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LandEscape A r t

R e v i e w

Anniversary Edition

ROSALYN SONG WESS HAUBRICH ELENA KHOLKINA JASPER VAN LOON SIMA YOUSEFNIA MARIA KOSTAREVA ANA CUZOVIC MALGORZATA ZURADA COURTNEY HENDERSON A photo by Elena Kholchina model Veronika, style Elena Zichon


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Rosalyn Song Jasper van Loon Małgorzata Żurada

My work often starts from memories, memories of certain places. A spot in the forest concealed by the leaves of a small overhanging branch from a large tree. Once the perfect hiding place. Only to discover that the overhanging branch is now long gone, the image from the memory altered into something different. Maybe it's me who has changed, maybe it's the place itself.

Sima Yousefnia

Ana Cuzovic

The Netherlands

Iran

Serbia

Poland

My area of interest revolves around the notion of meaning and sense-making. I am interested in how the world seen as a set of signs is one of infinite possible interpretations, impressionable and open to reshaping. I am especially interested in visual languages connected with various belief systems and means of coding esoteric knowledge.

In my work I am devoted to all kind of play with images and graphics, also combination of different media (animation and video). Currently, I am focused on my practise based PhD research in the field of digital arts. In this research I am approaching images as heralds of human experience of the world, focusing particularly on digital images.

II

Most people think and dream in private and they do not want anyone to know about their thoughts or dreams or they are afraid to express them to others and society. Silence is one of the most profound feelings that we, as humans, often can sense in our lives. But when it engulfs us, it turns all our thoughts and feelings into a mysterious serenity.

USA

Our awareness of our surroundings and our lives is often based on what we can perceive. A mistake sometimes made is not acknowledging what is absent, what is not there. Our lives seem lacking when we are bored with nothing to do. But this emptiness is something. It is the lack of something. And until we can appreciate and see the “nothingness” we are only seeing a portion of what is around us.

Courtney Henderson USA

Through my landscape photography I am able to share what I find most beautiful and intriguing about different places around the world. The purpose of my art is to let others have the exhilarating feeling of having traveled somewhere far away, without ever setting foot on a plane. I hope you enjoy a look at the world through my lens.


In this issue

Maria Kostareva Lives and works in Moscow, Russia Fine Art Photography, Mixed media

Jasper van Loon Lives and works in Leuven, Belgium Mixed Media, Installation

Rosalyn Song Lives and works in Washington DC, USA Fine Art Photography

Sima Yousefnia Lives and works in Teheran, Iran Fine Art Photography

Ana Cuzovic

Maria Kostareva Russia

Wess Haubrich USA

Elena Kholkina Russia

Many pedagogues of art believe that before learning cinematography, a great director must learn the art of the still photograph. I went the exact opposite way (although I’ve never directed a film). I studied the great films noir of yesterday and today because the sheer expressive power and minimalism of monochrome really speaks to me. There is such a range of emotion, beauty, despair, and violence that can be painted with monochrome.

Doorways is an artist book of personal photographic images based on an interaction of landscapes, cityscapes and interiors. The viewer travels through the places, guided by lines and visual rhymes in the book spreads. Tactile paper brings another dimension to the looking process. The book is built in a complex way, the system of handbound pages brings volume and turns it almost into a sculpture.

I am inspired by nature, but transform it into something new. It is important for me to convey not the formal similarity to the nature, but the spiritual substance, to create an image of a mountain that encloses the idea of all the mountains. I do not depict a plot, I depict something that is near the plot. Sometimes I work in color, but the basic principles of graphic image are retained even then, adding inward the relationships of colors.

Lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia Video, Mixed media

Wess Haubrich Lives and works in Quincy, IL USA Mixed media, Fine Art Photography

Malgorzata Zurada Lives and works in Warsaw, Poland Mixed media, Fine Art Photography

Elena Kholkina Lives and works in Moscow, Russia Fine Art Photography, Installation

Courtney Henderson Lives and works in New York Fine Art Photography

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LandEscape 40 Art Review

From the Lines of Etna series


LandEscape 5 Art Review

Maria Kostareva Lives and works in Moskow, Russia

An artist's statement

I

use the simplest materials in my artwork. These are usually paper and black ink. Such ascetic means remind me of the classic art of the East. The lines of landscape are transformed into signs, hieroglyphs that you need to read.

adding inward the relationships of colors. I am inspired by nature, but transform it into something new. It is important for me to convey not the formal similarity to the nature, but the spiritual substance, to create an image of a mountain that encloses the idea of all the mountains.

However, my pictures do not carry specific meaning of certain phrases, they are volatile and bent to deconstruction.

I do not depict a plot, I depict something that is near the plot.

Main means of composition that I use are line and blur. The line reveals the outlines of the subject’s form, the spot fills its volume, allows it to appear on the white surface of the sheet. Sometimes I work in color, but the basic principles of graphic image are retained even then,

Maria Kostareva


LandEscape meets

Maria Kostareva An interview by Josh Ryder, curator with the collaboration of Dario Rutigliano, curator landescape@europe.com

Maria Kostareva accomplishes the difficult task of a establishing an effective synergy between still image and movement, creating an area in which emotional dimension and perceptual reality coexist in a coherent unity. Throughout her multidisciplinary practice, she seeks to remove any contingent gaze to the reality she hints to: Kostareva's work reveals an incessant search of an organic dialogue between several viewpoints, that offers to the viewer a multilayered experience capable of establishing an area of deep 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 her stimulating works. Hello Maria and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? In particular, are there any experiences that have particularly influenced your evolution as an artists and that still impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works? I cannot know what affects me at one time or another. Sometimes it seems that something significant is happening, but in fact, one look, word or thought may be decisive. Perhaps my desire for expression and comprehension of nature in my works is related to childhood spent Juerg Luedi


Maria Kostareva

LandEscape 7 Art Review


LandEscape 8 Art Review

From the Lines of Etna series

Maria Kostareva


Maria Kostareva

LandEscape 9 Art Review

in a village, but maybe it isn’t. I do not think there was a single evolutionary element; I want to believe that I am constantly in progress. Of course, careful study of art history reveals many new worlds to me, and it cannot pass without a trace. I always have impressive examples that leave their subtle footprints in my work. I am very close to the Chinese traditional painting, primitive art of the first people, and the feeling of space in the works of Francis Bacon at the moment. Your unique approach is marked out with a deep multidisciplinary feature and you seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between simple materials as paper and ink: while crossing the borders of Painting, Photography and Drawing and have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between such disciplines is the only way to achieve some results, to express some concepts? The division into painting and drawing for me is rather arbitrary. In the Eastern tradition, for example, all that is created with a brush is considered painting, and graphic arts exist only in a printed form. I think ink is a very picturesque material, and on the contrary, I often use almost monochrome palette in an oil painting, which makes it graphical. I am really attracted to the simplest and almost ascetic materials, when the inner richness of the image depends entirely on how a dot of paint or a line is drawn. An important thought requires minimum of words. Photography in my work occupies a special place. In fact, I rarely have considered it as a separate project. For me it is rather a transitional stage between a look itself and its reflection on paper or canvas, similar to a draft. I see something magical, almost ritual in the art of photography. It is like kidnaping a part of the nature. That is why I usually need additional means to comprehend an image captured in a photo. Thus, the "Lines of Etna" is a special project for me to some extent. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I


LandEscape 10

Maria Kostareva

Art Review

would start from Lines of Etna 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.mkostareva.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? The main inspiration of the project was undoubtedly the place itself. When I was going from Catania to Etna, I thought it would be a spectacular experience, but did not plan any special project. However, the force of creation inherent to this place became the source of my project. I wanted to consign the feeling of breath of this extraterrestrial place where stones are born. From soft, fluid, indefinite there appear solid, strong, clear. The aesthetics of the lines of nature itself is so concise and significant as if they were written in ink already; I just fixed it with camera. I think Etna may be considered the author of this project in a greater degree than I am. However, the main task of the artist is to see. A relevant feature of Lines of Etna 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, remining me of the concept of nonlieu elaborated by the French anthropologist Marc AugĐš, this series 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?


Maria Kostareva

LandEscape 11 Art Review

From the Lines of Etna series


LandEscape 12

Maria Kostareva

Art Review

From the Lines of Etna series

I understand what you mean. Indeed, to see something with clear unclouded eyes you need to remove all the excessive. Moreover, for me this is the beauty. I do not think that by choosing the path of minimalism I abandon aesthetics. The interaction between man and nature is an important aspect of my work. Image of the Ocean in Tarkovsky's film "Solaris" seems very

interesting to me. In this film the visualization of nature is made not only as a single living organism, but also as its ability to influence a person, to see his thoughts, generate visions. I tend to this understanding of nature as a reflection of a man. This does not mean that I diminish the importance of nature. Namely in its versatility, complexity and diversity one can find


Maria Kostareva

LandEscape 13 Art Review

From the Lines of Etna series

something important for the understanding of oneself. Therefore, each landscape is in fact a portrait, an infinitely changeable one, because every viewer will see something of his or her own, private. On the other hand, a person is a whole world. Hence, the portrait becomes an image of the universe, i.e. landscape. It is actually a twoway communication.

Lines of Etna suggests a process of deconstruction and assemblage of memories that leads to a 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


LandEscape 14

Maria Kostareva

Art Review

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 creative process could be disconnected from direct experience? It’s an interesting question. I think both of these ideas are true to some extent. For example, "Lines of Etna" are images that exist on the edge of abstraction. However, there is also a psychological moment of remembrance in them. The pursuit of pure, abstract comprehension of the world is primary for me. I think we should try to go beyond our mental experience to get closer to understanding of the essence of things. On the other hand, I think that the component of personal experience will still find its manifestation, there is just no need to concentrate on it. It is a paradox that the process of overcoming the experience is a unique experience itself. I definitively love the way you re-contextualize the idea of the environment we live in: by the way, many contemporary landscape artists as the photographer Edward Burtynsky or Michael Light have some form of environmental or political message in their photographs. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach? I do not put political overtones in my works intentionally. I think politics is a phenomenon of a different order than an artistic image. On the other hand, if a person understands something about himself and his place in society, looking at my work, it is great. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled The Noise. I like the way you have created a lively


Maria Kostareva

LandEscape 15 Art Review

From the Lines of Etna series


LandEscape 16

Maria Kostareva

Art Review

The Noise, Three canvases 80*90*3 / 110*90*3 / 80*90*3 cm. Canvases are arranged in a line, two side canvases are 15

synaesthesia, offering a concrete materialization of the abstract idea of noise: in particular, when I first happened to get to know with this work I tried to relate all the visual information and the presence of a primary element as water 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: 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? In "The Noise" I wanted to understand how such a specific means as oil painting can reproduce


Maria Kostareva

LandEscape 17 Art Review

cm lower than the central one.

something indefinite, an abstract idea. A painting is both an object and space that contains a set of images formed in the mind of the viewer. It does not seek to put an image into a form, to endow it with ability to move. When obstacles appear, a new abstraction is born, beautiful in its chaotic condition, and a system error (television interference) acquires canonical form.

Image of emptiness, like the image of chaos, is possible only in an abstract painting. Usual images and objects are filled with allegories and allusions fixed in age-old tradition. Giving them up grants infinite freedom of self-expression. Abstract images are clean and free, which brings them closer to something firstborn and sacred. Perhaps this is the way beyond experience, of which we spoke.


LandEscape 14 Art Review

Reindeers, 2015 Oil on canvas. 40*50 cm

Maria Kostareva


Maria Kostareva

LandEscape 19 Art Review

Rain, 2015

In a mirror, 2015

Oil on canvas. 70*90 cm

Oil on canvas. 60*80 cm

And I couldn't do without mentioning your interesting painting production: in particular, I would like to highlight your recent pieces entitled Reindeers and Rain, that have particularly impacted on me for the reminders to the concept of Heterotopia that you have effectively illustrated in your piece In a mirror, that I have to admit is one of mu favourite painting of yours. I like the way you take a story and re-contextualize it, bringing new messages and inviting the viewer to elaborate personal interpretations: at the same time, you do not reject a gaze on aesthetics, creating a lively combination

between conceptual and beauty. How important is the aesthetic problem for you when you conceive a work? I do not always depict a story, but rather something near it. My pictures do not carry specific meaning of a certain phrase; they are changeable and inclined to deconstruction. Sketchiness and incompleteness raised to a creative principle should activate the viewer's imagination, making it imagine the complementary part of the work and feel like a partner in the creative process. The lines are transformed into signs, hieroglyphs that you want to read.


LandEscape 14 Art Review

Maria Kostareva


Maria Kostareva

LandEscape 21 Art Review

Image of mountains, Pen and Ink on Paper

Image of mountains, Pen and Ink on Paper

Line reveals the outline form of the object, spot fills its volume and allows it to appear on the white surface of the sheet. It is interesting for me to see how the particular appears out of the general, how a landscape reveals architectural features and the streets and buildings show spontaneous aspect of a landscape. I'm inspired by nature, but transform it into something new. Narrative of a picture appears in the minds of the audience; my works don’t have a clear line of the plot initially.

You've taken still life subjects and given it real emotional charge. What inspires this expressionist approach? By the way, any comments about your pallette? How did it evolve through the years?

not know what I’ll end up with. I think that's fine. This process is spontaneous. Dark and almost monochrome colors are close to me at the moment. It is chaos from which an image appears step by step. When working with ink I depart from the ideal whiteness of sheet on which a shadow appears. These are, in principle, similar processes. Working directly with color is also interesting for me. I was fascinated by one particular shade of blue most recently, which manifested itself in several of my works. If we consider the development of the palette for several years, I can see that my works are in general characterized by cold dark colors. I like that all the energy in this case remains inside the picture, doesn’t splash out. It's a powerful dynamics closed in a still image. But sometimes I feel that I need strong, contrasting color combinations, such as in my Spanish series. Apparently, the place itself has an impact on the formation of such images.

At the beginning of the work I often see only a vague image of what I want to express. I may be inspired by music, poem, visual image, but the painting is formed in the process of work. This process itself is the real impulse. Sometimes, though, already working on a painting, I still do

During these years your works have been internationally exhibited including a recent participation at the Open Studio en Can Serrat, in Barcelona: so before taking leave from this interesting conversation I would like to pose a a question about the nature of

Aesthetics for me is very important, but in a distinctive way. I can not to concentrate on the beauty of a form, but it is important for me to reproduce the beauty of thought, of pure idea.


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Maria Kostareva

Art Review

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? Experience of participation in artistic residencies seems to me a very inspiring practice. This is an opportunity to see my work as if from the outside. It was important for me to get feedback not only from the audience, but also from the foreign artists. However, I cannot say that the audience greatly affects the process of creating my works. I do not think that the viewer can influence me in the choice of the artistic language. Nevertheless, the audience is necessary for my work. Only the viewer gives the completeness to my paintings, they live in a variety of interpretations of different people. It fills them with versatile meanings. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, Maria. 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? As I said, primitive art is one of the main sources of inspiration for me at the moment. I will go to Spain this year to study the Paleolithic cave paintings of Altamira. I want to see the very source of graphic art, which appeared long before history, before the concept of "art" itself. I would like to make a series of paintings based on this journey.

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


Maria Kostareva

LandEscape 23 Art Review

From the Lines of Etna series


LandEscape 40 Art Review

A still from Langdorp


LandEscape 25 Art Review

Jasper van Loon Lives and works in Leuven, Belgium

An artist's statement

M

y work often starts from memories, memories of certain places. A spot in the forest concealed by the leaves of a small overhanging branch from a large tree. Once the perfect hiding place. Only to discover that the overhanging branch is now long gone, the image from the memory altered into something different. Maybe it's me who has changed, maybe it's the place itself. Or perhaps the memory was false to begin with and twisted itself into something I desired at the moment of recollection.

In my work I ponder about these things and try to grasp the concept of place. What is a sense of place? Which audio-visual elements of the visited landscape are important? Which elements contribute to a sense of place? Questions I ask myself when I wander throughout the landscape with my camera and/or sound equipment. Questions which often take many repeated visits to a certain

place before I can answer them by capturing sounds and images. Wandering alone with my gear is something integral to my work since the slow movement of walking allows me to experience everything a certain place has to offer me. During everyday transportation we don't experience the places we visit, pass by, anymore. Fast transportation and our eyes glued to the small screen of our smart phone destroy any experience of place. The films I make aim to bring this experience of place to the viewer. To make them reflect on landscapes and note how details in sound and image influence the experience.

Jasper van Loon


LandEscape 26

LandEscape meets

Art Review

Jasper van Loon An interview by Dario Rutigliano with the collaboration of Anne Peterson landescape@europe.com

Jasper van Loon explores the liminal area in which personal memory blends with collective imagery, evolving into a multilayered process of fulfillment: his investigation about the concept of space urges the viewers to go beyond a static idea of landscape, and invites to question the crossroad between contingency and immanence. In Langdorp that we'll be discussing in the following pages he accomplishes the difficult task of creating a refined interplay between perception and memory that removes any historic gaze and forces us to relate to the audio and visual features of the experience he offers us. We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his stimulating production. Hello Jasper and welcome to LandEscape: I would start this interview, posing you some questions about your background. In particular, you have a solid formal training and you hold a Master Audiovisual Arts, that you received from the Sint-Lukas Luca School of Arts: how has this experience influenced your evolution as an artist and how does it

inform the way you currently conceive your works?

The Films I thought I'd be making before I started my education at Luca School of arts and the films I eventually ended up making could not be further apart in style, concept, genre, etc. You should note I was only 18 years old when I initiated my first bachelor year. A young age at which I still was very much searching for my own identity, let alone the identity of my films. So my first two years were still a combination of me maturing and figuring out what I actually wanted to do artistically. It wasn't until the third year that I actually felt confident and knew exactly which direction I wanted to go with my work. During this year I became comfortable with the idea of making films by myself, alone. Something I hadn't really considered feasible before. I really wanted to wander with the film camera like a photographer can wander with his camera, without being restricted by a whole crew and set. My personal mentor at that time really supported me in this decision and helped me further develop this approach to filmmaking. An approach which most likely came to be by discovering certain photographers, artists during lectures, which ended up influencing me. People I probably would not have discovered on my own or at least much later in life. These individual talks with an Juerg Luedi


LandEscape 28

Jasper van Loon

Art Review

assigned mentor about your work were very important. They make you think crtically about the decisions you make and at the same time help you develop your personal signature as an artist. The education helped me put my work in a wider framework of “experimental” filmmaking. Filmmakers that also work alone or where place plays an important part. It helped me understand where we meet and where we differ. The education basically forces you to think about every decision you make in your work which makes you very aware of the implications of these decision on the experience of the viewer. This awareness not only helps for future projects but also helps you understand what elements might have improved previous works. Your artistic production is pervaded with a subtle but effective sense of narrative and although each of your project has an autonmous life, there's always seem to be such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose the ideas you explore: 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 artists today cannot be ignorant towards the chosen medium's history and “rules”. Knowing this history and rules allow you to play with expectations, and shape your narrative by using or twisting these expectations. I don't think in narrative as in something with a beginning, middle and an detail from myFunerals, Performance

end. I mostly think in concepts, ideas, which I try to translate into images. I would say I even try to avoid any clear narrative in my work. The initial voice-over for Langdorp was filled with emotional and personal details which gave it more of a clear meaning. “This is what the film is about and this is what you as viewer should get out of it.”. Eventually I stripped away these personal anecdotes because it felt like too much of a distraction. I wanted to make a film about places first and foremost, the initial voice-over was too dominant for that. Partly because the film was too short to space out the amount of voice-over I initially had but also because the emotional tone dictated a certain personal narrative upon the viewer. With the altered voice-over I feel there is much more room for the viewers to create their own narrative while I still very much control certain parts of that narrative. I would suggest to our readers to visit http://jaspervanloon.com in order to get a wider idea of your artistic production that we are going to discuss in these pages: I would start from Langdorp, an interesting experimental video that takes its name from your hometown. When I first happened to get to know with this experimental vi I tried to relate all the visual information and the presence of a primary environmental elements to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual unity 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?

It's a combination of both. With Langdorp there is an interplay between being systematic but at the same time allowing intuitiveness. There is a very systematic


Jasper van Loon

LandEscape 29 Art Review

A still from Langdorp

approach to the way I film the places in Langdorp, which doesn't change throughout the film but plays a crucial part in the relation the viewer gets with the places. Camera always at eye level and always the

same lens, a 50mm on a full frame camera. I found that this combination creates the feeling of somebody who's looking at the place from a certain distance. A distance that balances between being captivated but


LandEscape 30

Jasper van Loon

Art Review

A still from Langdorp

at the same time showing a certain reluctance. But whereas I'm very strict in the systematic approach to filming, I'm more intuitive in what kind of places I actually film. I made a

lot of test shots of places before the actual live shoot. These test shots were mostly purely intuitive, based on places I read about in news reports about homicides or suicides, with not much foresight about how the


Jasper van Loon

LandEscape 31 Art Review

A still from Langdorp

A still from Langdorp

relation between these shots would pan out. During the editing, which shapes the film, there is this certain systematic approach as well. For instance, I imposed a minimum length on the shots. A length that I felt was necessary to experience the place that is shown and allow for the viewer to contemplate about that experience. But everything else is purely done on an intuitive manner, especially the sequence of the shots which plays a big part in how the viewer interacts with the whole film.

merely passive audience: in particular, your investigation about 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 indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

The same approach holds true for Ergens een Eiland as well. The same systematic use of the camera but more intuitiveness in the content of the shots. Even more so than in Langdorp since I didn't have this framework of historic events. I like the way Langdorp creates an area of intense interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a

Langdorp and Ergens een Eiland, are works that start from a very personal direct experience. This experience shapes the creative process and in a sense is essential to those two films. But when looking at Dreams of me escaping, a small experiment with North Korea as the backdrop, there is no such personal experience. The lack of direct


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Jasper van Loon

Art Review

experience of this place never felt like a problem. It was all about creating an atmosphere about this place, an atmosphere influenced by images and text that's been spread about this country. But since it's just a short experiment I wonder if it would become a problem if I were to make a longer work out of it. I feel like it would. I can initiate my creative process without any direct experience but along the line I'd probably need to get this experience in order to elevate the work. In langdorp I create this view of a village, and I'm only able to create it because I have lived there my whole life. The personal history around the places, play a part in constructing the image. But on the other hand I guess it all depends on the type of work you're making. I can imagine that not every “narrative” needs personal experience, that in some cases it might be better that there is this disconnection. The ambience you created in Ergens een Eiland has reminded me the concept of Heterotopia elaborated by French social theorist Michel Foucault. The way your camera gazes upon places that don’t want to be seen, brings a new level of significance to the signs of absence, that invites us to a fullfilment process involving viewer's personal memories, that slowly blend with the details you provide with. This is a recurrent feature of your approach and you seem to deconstruct and assembly 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 in a sense art could always be

A still from Ergens een Eiland

considered as something that points out the unexpected. And unexpected sides of our


Jasper van Loon

LandEscape 33 Art Review

inner nature is definitely something that art confronts us with, like so many other things.

The places shown in Ergens een Eiland could be considered an expression of a certain


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Jasper van Loon

Art Review

A still from Ergens een Eiland

inner desire. A desire that's personal but at the same time could be relevant to many

people. So you could say that in Ergens een Eiland I not only attempt to reveal the hiding


Jasper van Loon

LandEscape 35 Art Review

nature, at least the inner nature of some people. Anoher interesting project of yours that has impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled Dreams of me escaping and evokes the feeling of being trapped in North Korea. In particular, it has reminded me of Jean Rouch, the pioneer of cineanthropology and I like the way this piece explores the crossroad between video art and what I would define an emotional documentary: would you like to tell our readers the genesis of this project?

place but also reveal the desire to have such a place. Revealing something from our inner

Dreams of me escaping should be seen as part of a workshop where we were to explore the cinematic possibilities of “low quality� cell phone images. To define the qualities of these images and use them as a strength rather than a weakness. The idea of North Korea came to mind because of its relation to modern technology. In our society internet and cell phones are an integral part of our lives, we cannot imagine being offline for more than a few days. I started wondering about how North Korea deals with technology that's designed to connect everyone with each other on a worldwide scale. Since it's such an isolated place where everything is strictly regulated, that same design philosophy doesn't really hold true anymore. During this time I dreamt of how it would be if I were to be trapped in North Korea with only my cell phone but no access to the outside world. Hence the idea of making a short experiment in which I try to evoke the feeling of someone being trapped in North Korea. I was particularly interested in how I could combine abstract images with more figurative images to evoke some kind of dream-like state. Like being on the brink of sleeping, where dream and reality start to collide.


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Jasper van Loon

Art Review

By the way, in these last years we have seen that the frontier between Video Art and Cinema is growing more and more vague: do you think that this "frontier" will exists longer?

It depends on how you define video art and cinema. When we are talking about the frontier between experimental, avant-garde cinema and video art I feel that this frontier will eventually fade away. If it hasn't already. Between mainstream cinema and video art and/or experimental film, I don't see the frontier fading away anytime soon. Since the latter could be seen as a reaction to the former and there will always be people who deviate from the norm. It's interesting you bring up video art when talking about my work since it's something that's mostly shown in musea, black boxes. A completely different experience from a cinema, where you kind of feel forced to watch the whole thing. When looking at my work I've always wondered how it would be perceived if it would be shown in a black box where people can decide for themselves how long they look at it. When making my work I've always considered it as an experience from beginning to end but I can also see it work in a different context (black box in a musea) with maybe some minor adjustments. You seem to be in an incessant search of an organic, almost intimate symbiosis between several viewpoint 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

A still from Dreams of me escaping

juxtaposition between sign and matter that marks out your art, allows you to go


Jasper van Loon

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beyond any track of contingency...

Youth and childhood are both part of Langdorp

and Ergens een Eiland, concepts which easily lead to a nostalgic feeling. To a certain extent I


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Jasper van Loon

Art Review

A still from Dreams of me escaping

do have this nostalgic feeling and is thus part of both works. But I want to go beyond

that history, those memories. To, as you correctly noted, let the viewer


Jasper van Loon

LandEscape 39 Art Review

history play an even greater part. The image in Langdorp could be considered the reality today (but even that is not really true because of the nature of the medium, a recording is always something of the past). While the narrator is the one who reveals factual information about the past. The narrator imprints memories into the viewer about the place, it reshapes their already established idea of the place. Because there are more places in the image than in the voice-over, there is this sense of the unkown. Some images are left without any information and you can start to wonder what happened here? What is the significance of this place? The active, engaged, viewer could start filling gaps themselves, create events that could have happened at the place they are seeing. Especially when they see a name and year pop- up at the bottom of the image. A simple gesture that sets of a wide range of thoughts. It's this juxtaposition between the image, sound, voice-over and text, that is integral to understanding Langdorp as a whole. During these years your work have been screened in several occasions, including a recent participation to Filmideo 2015. 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?

perceive the place, the reality, in a more timeless manner. In langdorp, time and

I believe everyone who exposes him or herself in an artistic way thinks about how the audience might respond, unless you don't (try to) show your art to the world. But I try not to let a possible audience's reaction to my work influence my creative process.


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Jasper van Loon

Art Review

Which doesn't mean I don't pose critical questions about the decisions I make, you just need to know who's reaction is important to you. I know my films won't appeal to people who look for plot-driven narratives. They'd probably tell me my films are boring and that nothing happens for 26 minutes. If I'd watch my films from their standpoint I'd probably agree with them. But I don't watch my films like that and thus I don't really value their opinion as much as someone who watches my films and judges them by what they are and not by what they want them to be. But I'm still very much aware that long takes of landscapes are very intense and require a lot from viewers. I've seen an exhibition of James Benning's One Way Boogie Woogie 2012, where he had multiple screens cycling through different places. The viewer could have seen every place in about 15 minutes where as if they would watch the full length of every shot they'd have to watch for about 60 minutes. I sat there for about an hour while I saw people come and go. If I recall correctly he admitted that he used this approach because he was afraid that viewers might get bored if he'd make it another single screen work. It's an interesting compromise but at the same time compromises should not undermine the initial intention of the artist. When we are talking about language as in spoken word, the voice-over. It's always been in my mother tongue because It seemed natural to me. Here in Belgium we have the tendency to disdain our own language, we dislike it because it sounds dull, banal. English or French sounds way better, more exotic if we're truly honest. The idea to do the voiceover in English for Langdorp arose during preproduction but in the end I said to myself why should it be? We are dealing with this archetypical Flemish village, an English voice-

over would sound forced and unnecessary. It would completely change the relation between the image and the voice-over. But I've been thinking about the international appeal of an English voice-over. It's no lie that the film might reach a wider audience that way so it might be worth doing it. It also alleviates the problem which I have with subtitles in my work. Subtitles detract from the image and people are forced to read it which makes it so they need to focus their eyes on parts of the image that isn't really interesting. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Jasper. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Thanks for having me. About future projects I can't say much because it's too early and I don't want to set expectations I might not fulfil. I can say however that there is this certain idea that keeps coming back to me. It's again something based upon youth memories much like “Ergens een Eiland� was based on. But I'm still debating about how I could visualise this idea. Will it be a short film, a multi-screen work, a photographic work? How can I transform this idea into something tangible? Still a question that remains unanswered, for now. As of now I've always used film as my medium of choice but I don't really see myself as a filmmaker, director, but more as an artist. So I definitely see myself branching out in different media if the project requires it. I'd love to work with something physical, to feel the medium in my hands, as opposed to working with digital files on a computer. Places, memories, will still be important in future work but I can't say if this will always be the case.


A still from Langdorp


LandEscape 40 Art Review

from all that we had lost in desert series


LandEscape 43 Art Review

Rosalyn Song Lives and works in Washington DC, USA

An artist's statement

O

ur awareness of our surroundings and our lives is often based on what we can perceive. A mistake sometimes made is not acknowledging what is absent, what is not there. Our lives seem lacking when we are bored with nothing to do. But this emptiness is something. It is the lack of something. And until we can appreciate and see the “nothingness” we are only seeing a portion of what is around us. “Nothingness” to me is forgotten memories, the surreal ruins that

scare and inspire me. It is the indescribable feeling of absence. It is this feeling that I try to capture when I look through the viewfinder.

Rosalyn Song


LandEscape meets

Rosalyn Song An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator with the collaboration of Katherine Williams landescape@europe.com

Rosalyn Song's camera structures the events in their natural setting: focusing on urban and natural environments, she draws inspiration from the signs of absence that pervade the reality we inhabit, In the series All that we had lost in desert that we'll be discussing in the following pages , she explores the ambiguous and subtle coexistence of forgotten memories and everyday experience. One of the most convincing results of her intriguing approach is an insightful investigation about the hidden narrative that pervades contemporary age and the way we establish perceptual relationships with it. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Rosalyn and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? As an artist you are primarily self-taught: are there any particular experiences that has influenced you? Moreover, do you think that your studies in Cultural Anthropology have informed the way you conceive your works?

I don't believe there was significant influence from my Cultural Anthropology back on my art. My major takeaway from my study of Cultural Anthropology was more of a philosophical epiphany than actual academic knowledge: that everything can be seen equally. That is, Juerg Luedi


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Rosalyn Song

Art Review

things can exist simply for its existence. I respect every single thing that suround me and I love it. I simply appreciate it for itself. I adapted this philosophy to my art as the core mindset to how I approach my art. This allows me to remain consistent and true to myself. I remember the very first time when I held the camera. I was very young, and even then instead of taking family pictures I was more interested in trees and dirt or even mountains rather than people. My parents didn’t like the way I use their camera because they thought I was wasting film for no reason. They would say, “why did you take this picture? It’s useless.” Their idea of photography was that making family photos as a historical relic. It was years later in 2008 when I had a chance to play with an old Nikon manual camera that I was reintroduced to photography. I shot anything that caught my eyes and I played with the camera just like when I was a young child. The results? They were terrible. I found myself wondering why the results were bad? What was wrong with it? I wish I could make photographs just like famous photographers do. I want my photos look beautiful. That was my motivation to do photography. I studied other photographers composition, colors, even their philosophy and finally I have found my own. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from All that we had lost in desert, 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 to visit http://www.rosalynsong.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?

From 2009 to 2012 I worked on this series. I detail from myFunerals, Performance


Rosalyn Song

LandEscape 47 Art Review

from all that we had lost in desert series


LandEscape 48 Art Review

from all that we had lost in desert series

Rosalyn Song


Rosalyn Song

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am a dedicated to my art, but I didn’t make many efforts to travel just to make photographs. At that time I was in Phoenix, Arizona and my camera never left my side. I simply sought to capture the moments that was my life at the time. For example, if I went to the supermarket and saw something I felt connected to, I try to capture that moment on film. Nothing remains forever. I can walk down the a street everyday, which may seem the same each day, but sometimes when you observe closely enough, you can see small differences. This facinates me the most because it happens spontaneously. It is hard to explain what really catches my eye, but it is a magical moment that only it exists only at that time and it disappears immediately. Nothing is forever. There is no time to embellish the moment with a camera. The moment will not be coming back. The pictorial ambience you capturated in All that we had lost in desert and the concept of nothingness that hallmarks your research has reminded me the concept of non lieu elaborated by French anthropologist Marc AugÊ and 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, and in a wide sense to recontextualize 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?

Very interesting idea of interpreting my work. Yes, of course there are some secrets in my


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Rosalyn Song

Art Review

from long ago(and far away) series

works. I would like to listen to others' interpretation of my work to see if they have found my real intention. I have met a few people who have discovered these hidden meanings, but I don’t really tell them what my real intention is. I believe that artists always hide hidden meanings in their work. While some contemporary photographers Edward Burtynsky or Michael Light use to

convey in an explicit way their environmental or socio political message in their photographs, your works seek to maintain a more neutral approach: rather, and you seem to invite the viewers to a personal investigation about the themes you touch on. Maybe that the following assumption is stretching the point a little bit, but I think that All that we had lost in


Rosalyn Song

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from long ago(and far away) series

desert reveals the connection between different cultural spheres which describes such a real-time aesthetic ethnography: you seem to be drawn to the structured worlds we inhabit and how they produce a selfdefining context for our lives and experience... do you agree with this analysys?

Briefly speaking, when it comes to art, I do not

want to have a certain intention to persuade to the audience. The world it is already art itself. The function of being an artist isn’t convincing to the audience what they should feel through form of art. I want them to experience from their personal thoughts and state of their mind. Art should be personal experience, not planned by an artist. I want the audience to experience and be free to interpret the art.


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Rosalyn Song

Art Review

Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is the The Tourist 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 unity 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?

‘The Tourist’ is an on-going series based on my travels in Guam that I've been working on since 2014. What inspired me to do this work was actually a tourist’s brochure. The pictures in the brochure looks perfect, and beautiful enough to attract people. But if you really go to the places, the scenic places shown in the brochure, there is no beautiful sunset and exotic local culture. After you experience the real scene, you will find yourself feeling bored, you would feel scammed by the brochure. For this series, I, as a photographer, want to make photographs that attract people to visit this small island. "The Tourist" is my version of a tourist’s brochure from tourist’s point of view who has an honest heart. Your photography 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, process of semantic restructuration of a view that I can recognize in Long ago(and far away) has reminded me of the ideas behind German photographer Thomas Demand's works, when he stated that "nowadays art can no


Rosalyn Song

LandEscape 53 Art Review

from the tourist series


LandEscape 54 Art Review

from the tourist series

Rosalyn Song


Rosalyn Song

LandEscape 55 Art Review

longer rely much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological narrative elements within the medium instead". While conceiving Art, even in the case of Photography, could be considered an 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 creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

This work “Long ago (and far away)" was my very first work when I started my career as a photographer in 2009. At that time, I has almost no connection with people. I would rather spend time alone and do nothing. I would not deny that the time I have spent being an ‘outsider’ influenced my work. I wanted to communicate with others but I had no idea how. My desire was to find a good friend to share what and how I see the world. But I never tried hard to ‘create’ for of art. That would be conventional and boring to me. I want to find a friend that I can be honest and someone who also sees the world purely as it is, as I do. Your works are always 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 stories you tell through your photographs... How much do you think to a narrative for a series?

There is no good answer for this but I spend all day thinking about my work, even when when I sleep. During these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions, including your participation as a finalist in the Professional Photographers Award UK in 2010 and your


from the tourist series


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Rosalyn Song

Art Review

from long ago(and far away) series

recent solo exhibition, counterfeit chicks. 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 decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

My series, "Counterfeit Chicks" was unintentional. One day I woke up and walked around in my back yard. I realized, the sunlight

was quite beautiful and thought I could have fun with my Barbie dolls (I am a Barbie collector). I picked out some dolls and posed them for the shoot. The dolls were just conveniently present when I saw the opportunity to shoot. The reason I posed them erotically was to do something that was completely opposite from the typical Barbie catalogue. Also I wanted to try portrait photography which I have never done it before- those dolls were just perfect for the shooting. Honestly speaking there is no significant changes in context between


Rosalyn Song

LandEscape 59 Art Review

from long ago(and far away) series

Counterfeit Chicks series and other works. Although I used iPhone 4s for the shoot, I approached each shot as I would with more professional gear. The results were better than I expected. The dolls were like real people and I came to a realization that nothing is impossible with camera-you can give a soul to a doll. I showed these pictures to several curators and one of them wanted to do a solo show with the pictures. Everything happened spontaneously and without effort.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Rosalyn. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

Sharing thoughts and feelings is the most important thing when it comes to art. I want to find a good way to communicate with the audience. I don't know how my art will evolve, but I am certain that I will devote all my effort and heart into all future work.


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LandEscape 61 Art Review

Sima Yousefnia Lives and works in Iran

Sound of Silence - An artist's statement

M

ost people think and dream in private and they do not want anyone to know about their thoughts or dreams or they are afraid to express them to others and society. Silence is one of the most profound feelings that we, as humans, often can sense in our lives. But when it engulfs us, it turns all our thoughts and feelings into a mysterious serenity. Silence eyes, silence lips, silence hands. Some break it. Some never awaken its voiceless voice forever inside. € € Today, the modern human lives differently than his predecessors. He lives in large or mega cities. His life is full of chaos and challenges. Life presents many opportunities, from what he eats, drives, and wears to his hobbies and recreations. He travels and visits many places. One can conclude that he also

thinks and deeply examines his feelings. He only goes in nature in order to understand himself and discover the wonders of the natural world, while his predecessors lived in nature, in harmony with it. He is destroying the natural world and builds with a greater intensity and velocity. Everything happening around him emanates utter chaos and commotion. A chaos that is no longer within his control! I am in search of modern human’s inner feelings and I am wondering what is happening inside? €€

Sima Yousefnia


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LandEscape meets

Art Review

Sima Yousefnia An interview by Josh Ryder, curator with the collaboration of Katherine Williams landescape@europe.com

Sima Yousefnia's work snatches the essential spirit of an image: rather than lingering on decorative aspects to seduce the viewers, her insightful approach draws concepts from Reality to convey experience and memories in a lively and coherent unity, providing the viewers of an extension of the ordinary human perception, and inviting them to snatch the spirit of ubiquitous meanings behind the world we perceive. I'm particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating artistic production. Hello Sima, and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a multidiscipinary training and after earning your Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Software Engineering from Shomal University, you take several class in Fine Art Photography. How did these experiences influence your evolution as an artists and how do they impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

Well, at first I would like to thank the LandEscape magazine and I must say I am proud that my work was selected for the magazine and I'm happy about it. In the case of my educational background, I have to say that half of my family members have been

enrolled in technical fields. But on the other hand, my mother is interested in art, nature and craft and she used to paint seriously for a while. In addition the way that I grew up in the family produced a tendency through art in me. However when I wanted to go to the university I chose to continue in computer field. But after entering the university I realized that it is completely unfamiliar with my personality and interests. As a result I started photography with compact cameras, although my photography at that time was quite primitive and aimless, but seeing the work of other photographers, I realized that photography has an enormous size and I am interested in it. After graduation I registered in an institute for a complete 9 months course in photography and bought a DSLR camera. After completing the course I became a member of a photography club in the institute and we had a group exhibition. Then I participated in specialized courses in photography and my work was selected for the group exhibition in the Photography Museum of Tehran. I can't say if educating in computer has any impact on my artwork or not but since my university was in the North of Iran and I went almost every week from Tehran to North and seeing different landscapes and different people along the way it can’t be affectless. At the beginning my photography started with landscapes that I saw on the road. Slowly, and with further study I realized that what I am Juerg Luedi


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Sima Yousefnia

Art Review

interested in is the fascinating world of photography and art in general. Dealing with your process and with your technical equipment, how do you adapt your setup to the work you are working to? In particular, how have digital techniques impacted on your approach?

I also like the other photographers have experiences with analog and Pin Hole cameras and I think if we want to enjoy photography itself, working with old cameras and experiencing different techniques is very interesting and enjoyable and has interesting results. But I don't need working with old cameras and techniques for my projects, digital cameras are easier and suitable for me. They provide more facilities during and after photography that I don't have with analog cameras. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Sound of Silence, and interesting series that our readers had already had the chance to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: would you like to tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?

The basic idea of the sound of silence, as I mentioned in my statement is modern human concerns and knowing what is happening inside? What impact does modern life, surroundings and all the problems that people face them today have on them? In my opinion you can see these impacts on people when they are thinking in their privacy. People who have been photographed in this series are all from my family and friends. I can say that I had seen my family in these situations before taking these pictures and my pictures are pretty much close to reality. During photography I used the decoration of the place and in open environments I didn't change anything. While detail from myFunerals, Performance


Sima Yousefnia

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LandEscape 66 Art Review

Sima Yousefnia


Sima Yousefnia

LandEscape 67 Art Review

photographing the subjects I didn't ask them to do anything or to show any feelings I just ask them to be relax and try to think, usually after some shots I could reach what I wanted. I like the way Sound of Silence shows a symbiosys between the abstract idea of night that evokes such an indefinite impalpability of the idea of Silence: 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 indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I think creativity of the artist in any field has a direct or indirect connection with his life. It means that our childhood memories, people who have been in contact with us, things we have seen and events that have happened to us, all have their effects on the artist and the works he/she creates. Apart from memories and what we have in mind from the past, which is stored in our conscious or subconscious, there are some issues which are connected to our daily life. Our observations from childhood to the present that we walk in the street, things we see or in general what is happening around us or in the whole world, all has a direct or indirect impact on what an artist creates and is not separate from it. About the Sound of Silence I prefer that others tell me what they see. But certainly in this project my life, my memories and the environment have their effect.


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Sima Yousefnia

Art Review

A relevant feature of Sound of Silence that has particularly impacted on me is the way this series 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?

I think this is absolutely true, the world that we are living in now, about the last hundred years, is much more complex than before and we are unaware of most of the things that happening around us. Although we live in an era that there is access to information more than ever, but it seems that there are lots of things that we are not aware or we can’t be aware of and it’s all because the pace of life. Another dimension of this issue is the modern human’s inside, I think his mentality his concerns and his lifestyle has changed and is more complex. In that condition one can call himself/herself a true artist that can slows time to observe life in fine detail without ignoring even insignificant events. Most of the times the artist creates a new world and teaches us to see differently. Which is creating new insights that is necessary to analyze and understand the contemporary society. In fact, we won’t have a dynamic society if artists do not create artworks, and undoubtedly they have their impact on the entire world. Your work 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


Sima Yousefnia

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LandEscape 72 Art Review

Sima Yousefnia


Sima Yousefnia

LandEscape 73 Art Review

allows to find personal interpretations to the subject you question. How much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

As you mentioned there is no explicit narrative for The Sound of Silence, and I prefer that anyone has its own perceptions and interpretations. In reality I like one examine his/her inner self through my perspective without limiting his or her vision. In my opinion there are narrations for this project in the number of people who see it. I have highly appreciated the way you explore the blurry boundaries between Imagination and Experience: in particular you seem recontexualize the idea of Silence 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 photography 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?

I believe that photography has passed many tests and errors and we are not in an era that needs exciting experiences such as still life photography, nude photography or playing with light and form. This type of photography is still attractive today, but it's not in the genre of Fine Art. The thing which is important in this genre is the idea behind pictures and the photographer encoded world that makes it unique; it’s a world that we’ve never experienced. During this years you have exhibited your works in many occasions, including a recent show at the Photography Museum of Tehran and I think it's important to mention that you have been shortlisted for the incoming Two Land Art Festival, at Hormoz Island and


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Sima Yousefnia

Art Review

Khorram Abad. 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 decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

Usually artists are active through different majors in art, such as sculpture, painting, land art and…. The whole idea is the same but the artist uses different mediums to express it. I don’t think about my viewers when I want to choose a medium to show what I have in mind, its mediums potentials that make me choose. Photography has its own potentials it can enter into philosophy and you can also find many layers in a picture, but environmental art is connected with environment and natural materials and what produced in each medium is different. Thanks a lot for this interesting conversation, Sima. 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?

Thanks for the interview; I’m working on a new project which is different with the Sound of Silence, because Sound of Silence was kind of stage photography. But my new project is in wide landscapes and everything is natural. I’ve just started this project and it doesn’t have solidarity to share with the readers. In the field of land art readers can see my works through this link: https://sites.google.com/site/siyouart/ . And here is my email address: simisi.y@gmail.com I am looking forward to receive emails from the readers and I would like them to share their opinions with me.


Sima Yousefnia

LandEscape 77 Art Review


LandEscape 40 Art Review

A still from the Black Light District Safari


LandEscape 80 Art Review

Ana Cuzovic Lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia

An artist's statement

I

n my work I am devoted to all kind of play with images and graphics, also combination of different media (animation and video).

Currently, I am focused on my practise based PhD research in the field of digital arts. In this research I am approaching images as heralds of human experience of the world, focusing particularly on digital images. I am curious about the unexpected gap between vision, language and memory, and complex mix of feelings and judgment that influence the way we build our own emotional reality. I wish to explore the inner language of feelings, thoughts and memories through images. By using computer manipulation of the pictures I am trying to create new visual contexts and exploring different possibilities and the limitations of digital media in artistic

practice, as well as emergence of an alternative form of visual aesthetics for the viewer to consider. The aim of my work is to encourage the viewer to creative participation, liberation and critical relationship to the visual: to accept doubts about perception limits, problematize what already has been seen or experienced, compare the visual experience with the contemplative, try to experience the own moment and presence in space and time.

Ana Cuzovic


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LandEscape meets

Art Review

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

impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

with the collaboration of Theresa S. Sutton

First of all, thank you for having me and my work on the pages of your art review. Focusing on the expressive potential of digital new media, Ana Cuzovic invites the viewers to a captivating multilayered experience: in Emotional landscapes that we'll be discussing in the following pages, her 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. Cuzovic's most convincing aspect is the way she creates a concrete aesthetic that engage viewers, while conveying emotional and rational approaches into a consistent, coherent unity. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Ana, 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 degreeing at the Faculty of Applied arts in Belgrade with major in applied graphics and book design, you started a PhD program that you are currently pursuing. Moreover you have been visiting scholar at S:PAM at Ghent University, in Belgium. How do these experiences influence your evolution as an artist and how do they

I have stared with my studies in the field of applied arts and magical world of making books, slowly shifting towards my interdisciplinary PhD research in the field of digital arts. During my graduate studies in applied graphics I got deep understanding of subjects such as drawing, illustration, typography and graphic design. The limitless prospects and possibilities of digital media fascinated me already by then. The motivation to study digital art was firmed into a determination during the work on the music video „Haiti Kampe – Listen“, a trigger that sparked my interest in world of animation, visual effects and composting. I realized that I have countless questions to ask about this field, especially about the role of images in digital world. By joining a newly available postgraduate study I had the chance to combine my desire to master new software and technology together with an artistic expression. In Belgium I was visiting scholar at S:PAM research center (Theatre, Performance and Media Studies department) at Ghent University. Juerg Luedi


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I really enjoyed cross-disciplinary approach and international atmosphere at S:PAM, which did boost my creativity, and helped me to approach my doctoral research from many angles. I extended my knowledge about visual strategies and performance as a dialog between movement, body, and space. I believe that diverse art background have influenced my practice very much. In my work I am trying to combine all the knowledge I have collected, and I believe that my curiosity will never let me stop exploring and finding relationships between disciplines 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?

My working process is like playing – I like to try things, experiment, go forward and back, start and stop, make connections and ripped them apparat. I like to enjoy my own moment by being completely immersed inside the work. I am easily getting caught in the play of shapes, colors and music, while the image is slowly creating in front of my eyes. I would say that my process is intuitive and contemplative. Usually, the image in my head is very blurred, unclear, but there is an emotion or feeling I follow to see what will come out of it. With my collages, I collect a lot of images before I start creating. Then I start assembling shapes and textures. This part of the process happens quickly, intuitively - I usually do not allow myself to analyze too much. Get the grip detail from myFunerals, Performance

on the moment: cup, paste, add, change, reorder, move... When the image begins to take a shape, this is the moment when I slow it


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down. I start analyzing it, discovering new relationships between elements and cleaning the form.

In my digital work I use software for image and video manipulation such as After Effects,


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Cinema 4d and Maya. Technology€exists in the€hands€of the€beholder. That is my playground with the certain rules that need to

be learned. So with every new project I try to challenge myself by experimenting with the possibilities of software.


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example, for Black Light district - Safari music video, before I have stared with animation and visual effects, we had to do planning and preparation for the shooting and green screen. After we were happy with storyboard and animatic, I started with animation. Usually, when the idea pops up in my head I like to start quickly with the execution, since some new perspectives can always surprise me during the process. Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from Emotional landscapes 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://anacuz.tumblr.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 started with making digital collages about landscapes with different emotional charges. I was inspired by nature – the connection between our inner self and the world around us. It was very intimate and settles process for me, where I tried to translate emotions and feelings into landscape. I heard heart beats in the fields and saw mountain curves in the human body.

Depending on the nature of the project, some projects need longer preparation process. For

Firstly, I made collage compositions and the video was the continuation of the project. Pictures and textures reflected inside the project are collected from our close surroundings – “at arm’s length”, but digitally edited and composed to develop a collaged world, new to the eye. Manipulation of the image is used to transform reality in order to convey human perception of the environment through aesthetic experiences.


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From the Emotional Landscapes series

Music plays an important role in this video, and it was done by sound artist Vera Sablic aka Omny Style. She beautifully followed what I wanted to express with visuals and translated it into the music. I believe the sound is a powerful way to drive the video forward and create emotion around the visual message. An important aspect of Emotional landscapes 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 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 information & 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?


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From the Emotional Landscapes series

In this work I build the visual world analogically to nature, but on its own principles. Space is like a window in the broken mirror. The geometric structure of the project is not based on the method by which we normally see objects, but there is an autonomous structure that is understandable solely in the domain of the project itself. I believe that what we experience about the world is very much dependent on our perception. So, there is one question I was always curious about was to explore: Is our picture of reality just a reflection of the ‘outside world’ or a collage that each of us assembles for ourselves?

Even tough, human brain is a kind of a ‘computer’ that does classifying and categorizing of data, mental processes are not just abstract and mechanical, but personal, as well involving continual judging and feeling. And this human and personal aspect is what I am curious about. So, in order to reveal magical and unexpected sides of the nature we need to be truth to ourselves. To perceive the world is to be in contact interaction with everything that appears to be around us, even part of us. We transform together with the world and the world transforms with us, it is like endless loop. Never the less,


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perception is what connects us deeply with other living beings. Besides our reflection in the screen nowadays, we are also reflected in the eyes of the others. “You can look at the eye of the animal and the animal looks at you. At that moment your mind is taken up with what this animal is to you, and in the animals mind its mind is take up with what you are to it. It’s like a mirror but one that is not equal reflection. They are not equal at both sides but it’s still a mirror”. (Bill Viola) As you have remarked once, we inhale the picture and what we exhale is an experience: the recurring symbiosis between Memory and Experience takes an intense participatory line with the viewer. While creating an 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 indespensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience? Artistic creation is like breathing, you can be aware of it or forget about it, but it is still happening. I believe that creative process does not happen only in the moment of the execution. it is live, complex and multilayered process. You can be dreaming, queuing in the post office or having a shower but the ideas are still popping up in your head. The way we connect with the world is personal. So bring it around or not, whatever comes out of us has been processed inside of us, consciously or subconsciously. In that sense, personal experience is indispensable from our creative process. Your visionary approach to video often recontextualizes the idea of the environment inviting the viewers' perception in order to

A still from the Black Light District Safari

challenge the common way to perceive the world we inhabit in, as in the interesting Black Light District Safari: in particular, I


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have highly appreciated the way you explore the boundary between Imagination and Experience behind the sequence of instants

you capture. Accordingly, I daresay that imagination acts as cornerstones for the fulfillment process of the viewers that has


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From the Emotional Landscapes series

reminded me 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


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Safari, music video was done in collaboration with Black Light District female artist feat. Omny Style & Katagram. They asked me to make visuals for the song, with an idea to express how music can transform us and deliver rich and colorful experience. So, when I started this piece I was following the music and trying to translate it into visuals. Particularly for this project, I had a very clear plan and idea developed together with Black Light District. So, after we did the shooting of the video I started with postproduction and animation. In general, when I create I have a narrative in my mind, but I like to allow creative process to naturally evolve. In my works I wish to provoke the viewer to use the work as a starting point in order to awake his/her own imagination. Taking advantage of digital techniques as the computer manipulation, your investigation about emerging visual contexts: in this sene 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: 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? Easy access to digital tools gave the artist new possibilities to develop new readings and interpretation of the world. Computer technology became not just a powerful tool for creative expression, but also a medium itself.

point about this? And in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

In society based on computers and hypertext, morphing of time and space in nonlinear structure of storytelling, emphasize the opposition of technological time of the cinematic order to the


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biological time of life. Digital technologies define new image structures, editing codes and narrative discourse systems. For me, it is very tempting and inspiring to explore how digital art can be used in order to create hybrid spaces by mixing photography, drawing, animation and software programing. Here, I would like to quote words of William Kentridge for the interview How We Make Sense of the World:"It took me a long time to unlearn the advice I had been giving. For me the only hope was the cross fertilization between the different medias and genres." It could be argued, that new media art and symbiosis between different disciplines became the best agent to give a picture of the contemporary world using the means by which the contemporary world is constructed. During these years you have earned experience in graphic design: ranging from advertising and package to book design and illustration. Also in this area your approach seems to push the viewer to not play as a passive audience, but to reflect about our society's hidden symbology... By the way, 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 nowadays- could play an effective role in sociopolitical 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? From the Emotional Landscapes series

It was long time ago when design was only about the form. Now when we think about design it is about reaching people emotionally. It is about understanding and communication;

future challenges and sustainability; It is about constant research and new ways of thinking.


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Working in advertising made me aware of the power of image on people’s lives. Images possess

the power to influence us, to attract us, to persuade us, seduce us, or even lead us astray.


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We can discuss about images as ‘vital signs’ that play an important role in social life, and ‘surplus value’ they generate in connections with desire (JWT Mitchell). Seductive character of images is not new to us, although with proliferation of new mass media it seems that we are constantly ‘licking’ the windows (TV screens, computers, mobile phones, or navigations) – like two children from Max Fleischer’s classic animation Somewhere in Dreamland, that lick the window of a confectionery shop. Amplified in the society of the spectacle, we race down the street full of confectionery shops faster and faster, producing the images and desires at greater and greater expense. At some point, effective enough simulation can destroy fragile and metaphysical notion of reality or truth leaving us tricked in a world lacking meaning. Art is there to give us new perspectives, give us comfort and hope but also to awake us and make us aware of things. Art influences people on very personal level. In that sense I believe that art can be very powerful tool for shaping our society. Thanks a lot for this interesting conversation, Ana. 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? In this moment, I am very busy finishing my practice based PhD research. The outcome of it will be a digital installation „Broken“, that explores different possibilities and the limitations of digital image in artistic practice, as well as emergence of an alternative form of visual aesthetics for the viewer to consider. In a broader sense, the aim of the project Broken is to encourage the viewer to creative participation, liberation and critical relationship to visual: to problematize what already has been

seen or experienced with the contemplative and to try to experience the own moment and presence in space. Beside the focus on my PhD research, I am happy to be part of one very interesting project about books and graphic design in collaboration with MER publishing house from Belgium. I am looking forward the final outcome of this project that will be an art book. At the end, I would like to thank you for your curiosity about my work and this interview.

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


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A Mother's Grief Shown at Side Street Studio Arts, Elgin, IL


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Wess Haubrich Lives and works in Quincy, Illinois USA

“Create your own visual style; unique, yet instantly recognizable to others.” Orson Welles

T

he above quote drove the shaping of my unique artistic style immeasurably. Yet, it doesn’t say a lot about just HOW we create our own artistic styles. Mine was shaped in great measure by chronic pain, depression, and another favorite quote of mine from Leonard Cohen: “I’m not a pessimist, because a pessimist is someone who is waiting on it to rain. I’m soaked to the bone.” Indeed, the stereotype of the “tortured artist” comes to mind. I am not that: as a “tortured artist” is tortured for the sake of his art. Yes, I am tortured by those ailments, but photography is a GREAT catharsis for me. I believe strongly that art saves lives. So, how did I find a way to release the pain into an aesthetic that does much to purge it?

Many pedagogues of art believe that before learning cinematography, a great director must learn the art of the still photograph. I went the exact opposite way (although I’ve never directed a film). I studied the great films noir of yesterday and today because the sheer expressive power and minimalism of monochrome really speaks to me. There is such a range of emotion, beauty, despair, and violence that can be painted with monochrome. Monochrome can also do much to

force the viewer to confront the true nature of the subject at hand (much more I believe than color ever could), it’s all a matter of lighting. Various types of “Dutch Angle” also greatly influence my work, and are something every photographer should study as they can give new meaning to a shot. I have also sought to intertwine other intellectual and artistic movements into my visual style. Surrealism, for instance, really speaks to me in its mad use of juxtaposition. Southern Gothic (and Gothic, Decadent, and Symbolist literature), entrances me in the shockingly stunning portrait of decay it presents, and the portrayals of madness it so brilliantly shows in books like The Sound and the Fury. Jazz and blues music speak to me in their psychological nakedness and soul. Psychoanalysis helps me to best elucidate a shot, and to find new depths to a subject. The study of anthropology and comparative theological views helps me stay grounded. I would encourage you to follow me on twitter (@gemcitynoir) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/gemcitynoir) to see more.

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Wess Haubrich An interview by Josh Ryder, curator with the collaboration of Dario Rutigliano, curator landescape@europe.com

Heavily influenced by film noir, Wess Haubrich's aesthetic accomplishes the difficult task of creating an area of intellectual interplay between perception and memory: the evokative images he captures urge us to investigate about the relation between reality and the way we perceive it, inviting us to explore the liminal area in which Emotion and Anguish find an unexpected point of convergence. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to his refined artistic production. Hello Wess, and welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell our readers 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 artist and how do they impact on the way you currently conceive and produce your works.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to appear in LandEscape. Yes, I am entirely self trained in my art as far as a lack of formal education in the arts. I do, however, plan on starting the graphic design and marketing programs at Quincy (Illinois) University come August. Based upon “Apocalypse”, and “Love Lost and Forlorn”, I received the Father Tom Brown, OFM scholarship in the arts for $1000.00. The highest amount, as far as I know, that the University gives for that scholarship.

The lack of academic training being said, my process is very schizophrenic and involves much in the way of trial and error. But, then again, all great art, does involve some process of either mental trial and error or physical trial and error I suppose. My love of photography began when I basically learned Adobe Photoshop on my own to produce signage for our family business. Our first family business is a print shop that has been around since 1939 and our other business is a liquor and beer (Coors and Pabst Blue Ribbon) wholesaler. The wholesaler is who I work for, and as I am sure you can imagine, producing items like bar signs tends to give one a decent degree of creative freedom. In fact, much of my work at a few of our bar accounts was being stolen off the walls by unknown parties because of the quality of the work (according to the bar owners). This led to a few of the bar accounts in question framing the works and others just asking for replacements every couple weeks. My diagnosis of clinical depression and generalized anxiety does alot to guide my artistic process every single day. I did not suffer from the dark pit, the miasma of self loathing and hatred, the philosopher’s allegorical cave that must be climbed out of (daily in the case of the depressed and dysthmic) for all time. It came out in my first stab at college when a good friend of mine (we we’re going to room together and we attended high school together) took a shotgun to his head in his then girlfriend’s house. I eulogized him at his funeral. His mother, to this day, thinks that if he would have seen his acceptance letter to college that Juerg Luedi


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arrived that day, he may not have done it. This and my subsequent disillusionment with the political science and history I was studying there, led me to drop out. I subsequently worked at the family businesses for some time, then found out that I had five possibly malignant nodules on my thyroid. One was the size of a full grown adult thyroid, which caused a deviation of my windpipe to the left side when they removed the organ. I then started developing almost daily migranes which got me psychologically but not physically dependent on opiates. I broke that addiction in a program last July, and only then started SERIOUSLY shooting and entering calls for art. Photography is both statement making and cathartic for me as an art form. It’s the best damn anti-depressant on the planet even though my outlook is very film noir and southern gothic influenced. The last but possibly biggest “tipping point” regarding my work is very much the hand tremor I deal with daily. It is much like Parkinson’s except that it is an “active tremor” meaning when only when my hands are active will the tremor show itself. It won’t kill me but it has profoundly colored my view of the world and my individual psychology including the depression diagnosis. I am a classic case of the psychologist Alfred Adler’s theory of “organic inferiority”, the idea that an organic fault like a hand tremor can make one feel inferior to everyone else and cause psychological distress. I suppose photography is a symbolic way for me of conquering the tremor and all the effects I have allowed it to have on me. After all, we must keep the image steady to get our best result. Luckily I have a great primary care physician who has helped me in my quest for manual steadiness (the only time Ive ever used a monopod or a tripod was at a wedding) by detail from myFunerals, Performance

Love Lost and Forlorn Palmyra, MO Cemetery

giving me a beta blocker called Timolol that only needs to be taken as I need it. Surgeons use this same substance before an operation to keep their hands from shaking from fatigue. Photography has also allowed me to teach myself ways of “mind over matter” ways of controlling the tremor, particularly through breathing. Before starting to elaborate about your


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And a Sword Shall Pierce Thine Immaculate Heart

Lost in Thought For All Eternity

Shown at Side Street Studio Arts, Elgin, IL

Quincy, IL Cemetery

production, would you like to tell our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, how much 'post-production' and digital manipulation is involved in your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a series?

business that I began collecting vintage film cameras from ebay. I collected for about 3 years, than began shooting with the film cameras for about a year and then I had to spring for a good Digital SLR because of the sheer volume of shots I was taking. I shoot almost all my digital shots with the simple Nikon D3200 I paid $379.00 for and ONLY the single wide angle and telephoto lenses that came with it. This part of the process, more or

It was during my early days at our beer


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When Science and Art Met: X-Ray of Quincy, IL Cemetery


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less intentional limitation, forces great photography through forcing the photographer physically into a better angle for the shot. I prefer this to expensive lenses for the dollar figure too, the basics just work best for my process. My film cameras include two SLRS (a nikon and a canon rebel), a Leica rangefinder, a Holga and a Diana F+, and a few old Bakelite cameras that shoot 120 and 620. I have used these cameras cross series and projects. I shoot quite a bit of expired film in these cameras. As far as the digital darkroom goes (and the physical one) I do spend alot of time in it to get my intended aesthetic for a shot. Still, however, this is where the trial and error process that is photography trumps all of that. No amount of physical or digital “manipulation” or dollars in photographic technology can fix a poorly composed shot. Period. There will always, always, always be something off about that shot if the composition is bad or slightly off (and most people will intuitively pick up that there’s something off, they just don’t have the technical know how to say what it is). So trial and error is a MUST for all photographers. As far as my choice of series goes, this is very much influenced by my dark aesthetic. And truthfully, the “serieses” in question did not really start as such but became such through the basic necessity of organization of my shots and hashtagging them properly on the internet. This really became, however, an organization and overview of my psyche, very noir and southern gothic infused. I am also very influenced by madness, melancholy, dark states of being for various reasons but mostly it just being a sort of brutally honest orientation to the world and my struggles with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain (migraines run in part of my family unfortunately). DURING the process is really an infinite amount of time, I am always adding more to my various serieses and always subtracting certain images from them for display for instance when I am in a

particulalr exhibit and forced to limit my shots (like the three shots from “memento mori” which are in Side Street Studio Arts “Mother” Exhibit). Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from your Memento mori series 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.gemcitynoir.photography 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? The genesis of my “memento mori” series was really multi-fold. The first factor is my deeply held belief that we are losing our architectural soul to this modernist, minimalist (absurd to me) idea that pure function is the true definition of “beauty.” I find beauty in the viscerally emotive qualities of Victorian art and architecture (and yes, in their ornamentation), and nowhere is that better seen or more easily shown than in Victorian burial monuments, mausoleums, etc. Second, the decay shown in the “memento mori” series is a profoundly relateable and beautiful thing to me. It is a lament over our architectural soul, sure but a beautiful lament, a universal lament over us as people, a lament over humanity. For something to decay, it has to have had some life within it at sometime. Life itself is decay: this is a law of the universe. Yet, that fact in itself is strangely beautiful. Perhaps because of it’s profound reality for all. It is a perfectly honest, straight forward fact applicable to everything in the universe, even if that thing is made of stone and was given creative life by the sculptor and (as is my hope) further creative life through the photographer’s eye. Third, my “memento mori” series is an attempt to breathe life again into these profoundly beautiful monuments and to show those who


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pass by these monuments daily, that there is another aesthetic for looking at them. They are far from “eye sores,” far from “impediments to progress” or “antiquated Victorian monstrosities”. In this part of the process, I hope to perhaps show certain emotions and aesthetics the sculptor at the time had not thought to show or perhaps wasn’t able to because of the lack of visible decay on his work. Decay always brings fresh aesthetic possibilities to a shot. Last is the photographer as anthropologist. Where I shoot is a curious mix of Roman Catholicism, various non sola scriptura churches (i.e. Anglicans, Orthodox, Unitarians, Lutherans), some sola scriptura (i.e. Baptists), Mormons (who built their Nauvoo Temple about 45 minutes North of Quincy, Quincyians gave them food and shelter when they had to ford the Mississippi river after being chased from Missouri), non-denominational churches and other variants of Christianity (i.e. Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christian Science), a Synagogue and a Mosque. This makes for an odd mix of “memento mori” monuments and religious artifacts in our cemeteries. I am of the firm belief after documenting much of the memento mori here that most of these monuments are not really a lament for the dead but more for the perceived “decadence” and dying souls of the living. Our various rituals around death are really a sort of lament about ourselves, a projection of our perceived interior faults. That is not to say the dead aren’t missed, just that there is another motive, another meaning in the art and aesthetic of the memento mori throughout history and cross peoples. Still, that “convergence of emotion and anguish” as you called it, is beautiful I think in its form and its level of collective psychological honesty about reality. To a large degree, we get the reality we deserve, as that is the one we tend to make when it’s all said and done and the “memento mori” throughout history is a direct reflection of that. Our lament over our interior reality. I suppose this point can be traced to some


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Greenlawn Cemetery: HDR'd Fall


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Aperture Experiment: Film View of Memorial Bridge from Cemetery


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degree to “catholic guilt” as it were, I was raised Roman Catholic in a half catholic half lutheran home. The Roman Catholic side of my family, in fact, printed a good chunk of the books used for the laity to follow the mass (the Missal). Although, I myself drift between a very liberal form of catholic spirituality and agnosticism, I think that idea over the lament of one’s interior state (whether justified or not) is very true and prevalent in the “memento mori.” Your aesthetic style is heavily influenced by film noir and a relevant feature of Memento mori that has particularly impacted me is the way you question the ephemeral nature of perception that, like Edward Burtynsky's works, raises a question on the role of the viewers' perception, forcing us to go 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 it. Maybe 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 agree with your “relevant feature” idea both interior and exterior, the exterior speaking much more vocally and without ambiguity in my work. Let’s just say as far as the “exterior” goes, I am a believer in “sacred geometry”, in communicating that geometry as aesthetically pleasing in its interplay between man and nature, and as such, a central core of my entire artistic process is “the physical search for angle”. I always have at least two cameras with me (as any serious photographer really should), and I am constantly (no matter what else I may be doing physically or mentally) searching for an aesthetically pleasing angle and making mental notes of them when I find them (they pop up in the most interesting and unexpected of places). This type of search becomes second nature to the image maker


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Apocalypse: Quincy, IL Riverfront Exhibited at Soulard Art Market, St. Louis, MO

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after a while as long as it is practiced consistently. There is, however, a second part of the “search for angle” and that is the “viscerally emotive” search for angle. We have a visually pleasing composition, now what, if anything, can be done regarding emotion behind it? If it lacks visceral emotion, especially in a series like “memento mori”, it should be discarded or in the case of trial and error reshot or thought about again in the light of other darkroom processes or field processes. The “ephemeral nature” of perception, on the other hand, is an interesting way to quantify my “memento mori” series as perception being “ephemeral” is a great way to describe madness or diseased, erstwhile demented interior states of the human psyche. True “madness” to me is best shown and explicated as sensory ambiguity, what is real and unreal is blurred. I have sought to capture some of these states of mind in my “memento mori” series as they are mysterious, taboo, and very, very interesting and as I said relateable to me. I’ve always been attracted to a study of that state of nature: likely as a way of understanding the world as metaphysical thresher with so much wanton tragedy, disease, and true injustice in the world and as a way of understanding what is “normal” by examining the “abnormal,” perhaps to understand the “abnormality” I have long perceived within me. Also, I do firmly believe there is but a razor’s edge between a kind of madness and great, profoundly beautiful, creativity. When I first happened to see Apocalypse, I tried to relate all the visual information and symbolic elements to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual unity suggested by 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? The process of divining or trying to see meaning in life or in art is both systematic and intuitive. In fact, I am very much a Jungian in my belief that the quest for meaning is THE driving force of our interior life: not the sex instinct as the Freudians maintain. Sex drives alot in humanity, sure, but it does not account for a search for meaning as far as I can see. Meaning means attaching some sort of value judgement to whatever is being scrutinized. This question does lend itself alot to neuroscience (a favorite subject of mine), but it also transcends it. For instance, we know what the prefrontal cortex of the human brain does in it’s induction, deduction, search for meaning, etc. This is all VERY systematic. Yet, there is something that goes beyond simple cerebral metabolism, and sensory input being translated into neural activity. Where does the Self (Soul, whatever you want to call it, hell, call it nothing but the summation of neurochemical activity in your head if you like: even if you take that view, there is still an admission of some level of experiential reality) find its meaning in relation to life or in life’s microcosm here, a piece of art? The self’s desire to find meaning is intrinsic to what it is and is a vital survival mechanism, without meaning we would still be prey for the beasts of the jungle, not knowing the meaning of the idea of “danger” or anything of ideas escaping it which have been bred into us over millions of year on this rock. That being said, I think the process you are referencing is both ruthlessly systematic and very intuitive, both of which have been essentially bred into us as humans through that need for meaning. The images you capture are very strong in bringing out form and although you pay a particular attention to let the images speak for themselves, the subject matter almost inevitably invites questions and discussion,


LandEscape 110

Wess Haubrich

Art Review

Dominion Over the Dead, Palmyra, MO Cemetery


Wess Haubrich

LandEscape 111 Art Review

as in Dominion Over the Dead. Is psychologic commentary an intrinsic aspect of your work? Or are you drawn to noir primarily for aesthetic reasons? Yes, as you have correctly pointed out, my work does speak for itself. One of my all time favorite film noir directors (and a heavy influence on my work), Mr. David Lynch believes so strongly in this idea that when his films come out on DVD/Blu-Ray they do not even have chapters. Another very prolific influence on my aesthetics, Orson Welles, has two quotes that I try never to stray from because I intensely agree with them. First, “create your own visual style, let it be unique for yourself yet instantly recognizable to others.” Second, “style is knowing who you are, what you have to say, and not giving a damn.” Well said, Orson. Well said. The noir aesthetic is a very interesting, and versatile aesthetic. Before really examining it, however, there is a further aesthetic that should be looked at which influenced both film noir and my work in a very direct way. The aesthetic in question here was never an aesthetic at all, really, yet it developed into a relatively interesting and viscerally emotive way to shoot. The perspective I am speaking of is crime scene photography. The harsh contrasts in the shots of ‘30’s Los Angeles and New York City crime scene photography were very influential on film noir as a then fledgling film genre. Particularly influential on me, are the rather infamous and grisly photographs caught by Arthur Fellig (a.k.a. “Weegee”) as he covered the crime beat on Manhattan’s lower east side in the ‘30’s. The contrast was high to capture every possible detail, making this brutal side of man’s nature super real and adding a degree of honesty about the world that one would be quite hard pressed to find anymore, especially where things like political correctness and this idea that people seem to have now a days that they possess a legal right not to be offended leads to sometimes


Sixth Street Architectural Macro Shown at Arterie Fine Arts, Naperville, IL won Honorable Mention in 'Home is...' Juried Exhibit


Wess Haubrich

absurdly large obfuscations of reality. Film noir was influenced in a good way by the brutal honesty of these grisly photos. Film noir’s psychological and purely visual aesthetics are almost impossible to seperate. A bit of film noir history and a (quick) overview of my principle influences in the field may be in order here to fully elucidate what I mean. “Classic” film noir is generally seen as movies coming out in the early ‘40’s to the late ‘50’s. The “classics” are characterized in terms of their stories by a usually flawed hero or dupe (a patsy if you will), a damsel in distress, a bad guy, and sometimes a bad girl (the archetypical “femme fatale”) role. The stories saw their genesis mostly in the “hard boiled” crime novels of the 1930’s where the bad guys pulled zero punches, the good guys were always somewhat flawed, and the woman in the story had some malevolent intent about her (the femme fatale). The great hard boiled authors included Dashiel Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Mickey Spillaine. Associated movies in this vein would be classics like “The Maltese Falcon (1941)”, “The Big Sleep (1946)”, and “Kiss me Deadly” (1955). Noir of this period is hallmarked by thick monochrome and great interplay of shadow and contrast, ironically because it HAD TO BE for two reasons. The first was the Holywood Studio enforced “Hayes Code” (which lasted until about 1962), which regulated basically anything and everything a movie could and could not show. For instance, one hallmark of the Hayes code was that the bad guy must always get his just deserts at the end of the film, and of course that any, “violent” or otherwise “racy” content could not be shown. If you were a director and you violated the Code, you risked losing funding for your entire project. The second reason for the classic noir aesthetic was budgetary. Many times, directors would do things like recycle sets, anything to pinch pennys

LandEscape 113 Art Review

to allow for the (most of the time) less successful B Side Pictures. The confluence of these two factors led to the classic noir aesthetic being used as a method of abstraction both literally and figuratively, that is of anti-Hayes code deeds in a film and of little foibles and mistakes that sometimes were made in filming. It is, however, very interesting to me how films of the classic period developed such heavy psychological contrast through the use of these filming methods, and the entire spectrum of psychological color they found could be expressed this way. Look at, for instance, the different ways Rita Hayworth’s character is lit in one of my favorite classic films noir, “The Lady from Shanghai” (1947). The lighting changes as her known motives change (being the archetypical femme fatale here there is that looming danger about her). We see even more psychological exposition in the films of the so-called “neo-noir” period, which for purposes of this discussion I will define simply as 1960 to today. One of the most masterful, in my opinion, is the Coen Brothers “Fargo” (1996) because it cast classic hard boiled noir fodder against what is literally a pure white backdrop in Minnesota (where half of my family is from by the way). Of the films of the neo-noir period David Lynch’s work has also had a great impact on my aesthetic: “Mulholland Drive” (2001), “Inland Empire” (2006) are two of my favorites, the surrealist, profound beauty of them speaks for itself. Like Lynch, I also believe great art speaks for itself. That all being said, in a nut shell I don’t think you can seperate out psychologic commentary from the noir aesthetic. You certainly can seperate out the southern gothic influences which are very prevalent in the “memento mori” series, but noir, no. A piece that has particularly impacted on me


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Wess Haubrich

Art Review

and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled In the Shadow of Madness (the Lemp Brewery St. Louis): I like the way this piece shows a symbiosys between the abstract idea of darkness that evokes a dsitressing impalpability and such a tactile feature suggested by the structural concreteness of the image you captured. While referring to a "fruible" set of symbols that comes from popular imagery, you seem to remove the historic gaze from the reality you refer to: this way you give the viewers the chance to perceive in a more absolute form, 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? This is a favorite piece of mine as well, the fence acted as such a natural, lovely leading line to the name associated so deeply with madness and tragedy in the Midwestern United States: “Lemp.” I would suspect that not many of your readers would know the story of the Lemp family as it is very regional so I will briefly recount it here: The Lemp’s were some of the original beer barons of St. Louis in the 1800’s and up to prohibition were relatively successful with (principally) Falstaff beer. Yet, from some of the very first Lemps on American soil there was a curious epidemic among both the men and the women they married. That is the epidemic of suicide at the (still standing and reportedly very haunted, if you believe in ghosts) Lemp mansion. Many are buried in St. Louis’ beautiful Bellefontaine cemetery. I find Charles Lemp’s (suicide by gunshot wound to the head, 1949) suicide note to be a very telling (and brutally honest) study of madness, which indeed much of my work can be viewed as: “St. Louis, MO / May 9, 1949 – In case I am found dead, blame it on no


Wess Haubrich

LandEscape 115 Art Review

In the Shadow of Madness Shown at Old Orchard Gallery, Webster Groves, MO


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Wess Haubrich

Art Review

Old Warsaw Battery Factory Window Study, Accepted to 'Forgotten...' Display, LithaMoon Gallery, Greensboro, GA

one but me. – Ch. A. Lemp�. At the end of the day, we get the reality we deserve and have forged. That alone is a harsh realization indeed,

but it should give us some positive resolve too, that our choices matter and we can shape things, even our minds, in a new direction.


Wess Haubrich

LandEscape 117 Art Review

I do not believe that a genesis for a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience. Something gives the artist the idea, my experiences in studying madness gave me mine. Something experiential. And indeed, if it is an abstract idea that birthes another idea, there is still something experiential dictating the artist’s taste for the aesthetic or something experiential that planted the original idea in the first place. I have gotten tremendous insight into creativity as a whole through working with a good friend, gifted painter, and much better photographer than I, Miss Arielle Hrabak (http://www.ariellehrabak.gallery). I think we have greatly influenced each other, especially in aesthetics. She is the one who really deserves this interview and without her, I would not be able to answer this question properly as photography, by definition, is very concrete, very experiential. Not to mention the fact that without her, my work would not be what it is. Thank you Arielle for being incredible! Another intersting series of yours that I had the chance to get to know is entitled Urban Noir and it has suggested me the idea that environment acts as cornerstones for a fullfilment process that has reminds 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?

As a brief aside here, I did another in this series with a $6.00 Disposable Fuji 35mm camera I bought at Wal-Mart, just to challenge myself.

I am much more after stand alone work than a particular narrative when I shoot. I let the subject and indeed the medium itself do the talking. If it has an interesting story to tell, let’s let it speak for itself and tell it. It just so happens that what I have shot in terms of memento mori and urban noir has fit together very well as my aesthetic is


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Wess Haubrich

Art Review

unifying. The psychological narratives being probed I will say are universal: melancholy, decay, the rot and passage of time. Something that a first glance may be shrugged off as an “eye sore” but looked at using a lense (figurative lens I mean), that I as artist can steer, will give people a new (and I believe proper) perspective on that place or that thing: what it says about our history, and indeed about our very selves (psychologically confronting the self as it were with reality and because we have not properly tended to our history as expressed in these decaying urban places). A more explicit pontification here which I touched on briefly in the above question, as well based on the “urban noir” series: we are losing our architectural soul to these minimalist monstrosities of modern architecture that show no celebration of sacred geometry or angle, just bowing down to pure “function.” I find the loss of that aesthetic distressing. As an image maker do you think there is any inherent difference in the images that you create in real time with your camera and those that emerges from a process of manipulation? “Image making”, to me always involves some level of experimentation to get that perfect aesthetic for what I am intending, what my eye is seeing, envisioning. so yes I do believe there is some difference. I do almost always shoot with my Nikon DSLR but on occaison I do shoot with a Leica rangefinder (where I know the paralax and it’s manageable) and sometimes with other film cameras that can involve paralax that can’t be predicted (as in with my disposable camera project in St. Louis) just to challenge myself. You have recently exhibited you works at Soulard Art Market in St. Louis, MO,


Wess Haubrich

LandEscape 119 Art Review

History Runs Red, Hancock County, IL Barn


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Art Review

The Old Orchard Gallery in Webster Groves, MO, Arterie Fine Arts in Naperville, IL and at Side Street Studio Arts in Elgin, IL. 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 decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

me in the same way the Lemp story does. Perhaps a similar project in New Orleans on the Axeman’s Jazz (jazz and the blues are HEAVY influences on me too as is criminology). I would also much like to take a trip to Chicago to shoot infamous mob scenes and how they look today like the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. There’s much in our local history in Quincy about Al Capone and his gang, that I, being a member of our family beer wholesaler know but I don’t think many locals do.

I do, almost always, with calls for art I apply to and where I will exhibit. For instance, I am considering an exhibit in New Orleans (a city I love, a quarter of family hails from there) for the “memento mori” series but it seems to me because they see so much of this type of art already in their city it just wouldn’t go over well, it would get lost in the shuffle and I would be viewed as a Northern carpet-bagger trying to copy their aesthetic.

Arielle and I always have fun on our excursions as well. We don’t have any particular projects (collaborations) planned but that may change in the near future. I would invite your readers to check out her site (http://www.ariellehrabak.gallery) to see photography and paintings with an amazing from an artist with an amazing acumen for her craft and an eye that never ceases to astound me. I am thankful and profoundly lucky to have her as a friend, colleague, and influence.

That being said, I would never blunt or alter the message of a piece for a particular audience. But I am certainly choosy about what I will put where. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, Wess. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

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

Thanks for the opportunity to share, it’s been fun. A great goal of mine for the memento mori is to shoot noteable and forgotten burial art all across the midwest and South using my process of search for angle and my unique aesthetic. Another place I really want to shoot is Villisca Iowa and the infamous axe murder house and really explore, photographically, the idea of the murders being the product of a roaming serial killer. The details of that crime utterly fascinate

Earth and Time Swallow All Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, MO


Irene Pouliassi

LandEscape 42 Art Review


LandEscape 40 Art Review

Cryptic sleep


LandEscape 5 Art Review

Malgorzata Zurada Lives and works in Warsaw, Poland

An artist's statement

M

y area of interest revolves around the notion of meaning and sensemaking. I am interested in how the world seen as a set of signs is one of infinite possible interpretations, impressionable and open to reshaping. My works refer to broadly understood metaphysics, myths and occult sciences as well as beliefs and rituals of past and present, from cultures of the world and from Western esoteric tradition. I am especially interested in visual languages connected with various belief systems and means of coding esoteric knowledge. I am drawn to objects and situations whose meaning transcends the physical reality remnants, ruins, rubbish, experiences on the verge of existence and oblivion. My practice often takes form of contemporary archaeology in which everything from historical objects or texts through natural phenomena to the mundane potentially holds encrypted messages there to be deciphered. It is within this frame my research takes place,

resulting in works that are documentation of personal experiments and seeking knowledge rather than building narratives or producing objects. Over the years the core of my work is gradually shifting from graphic arts and drawing towards more conceptual and ephemeral, making use of the performative potential of my body and embracing time and space as other factors of potential meaning. Currently I work across disciplines and my practice includes photography, video, installation, performance and sound.

Malgorzata Zurada


LandEscape meets

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

Małgorzata Żurada accomplishes a deep investigation about the liminal area in which perceptual reality and a dream-like dimension blends together into an unexpected point of convergence: through a marked transdisciplinary approach she carries out the difficult task of creating a lively symbiosis between instinctive perception and a refined cultural analysis that invites us to decipher the reality we inhabit. One of the most convincing aspects of Żurada's approach is the way she unveils that that Art is a vehicle not only to express feelings, but to dissect them, grapple with them, and integrate them into a coherent unity. I'm particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Małgorzata and welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview, with some questions about your background: you have a solid formal training and you hold a MFA in Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, then you attended management postgraduate studies at the University of Warsaw. How have these experiences influenced 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 invitation to this interview. I started my formal training even earlier when I attended an art high school, which lasted 5 years, then 5 years at the Academy of Fine Arts. The most valuable thing there was that Juerg Luedi


LandEscape 13 Art Review


LandEscape 8

Malgorzata Zurada

Art Review

(((O))), performance documentation, video 3:23'

I got acquainted with a wide variety of mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, various printmaking detail from myFunerals, Performance

techniques as well as calligraphy, typography, graphic design and spatial design. After that I tried myself for a while as an actress for TV


Malgorzata Zurada

LandEscape 9 Art Review

way I work today. Management studies were meant solely for getting myself "closer to the ground" and learn practical means of working in culture, art business, supporting myself and other artists etc. Transdisciplinarity is a key feature of your practice: your work ranges from photography, video and sound to installation and performance. 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?

Probably mixing or switching mediums can be beneficial for expressing some concepts. What drives me is the desire to experience diversity, so working across disciplines is a natural choice, or even a necessity. I know that narrowing down to one or two disciplines is a smart move and it works for many artists, making it easier to master your chosen field of expertise and gain recognition. However, it doesn't work for me. When I consciously concentrate on one field for a longer period of time I begin to feel stuck and constricted. Changing mediums or looking for synthesis also supports creative flow. After all we're multifaceted and multidimensional beings, so there's no need to impose limitations on ourselves when it's not absolutely necessary.

and a theatre mime - that's when I learned about the body and it's performance potential. All these experiences add up and influence the

Now let's focus on your artistic production: I would start from (((O))) an extremely interesting works that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article: and I would suggest to visit directly at http://www.mzurada.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


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Malgorzata Zurada

Art Review

these stimulating project? What was your initial inspiration?

In December 2014 I was an artist in residence at Arteles Creative Center in Finland, where I worked on several projects, including (((O))) and Banishing by means of pyramid-like structures. The first work was centered in one moment in time, one day, while the latter was spanning throughout the whole month. I new I wanted to do something pertaining to winter solstice, mark down this day in a way, as the more north you go, the Sun gains in importance and has almost godlike status for people. At that time I was researching solar cults and solar symbolism as well. I decided to prepare a time-specific performance for 21.December, the darkest day of the year - in anticipation for the influx of solar energy. Performance was loosely based on a Lesser ritual of the hexagram. One of this ritual’s uses is to invoke planetary and zodiacal forces (solar force in this case). The method was to take the ritual out of the magical circle and into the studio space to study how the energy, voice and body movement change when given another context. I ended up skipping some parts and adding new ones, thus creating something between silent invocation and a coded, visual storyline told by gestures. It was performed and recorded 21/12/2014, Sun-day, precisely at noon, facing south. The day, time and orientation in space were chosen accordingly to tables of correspondences used in alchemy. It can be seen in many ways, e.g. as a story of death and rebirth, an adoration of the Sun, an invocation of the solar force to reinvigorate oneself or as a ritual to ensure that the Sun will come up the next day as usual - accordingly to one’s belief system and state of mind. Your investigation about signs that pervades the reality we inhabit in questions our relationship with the outside world and

(((O))), performance documentation, video 3:23' you seem to deconstruct and assembly memories in order to suggest a process of investigation about the liminal area in


Malgorzata Zurada

LandEscape 13 Art Review

which the Self and the Outside share an ephemeral coexistence: 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'm sort of convinced that some


LandEscape 14

Malgorzata Zurada

Art Review

Banishing by means of pyramid-like structures Ghost repellent: twigs, rope, steel beads, dimensions: 160x90x90cm

informations & ideas are hidden, or even "encrypted" as microscopic grains of sand 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?

I subscribe to a view on reality as a creation of the mind, an illusion in a way. To quote Terence

McKenna: "What we call reality is in fact nothing more than a culturally sanctioned and linguistically reinforced hallucination". So I'm all about inner nature, as it's the only nature that we can actually experience. In such worldview division between the self and the outside you refer to is illusionary, there is no liminal areas and everything is a liminal area, everything is and is not, is a center and a


Malgorzata Zurada

LandEscape 42 Art Review

Banishing by means of pyramid-like structures Ghost repellent: twigs, rope, steel beads, dimensions: 160x90x90cm

threshold, has every conceivable meaning and has none. It's a radical relativism where the information is there to be deciphered, and at the same time the only information is one created by the perceiving mind. Certainly, one of the roles of the artist is to reveal something about the world that general population doesn't see or pay attention to. It's a role similar to a shaman in traditional communities, being a link

between the world of men and other dimensions, or a conduit through which information flows both ways. Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled banishing by means of pyramid-like structures: in particular, when I first happened to get to know with this piece I


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Malgorzata Zurada

Art Review

tried to relate all the visual information and the presence of a primary environmental elements to a single meaning. But I soon realized that I had to fit into the visual unity 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?

Ghost repellent, central part of Banishing by means of pyramid-like structures was created as a temporary functional object. For one month I lived in an old, wooden, XIXcentury school building, in the middle of Finnish countryside, pretty much secluded from the outside world. During first couple of nights I experienced unusually intense nightmares, and while awake I couldn't help but hear a variety of subtle non-human made noises, clicking, tappings or wind howling, so my imagination started to create eerie stories. I decided to build a protective device, charge it with intention and observe how it will affect the atmosphere in the room and my overall perception. The object was supposed to continually banish all unwanted non-physical beings and nightmares, and was burned the last day when it's work was done. An artwork in this case is multilayered: an object itself, the effect the object had on me during that month, the act of burning it, the ashes I collected (remains that became the object.2) and the video documentation of the whole thing. It can be characterized both by conceptual interiority, meaning imbed by me during the process, and by its potential for direct interaction. I had very interesting feedback on how people who had a chance to see the artwork before burning related to it and what kind of stories it triggered in them.

Answering your question about intuitive vs. systematic approach - I don't plan and don't have a desire to control the reception of this or


Malgorzata Zurada

LandEscape 42 Art Review

Banishing by means of pyramid-like structures, The ultimate banishing, video 4:15'

other work. And during the creative process both approaches have to be equally present the work has to be well thought and well

researched and has to feel right at the same time.


LandEscape 14 Art Review

Cryptic sleep

Malgorzata Zurada


Malgorzata Zurada

LandEscape 42 Art Review

The ambience created by "Cryptic sleep" 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, there always seems to be such a channel of communication between your works, that springs from the way you juxtapose ideas and media: as I have been told once, "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?

I'm glad you bring the concept of heterotopia and can read a psychological narrative in this project. The images are indeed an expression of a bardo-like state in between the states, a mixture of suspension, compulsion and potentiality. Cryptic sleep cycle is unusual for me in that it came to life based purely on intuitive and instinctual urges, completely unlike most of my other works that begin with mental process and a thorough research. This time I did it not knowing really where it will lead me. It captures raw idea and raw feeling. So I guess in this and other aspects it is my most emotive and "humane" work so far, and this energy comes through as a sense of narrative and a potential mirror for the viewer as it may trigger various odd or unsettling subliminal responses. I'm not sure if I would agree with the need for psychological narratives in art in general. However, what's definitely true is that anything psychological or anthropomorphic tends to be popular, because it's easier to grasp, people can relate to such content. I believe though that there is place and audience for any kind of art, be it symbolic, psychologic, conceptual, professional, amateur, smart, not so smart etc. Your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of deep, almost


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Malgorzata Zurada

Art Review

physical interplay with the viewers, and while exploring the liminal area between perceptual reality and a dream-like dimension, in blind horse, lame rider urges us to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience and I definitely love the way your works take an intense participatory line: In particular, the intrinsically contingent nature your investigation has reminded me of the idea behind Ernesto Neto'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 indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience?

I think that under certain conditions everything is possible, so creative process disconnected from direct experience could be possible as well. However, when we attempt to create anything in physical world or even only on mental level we have to use a tool that is our body and mind. The answer here depends on what we define as a "person". I like the concept of artist being a conduit, an antenna to a transcendental frequency, so that the best works are rather made through us, not by us. Creation cannot be then credited to one particular person, but rather to an unseen source we all can tap into. I started blind horse, lame rider project after experiencing very detailed dream about certain places and objects blending smoothly into one another. I decided to pull them into waking reality, and thus began a long term project devoted to materializing every object of art that will appear in my dream, in the exact form as it came to me. It's a way to explore both dream state and waking life state and the


Malgorzata Zurada

LandEscape 42 Art Review

Blind horse, lame rider, Scene II (the swamp)


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Malgorzata Zurada

Art Review

Prediction/ the spirits said exhibition view, acrylic on canvas, 9x13x18cm, + vinyl foil, 325x32cm


relation they share. The leading line of the project is taken from the Tibetan buddhist practice of dream yoga, where the practitioner strives toward regaining consciousness in sleep, manifesting dreams of clarity and realizing true nature of mind. Blind horse is an energy - prana, lame rider is the mind. When joined together they run blindly, creating dreams that appear to be contingent, but are in fact driven and shaped by karmic traces developed from waking life experiences. From this point of view all is interconnected and never random. Your approach seems to be marked out with an organic symbiosis between several viewpoint out of temporal synchronization: moreover, the reference to the universal imagery from nature, environmental elements 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... in particular, how much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your works?

My works are indeed atemporal, you're right. To a certain point I would call them non-narrative as well, as I usually don't concentrate on building narratives, but treat them as byproducts instead. I'm always interested in sign, form, sound, the constituents - and what's beyond that, what kind of meaning attached and where it comes from, its fluidity and potential for manipulation. This "what's beyond" usually makes for an actual story. If I work directly with narratives I rather deconstruct them into pieces, like I did in my work Prediction, where I took fragments of my grandmother's letter written in 1963 and assembled them anew. She wrote about spiritualist seancĂŠ during which spirits said I will be born sometime in the future. What I was interested in most were words as conglomerates


Garden of pomegranates


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Irene Pouliassi

Art Review

Blind horse, lame rider, Path of the giants: from the forest to the sea to take a bath and then back, mixed media on plywood, 70x70cm


Irene Pouliassi

LandEscape 42 Art Review

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?

I don't think about audience at all while I'm working, only when I'm done and about to show the work, be it at an exhibition or online I start to think what to say or write to explain my motives and make the reception easier. I'm aware that some of my works are pretty hermetic and hints on how to understand them are in place. Although I'm always very clear about ideas I convey I still want to leave lots of place for free interpretation for people, so that they can take in my works anyhow they like.

Drift, The devil/ cod acrylic on panel, 110x100cm

of letters, their forms and sounds and how via association or disassociation they acquire meaning. But beyond that, obviously, the most important thing there was a nebulous idea of an ancestor I've never met, who is present though in me now in the very flesh and blood, communicating with unseen dimensions in the past to predict me coming in the future. So the work itself is visually very abstract, and only if you know the context you can see all those layers of meaning attached.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Małgorzata. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

In recent years my work has been gradually evolving from drawing and painting towards more time based and presence based practices like video and performance. I definitely plan to continue on this path. I want to work more with sound as well, especially in collaboration with other artists. I recently started working on an art book, it's gonna be based on one esoteric concept taken from Japanese theory of aesthetics - I want it to be a collaborative project as well, and hopefully it will be realized and released sometime next year. Wish me luck!

During these years your works have been exhibited in several occasions, including a participation at the 41st Painting Biennale “Bielska JesieĹ„". So, before taking leave


LandEscape 40 Art Review


LandEscape 5 Art Review

Elena Kholkina Lives and works in Moskow, Russia

An artist's statement

D

oorways (2013-2014) is an artist book of personal photographic images I've taken over a couple of years and is based on an interaction of landscapes, cityscapes and interiors. The viewer travels through the places, guided by lines and visual rhymes in the book spreads. Tactile paper brings another dimension to the looking process. The book is built in a complex way, the system of hand-bound pages brings volume and turns it almost into a sculpture. There is no narrative, no main characters, no events, only a smooth flow of images that are doorways into each other, a mental trip that aims to clear viewer's mind of everyday thoughts. There are several enigmas hidden inside the book and keys to unravel them, which will probably take time to guess and will invite

viewers to come back to the book again and again. I call it a zen book - a tool for visual meditation, for being simply here and now. Doorways was shortlisted and exhibited at Unseen Dummy Award 2014. The book is fully handmade and selfpublished in a limited number of copies (100). The box is embroidered.

Elena Kholkina

Elena Kholkina is a photographer based in Moscow, Russia, graduate of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Moscow and Phootodepartament St.Petersburg, winner of Rock your dummy! 2013 photobook contest and recipient of the Urban Urge Seed Grant 2014. Her photographs, art projects and books have been exhibited in Russia (Moscow, St.Petersburg, Kazan) and in Europe (Minsk, Riga, Bologna, Aarhus, Amsterdam, Paris)


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LandEscape meets

Art Review

Elena Kholkina An interview by Dario Rutigliano, curator with the collaboration of Michael S. Stone landescape@europe.com

Explorating the semantic potential conveyed by Photography, Moskow based artist Elena Kholkina accomplishes the difficult taks of explorating the ephemeral nature of reality, in relation to the contingent reality we inhabit. While seducing the viewer with an ambiguous and pulsating aesthetics, she succedes in creating an area of deep interplay, that urges us to forget our need for a univocal understanding of symbolic contents, gently inviting us to rethink about the atemporal mark of Reality. One of the most convincing aspect of Kholkina's work is the way she effectively harmonizes an analytical approach to composition with a lively gaze towards contemporariness. I'm very pleased to introduce our readers to her refined artistic production. Hello Elena and a warm 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 attenting a post-graduate course at St.Petersburg Fotodeparttment under the guidance of Nadya Sheremetova, you attended the prestigious Institute of Contemporary Arts Moscow: would you like to tell our readers how did these experiences influence your evolution as an artist and how they impact on the way you

currently conceive and produce your intersting works?

Thank you for your interest in what I do. Before attending these art schools I had been photographing for some time - I worked as a photographer assistant and shot personal documentary, often using the medium to socialize and express emotions. I had a series I wanted to turn into a book, and that's where it all started - in feeling the need to explain my ideas and get across a clear message, through images and words. Fotodepartament not only provided the opportunity to work on my critical stand but also planted me into a certain socially active and creative environment of people where I felt inspired. The next step was ICA Moscow where curators and professors aim to broaden artistic horizons of all the students and foster a culture of critical debate. The most important thing for me was and still is learning to formulate, it is a constant search for accuracy - in words, ideas, images etc. Now I would start to focus on your artistic production and in particular on Doorways, an extremely interesting work that has been shortlisted for Unseen Dummy Award 2014 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.offonroad.com in order to get a wider idea of your multifaceted artistic production. In the meanwhile, would you tell us something Juerg Luedi


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Elena Kholkina

Art Review

Doorways 2013-2014, manually bound embroidered box inkjet printing, on tactile paper

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

One of the project 's inspirations was the song Doorways by Radical Face. It ran this idea of entering a place to find yourself somewhere detail from myFunerals, Performance

else, and I was having a similar feel looking through my archive of personal images from all sorts of places. Sometimes it felt just like passing through doors from one place to another and that's what I decided to work on - build a virtual


Elena Kholkina

LandEscape 9 Art Review

There is no narrative in Doorways, and I have appreciated the way you have been capable of bringing a new level of significance to the sign of absence, that invites the readers to a careful investigation: this seems to be a recurrent feature of your approach that urges 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?

With Doorways I was looking for a way to guide the viewer through the book without telling a story, so the book's imagery is build in between the photographs - there is something that arises from neighboring photographs, which we can't see but rather we start to feel as we thumb through the book. I agree with you regarding the need to reconsider things - definitely we do, for one reason because we are living in the world of secondary images and cultural codes, and often what looks as a certain thing is in fact an image of something else. Reality is nowadays a database, and all of us constantly have to handle this, decipher things, as you mention.

journey from real ones. The first dummy was completely different - more classical in terms of form and sequence - it was also shortlisted for Unseen in 2013 - and then I reworked it completely into the present form which was then shortlisted the next year.

Another interesting work of yours that has particularly impacted on me and on which I would like to spend some words is entitled In the shadow: the core of this project is an exploration of the theme of replication in the contemporary world and 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 later realized that I had to fit into the visual


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Elena Kholkina

Art Review

In the shadow - self-portraits, 2014, photographs, cardboard

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?

The visual rhythm you mention is important for the project as it is talking about replication, appropriation and copyright issues. I was

looking for a form that would strengthen the idea of "In the shadow" (self-portraits shot against the background of paintings made by famous Russian artists Dubossarsky and Vinogradov), and I remembered tourist postcards - the ones that are sold together in a long leporello - and it worked well together with the photographs. Referring to what you say about establishing direct relations - I believe the work becomes interesting when it


Elena Kholkina

LandEscape 13 Art Review

In the shadow - self-portraits, 2014, photographs, cardboard

leaves the viewer with possibilities for interpretation. I think I systematically look for a certain balance between my message, its form and possible interpretations. Your practice is intrinsically connected to the chance of creating an area of deep, almost physical interplay with the viewers, that are urged to evolve from the condition of a merely passive audience: I definetely

love the way Don't trust your eyes takes such an intense participatory line not only on the way we enjoy Art, but also and especially on its conception. In particular, 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


Skyward, exhibited in MANIFESTA10 in St.Petersburg


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Elena Kholkina

Art Review

A still from Don't trust your eyes, 2014, video, 6 min, no sound 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


Elena Kholkina

LandEscape 42 Art Review

changing for me with time. For now it seems right to show a certain level of "honesty" although I realize that the term itself is complicated by the pervasive influence of information on us and much of what we call internal is in fact based on external, as if we do not translate but rather retranslate, and it is difficult or impossible to move away from it. And yet even in these conditions a statement that brings across an internal interest of the author seems more acute, touches me more, as at least for a moment it has a taste, a hint of "real". So I come from personal experience most of the time. Multidisciplinarity is a crucial aspect of your artistic 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 Drawing, Photography and Video: 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?

As in the course of life you devote yourself to different activities, the symbiosis seems more versatile. It seems logical to pull together things you enjoy.

be disconnected from direct experience?

I feel that the answer to this question will be

For me it is important to keep doing these activities (like dance and photography, for example), and I would not want to give them up, so they are woven into the creative process - it's all a matter of lack of time in a way. And yes, it gives you a wider palette, the more you say the more people will understand you. Like in "Don't trust your eyes" - maybe you're not so keen on images in the background, but you might get caught by the dance, and that's when you begin to read something, or "believe" the artist.


LandEscape 14 Art Review

Elena Kholkina


Elena Kholkina

LandEscape 42 Art Review

The recurrent reference to a universal imagery suggested by natural elements as in Dark matters 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 dichotomy between Tradition and Contemporariness, establishing a stimulating osmosis between materials marked out with such an absolute feature and a modern, lively approach to Art: By the way, do you recognize any contrast between Tradition and Contemporariness?

Between tradition and contemporariness I feel more continuity, less contrast/opposition. What comes to mind from school knowledge - earlier artists were looking for "new" and in the modern post-medium art we are looking for "other" - certain hybrid versions replacing the concept of "new". I love the way you re-contextualize the idea of the environment we live in and I would go as far as to state that your capability to evoke the presence of a view invites to rethink to the way we relate ourselves to the environment we inhabit in... by the way, many contemporary artists as the photographer Edward Burtynsky or Michael Light have some form of environmental or political message in their photographs. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

I don't deliberately do political works, but an artist is in any case a mixture of engagement and detachment - so there is no way we can escape information and probably no way we can separate information from our works. So if there is an acute political problem, it may come up in the work even if the author never intended it. This is what happened with a


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Elena Kholkina

Art Review

recent project of mine - Vobortens2015, which I created as a response to the educational process, self-actualized in connection with the military conflict between Russia and the Ukraine and it is now part of the exhibition called War Museum in Moscow Museum of Modern Art. During these years your works have been extensively exhibited around the world, including a recent participation at MANIFESTA10 in St.Petersburg. 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 decisionmaking process in terms of what type of language for a particular context?

When I'm doing something new I trust the audience will understand simply because we are all human. I don't think I can or should try to predict who the viewer will be, cause then it's more of a commercial thing, if you know what I mean, then I would be trying to suit somebody's interests, and it should not be the case with an artwork. It is probably more important to learn to talk to different kinds of audience if you present your work personally, I mean if you get a chance to speak about your work in public. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Elena. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

I have several ideas in mind for now - an urban photographic project, a new zine and a new book. I'd like to know myself where it is all going, but seems like it is and is going to be an open field for experiments


Elena Kholkina

LandEscape 42 Art Review


LandEscape 40 Art Review


LandEscape 5 Art Review

Courtney A. Henderson Lives and works in South Florida

An artist's statement

C

ourtAleise Photography lets others have a look at the world through my lens. Photography is my passion and my art. My website (CourtAleisePhotography.com) features landscape and cityscape photography that will take you on a visual journey from the islands of Hawai'i to the concrete jungle of New York City and across the Atlantic Ocean to the ancient ruins of Rome and other historic cities. My photography is used to create greeting cards and pieces of art. Photography first became an interest of mine when I was a toddler. I would play with my Dad’s Polaroid camera for hours. I became fascinated with the photos that this device was able to create.

As an undergraduate journalism student at Florida A&M University, I took my first photography class. It was at that point that I realized I had truly fallen in love with the art of photography and that I wanted to express myself through this art medium. While earning my bachelor's degree I worked for several newspapers as both a writer and a photographer. While teaching in Stuttgart, Germany, for a semester I decided to travel and expand my portfolio. I was inspired by the

mountains of Switzerland, the rolling hills of France, and the breathtaking architecture of Italy. As a professional I have had the opportunity to be the photographer for events such as the infamous Miami Wynwood ArtWalk, I have also had art displayed in different galleries, events, and featured in the Sun Sentinel. My desire to combine my love for photography and travel was the catalyst for creating CourtAleise Photography. Through my landscape photography I am able to share what I find most beautiful and intriguing about different places around the world. The purpose of my art is to let others have the exhilarating feeling of having traveled somewhere far away, without ever setting foot on a plane. The landscape art of Court Aleise Photography will take you on a visually stimulating journey from New York, to South Florida, to Hawaii and beyond. I hope you enjoy a look at the world through my lens.

Courtney A.Henderson


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LandEscape meets

Art Review

Courtney A. Henderson An interview by Dario Rutigliano and Claire Bowman landescape@europe.com

Courtney Henderson's approach could be compared to a kaleidoscope. Few artists are capable of snatching the essential spirit of an image as she does in her photographs: rather than lingering on merely decorative aspects to seduce the viewers, her emotional approach draws images and concept from Reality to conveys experience and memories in a lively and coherent unity, providing the viewers of an extension of the ordinary human perception, and invites them to snatch the spirit of hidden but ubiquitous meanings behind the world we perceive. I'm particularly pleased to introduce our readers to her stimulating artistic production. Hello Courtney, and a very warm welcome to LandEscape: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? As you have remarked in your artist's statement, you first became interested in Photography since when you were a toddler: you later had the chance to get a solid formal training and to teach in several european cities, an experience that allowed you to get in touch with new landscapes as the Swedish Alps and the Italian architecture. How did these experiences have influenced your evolution as an artists and how have they impacted on the way you currently conceive and produce your works?

As a child playing with my dad’s Poloroid

camera I had a fascination with how it could capture a single moment and seemingly freeze it in time. From watching him use the camera I “knew what I was doing” and experimented taking pictures around the house and on long family road trips. Looking at the picures evoked the same feelings I had when I took the pictures and that was something that I truly loved from a young age. The first time that I was able to live out of the United States for months at a time there was so much about the experience that captivated me. I wanted to relive that feeling of seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time in person and the awe I had while standing in the midst of the Roman ruins. It was expressly these experiences, the feelings and emotions that influenced my evolution as an artist. I kept trying to find new and innovative ways to capture or recreate what I felt when I took in all of these sights for the first time. I knew that this was something I wanted to convey through my art. The purpose of my work is to take viewers on a visual journey to these places, I want someone to look at a piece and be able to feel like they are there, that they have experienced part of the magic of that city. Today as I continue to practice and refine my craft I pay special attention when people tell me at one of my art shows that a specific pieces makes them feel as if they are actually there. This has happened both with people who have been to that city or country before and people who have always wanted to visit but have not yet made it. I look back at those images the most to see what it was about the angle, lens, lighting or my technique that might have made Juerg Luedi


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Courtney A. Henderson

Art Review

someone not just feel as if work work transports them to the place, but strongly enough to comment on it to me. This has lead to long conversations and I always walk away with something new to keep in mind the next time I am out shooting, it constantly gives me more to strive towards. I have highly appreciated the way you explore the blurry boundaries between Imagination and Experience: in particular, in projects characterized with a clear representetive mark, as the interesting "Venice series" you seem to take advantage of Collective unconscious about the idea of Venice 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 photography 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?

A narrative is all about telling a story. In addition to being an artist I am also an English professor at the University of Miami, so for me I am intersted in narrative both in the traditional sense of writing, which I talk to my students about and artisticly, being able to tell a narrative with visuals only. I always have both types of narrtive in mind. In my photography it consists of taking the viewer on a journey through a city, possibly to places both new and familiar. When the narrative includes a familiar element, something the viewer has seen in person, or heard about, that element of the story can pull them in, make them remember the last time they were there (Central Park in New York City) or their thoughts about one day visiting and what they detail from myFunerals, Performance

Homage

expect to see and do (Venice or Paris). In art the narrative is expressed both visually and in the title given. Sometimes I choose a simple title that just lets the viewer know where they picture was taken. I dont want to impose too much of my own view on the viewer, I believe that art is open to interpretation. As such, I always have a particular narativein mind but at the same time I am always interested to hear what other people see, think or feel when they look at my work, and the type of narrative that it tells them.


Courtney Henderson

LandEscape 9 Art Review

Venice Life


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Courtney A. Henderson

Art Review

Peinture Musicale

Royal Back yard

I like that you say the boundaries between imagination and experience because as a landscape and cityscape photographer who focuses on travel there is inevitably going to be one or several pieces of mine that the viewer has not personally visited. It is with these pieces that imagination comes to play, since they have not literally been there their ideas about the specific place is probably composed of images they have seen and what other people have said. Everyone has an idea of what it might be like to visit a certain place. This is embedded in their own personal psychological narrative. Viewing my work adds

to their imagination and narrative of what it is like to be in that specific place. My work allows me to add to their narrative or help them create a new narrative. For example with Mauiakama, where I capture the sunset from the Hawaiian island of Maui, you can imagine that you are standing there in the sand on the shore, taking in the beauty of all the God created colors that converge for a few moments when the sun is setting in that spot. Or in my Paris collection when I take viewers through my favorite parts of the Chateau de Versailles, recreating the experience of what it was like to be French royalty during that time


Courtney A. Henderson

LandEscape 13 Art Review

Not only am I able to create my own narrative as an artist I have the pleasure of adding to the narrative that viewers bring when they take in my work. It is almost as if we are working together, I am providing the experience through my own experiences in these places and others are bring their imagination. I offer my story and narrative through my work and see how they might interpret it into their own narrative or extend from the narrative I have explicitly created. Dealing with your process, how do you adapt your setup to the work you are working to? In particular, how have digital techniques impacted on your approach?

Temps

peried, looking out through wide open doors at the expansive royal garden and the rest of the palace grounds. If you have not been to these places you only have your imagination, but at the same time that is fueled and inspired by your previous experiences or ideas. Including my work is now part of the viewers “experience” and as such can also be added to their “imagination” of what it is like to stand in the middle of the ruins of the great Roman empire or sky high above the Swedish Alps looking down at their snow covered caps and a frozen river whose path weaves in and out of the mountains.

When I first became interested in photography I worked exclusively with film. I developed the rolls and worked hands on in a dark room with my pieces. There is something about having that completely hands on experience that is exhilerating and produces a sense of accomplishment. In my opinion as a photographer you havent truly experienced the craft until you have had a vital role in every single step of the process from shooting to the dark room and beyond. I still have this same sentiment but today I almost exclusively work with digital for new reasons. Before I devloped my work on different types of paper and that was all I wanted to do at the time. Today I print my work not only on paper but also on different types of canvas, on metal, on wood and on paper whose width is longer than I am tall. For these new mediums that I have been experimenting with it is better to take my digital image to a place that owns the machinery and technology to print on these different surfaces while maintining the high quality and resolution of my work. One digital technique that I have not become accustomed to using though is in terms of lighting. I still prefer natural light. Even if I am


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Courtney A. Henderson

Art Review

Diamond Head

going to a specific location, for example to capture the sunrise at the ocean’s edge. I would rather walk around, arrive early and stay for several hours in order to capture the true essence of this beautiful act. In this respect no digital technique takes presedence. It is the overall process, the act of shooting, where digital techniques impact my approach because I shoot mostly with a DSLR

I agree with you that Photography lets others have a look at the world through the photographer's lens: I would add that pieces as "The Sun's Escape" and "Diamond Head" take such a participatory line on the conception and especially on the production of art. There's such a hidden feedback between the apparently simple act of shooting and the idea of sharing a feeling, that allows to an emotion to go beyond its


Courtney A. Henderson

LandEscape 42 Art Review

The Sun's Escape

intrinsic ephemeral nature, emerging from an a mere perceptual dimension. 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?

I absolutely 100% believe that the artists personal experiences are directly reflected in their work and for me this is always true.

Diamond Head is one of my favorite pieces that for me truly captures the essence of the time I spent living and teaching in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. Sailing quickly became my favorite past time in the years I spent there, at one point I was out on the water at least once a week. Diamond Head is the name of a popular local low intensity hike and what seems like the focal point of this piece. If you look closely, to the right you can also see Koko Head Crater, a


LandEscape 14 Art Review

Perspective

Courtney A. Henderson


Courtney A. Henderson

LandEscape 42 Art Review

more demanding and longer hike, not excruciatingly intense but requires more than Diamond Head. For me this piece captures the simple (Diamond Head), the more complex (Koko Head) and peace and tranquility (the ocean). My experiences while sailing are usually filled with joy, exitement and relaxation. Joy at being able to get ot on the water and view the island in a different light, from a different angle, excitement when dolphins or whales have ventured into our line of sight and relaxation when I’ve simply laid atop the boat. These trips also carried an element of carefreeness, once we have left the shore its like the worries of the day have left as well, theres no use in spending time at sea worrying about what can be dealt with once you are back on land. For me I want all of not many of these elements to be translated to the viewer as part of them experiencing my work and part of the narrative of the piece. I suppose that in some artistic endeavors the artist might be able to separate what they are creating from their own personal lived experience but for me this is not possible. I only capture things from places I have been, even if I have only been in that spot for a few days, like with my Stockholm, Sweden collection, I am still conveying my experience with the city and what I felt while. This was at times informed by a friend who is a local and the leader of a confernce I spoke at who took all of the speakers on a touch, but I am still always conveying part of my own very personal experiences. This is actually something that I love about art, as an artist, someone who creates, you can share a small part of you with viewers and potentially they will understand, connect or at the very least appreciate what you are saying and offering through your creativity. An important aspect of your work that has particularly impacted on me is the way you


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Courtney A. Henderson

Art Review

Mauiakama

shoot with the same enthusiasm both an incontaminated natural landscape and a highly urbanized metropolis: 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, re-contextualizing the concepts behind them: and I would go as far as to state that in a certain 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 wayto decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist could be to reveal


Courtney A. Henderson

LandEscape 42 Art Review

City View

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

In one of my favorite New York pieces, City View, I believe that you can certainly see this, an instance where there is more going on than meets the eye. The viewer’s perception is challenged in a number of ways in this piece. Although there is not a lot of actual action that

can be seen taking place in this piece there is still a great deal going on. The “common way” would be to view this as simply another New York City sky view. However the actual focal point for me as the artist is the new World Trade tower building that was just completed before I went to NY for this shoot. It is my opinion that even revealing this would add another level of significance, meanings and ideas for any viewer.


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Courtney A. Henderson

Art Review

Old San Juan

I have to agree with your belief that some information and ideas are indeed hidden in the environment. In order to even begin to decipher them we need to make a conscious effort to stop and examine and this is what I try to provide an opportunity for viewers to do. I have captured a moment and viewers can stop and examine, decipher and create a narrative whether they see my work hanging

in a gallery in Brooklyn or at an art event in South Florida. With Mauiakama there are layers of nature to be decoded both in the actual image and in the name. Mauiakama is the name of a Hawaiian language immersion program that I took part in several years ago. In order to participate each person had to have completed at least


Courtney A. Henderson

LandEscape 42 Art Review

history and culture, all in Hawaiian, no English, no use of cell phones or internet. I felt as if I were transported to a different time and place and I wanted to convey an element of that through this piece, but if not viewed and studied it can be easy to miss the deeper meaning. The capability of discerning the essential feature of a view and to translate it into an accessible visual is a key point of your works and plays a crucial role in your process: you seem to reject mere decorative aspects, in order to focus to the inner nature of the stories you tell with your shots. How much do you explicitly think of a narrative for your images?

Historic Stockholm

two years of Hawaiian language classes, answer a few questions in Hawaiian and to write a letter, all in Hawaiian, about why we wanted to participate and how we would use what we would gain from the program. The program consisted of spending time camping around the island of Maui, listening to stories from kupuna (elders) and only speaking Hawaiian for the duration of the trip. All of these elements are intertwined into this piece. For me it is truly Hawaiian in the original sense, not the commercialized sense of what it means to be in Hawaii or be Hawaiian. This piece was taken in the midst of learning about Hawaiian

In many pieces I try to tell an untraditional narrative by creating a view that is not seen as the typical decorative style. In Tour Eiffel Nuit I wanted to capture something unlike the sterotypical Eiffel Tower images, by focusing in on just one part. This leaves the rest to imagination and there are other elements to focus on. This technique allows me to create a narrative with the viwer by only supplying one small piece it provides a starting point. I have seen the narrative created by this piece go in an array of different directions. When I’ve included this piece in different shows people tell me what it makes them think of, the dreams of one day going to Paris, spending a night under the stars and Eiffel Tower, or those who have been recounting some of their memories that were conjured up by my piece. In these cases my narrative is intertwined with theirs and this is the beautiful participatory aspect of art. I begin by creating my own intentional narrative but try to leave room for interpretation so the viewer can also interact with my work on their own terms, bringing part of who they are to the vision I have. Another example of this is with a few of my Puerto Rico collection pieces. The accessible


LandEscape 14

Courtney A. Henderson

Art Review

Bowing Tulips

key visual in my piece Old San Juan is left up to the viewer. Using the rule of thirds in this instance draws the eye to more than one element that shows the inner nature of the story being told. There are several juxstapositions taking place at once, this combination of life and movement in different forms is what I wanted to capture and convey. This was taken in an area that is not overally touristy, its a place that reflects life, the lush grass, the waves of the ocean crashing on the shores.The narrative is connected to the

movement, to my experiences. I was visiting my aunt who was born and raised in Puerto Rico and she was showing me around, speaking in a mix of Spanish and English about the history of this area. I wanted to present a combination of thoughts and emotions, a juxstaposition similar to what I felt walking these streets for the first time. I definitively love the way you recontextualize the idea of the environment we live in and I would go as far as to state that


Courtney A. Henderson

LandEscape 42 Art Review

The Ledge's Edge

your capability to evoke the presence of a view forces the viewers' perception in order to challenge the common way to perceive environment... by the way, many contemporary landscape artists as the photographer Edward Burtynsky or Michael Light have some form of environmental or political message in their photographs. Do you consider that your works are political in this way or do you seek to maintain a neutral approach?

It’s interesting that you ask this at this moment

in time. Before, last year, I would have said definitively I seek and strive to remain neutral in my work. To present a piece of me and my journey, my view, my experience and offering it to viewers to interpret and add to. However, recently, I have taken a new collection focused on the #BlackLivesMatter movement. All of the images were taken during protests in New York earlier this year. I posted a couple of these pieces on my blog that I recently started and I am working with a curator in NYC who is working on putting together an exhibit with pieces that


LandEscape 14

Courtney A. Henderson

Art Review

Swedish Alps

reflect the movement. In this instance everything is expressly political, before getting involved this way I was a part of protests and town hall meetings, trying to be a part of the solution so it almost seemed like a natural extension for my art to extend into this area as well. I am also working on a newer New York City collection that has some underlying political tons, drawing the eye to things that are easily glossed over, forgotten and overlooked. Thanks a lot for this interesting conversation,

Courtney. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects. How do you see your work evolving?

I feel that each new collection and location add something new to my work. When I visit a new place for the first time I view it with new eyes, I want to take everything in, share something about the culture, environment and space that I am occupying at that time. This June and July I will be in Casablanca and Marrakesh Morocco as well as Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt. I am certain


Courtney A. Henderson

LandEscape 42 Art Review

Love's Tulips

that when I return home in August after those two months that my work will have changed and evolved in a new way that I cannot yet completely articulate. It will be my first time on the continent of Africa. I haven’t been to a new continent in a while but everytime I have I realize when I look back at my new pieces that something about being there has changed, shaped and be infused with the pieces. With that being said I am looking forward to the upcoming travel and new collections. Even more than this I will be

visiting over 11 other countries, almost all for the first time, from the beginning of January through the end of May. I can only imagine how my work will continue to grow over those months spent consecutively working and traveling abroad, taking in and capturing new sights as I convey these new experiences and cities to viewers through my art.

An interview by Dario Rutigliano and Claire Bowman landescape@europe.com

LandEscape Art Review Anniversary ed. 2015  
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