. Moreover, I continue my work with newer media. It is interesting to me to develop further the research nature of my works, perhaps, they will gain more documentary nature too.


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malleable midnight, watercolor on velvet, marble rock, pillowcase and fiber-based drawing, 2013


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Bethany Taylor Lives and works in Gainesville, Florida

B

ethany Taylor graduated with a BFA from the University of Southern California and an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her work has been exhibited at numerous venues nationally and internationally including, Post, Los Angeles, Seattle Arts Commission Gallery, Seattle, Museum for Arts and Sciences, Macon, Georgia, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California, The Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, Washington, The Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, Fort Myers, Florida, the Musei di Genova Raccolte Frugone, Genova Nervi, Italy, Limerick City Gallery, Limerick, Ireland, and The Nelimarkka Museum, Alajärvi, Finland among others. Her individual and collaborative work has been written about in such publications as Art Papers, New Art Examiner, The Seattle Times, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, The Stranger, The LA Weekly, Rocky Mountain News, Suomi-USA Magazine, Northern Ireland Scene, Worldwide Review,

London among others. She received a individual artist’s grant from the Seattle Arts Commission and has several works in the Seattle Arts Commission Portable Works Collection. She is one of the founding members of SOIL artist run gallery in Seattle Washington, and her art, curatorial work, and writing was featured in the book, Soil ArtistRun Gallery 1995-2005, funded by Art Patch, King County Lodging Tax, and The Washington State Arts Commission. Bethany Taylor is an Assistant Professor of Drawing at the University of Florida and has co-taught the nationally recognized foundations program (WARP) The Workshop for Art Research and Practice the past 14 years. Her teaching experience also includes graduate interdisciplinary seminars, as well as undergraduate/graduate study abroad courses in storytelling and portable art practices in Ireland and Northern Ireland. She currently lives and works in Gainesville, Florida.


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Bethany Taylor An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator with the collboration of Josh Ryder landescape@europe.com

Bethany Taylor uses wide range techniques to seduce viewers: while conveying a rational approach and a careful attention to the evocative power of the materials she incorporates in her installations. Many of the classic sculptural concerns, such as mass and gravity, as well as a lively sociopolitical and environmental commentary are reflected in her approach and are the hallmark of her multilayered exploration of the sensuality of materials. One of the most convincing aspects of Taylor's approach lies in her incessant research of a point of concurrency of various meanings of beauty to create a coherent narrative: so it's with a real pleasure that I would like to introduce our readers to her stimulating works. Hello Bethany, and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and you hold a BFA from the University of Southern California and an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. How did these experiences influence your evolution as an artist, and how do they impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Thank you very much for your time and for this interview. I would have to say that my education definitely had an impact on the art I make today. Both schools I attended had a

marked interest in conceptual art, performance, film and photography, and this certainly informed the way I began to think about the traditions of drawing and painting. As an undergraduate student living in Los Angeles, I was most blown away by several large-scale exhibitions I saw of Californiabased artists such as John Baldessari (for his absurd play with semiotics, radical appropriation and juxtapositions of imagery) and Ann Hamilton (for her beautiful use of poetic materials, marks and experiential sensations). Both artists were very influential to me as a young artist, as I began to see art, and drawing in particular, as idea, material and performance, over illusion, expression or representation. As a graduate student, in Boulder, Colorado, I was exposed to the influence of Lucy Lippard, who was faculty there in Art History and Theory at the time. I learned so much from the discussion panels she organized of racially and gender diverse visiting artists, called mixing-it-up symposiums, which promoted dialogue around cultural, racial and gender history and identity as manifested in art. It was really during that time that I became most engaged in the idea that art can be much more than simply a formal exploration, but can also be a powerful form of communication that can challenge others to different perspectives, and act as a catalyst for social change. I am still committed to thinking about art, as first my own subjective lens on the world, and then more importantly as a something that can raise social and political consciousness, perhaps motivating others to take action on issues such Juerg Luedi


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don't go there ink on duralar, parking cone, and cut, reusable detail from myFunerals, Performance orange plastic safety fence, 74" X 32" X 20", 2014

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as inequality or environmental sustainability. I would suggest to visit http://www.bethanytaylor.net in order to get a wider idea of her artistic production that we are going to discuss: I would begin with Don’t Go There, an interesting installation that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. When I first happened to get to know this piece, I tried to relate all the visual information to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual unity suggested by the narrative that pervades your images, forgetting my need for a univocal understanding of its symbolic content.Would you say that it's more of an intuitive or a systematic process?

I would say my approach, particularly in the work, Don’t Go There, is both structural and intuitive. During the early part of the 20th century the grid was used as an emblem of modernist ambitions. In my work, I have utilized the grid quite often, but have been mostly interested in subverting its calculated control over spacial and temporal conditions. The grid has primarily worked to counter to the natural, in that it flattens and orders the world, disallows for narrative, for imitation, for the real. It instead aestheticizes, controls and imposes stasis. In conceptualizing my work, Don’t Go There, while walking in my neighborhood overcome by recent construction, I noticed the plastic orange safety fences positioned around contested natural areas, where building construction and natural growth were happening simultaneously. I was reminded of a lecture I once attend by David Hickey, where he noted something to the effect that the different regions of the United States have different relationships to the natural landscape. For example, the Midwest United States is full of farmland and the landscape is carefully controlled, and kept neat and orderly. However, try as one may, the Southern U.S. landscape is

chaotic, full of life, consisting of swampland, overgrowth and prairie; landscapes often difficult to wrangle or contain. I imagined this orange construction fence I encountered, literally breaking down under the sheer will of nature, as the orange grid pattern begins to mimic the trees, vines and surrounding growth. The orange fencing material, in my mind, was not only defining or structuring nature, but also, over time, the natural environment was also changing the synthetic structure that worked to contain it. Slavoj Žižek, has recently said that, “there is no nature”, or that “nature doesn’t exist”. Although a provocative statement, looking at the landscape and the fact that human activity is having quite an impact on the earth, I think that seeing ourselves separate from nature (the old man vs. nature dichotomy) can be troublesome, even dangerous under contemporary imperatives. Rather, if we see ourselves as an intricate part of nature, we may be more inclined to take better care of the earth. I don’t imagine that the viewer will necessarily ponder the exact same things I did while creating, Don’t Go There, but I hope that the structure of the work, will literally position the viewer as separate from the subject of the work, and that the orange parking cone in front of the piece, will act as sort of a “scenic overlook” sign, where we are told intuitively “to park it”, that this landscape is important to view, but ironically we are only to allowed to experience it from a alienated distance. I want the poetry of the work to suggest inevitable entropy as well as to highlight the meager attempts of the modernist grid to try to control our appreciation of the natural environment. Another related recent work utilizing the nature of the modernist grid, Glacial Collapse, also conveys a conflation of the natural and synthetic. In this series I wanted to use drawing


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as a metaphor for gradual human-caused environmental change. The modernist grid and the history of abstract expressionist drawing/painting indirectly informed the work as well, as I layered abstract drawing, painting, dripping, cutting, with photographic inspired imagery of melting glaciers. I wanted to reference “action” and “time” through the practice of drawing, and to juxtapose “signs” of the importance of individual expression in modern ideology with signs of the resulting human impact on the environment in the 21st century. The images of the glaciers in my drawings literally melt and drip, as the running ink begins to disrupt the structured modernist grid. As a last thought, in both these works, Don’t Go There and Glacial Collapse, I am a bit critical of my role as an artist, and I try to be painfully aware that all landscape art is in fact a suspect mediation of the natural world, like it or not. I try to own that fact, literally, in the form of the work itself. I like the way malleable midnight shows a symbiosis between the abstract idea of night that evokes such an indefinite impalpability and the tactile feature suggested by the stones: while referring to an easily "fruible" set of symbols as starting points, you seem to remove the historic gaze from the reality you refer to, offering to the viewers the chance to perceive in a more absolute form, in order to address us not only on a mere contingent view, but especially to invite us to rethink our future. So I would take this occasion 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?

No, I find the creative process is very linked to personal experience. Before I conceived of

glacial collapse digital photo, ink and varnish on duralar, 2014 each drawing is 11" X

the work, Malleable Midnight, for example, I had the opportunity to work in Finland during a two-month artist residency at the Nelimarkka


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14" (grid of 8 = 50" X 30")

Museum of Art. When you travel, as an artist, you are always most impacted by the differences you experience in a new place.

During the mid-summer in Finland, there is literally no night-time, at least not as we experience it in the United States with darkness


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present as we sleep at night. The 24-hour daylight not only took some getting used to, but it completely restructured my time while I was there. It didn’t matter when I slept or when I made art. I was no longer on any natural clock, and the concept of daytime and night-time were no longer meaningful. When I returned home to Florida, where day and night are very much in opposition, I began to think about the poetry implied by in-between states. As I mentioned before, I am much more interested in the idea of things in flux, than in things held static, which is one of the reasons I am somewhat cautious about using representation in general. In Malleable Midnight the representations are always located in between two dichotomies. Meaning is usually hinged on dichotomous relationships, and I wanted to engage more in the indeterminate, which is more in line with my everyday lived experience. Boundaries are always blurry and soft, which is why I choose to paint with watercolor on velvet, to capture a sense of the indefinite, but also to memorialize a state of flux. The watercolor on velvet painting is both a wall, and a window, and is reflective of both inside and outside simultaneously. The bed of marble rocks in the work, references those typically used in an outdoor garden, and doubles as a single bed, with pillow, to sleep on. I wanted the entire piece to reflect both an abundance of life, movement and continual growth but also stillness, sleep and ultimately death. I often lie awake in my bed at night and if I listen closely I can hear the wind in the trees, the footsteps of an armadillo on the fallen leaves, and birds of prey hunting and scavenging in the night. I can swear that even the moonlight coming through the window makes a sound. Anything can happen when all existence is in flux. And this is the nature and meaning of life I most wanted to reflect. A relevant feature of Doing Fine on Cloud nine + Punched Clouds that has particularly

impacted me is the way you highlight the inner bond between Man and Nature: you invite the viewer to appreciate the intrinsic but sometimes disregarded beauty of geometrical patterns, and the way you question the ephemeral nature of nature offers a multilayered experience that, like Jean Tinguely's works, raises a question on the role of the viewers' perception, forcing us to going beyond the common way we perceive not only the outside world, but our inner dimension... I'm personally convinced that some information is hidden, or even "encrypted" in the environment we live in, so we need 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?

I do appreciate the satire and social critique in Tinguely’s work. My work is also interested in the revolutionary aspect of destruction as a way to comment on our disastrous relationship with the world. Your insights and observations make me think about something I often lament about humans; that our “natural relationship” to nature is often one of opposition and consumption; to want it, to own it, to use it, mis-use it, or to bring it into our submission in one way or another. Even as an artist, when I draw or paint a landscape, or clouds in this instance, I am essentially killing what is most beautiful about them by attempting to represent them, or to fix them in time and space. Clouds are ephemeral, transitory, always changing, and it seems somewhat impossible to capture that truth in any one still image. My series of drawings, Clouds One-Eight of Nine, was initially inspired by the mysterious images of “punched” clouds observed in the earth’s atmosphere. It seems no one knows for sure what causes these holes that appear in the clouds, but the idea that something so


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Clouds One-Eight of Nine (punched) powdered graphite and ink on paper, 2011 Doing Fine on Cloud Nine, powdered graphite on vinyl, cloud-shaped, heavyweight punching bag with gloves, 2011

ephemeral as a cloud actually be “punched” or impacted physically, haunted my thoughts. This idea then merged with musings I have about the futility of believing in or fearing invisible forces. In contemporary culture, ideas about “the other” or “the enemy” unfortunately often construct our politics and perspectives. In this work, I photographed weather clouds and used appropriated images of smoke clouds

caused by incendiary devices. Then, as a somewhat violent act, I physically punched the printed images with a boxing glove to destroy the surface. Afterwards I rendered the damaged, literally punched, cloud photos on paper, using powdered graphite and ink. By destroying the integrity of the otherwise square format of the paper with the damaged drawn images, I wanted to depict that these


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representations of clouds were only temporary illusions. I also wanted to assert ideas about our oppositional relationship with nature and our unjust and violent actions in the world. I named each drawing cloud one through eight accompanied by one of several boxing terms (for example: cloud one of ninecontender, cloud two of nine-pitty pat punched, cloud six of nine-technical knockout, etc.) Accompanying the work was a related sculpture, “I’m Doing Fine on Cloud Nine” inspired by the 1969 song “Cloud Nine” performed by The Temptations. An actual white vinyl punching bag and stand was transformed into a large, heavyweight, semisoft, sculptural cloud form, coated in powdered graphite. Sparing with this normally ephemeral object (a cloud) become a heavyweight punching bag, would be exhausting, and instead of having any impact at all on this performative object, opponents (or viewers in this case) of this “cloud” would inevitably be marked on by transferred graphite, documenting on their own body their aggressive actions. The work is a sculptural drawing, in a sense, that actively makes marks on the viewer. The work poetically makes explicit the complicated relationship we have with the world and suggests the painful process of struggle in light of social, political and environmental realities. I love the futility inherent in the work. While struggling with the sheer weight of the sculpture, hitting the (heavy-weight cloud) bag, I imagine one would hear the groovy 1969 soundtrack echoing in the background with the lyrics, …. “You can be what you wanna be. (Cloud 9) You ain't got no responsibility. (Cloud 9) Every man in his mind is free. (Cloud 9) You're a million miles from reality… Boom-boom-boom-boomboom...”

runoff verdure Jacquard digitally woven photo tapestry and

Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Runoff Verdure and I have highly


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fiber-based drawing installation, 2014 installation variable size (approx. 9' x 24')

appreciated the way you combine a socially engaged ecological criticism with a refined aesthetic: it seems to be pervaded with an inner narrative, but you reject an explicit

explanatory strategy: rather, you seem to offer to the viewer an Ariadne's Thread that allows to find personal interpretations to the subject you question. How much do you


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runoff verdure Jacquard digitally woven photo tapestry and fiber-based drawing installation, 2014 installation variable size (approx. 9' x 24')

explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

That is a very nice analogy. I like that a lot! I do think about narrative quite a bit, but in a postmodern sense, where there are always

multiple stories simultaneously happening in one place, and that these stories create complexities and can even be in conflict with one another. In the case of my work Runoff Verdure, there is first the story presented of an


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everyday space. Then there is another thread; a contemporary narrative about the very same landscape, only fast-forwarding to the 21st century. In this case the landscape represented in the tapestry is the Santa Fe River in High Springs, Florida, one of many places in the world where agricultural and industrial runoff in the form of pesticides, fertilizer, and sewage, among other things, are polluting the once clear blue waters, causing toxic algae to bloom uncontrollably. Toxic blue-green algae, is a major cause of dead-zones in the ecology, ultimately causing great harm to both humans and wildlife alike. Then there is the story of the blooming algae itself, in the form of an unraveling tapestry (and an unraveling ecological landscape). The fibers of the tapestry begin to tell the story of toxic blooming algae and the resulting changing ecology featuring dying marine animals, birds and other wildlife. Among this slowly unraveling story, a human skeleton in a fishing boat overlooks the surface of the water dotted by dead fish, reminiscent of some sort of mythical ferry-man, rowing the boat across this toxic river, delivering us all to our own death. Last, there is the story of my own personal experience as I acknowledge my own role in this disastrous ecological situation, pondering the harm I may have done to myself, as I sip a glass of “questionably clean” water while haunted by my own skeletal self, hanging in the shadows, momento-mori style.

idealized natural landscape, as once may have been represented in a 16th century European Tapestry Verdure, or “green” tapestry, which existed to bring the imagined, unspoiled beauty of a landscape, into a tranquil, domestic,

Although I'm aware that this might sound even a bit naïf, I have to admit that I'm sort of convinced that Art could play an effective role in sociopolitical questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... In particular, I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behavior... what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?

No, I don’t think it seems too exaggerated, and there are many examples of art that literally changed human behavior. I have a hopeful


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Art Review

optimism about the possibility of art to make a difference. That being said, I also have an equally cynical outlook, and know that it is “inconvenient” for humans to want to make changes. Every small change counts though, and art can definitely have a positive influence. In fact, an example of a work of mine that did have at least a small impact that I am aware of, Is my work, 21st Century Albatross, a continually growing installation of engraved drawings on recycled plastic. A Museum Director once informed me, that she often thinks of this artwork when she considers buying or using bottled water, and she claims that it did indeed impact her behavior. She has essentially banned plastic bottles from her life and she instead carries a reusable container. Visual art can be a powerful way to force nearly invisible issues into the limelight. €When I created the installation, 21st Century Albatross, I was becoming increasingly concerned with the idea that I am personally participating in the self-destructive habits of an extreme throwaway culture. I was haunted by the terribly, unromantic saying by researcher Captain Charles Moore, that “Plastics, like diamonds, are forever”. Plastic is a pervasive throw away material that cannot biodegrade, and will be with us, in some form, over the course of a century or maybe even longer. This plastic trash is collecting in mass in the ocean gyres, creating an un-repairable environmental disaster in the oceans. €Birds and marine life are trapped in the plastics or mistake the plastic particles for food. Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium have concluded that over forty percent of the Laysan albatross chicks born each year die from eating plastic. In addition, reproductive damage caused by plastics in the food chain is becoming another possible concern. €As I began to research the issue of plastic ocean gyres, Images began to emerge of bloated dead Albatrosses, bellies burst open and full of plastic garbage, and it

struck me as both sad and poetic, suggesting perhaps our own consumption and the inevitable price of our current unchecked practices. €I began thinking that maybe plastic itself is our most significant burden to bear; the metaphorical “Albatross” of the 21st century. The overuse of plastics in our culture and our inability to effectively dispose of them is a huge problem I wanted to bring to light. Although our under-considered technologies, and our unquestioned consumption, is creating a situation where we cannot possibly repair the damage our habits have already created, we can refuse to continue to contribute to the problem any further by using less plastic, finding better solutions to encourage or legislate recycling efforts, and by developing alternative biodegradable packaging. €I really hope that my work can seduce viewers to consider this complex problem and to inspire action towards practices that make us all better citizens of the future. It is a tall order I know, but even changing the perspective of one person at a time, is movement in the right direction. Multidisciplinary is a crucial aspect of your art practice and besides kinetic installations you also produce stimulating mixed media works, as the interesting 21st Century Albatross. You seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate synthesis: have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts?

Yes. One of the best things about being an artist is that you get to study the entire world. Literally everything out there is fair game to research and communicate about. Although I do appreciate art that references concepts and ideas ingrained primarily in the discipline of art, I am personally more engaged with the interaction of art and other disciplines. I like


Bethany Taylor

LandEscape 42 Art Review

21st century albatross adaptable wall installation: engraved drawings on recycled plastic


LandEscape 159 Art Review

21st century albatross, detail

Bethany Taylor


Bethany Taylor

LandEscape 160 Art Review

my art to have more of a function than simply being “art for art’s sake”. In the case of my work 21st Century Albatross, for example, I loved being able to cross stories of the environmental impact of our garbage, with the personal story of my own implication in the problem. And of course, formally, I hope that there is poetry inherent in the visual of the engraved drawings on plastic. Like the issue itself, the drawings are barely visible except for the shadows they cast on the wall and the way they catch the light, glittering like diamonds. These engraved drawings on plastic, also parallel an image of myself dumping plastic garbage directly on an image of my daughter, while raining plastic debris bursting from belly of a dying Albatross does the same. Lastly, the fact that the work will continue to grow as I collect more recycled plastic, and transform it, through drawing, into dystopian narratives, is also part of the concept. I am paralleling artistic production highlighting the problem with the scientific fact of continual plastic accumulation in the oceans, and there is something intuitively right about that. I have always appreciated the work of the interdisciplinary, conceptual artist Mel Chin, who engages in many interdisciplinary projects including his famous Revival Field, a collaboration with scientists using hyper-accumulator plants to literally remove toxic metals from the soil, reviving a once dying ecological system, as a work of art. He has said something to the effect that he doesn’t set out to make a “science/art project” per say, but that his work needs to be motivated by a certain poetry as well. I really related to this statement. When I encounter a social, political or environmental problem that I want to research and make art about, I first need to see a poetry inherent in the problem, or related materials, narratives, text or actions. Another example is my recent work, Runoff Verdure, where my concept relies on poetry first, but is also completely subject to research in both


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Bethany Taylor

Art Review

the disciplines of art and science to represent the problem. The art historical precedent of idealized natural landscapes in 16th century tapestry is forcibly merged with the 21st century scientific reality of unchecked practices that lead to environmental decline. The poetry (or thread) between disciplines for me becomes the transformation of materials in the work. As the idealized landscape literally unravels, for me, it better reflects the scientific facts presented, that a growing toxic algae bloom is becoming detrimental to life. The changeability and fragile quality of the drawings made out of the tapestry thread, helps characterize the interconnectedness of all things and suggests an unraveling of the ecology, a landscape that remains in flux, and the inevitability of change, for better or worse. During your over twenty year career your works have been extensively exhibited in several occasions, including your recent participation in the LACDA 11th Anniversary Represented Artist Exhibit at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. So, before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a question about the nature of the relation with your audience: in particular, do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process in terms of what type of language for a particular context? Sure, I always consider audience very important. As well as an artist I am also an art educator at the University of Florida. I teach both drawing and co-teach an interdisciplinary foundations course called (WARP) Workshop on Art Research and Practice, which primarily engages students with contemporary art and theory, diverse art making practices, and exposes them to the possible and varied functions of art. The

course discusses audience and how an artist may intentionally cultivate certain audiences. Some artists, for example make artwork for only one client at a time. Some artists are interested in mass appeal, or some only interested in public audiences made up primarily of those not at all educated in art. Some artists are deeply reliant on an audience highly versed in the specialized subject of their work or in art history and theory in general. Some artists might not care so much about an audience at all, but more about how the work actually solves a real-world practical problem. Ultimately, although I make art on some level for myself regardless of context, I definitely want to engage both art and non-art educated audiences equally. An audience member at a recent talk I gave said they liked how my art was beautiful and begged them to come look at it. But once they engaged with the work over time, an ugliness emerged that was rooted in the darker message communicated by the work. I liked this reflection she shared with me, as I often think about using beauty to seduce diverse viewers to engage initially with my work, with their guard down, so that the more repulsive, or confrontational content emerges slowly and causes them to reflect more deliberately on the meaning of the work. I do not, in the end, want a passive viewer at all, and I hope that viewers that do take time with the work will be, even subtly, impacted by the experience. Thanks a lot for this interesting conversation, Bethany. Finally, I would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?

Thank you. This was really fun to have this conversation with you. I am very excited about the upcoming year, as I have been working on several new projects. I will be


Bethany Taylor

LandEscape 42 Art Review

runoff verdure, detail


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Bethany Taylor

Art Review

having a solo exhibition at Gallery 621 in Tallahassee, Florida in November 2015. The show will be titled “Unraveling Ecologies”, and will involve the completion of several largescale adaptable installation works as well as accompanying smaller works combining, photography, drawing and fiber-based art. The works together will present the idea of “unraveling ecologies” and the changing Florida landscape. The work, not unlike, Runoff Verdure, will engage with the idea of landscape, not simply as idyllic or sublime, but rather always in flux and a bit dystopian. The exhibition will feature several large and small-scale photo-based tapestries of sites throughout Florida where the ecological well-being is threatened (such as in the gulf oceans, natural springs and everglades) among other sites in the world where the changing climate and pollution will eventually effect the local landscape and ecology. Additionally there will be hundreds of free-form intermingling fiber-based drawings emerging from the unraveling tapestries, suggestive of such growing problems such as oil spills, red tide, salt infiltration of the underground aquifer, toxic run-off, algal bloom and other resulting events affecting life in the region, including illness, deformed frogs, skeletons of manatees, dolphin, and fish and references to connected human causes and effects. I am especially excited by the challenge of having multiple large-scale installations intermingle at this venue, which I think will really begin to represent the complexities of climate change and resulting uncertain landscapes. In addition to this upcoming exhibition, I am collaborating with my 13 year old daughter on a sound piece – imagining the last song of a whale, while it lays dying after swallowing a plastic music CD that was carelessly thrown into the ocean (inspired by a true story). The

runoff verdure, detail

sound piece will accompany a giant mixed-


Bethany Taylor

LandEscape 164 Art Review

media drawing of a whale on Plexiglas. My daughter and I are curious about what this final

song of the whale might reveal about our future, and wonder a bit if it isn’t a love song.

LandEscape Art Review Anniversary Edition 2015  
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