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NORBERT FRANCIS ATTARD LES SATINOVER MNVISION STEVE MAHER JUERG LUEDI GIORGIO GARIPPA JIM CARTER MYLOAN DINH SUZANNE STACY TEMPLE, Fjellerup, Denmark, 2013
The Worryball, Interactive Artwork
Norbert Francis Attard artist: Thomas Marcusson
Our net review presents a selection of artists whose works shows the invisible connection betwen inner landscapes and actual places. Apart from stylistic differences and individual approaches to the art process, all of them share the vision that art is a slice of the world to be shared. An artwork doesn't communicate anything: it simply creates a mental space. Language, gestures, or rather a masterly brush-stroke of a painter are nothing but ways to invite us to explore our inner landscapes". Thirty years have passed since this Borgesean deep and at the same time provocative statement has been written by the fine Italian writer Giorgio Manganelli.
S P E C I A L
I S S S U E
Norbert Francis Attard (Malta / Germany)
My work is about transmitting a message, about asking questions, making the observer stop and think when confronted by art. The social aspect of a work of art has always been important to me so the need to know that I am contributing a positive difference to the world is vital, even if it affects only a handful of people. Golden Sudachi, 2004
(Viet Nam / Germany) I am a painter, yet my creative work goes beyond the canvas influenced by poetry, theatre, movement and music, the body of my work over the past 16 years reflects the inspiration of these disciplines.
My art practice refers to stories of reversion, representation and displacement. I understand my art work as multidimensional collages of opening spaces of intercultural contentions. It intends to evoke in the eye of the beholder individual, collective, sociopolitical and religious representations.
2 0 1 3
N o v e m b e r
Jim Carter (United Kingdom)
My aim is to convey ideas of environmental and personal injury and salvation, looking at how the material body is emotionally entangled within patterns of disintegration and rebirth. And the experiment is an end itself.â€?
Giorgio Garippa (Italy / United Kingdom)
Mopping My Skin
The selected performing people come from, different backgrounds, class, age, religion or genders. The main aim of the work was to join together a group of people that didnâ€™t meet before, for four days, exploring the countryside and interacting and share experiences or memories of the landscape.
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Les Satinover (USA)
N o v e m b e r
I see the world through a tactile lens, sensing volume, form, light and shade, suggesting an engagement with the long history and tradition of the Nude in western art. Although not didactic, my work is infused with a idealized romanticism and the celebration of the naked. Dreamscape, detail
Suzanne Stacy (USA)
2 0 1 3
I paint in the abstract format because there is no plan or rules. Abstract paintings, for me, take on a life of their own. I tend to start a piece with a broad idea based on an emotion or an element in nature and then allow my brush to take me where the painting needs to be. Imprint
MNVisions is a one-person creative project characterized by a unique style of realiza-tion of digital animation. It is a challenge to show complex stories in few minutes. Films are cartoons and they must be of short duration (maximum 3 minutes) and consist of scenes of up to 10 seconds each. Great importance is given to visual symbolism, as symbolic painters did.
Vitruvian Progress is an Unending Means to an End Vitruvian
interested in the ramifications on everyday life by the pervasive ideologies concealed within TV tropes and popular music.
Submit your artworks to http://landescapeart.yolasite.com/how-to-submit.php
I S S S U E
I am highly interested in the theories outlined in the field of evolutionary psychology, particularly memetics as well as semiology, anthropology, cultural history and general cultural theory. The motivation behind my work has been derived from my own personal reflection on social themes sourced from various pre-
S P E C I A L
Norbert Francis (Malta / Germany)
TEMPLE, Fjellerup, Denmark, 2013 1
Norbert Francis Attard
An interview with
Norbert Francis Attard I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty” John Keats My work is about transmitting a message, about asking questions, making the observer stop and think when confronted by art. Maybe this is one way of explaining what defines art. My work is very diverse, and its ‘success’ (not in monetary value), depends on its purpose. The social aspect of a work of art has always been important to me so the need to know that I am contributing a positive difference to the world is vital, even if it affects only a handful of people. Today’s contemporary art is so diversified and ‘everything is permissible’ that I think one cannot precisely define art anymore an interview with because there are as many definitions as there are artists and because art is dynamic and its concept is constantly changing. Maybe it is easier to say what art is not than what it is. Even the word contemporary can be misleading unless put into a context. Producing work in the present does not make it contemporary because the definition of contemporariness lies in other qualities. One of these qualities is that art should reflect life: Art is about memory and about history. Art is life but life itself is not art.
Norbert Francis Attard the University of Malta in 1977. Immediately after University, I lived in Cologne for fifteen months and worked in Wuppertal, Germany, with the firm Licht in Raum, with Johannes Dinnibier, an architect/designer of light, considered today as one of the elite designers in European light engineering and the first professional light designer in Germany.
Would you like to tell us something about your background? You have been trained as an architect, but your Art nowadays is based on multidisciplinarity, involving architecture, sculpture, photography, video and installation. How have these experiences of formal training impacted on the way you currently produce your works?
In 1996, after 20 years practicing my profession as architect, I decided to implement a total reassessment of my whole creative system including a whole new perspective in art. In that particular year, I not only abandoned working as an architect but also my previous artistic practices which consisted mainly as an abstract painter, graphic designer and print maker. Since 1997, I have rerouted all my ener-
I am a self-taught artist. However, I was fortunate that my uncle, Frank Portelli, my first great influence, was one of a handful of artists who introduced Modern Art to Malta in the 50’s. My formal training was in architecture, graduating at 6
Norbert Francis Attard the importance of context which became the operative word, instrumental in the creation and realization of many of my works that followed after 1997. 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?
Diversity in my works renders the process of making each project always different. I have dealt with many kinds of materials, practicing several disciplines, including architecture, sculpture, photography and video. At concept stage, I mainly work on my own: developing and reflecting on ideas and relating to the existing space. The need to create much discussion takes place during this period. A lot of research is done, disseminating vital information through the internet has become an everyday practice. My proposals will reflect the given theme and relate to the architectural space, to the context of the place. I consciously build up many layers of meanings within the same piece. I do this because it expands the possibility of different interpretations, which I strive for, but also because my work is about opposing forces that compliment each
gy to mainly installation art, to a contemporary art practice, to which I have been firmly devoted since. My practice today involves several disciplines including architecture which still informs much of my present works. Previously, there was a dividing line between the two disciplines of art and my professional practice but today I find I create a synthesis of both through my installations, especially when dealing with sitespecific works. Installations are similar to architecture as they deal with the same concept: that of space and site sensitivity. Multi-disciplinary works gives one the opportunity to collaborate with other people whilst site-specific works compliments my architectural sensibilities. Architecture thought me
Fishing for Boys, 2013
Norbert Francis Attard
Jacob’s Ladder, Brisbane, Australia, 2003
other. I choose my materials according to each project. I usually define this choice after I feel my concept is formed and not the other way round. After I formulate the concept, the visual part follows with less effort. It is normal practice that there is a certain amount of collaboration taking place during the entire process. I could involve the work and collaboration of others: the expertise of a carpenter, electrician, technicians, construction companies, advertising agencies, sculptors, furniture designers, architects, scientists, video editors, the use of photo laboratories and so on. As to time, this can vary, sometimes depending on my interest and at times depending on dead lines. Sometimes, the concept is so interesting that I get carried away by producing more than expected. This happened in my last project HERMETIK. The four exhibited installations, EXILE I, EXILE II, DEFENCE and HERMELOCK were all about the ‘power an interview with of words’, extreme acts of censorship, memory, imprisonment and freedom, exile expressed in all of its violent facets, surveillance, the controlling systems that are part and ruling of our lives. All this in the context of an 18th century military fortress.
Beyond conflict, Liverpool, England, 2002
Lise Jensen. She is an artist based in New York combining art-making with linking and creating diverse communities. In 2010, I had collaborated with her in one of her community projects with community gardeners from New York.
Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with your project RUINHAVEN, that our readers have admired in the starting pages of this article: would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?
@WORKINTHEGARDEN.COMMUNITY consisted of 15 small works. Set in a public garden in New York, this project involving site-specific interventions, questioned the dichotomy between working space and a natural setting. Individual objects appropriated from the conventional office environment were integrated with those found in the garden and those used for the act of gardening. The project was a satirical,
RUINHAVEN was part of Fjellerup I Bund & Grund, at Fjellerup Strand in Denmark, a project by Anne 8
Norbert Francis Attard make a difference to the local community were also my aims. At most time, throughout the whole process, more than being an artist, I felt I was acting more as an archaeologist undergoing an excavation, a landscape architect, a gardener, a sculpture and a designer of sorts. I'm sort of convinced that some informations 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?
I come from Malta and an important part of our history and culture comes from the time of the Prehistoric Temple builders. We have the oldest free-standing structures in the world, structures that predate Stonehenge in England. These temples have always been meaningful in my life because they function as astronomical clocks that relate to the cycle of nature, and also because they express the mathematics of nature which is of great interest. These Temples have several times been an inspiration to my works, also reminding me of ‘lost wisdom’. In spite of all the science and technology we have achieved to date, our forefathers possessed a kind of wisdom about life through their everyday connection with Nature, a ‘lost wisdom’ which I believe we are trying to rediscover today. I have tried to bring out some of these elements in the recent project RUINHAVEN (2013) and in the many installations of the project BETWEEN EARTH
an interview with
yet metaphorical, take on the discrepancies and similarities of these two locations. In 2013, she invited me to make a series of interventions for her project Fjellerup I Bund & Grund, in the context of a derelict building known as the ‘ice house’ and its collapsed Facade and left-over building materials resulting from an adjacent building which no longer exists. The first thought I had for RUINHAVEN was to create pieces with only existing material found in this area. The second inspiration was to transform this material into useful functional sculptures. Giving a new second life and meaning, trying to
Intervention I, Bradford, England, 2003
Norbert Francis Attard
Turn To Colour, Margate, England, 2007
AND SKY (2004) in Japan. The experience of Nature makes me humble. Nature teaches me to make the right choices, to know something of the truth, to act correctly even when things go wrong, when life is not going as expected, benefiting the mind and body in many ways. Nature and wisdom are synonymous. By the way, it's clear that concept of landscape plays a an interview with crucial role in your artworks: and, since our magazine is called "LandEscape", I cannot do without asking you: what is the significance of the landscape in your art?
Yes, it is quite clear that I feature landscape in my works. I have created many outdoor pieces and installations, out in nature, on lakes, on rivers, in the forest, in community gardens, open parks, etc., but also in urban landscapes as well. One of my favorite pieces remains BALANCE (2001), a mirrored boat with branches inside, floating on a river at Noosa, Queensland, Australia. The purpose of the mirror was to reflect the branches onto the interior sides of the boat, giving the impression that the boat was filled to the brim with these branches. The water reflecting on the exterior mirror created the illusion that the boat formed part of the water itself. The object seemed to dissolve within its environment. Sometimes, I create outdoor landscapes in an indoor setting. For example, ZEN GARDEN (2005), a zen garden which normally is an outdoor scene placed in an underground war shelter, an indoor space; INTERLACED I (2008), consisted of turning an indoor concrete connecting ramp into a lawn inside a multi-car park evoking both nature within an urban setting. In the installation A PLACE CALLED PARADISE (2002), an idyllic sandy beach was created within the context of a one-roomed house
Wittgenstein's Ladder III, Dresden, 10
Norbert Francis Attard inhabited by a prostitute. There are many more works, including photographic works, that features nature and landscape but it is vital to point out that all of these works incorporate additional layers of meanings. Within the same project I simultaneously refer to other concepts as well. For example, ideas about happiness, a mathematical theory, war and peace, the power of ideas, waste, a religious concept, the world of the office where we spend most of our time, and so on. It goes without saying that your artworks are strictly connected to the chance to create a deep interaction, since rather than modify the space, your artworks are the space in which your audience, a large number of people, enjoy your pieces: so, how important is the role of your audience for your artworks? When you conceive a piece, do you happen to think to whom will enjoy it?
Participation of the audience has always been important, even more so in the last few years. When creating works that includes a measure of interactivity or audience participation, the viewer becomes physically and mentally an integral part of the work. The participation of the audience activates and reveals the concept or meaning of the installation. Two of the earliest works that includes participation were TOLERANCE OF AMBIGUITY (1999) and EARTH TEMPLE (1998). Other works that involved public participation were A BIT OF BOAT (2004) consisted of set of seven sculptures, made of plywood, was based on diverse forms of boats. They were all retained in their minimal state, as if intended as model designs for the actual boats. The sculptures were designed as functional objects which could be used by the viewer as seating;
â€˜Vâ€™, Valletta, Malta, 2010
Norbert Francis Attard
De-Fence, Sliema, Malta, 2013
The tree-part project SWING I, II & III (2005, 2010 and 1011) featured the same object set within diverse contexts. The swing was cast out of aluminium in the form of two guns whose barrels have been fused into each other. The resultant form allowed viewers to sit on these guns and use them as swings, thus replacing the violent function of the gun with the innocence of a childâ€™s plaything.; In another recent project YOU ARE THE STAIRCASE (2012) the viewer was to climb the staircase and from this raised position, was able to view the urban surroundings and the towns visible beyond Valletta. The last two projects in 2013 have also been designed to involve the participation of the public. I would go as far to say that your art aim to study and scrutinize today's reality from a conceptual starting point, often arising from a desire to explore parallel worlds. So it goes without saying that experience as starting point of artistic production is a recurrent an interview with characteristic of your works, in particular the one that we are now taking into consideration: but is in your opinion experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process?
Because of a long history of colonization and also because of itâ€™s geographical location, Malta has always been a crossroad of different cultures: a mixture between the cultures of European and North African countries. Even our Semitic language is a mixture between Arabic and several Romance languages. My work reflects this hybridization. This is probably why I create installations that embody alternating viewpoints. I am shaped by my diverse heritage and by my own broad life experiences. Diversity and complexity are two words that partly describe my work. Having a variety of interests, contributes to the complexity of my works which are not easily recognizable because I avoid repetition. On the other hand, a recurring bend towards duality, dichotomy, ambivalence and irony has become readily recognizable. 12
Swing II, Naples, Italy, 2005
Norbert Francis Attard My work addresses outward and inward themes: globalization matters, understanding the human condition, concepts that denote social and political power over life, histories of personal and national significance, etc. In short, my contemporary art practice engages different realms of todayâ€™s world, hopefully transforming our everyday sensibilities, inspiring us to be aware of different realities existing in parallel with our own. I would like to stress that the idea or concept is the most significant aspect of my work. â€œThe idea becomes a machine that makes the artâ€?. Sol Lewitt Your works have been exhibited all around the world and I think that it's important ot mention that you have represented Malta at the 48th Venice Biennale: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an awardcould even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?
As part of my process, I find the need to have dialogue, discussing the concept with academics, students, the curator, and sometimes with anyone who cares to listen. I like to know how people react to my concepts before the work is completed as this gives me room to continually develop and reassess my thoughts. Dialogue contributes to the multi-meanings I try to instill in any one project. Yes, I do believe that feedback, before and after realization, is important to me, especially if the work is either a community based project or involves audience participation. I naturally work this way because I am still influenced by my past architectural practice. When I practiced my profession as architect, I had continual discussions with my clients, especially during the initial stages. This dialogue provided me with information that led me to design projects that reflected both myself
an interview with
Exile I, Sliema, Malta, 2011
Norbert Francis Attard
Exile II, Sliema, Malta, 2013
as designer and my clients desires. For me, just like in architecture, it is the viewer who completes the art. I am of two minds about the giving of awards as I am aware of the pros and cons. The only award I felt made an impact on me was an international award at the age of 14. I remember this recognition made me seriously work harder at my art so needless to say had a positive outcome. Competition is a human instinct and we all feel we need a an interview certain amount of with recognition or appreciation towards the things we do and create. To my mind, taking part in a recognized art event such as the
Tossed Salad, New York, USA, 2010
Venice Biennale is an achievement that definitely has its rewards, its effect is just like receiving an award. Ultimately, any kind of achievement, recognition, an award, needs to be translated into a positive influence, into helping to continue and develop oneâ€™s dreams and beliefs. I am also very much aware that success can possibly dilute oneâ€™s creativity. It is all about choices at the end. without asking to the artists that I happen to interview, since even though it might sound the simpler one, it gives me back the most complex answers: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
Even though I build up my concept gradually and
Double Spiral, Kamiyama, Japan, 2004
Norbert Francis Attard
Hermelock, Sliema, Malta, 2013
consciously I also leave enough room for my intuitive powers to operate. Using one’s instinct is a powerful tool because one never knows all the answers. Instincts do not need explanations so it leaves much room to discover one’s own work in time. I enjoy the constant discovery of new perspectives and meanings when experiencing my own work. Time is of the essence especially if the work is ephemeral which it often is in my case. The installations memory with it’s temporary nature, can be stronger if it no longer exists. Some installations, like architecture, require much time between conception to realization. Time helps me to understand more fully my own work. Also, the concept of becoming, that nothing in this world is constant accept change and becoming, is a philosophy I have cherished since my Wittgenstein's Ladder III formative
Balance, Noosa, Australia, 2001
Norbert Francis Attard
Zen Garden, Vittoriosa, Malta, 2005
years creating art. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote that Heraclitus "will remain eternally right with his assertion that being is an empty fiction". Nietzsche developed the vision of a chaotic world in perpetual change and becoming. As long as art has deep meaning, it will remain satisfying. -
an interview with
De-Fence, Sliema, Malta, 2013
Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Norbert. Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of? The President of Malta, whose summer residence is Verdala Palace, decided to turn part of its surrounding forest into Maltaâ€™s first Sculpture Park. I am one of the artists among the 11 invited artists to create permanent pieces there. SPIRIT OF THE WOLF, is an architectural metal structure incorporating a sculpture of a wolf. This sculpture is also an interactive work as the audience are invited to go up a flight of steps and experience the wolf within a space that goes into infinity through the use of mirrors. What is doubly
You are the staircase, Valletta, Malta, 2012
Norbert Francis Attard
Grave Field, Conneticut, USA, 2010
exciting about this project is that I get the opportunity to work with professional people but also collaborating with the Head of Sculpture and two of his students from the Art and Design Institute in Malta. The sculpture park will be inaugurated in early 2014. Another project I am proud to be involved with, is a long term ambitious cultural project I am personally establishing in Valletta, Maltaâ€™s capital city. Valletta Contemporary Arts, a contemporary art centre proposes to be an innovative project for the Maltese contemporary art scene. A Bit of Boat, Athens, Greece, 2004 An interview by firstname.lastname@example.org Wittgenstein's Ladder III
MyLoan Dinh (Viet Nam / Germany) An artist’s statement Beauty and nature inspire my work. It develops through a quiet, contemplative process where intuition, curiosity and will take turns in determining the outcome. Internal landscapes shape themselves into tangible painted objects - using large brush strokes, drips and smears, while I discover the relationship between form, color and surface. I am a painter, yet my creative work goes beyond the canvas - influenced by poetry, theatre, movement and music, the body of my work over the past 16 years reflects the inspiration of these disciplines. Mother's Milk: At first sight the body of work called Mother's Milk could be interpreted as homage to my foreign motherland, her foliage and vast waterways. In many ways it is an exploration of external, hidden and fluid landscapes - rivers and deltas that ebb and flow between memory, reality and imagination. Fluid: Like many immigrants I am faced with the challenge of living between cultures. My perception of home, land and country is fragmented and ever changing. Displacement and the yearning for connection and identity are themes in this new work. Where we come from, where we are going and encounters we make along the way are questions that emerge. Today, borders are changing and fluid. How does the role of one's cultural identity relate to one’s physical location? The figures in water can be interpreted as human migration through shifting landscapes. In transition, do we leave traces of ourselves behind? Forbidden waters: As an artist, a former war refugee and a mother of two children I am compelled to draw attention to an issue that profoundly concerns me: armed conflict and conservation of natural resources. These new works refer to water and nature in post-conflict environments. By addressing the long-term effects of war on the environment we can sustain peace, left unchecked it could be undermined.
MyLoan Dinh 18
Wading for Godot, 2013 oil and acrylic on canvas, 80 x 80 cm 2
An interview with
MyLoan Dinh Hello MyLoan, and welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
A work of art moves and engages you, communicates with the viewer through the artist's unique language. Great art in my opinion reveals a familiar yet unknown world.
the USA. I was raised in North Carolina but my Asian roots were never forgotten. I was the first in my family to pursue an artistic career. The art world was totally new to me. My formal training began at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. A major influence was my painting professor, Marvin Salzman. Later I studied at the School of Arts and Design at Wollongong University. This was the first time in my life I was in a creative environment that was truly multidiciplinary intergrateded. The visual arts students collaborated with the theatre, creative writng and music students. This opened a whole new world for me and contributed to my working for many years in dance and theatre. Plus the Australian landscape was unforgetably beautiful. I would say beauty and nature is the central theme of my work including how it exists and evolves in even the most unlikely setting.
Oscar Wilde puts it so eloquently, “Art…is a veil, rather than a mirror. She has flowers that no forests know of, birds that no woodland possesses. She makes and unmakes many worlds, and can draw the moon from heaven with a scarlet thread…” Contemporary art is art that is created in its time, of its time, relevant to its time. Which an with to the nature of time. posesinterview a question regarding Is it just an isolated momentary event? Or something related to and developed through years or maybe centuries? In any case, I do particularly appreciate art that speaks to me in different ways, can change with me as I am changing every day. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You are currently based in Berlin, but I have read that you have studied both in the United States and Australia, where you majored in Visual Arts at the School of Arts and Design at Wollongong University: how has formal training influenced the development of your artistic practice? Morever, are there particular experiences that has impacted on the way you produce your art nowadays?
Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
I was born in Saigon, Vietnam. My family and I were refugees, we escaped during the final days of the Vietnam War in 1975. We fled by sea to the Philippines, shortly after we immigrated to
My process is intuitive and contemplative. I start off working with the canvas flat on the 20
From Unclarities, details Wading still, 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
floor. After pouring paint on the canvas, I pick it up and tilt it in different ways so the paint runs together manipulating the direction of the run off. This happens in several steps. With larger paintings it can get very physical and I usually work on two or three paintings at a time. This part of the process happens quickly, I usually do not allow myself to analyze too much. Landscapes begin to take shape. Then I let them dry, this is when I do the critical thinking and processing, discovering the relationship between form, color and surface. After the first few layers, I stand them up right and go through the process of adding and de-
leting what is necessaryâ€Ś for the moment. The next steps are slow and deliberate. Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with the recent project Forbidden Waters, that our readers have admired in the starting pages of this article: I would suggest to our reader to visit your website directly to http://www.myloandinh.com/gallery/new-works/ and have a more complete idea of this stimulating series... in the meanwhile, could you take us through your creative process when starting this project?
I was painting the Mother's Milk series when I came across a photo of Sen Lake (Lotus Lake) 21
Lotus Lake, 2013, diptych, oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 100 cm
Quiet, which are part of the series Mother's Milk. Any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?
near Da Nang Airbase in Vietnam. It intriqued me and when I found out it was completly polluted, I could not ignore it. I started doing research about why it was so toxic. It was directly related to the Vietnam War. It inspired me to paint about it, then another... and now its becoming a series called Forbidden Waters.
Those works are dominated by multiple layers of earthy tones punctuated with vibrant greens and blues. Some of those colors we find in nature, others are introduced by man, perhaps representing glowing toxins. Its a contradiction between our sense of and yearning for serenity and the restless destructive nature of human kind.
As an artist, a former war refugee and a mother of two children I was drawn to this profound issue: armed conflict and conservation of natural resources. This new series refers to water and nature in post-conflict environments. How many other â€žLotus Lakesâ€œ - forgotten, toxic yet beautiful "wastelands" are out there in the world?
Drawing inspiration from the dramatic situation that Viet Nam -your native country- has experienced during and after war, you have have been capable of establishing an effective synergy between Art as the search for Beauty and a deep involvement into sociopolitical issues... It's a symbiosys that forces us to reflect not only not only upon the situation of whom experiences such great human tragedy, but also upon the consequences - I would define this "a cultural fall-out"- of this tragedy on sides of the world that have indirectly experienced such effects. That's why I'm sort of convinced that Art could play a crucial role not only in speaking about sociopolitical questions, but #196 evenWinter in steering people's be-
As far as the process, while working on these paintings, I try to keep the integrity and visibility of the drips and run offs as much as possible. Looking at these paintings closely, the run offs connect with each other, like strings, symbolicly tieing the different elements together along with drawing the viewer in. By the way, a visuals of your paintings that has particularly impacted on me is the nuance of vivid green that I can recognize especially in Lotus Lake, but also in Perfume River and 22
Quiet, 2012, oil and acrylic on canvas, 100 x 150 cm
time people have never been more convinced of their passion for nature". Although this is evident, we still accept this paradoxical situation: would it seem that this contradiction is not clear enough as to force us to change our behaviour or, at least, our consciousness ?
haviour... What's your point about this? Do you think that an Artist could play a political role?
Art is communication, so yes it can play a role in society whether it is political, social or environmental in our consciousness. Sometimes contemporary art is so much in your face with a political statement that it looses the viewer by overwhelming them with the artist's convictions too stridently. My work is more like a whisper that lingers, rather than a shout, a subtle provocation to ruminate and reflect.
You are right, it is a paradox. Intuitively we know what is right and how we should behave, do the right thing if you will. We even have all the studies and evidence that we read with passion and dedication.
And dealing again with our environment, I remember the words of the artist Swaantje Guentzel, whom once stated that "the exploitation of the environment have never been executed on a higher level while at the same
But we live in a world that promotes global consumerism. Unreflective mass consumption made easily digestable. artists we2013 can WadingAsfor Godot, communicate alternative perspectives. On the oil and acrylic on canvas, 80 x 80 cm 23
positive side, because of globalization, contemporary artists can use it to their advantage to share their message internationally in ways only the world reknown artists were able to do in former times. Another feature of your paintings that has particularly impressed me is the fluidity: the sense of movement that suggests a temporal evolution, where the landscape is far from playing the role of a static background... even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif, I would daresay that this stimulating feature could be a consequence of the fact that besides painting, you have experienced with movement, since you designed and created costumes and sets for professional dance and theatre for over a decade, till 2007, when you left the theatre world to return to painting...
Perfume River, 2013, oil and acrylic on canvas, diptyc
I have always admired how dancers move on stage. Working in dance and with dancers for many years certainly has changed the way I
look at my paintings. Movement is very important to me. In my work water is a metaphor for shift and change. Water is a basic necessity for life. It can be comforting, relaxing, beautiful but also mysterious, threatening, even dangerous. We never step in the same river or sea twice, not even from the same spot. This relates to my background as an immigrant faced with the challenge of living between cultures. I have moved many times in my life and everytime it makes me question my perception of home, land and country.
an interview with
Transition, migration, displacement and the yearning for connection and identity are all themes in the Fluid series. Its the first time in years I have reintroduced the human figure in my work, well partially... legs and feet for now. Its just enough infor-mation for the viewer to keep them curious. There's a clich the artists that I happen to interview, and I have to say that even though it might sound the simpler one, it gives me back the most complex answers: what aspect of your work
Johannesburg, stories spirit square, charlotte nc
h, 60 x 160 cm
do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
I enjoy the process the most. Being in the moment, seeing before my very eyes the development and having a visual conversation with myself and the work. The outcome always surprises me. I enjoy it when viewers point out something I had not seen myself or intend on. It brings me great satisfaction when my work initiates a story in the viewer, sharing and communication is key to growth for me as an artist.
Mary's Ecstasy 2012, oil and acrylic on canvas, 150 x 100 cm
Thank you for your time and for sharing with
us your thoughts, MyLoan. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
Thank you for this opportunity. I will work on current and new creative projects in Europe and the United States. As long as I have a healthy portion of optimism, curiosity, humor and humility I will continue making art. My children, husband, parents and I will be traveling to Vietnam next year. Three generations uniting for this trip. This will be my first time back since the war, and I am certain it will influence my future works. An interview by email@example.com
Mother's Milk, 2012, oil and acrylic on canvas
Juerg Luedi (Switzerland) An artistâ€™s statement
My art practice refers to stories of reversion, representation and displacement. I understand my art work as multidimensional collages of opening spaces of intercultural contentions. It intends to evoke in the eye of the beholder individual, collective, socio-political and religious representations. I like to shift, to shuffle and to superpose places, objects, artefacts, events and meanings to make perceptible, observeable and apparent, how our perception is situational and constructed. The strategy of alienation, displacment and transformation is a search for making social conflict zones visible, to provide an insight to the public to think and perceive space and time on a different way. The artistic intervention in public spheres reflects social processes. The process of alienation scrutinizes the perception: Is it a minaret? What is a symbol? What is a sign? How and what do they evoke? What is the impact of forms on our imagination? What creates a pictorial space? How do we move or are we moved in space and places? cuttings - vita activa 9|93 - 11|13
An interview with
Juerg Luedi Hello Juerg and welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
An artwork disturbs on an emotional level and intrigues intellectually. A contemporary work of Art succeeds to incooporate practices of every-day life in an unusual manner. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a MA in Fine Arts: how has formal training impacted on the way you produce your artworks? By the way, do you think that a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity?
an interview with I always loved theory. Thanks to my master’s degree programm I got in touch with fascinating texts witch showed me the possibilites of artistic research technics. De Certeau, Lefevbre, Deleuze, Slodterdjik, Foucault or Groys have been a revealing impact on my art practice. As well I got the chance to appropriate different art practices like performance art, which I probably would have hesitated to experiment with. And not to forget the chance to get in touch with other artists work.
Juerg Luedi (Photography Martin Bichsel)
manage to overcome your personal obstacles. In the end of a master degree you should be able to incooperate some of the inputs in your own artistic functioning, or even better to increase your way to operate. 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?
With my master studies I discovered chinese artists like Kazuo Shiraga, Zhang Huan, Yang Zhichao and Zhu Yu, as well the works of Carolee Schneemann, Valerie Export, Marina Abramovic, Gillian Wearing, Omer Fast, Nao Bustamante or Nezaket Ekici which I appreciate very much. On the other side there’s a risk that formal training can block your practice, if you can’t
I read a lot and I love to study other artist’s work in real. I like to travel and to discover unusual places and spaces. During this phase I make drawings, photos and short videos. I collecte artefacts and texts relevant to my sub28
formative installation in time and space. The work consists on a collection of all my cutted nails since september 1993 , the month of my daughter’s birth. My partner Kate Burgener prompted me to start collecting my cutted nails. For years I didn’t know what I would do with it, but it was like the kick off of a duration performance. On the factual level, to cut the nails is a moment of getting rid of some dead material. It is also a daily personal process of intimate purification. Twenty years later when I started to work on the serie myFunerals the time had come to use this nail collection. Because my Masterthesis was on rituals and gesture in the context of funerals, the nail story became connotative. During the installation phase every singular cutting session is documented by the horny pieces laying on a sheet of gauze: ten finger nails and ten footnails. On the opening night of the show, when I arrive in the present with the installation of the gauze pads, the live performance transforms the setting into a ritual of purification.
jects. The research part of the process is important for me and takes a considerable amount of time, because often during this process the meaningful coincidence happens. It is the starting point for the productive part of the art work. Thanks to the research phase most of the elements for the art piece are now ready in a way disposed to be assembled and framed. Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with your recent performative work cuttings - vita activa 9|93 - 11|13, that our readers have started to admire in the starting pages of this article: would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?
Gravestone Shoot Into Air, Installation 2012 (Schaufenster zur Gegenwart Kunstmuseum Bern
Cuttings - vita activa 9|93 - 11|13 is a per-
“NEUstadt-lab 20stops” 15.3 –21.4.2012 )
myFunerals no 2 cortege, Displacement/Performance 2013 (Sarnen)
As you have remarked, you have a focus on art in public spheres, so an important feature of your art practice is the performative aspect: and I would suggest to our readers to visit the related website at http://publicspherespractices.wordpress.com/. Your works have reminded me a quote of the French anthropologist Marc Auge and the stimulating concept of non-place. And even thoug I'm aware that this would sound a bit naif, I'm wondering if urban interventions are capable of giving the missing significance to a non-place...
Indeed De Certeau’s „The Practice of Everyday Life“ an interview with refers also to Auge’s concept of non-place and has an important impact on my work. For example my temporary work NEUstadt-lab 20stops no 2 bus stop is an urban intervention on a parking space in the center of the city of Berne. The work plays with this aspect of the non-place. The parking space can be seen as a space neither relational nor historic and without an identity. The parking ground is a place marked by reclusion and loneliness. So I installed on the border of the huge parking space „Schuetzenmatte“ near to the sidewalk and the main street a wooden duplicate of the public transport’s control panel to sing that in this place there is a lack of a public bus stop on the bus line no 20. I named this bus stop „Reitschule“ which is an alternative cultural center of the city well known as an anarchist and basic-democratic space adjacent to the mentioned parking site. So I think an urban interven30
tion is able to make a missing significance visual. The intervention can initiate a process and invite the concerned public to become aware of this disruption. In this way the art work as an intervention differs completely from the traditional sculpture in public sphere. Another project of yours on which I would like to spend some words is the series myFunerals: by the way, I think that your artworks aim to study and scrutinize today's reality from a conceptual starting point, often arising from a desire to explore parallel worlds. So it goes without saying that experience as starting point of artistic production is a recurrent characteristic of your works, in particular the one that we are now taking into consideration: But is in your opinion experience an absolutely necessary part of creative process?
The method of research and experiment depends on experience (either mine or other) indeed. But on the other way an artistic research is more than research in a scientific understanding. For example as I mentioned above, the meaningful coincidence has something to do with inspiration and creativity. Itâ€™s embedded and happens in the context of the research process. For example the more synapses you can integrate in the networking process, the more this coincidence can in the creative process appear. So in one or an other way experience is necessary.
an interview with
myFunerals no 1 purification Performance
myFunerals no 1 purification, Performance
(Abdiction Hall of Sarnen, 20.6.2013)
(Abdiction Hall of Sarnen, 20.6.2013 31
myFunerals no 3 grieving, Installation/Mapping (Motor Vehicle Hall Sarnen 20. -30.6.13
myFunerals reflects the crisis of the cemetery and the experience of the social death, to transform it into an artistic process. This means to sharpen the seeing as a condition to acculturate alteration. The setting reflects the culture of grieving and mourning, death and funeral practices in an interview with based on a search western capitalist societies, for related artistâ€˜s positions and funeral practices in Berne, Lucerne and Sarnen. The artistic process grabs the theme of death and itâ€™s representation. For my performance myFunerals no 1 purification I can not die physically, but I can remember my personal moments dedicated to death and I can explore the others experiences, when I interview concerned people or when I observe and document by drawing the movable objects of grieving and mourning on the cemetery. Therefore the rituals and the gestures are important and indicative. They are collective accumulators of experiences and practical knowledge. When I prepare a performance and when I perform, I gather this collective experiences to cause the audience empathy, but I inweave, juxtapose and superpose my own experiences, observations and interpretations to irritate the expectations. 32
Juerg Luedi Your artworks, and I think especially to your public intervention „croissant et rocade“, are strictly connected to the chance to create a deep interaction with your audience, since rather than modify the space, your artworks are the space in which the visitors enjoy and especially interact: I sometimes ask myself if such process of interaction could -besides simply speaking to a "visitor"- even and especially steer people's behaviour... and in this case an artist could play an effective political role: what's your point about this?
You are right, I’m more interested in modifing a space’s ambience to involve the audience. Croissant et Rocade provokes an irritation to create a space which acts on the „trinity“ of space, as Lefebvre mentioned consisting of the spatial practice, the representations of space and spaces of representation. When I impose a crescent on a medieval church
myFunerals no 3 grieving,
myFunerals no 3 grieving
(Motor Vehicle Hall Sarnen 20. -30.6.13
(Motor Vehicle Hall Sarnen 20. -30.6.13
myFunerals, digital collage 2013
steeple, my focus is not the sculptural form of the architecture, but the expectations and representations steer people have. The act of assembling two opposite concepts implies a political action. As an artist I can play a political role by implementing artistic strategies, a politician has others. But it is effective on another level. As an artist my interest is not the day-to-day political business, but to gain a cultural impact which influences in a long term perspective. with The public intervention an interview Croissant et Rocade roots in the context of the dustup between Islam and Christianity, reactualized after 9/11 and oftenly misused by political parties. An art work can open the space for a debate on and be indignant over any misuse.
Croissant et Rocade, Intervention ' (Lungern, Switzerland)
Your works have been awarded and shown in several exhibitions: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... so, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?
the method of intervening depends on feedback, because the feedback is part of the art work. But it is not the applause I’m looking for. The kind of feedback my art work wants to provoke is more the public debate and the cultural discours. If I want to realize an intervention, feedback in form of financial support is often even nessecary. Awards and shows help new projects as references for supporters or facilitate in the procedure to get permissions in public areas.
Feedback is crucial that’s for sure. Especially
Analog to the „arte povera“ I like to recycle 34
myFunerals no 3 grieving, Installation/Mapping (Motor Vehicle Hall Sarnen 20. -30.6.13
interview, since even though it might sound the simpler one, I receive the most complex answers: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
When a conceptual sketch comes to real. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Juerg. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
an interview with
My next future project I am working on is „Cemetery unframed“ (working title) - a land art project in La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands. It will be a kind of botanical cemetery with a view to the endless hazy horizon over the ocean which reminds of a Rothko painting. A spacious terraced ground will be colored by flowering shrubs and each terrace covers a colorrange of the rainbow.
used materials or to work with simple daily elements. For example in the „meeting request“ works, I dealed with the existing personal office plants. I simply produced the lables for each plant and assembled them in the meeting room of the organisation in a reasoned use, because I wanted the office staff to see apparently the hierarchy of the seating arrangements of their meetings.
On the top of the hill artists and researchers will have the opportunity to work and to exchange in residencies built in the local traditional architecture. It’s planed to be part of a PhD in practice deepening my research on grieving and remembering as integral part of an artistic process.
without asking to the artists that I happen to
An interview by firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Carter (United Kingdom) An artistâ€™s statement
I THINK OF LANDSCAPE as an ancient theatre where each personal story, be it of animal or man, unfolds with empathy for its natural environment. Inhabited still with old gods and primal memory, it records emotional and physical life, being both prescient and store of primitive histories. Full of numinous presence and implicit absence, it is for me poised between flow and resistance, a struggle reflected in my artistic work. I feel a sense of unease at real suffering in the world where life is fragile and animals and their natural habitats are deprived of their full and deeper identity. For me, creative acts encompass their inner and outer worlds, expressing the solid facts of environmental anxieties but through a poetic and mythological optic. My practice, then, navigates this complex terrain, engaging with the past and possible futures through themes of otherness and loss, revelation and recovery. It speaks as much about the crumbling of belief in the face of industrial society, as it does an antidotal worldview which has emotional roots in pantheism and animistic tradition. As an artist, I want to highlight the power of myth as an important contributor to contemporary environmental discourse; to communicate alternative ways of experiencing human nature and the potential for shifts in perception. My aim is to convey ideas of environmental and personal injury and salvation, looking at how the material body is emotionally entangled within patterns of disintegration and rebirth. My creative work is an amalgam of landscape, human and animal form, its representation in sculpture and ritual, and the physical record of both in photography and story. I prefer to make pieces that align with a primitive aesthetic, using found materials such as earth, leaves, metal and wood; these are combined with clay and exposed to the elements, either with intent to display them as artefacts or with dissolution in mind and a return of the work to its source. Mine is an alchemical process of making monuments to the vanishing and the lost; simulacra that perform a transcendental, absolving function, seeking to salvage light from the inner dark of things.
Jim Carter 36
Kell, 2013 tawny owl wing, wood, clay, blood, leaves and soil
An interview with
Jim Carter Hello Jim and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
I would say art goes beyond mere presentation and for me must have a quality of magic, suggest the numinous in the human condition. Moreover, there must be substance and assiduity or else it is unconvincing. Perhaps I am too much in earnest but when it comes to art I think of servitude and sacrifice and with this latter we touch upon a quality that marks the contemporariness of art, or rather the lack of it. I do not feel the truth of something if it does not have the language of anguish. Art must categorically have this feature to survive and I know that I will not realise anything if I am not struggling. The labour and the struggle has primitive power - you can feel it in an idol, for instance; it has a totemic quality, a life of its own.
an interview with
I would go so far as to say that art is closest to man when it comes from his original spirit or condition, what is nowadays conceived as the Ecological Self; prehistoric art which has a ritual function is an exemplar of this for it indicates art that serves the purpose of binding man to his environment and his god. My own work may seem bleak with all its talk of injuries, burnings and burials, but mine are not gestures concerned with pessimism or nihilism: they are I think a way of revealing the sacrosanct in the commonplace; so I think of the work not as art but as revival, salvation, a making sacred.
moved me in word, sound and film or else the organic and elemental. It was certainly not informed by art school and indeed it was not until later in life that I found my own way into art through, I think, the absolute necessity of understanding and expressing certain personal experiences I had in landscape. So I am not interested in technique as an end itself: I find my own way, teach myself what I need to know, guided by those initial experiences and the prompting of the unconscious. But what I am looking for is a sense of internal weight and purpose rather than aesthetics and technique. Technique and form are of course interdependent, for the entire process will inform the final piece but, in hindsight, the fact
Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a MA in Art and Environment, that you have recently received from Falmouth University: how has this experience of formal training impacted on the way you produce your artworks? By the way, I often ask to myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity: what's your point about this?
My route towards sculpture was I suppose unconventional, coming as it did from a love of poetry and what 38
Jim Carter in before and during the process of creating a piece?
I think preparation comes in the form of being in the land, gathering natural materials for my work such as organic matter, wood and soil. It is a kind of contemplative, visceral and exposed route into experimentation and ambiguity with ideas and purpose. Other than this there is really no formal process prior to commencing a work unless it is some kind of research into place or the environmental qualities of the more formal materials, of clay for instance. Armature is important of course, but being made as it is of organic materials this is itself broken and reshaped over time as a piece evolves. I remember a Turkish legend which tells how, on a black mountain, streams flooded a cave and filled a pit, shaped like a human being, with mud. The cave acted like a kiln and nine months later the heat of the sun brought the figure to life, the first man. So I imagine each sculpture is in effect a kind of homunculus into whom I breathe life but the process of its growth can be violent and destructive. Anyway, I don't often sketch, nor do I feel the impulse and any piece fully embodies the lifespan from conception to realisation - I avoid any formal preliminaries because I am looking for absolute transparency. In other words, a piece is a truthful statement of the process in its entirety - it contains its seed within itself and comes into being Ex Nihilo.
that the MA does not provide art training was essential for me; there was satisfaction in being able to work unboundaried and yet with guidance from others who have perhaps have had that formal training. This is the closest I would want to be to formality and I would make an analogy with the fact that poetry or the essence of poetry cannot really be taught but comes as a grace through the travails of the human spirit. 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
Lindow, 2013, nest, wood, clay, blood, leaves and soil
Kell, 2013, clay, wing, earth and wood
By the way, do you visualize your works before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin?
Only in that I have more or less clear ideas of the milieu of a piece or set of pieces. I get a sense of the atmosphere or mythos I want it to exist in, which is of course influenced by the landscape from which they are made and to which they ultimately return. It is all about the primal and emotional life I want a work to possess and evoke. I feel this aspect clearly but the reality of form less so which remains as but shadows in my head. But I would say that that which cannot be seen is paramount in the beginning and in the making the alchemy ongoing inside the materials and the idea.
I am never satisfied with the result; it does though suggest the next stage in a movement towards some grail-like, unachievable shape that rests as an echo in my head.
I get a sense of growth, an impulse that speaks of vitality and authenticity - only then do I sense a beginning. It is of course a personal language and experimental but I suppose there is something formal here, an original framework if you like in that I am essentially guided by the compulsion to materialise over and over that early audience with my god in landscape. In my recent work I had from very early on a picture in my head of the essence of animality, something wild and ruinous but dignified. Working as I do however with something nebulous and mutable,
Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with your works LINDO and KELL that our readers have admired in the starting pages of this article: would you tell us something about the genesis of these pieces? What was your initial inspiration?
With both pieces I wanted from the outset to develop a sense of my own anguish in relation to other forms of life, specifically the Tawny Owl #196 Winter which I think must be some kind of totem animal 40
Jim Carter land within itself. So I am interested in the miraculous, that which can happen in the birthing chambers of the landscape. Objects saturated with the land but which are deviant and anomalous, rupturing time and bringing us into an encounter with the uncanny. I wanted with these works to create material evidence that could articulate the pain of environmental loss and help reclaim the past and the efficacy of the natural world. They are primal symbols, metaphors of trials and suffering to bring a message back from the other side of experience. A feature of your sculpture LO that has impacted on me is the way you have been capable of establishing such a dialog between a living being and the environment that contains it: a symbiosis that suggests that the environment is contained into the living being itself, as the whole contained in the part and the part contained in the whole...
I think the dialogue comes from the ritual, ceremonial gestures in landscape that have come very clearly into the foreground for me as I find my way as a sculptor. I seem to want to partly reject the gallery system and draw my attention to real, visceral experience where art can function on a deeper, dynamic level in the land. I want sculptures to be the bearers and signifiers of the meanings that I find there, to illuminate its emotional range through a personal mythology. The way towards this has partly been through fire,
for me. The pieces embody I think an amalgam of mutual fragility and vulnerability and were guided in their making by an impulse to reach an organic and mythic reality. They are in effect brethren, the owl in the man and the man in the owl. In thinking about it now I suppose my work is very much androcentric - I want to develop a language of what it is to be a man in nature without exception as to what can be experienced: the misunderstood, the vulnerable, the suffering, the brutal, the tender, the crazy, the weak and so on. I have always had a sense of a human body made from earth that has taken the life of the
Lo, 2013, clay, earth, paper and wood
Lacuna, 2010, Paper, gauze, polish, soil on canvas
earth and water; sculptures made with soil, with collected material of leaves and seeds and so on, so that the land is itself part of the deep making. So I would say the sculpture is itself an extension of the land and a vessel containing it. Further, I do feel there are amorphous, primitive gods in nature and through making I am willing them into being. In this respect all my pieces are animistic and represent ways into the disowned and unconscious aspects of the self, the fundamental elements of human existence and experience which includes the lost, the old and the repressed. I was making these pieces such as Lo and an interview with trying to understand the nature of materiality, of animals and the land as possessed of a mythic and primal substance.
We are Hillbrids Now, 2009, Paper, resins, polish,
our readers through the development of this series - even though I'm aware that this
The land is in Lo but he is a hybrid also - human, animal, botanical; an impossible being that transcends the natural order but which has reality in my imagination.Â Â In him is an old idea is preserved. He is an atavist or a prototype. He is compound of manhood, the numinous, belief systems, creatures and land as seen through the optic of superstition and myth.
to tell me something about the vivid red of Lacuna?
I wanted these images to be elemental, and dense so that they were closer in form to sculpture or relief than painting. You could say they are all portraits of an organic god - work that attempts to embody ideas linked with death and transgression, redemption and revival. Although they are drawn from and dedicated to the archaic and the organic (made from earth, fire, rain, sticks, feathers, blood, saliva, river water etc) they contain modern materials too such as boot polish, petrol and varnish. I was seeking a kind of explosive chemistry to bring about rebirth and this is partly how the red emerged in Lacuna: the canvas was a crucible and the colour came from months of violent action, multiple stripping and reworking. It was a recipro-
Another work of yours on which I would like to spend some words is your stimulating series In this light and from this vessel, that I would suggest to our reader to admire directly at your website http://www.jamesneilcarter.co.uk/vessel.html As you have remarked, each piece is drawn from myth and was shaped from the elements. Moreover, you have developed this series over a long period: if I don't go wrong, it has taken about four years... In particular, I have been impressed with We are Hillbirds Now, Sun and Lacuna, which I have to admit is my favourite one: while taking 42
Jim Carter had been subdued by tumult and violent processes. If I have been asked to choose an adjective that could sum up in a single word your art, I would say that yours is "kaleidoscopic": you produce sculptures, sound, performances and even poetry. I'm sort of convinced that new media art will definitely fill the dichotomy between Art and Technology and I will dare to say that Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your point about this?
I would say that essentially I am interested in the raw experience of the body and the landscape without recourse for technology. Technology carries art into new territories but art for me will always stem from the real, the visceral, the apocalyptic. I would say there is much in technology that is only half understood and it used for the facile, for dead-ends, the profane. I suppose because I am somewhat primitivist in my outlook I partly reject technology, recognising it as an outcome of the tension that exists between modern humanity and a primitive worldview. So I think we will arrive at an impasse with technology because Primitivism, as Michael Bell writes, is born of the interplay of the civilised self and the desire to reject or transform it. My work is in part a struggle betsoil on canvas
cal process where something had to be destroyed to create it anew in a different form. Anyway, experimenting in this way had all sorts of implications for process in my own work: utilising fire and water, natural processes, weather patterns and so on to transform the material, to reawaken the god I felt dwelt within. Practically, I would leave work out of doors in the rain or set fire to them. I think too they were the beginning of me thinking of art as an extension of the body; with them the image morphed from female to male to animal, from death to life, from wounding to healing. I wanted the final image to exist in a space between the legitimate and illegitimate and at the same time intimately bound to natural processes. I was at that time in acute proximity with the earth and this early body of work, locating itself in the elemental spaces, was an attempt to get into relationship with the land even though I felt I had to dehumanise the work so that I could rescue what
Kell, 2013 tawny owl wing, wood, clay, blood, leaves and soil
ween these two forms of consciousness: on the one hand an anthropocentric mind-set, self-serving and increasingly ineffective, and on the other a sense of nature as sacred and inextricably linked to human affairs. I recognise myself as part of the problem though. The work is full of contradiction but I invite this because I want to get inside the problems of modern man. Technology is indispensable to present my work and my ideas but the work itself is divorced from it, as is the feeling. As the artist Swaantje Guentzel once stated "the exploitation of the environment have never been executed on a higher level while at the same time people have never been more convinced of their passion for nature". Although this is evident, we still accept this paradoxical situation: would it seem that this contradiction is not clear enough as to force us to change our behaviour or, at least, our consciousness ?
Well, our egocentric behaviours will not change as long as ecological consciousness sleeps. The sense of an ecocentric, ecological self is not new - it is a primal state of being - but it has been dormant and is impoverished and we have needed crisis to reawaken it. In this case, I am attracted to the complex metaphor of the sacrificial human, the bogman, who is a shapeshifter representing our affliction and disorder as a species. He denotes our separation from nature but he is also a means to redemption and revival. So I would say that primitive belief is a marker for what has been lost and forgotten in the psyche, a power to be restored to modern feeling and understanding. We seem to be in the midst of growing unease, and an interview with I believe the work of the artist, how it can serve to revolutionise perception, must come from a deeper place in the gut: a praxis of struggle and viscera that makes fewer apologies for its preoccupation with an environmental crisis which is in actuality a crisis of the human body. To this end we need ritual systems that reinstate our betrothal to the earth. Artists, according to James Hillmanâ€™s definition, are those who dwell in an age of anxiety, living unprotected from the never-ending challenge of uncertainty. The artist can bring something back from this side of experience that can suggest alternative patterns and behaviours - can highlight the paradox of our passion versus our indolence or our self-interest. Part of my own work is to evolve an arts practice that revivifies animistic notions of the world, thereby contributing to a shift in behaviour that illumines the land, the animal and promotes ecological health. Attendant to this is the fostering of rituals that serve (albeit, on the surface, irrationally) to forestall the subjugation of land and species: I want to disrupt modernist attitudes that perpetuate suffering and confront negative instincts by sublimating them into zoomorphic form. Put another way, sensual engagement with nature, language and form affords me opportunities to become more aware of my complicity with the reality of environmental suffering. And since our art review is called "LandEscape", we would like to 44
Jim Carter stop for a moment to consider the "function" of the landscape and its contemplation, in recreating a bond between people and Nature... maybe between Man and Man's nature itself. What's your point about this?
Landscape empowers me to be engaged with the gestural, ritual potential of art-making. Though it can often spring from suffering, there is I think power in a symbolic and meditative act in landscape which can be life-affirming and redemptive. It can be a way of coming to terms with loss and of finding a footing in the world again in spite of personal challenges. My use of natural materials is in part an attempt to bring myself closer to the source. When combined with words, poetry and sound, it can result in a textured assemblage, a distillation and layering of many experiences that feed the imagination and reflect fundamental truths. I see my work as a deep collaboration between self and landscape – I want to transmit something from art-making in a specific location to another altogether transcendent space, thereby bridging their isolation. Also, I want in part to repay the land for the inspiration and sense of renewal it has provided and to this end I have buried paintings and words in the earth or else submerged them in deep pools and set them alight amongst the heather and bracken. My work functions in part to evoke this bond - landscape is full of possibility, it is alchemical and mutable and reflects and reminds us of the fundamentals of the human condition. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Jim. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
Thank you. I have for a long time wanted to add my own body to my practice as a locus for ritual performance. In my work, all roads lead to an ending beyond making which is deposition in the soil or water - the gallery system is but a hiatus on the journey, a breathing space, if you will, in preparation for the dormition of each piece. For I am unequivocal about it: my audience is the dead or the injured and I make things for the land, for the earth and the water.
I am always striving to bring life and death into harmony - to give death, as Bataille says, the upsurge of life, life the vertigo of death opening onto the unknown. The point is that sacrifice should ultimately show the emergence of a unity of the separated parts of man, and I will be striving for this when I return Lindow and Kell to the elements in the coming Winter. The urge has always been to destroy work, to abandon a piece to the natural processes of time and decay and thereby create a void from which new ideas can emerge. But I want to bring my body into the process too, so my next work will be preparing for this ritual and collaborating with visual artist Elizabeth Bennett (http://www.elizabethbennett.co.uk) on a film project of the process. 45
Giorgio Garippa (Italy / United Kingdom) An artistâ€™s statement
The selected performing people come from, different backgrounds, class, age, religion or genders. The main aim of the work was to join together a group of people that didnâ€™t meet before, for four days, exploring the countryside and interacting and share experiences or memories of the landscape. During that time, we were isolated from any devise of communication, compu-ters, or mobile phones. It was therefore possible to have a defined picture of all the participants involved, and after four days, to allocate a space for each performing participant. Through the interaction of the motion-less of time in a (poetic) sense of fading in and out (presence and no-presence), the work exposes the social, cultural and political human relation experien-ces of belonging to a distinct space and time.
was given an award in 2012, by Moving Images Initiative (AMII), CCW, Chelsea School of Art and University of the Arts London and it was only possible by the gratitude and the hospitality of Ian Hunter, Director of the Merz Barn and Kurt Schwitters Project in Cumbria, Lake District, UK. #196 Winter Moreover, Gentle Tears Lay Upon my Feet has
In the performing experience, the participants are part of a process that continually changed and permit an exploration of fixed memories and they become part of the historical identity of the landscape. This Video Performance project 46
A still from Gentle tear lay upon my feet 2012
been recently selected for the Salon Video 4
Original Data information: Time: 07’18”
The exhibition will occur between the 6th and 22th of December.
HD Video Aspect ratio: 16:9 Audio: Surround sound Data: Apple ProRes 422 1,920x1,080 (H.264) FPS 25 7 GB
You can visit http://salonvideo.net and http://ro.tranzit.org/en/exhibition/ 47
An interview with
Giorgio Garippa Hello Giorgio and welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? And moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
What is an art work… interesting! Amongst critics and scholars there is a (almost) consensus of what defines it – the process, the aesthetic, the meaning, Ultimately, it depends on the individual that views / experiences the “art”. To me, it is the element of originality and experimentation of the work that sets it aside from other forms of expression. The contemporariness of an artwork is harder. It is probably less hard to define but harder to see. It is the avant-garde… the ones (works) that see before everyone else does, and because of that are often not recognized as such and fade until a time where people are able to truly get what the artist means. anthe interview with It’s art that manages to ally the internal with the external, truly representing their reaction to the now, whether these are changes in society relationships with individuals, technology or ideas. In a certain way it is a contradiction of terms… By the time it is recognized as relevant, pioneer, contemporaneous, it still is due to the complexity of the layers and the eternal relevance and pungency, but it is no longer the immediate reflection of the contemporary times. There are obvious exceptions to this recognition though…
the empty commercial trains that arrived during the night to look inside, to feel them, I wanted to be part of that train. I grow up in the Island of Sardinia (Italy), in the city of Oristano, close to the train station in the city suburbs (no more then a small town really), close to the sea and the countryside. I used to spend my time wandering the countryside or enjoying the white sand and the green waters that the seaside offers.
Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a MA in Fine art, that you have received from the CCW Wimbledon College of art, University of the arts London: how has the experience of formal training impacted on the way you produce your artworks? By the way, I often ask to myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity: what's your point about this?
Unfortunately, I become an orphan at a very young age (of both parents). My grandparents took me (and my siblings) in to their care for a few years, as I was only three years old. My grandfather was
In my childhood during the summer (very hot and dry), I used to stare in front of the train station during the night. Many times in the day I used to go inside 48
A still from An Open Door, 2011, 04’45’’ rolling cash machine and have become an enterprise of art students’ mass production “we want more people and your money”.
a peasant so he was an expert of what Mother Earth offers. He often said that “You don’t only need to see the beauty of nature, but you need to feel it to be part of it Giorgio, just listen to the sound of the wind, the water streams, or the smell of the wild aromatic herbs, it makes me feel the earth in my hands, and be part of it”.
The 21th century looks more a mix mash, with the artist experiencing and being confronted by a gloomy future, where doors no longer exist, in a cold and fragile Universe of wandering souls.
These echoing words triggered a visible and novisible process of emptiness in my manhood that took me to explore the poetic layers of time and space, fulfilling a dream shared by many.
Emigration, wars, spying, capitalism, corruption, media and the Democratic masqueraded Fascism dominate front pages as an opium for the west culture working as a double face to cored up an obscured and violent New Age (all very familiar, isn’t it?), a (not so) learned lesson from History, a ghost of the past. Engaging in a CCW MA at Wimbledon College of art became for me, in many aspects, an exhausting process… I found that there was no freedom as a student to make mistakes and then being given constructive feedback on it. I was often given contradictory advice which led me to always and inevitably betray myself – once you make sacrifices and pay, there is this unspoken bond, a contract in which there is an expected outcome – that bit of paper that stated that you “achieved” whatever they wanted you to! However,
With these in my mind, for me, art became an experience that needs to be explored by the viewers, it needs to become something tangible that opens your senses, experiencing the art work to take you on in its carriage and you can be one on the front driving seat or you can be the one in the train tracks. As for artistic influence, I started with the YBA works that marked the end of the 20th century, although many will disagree with me. With their provocative slap in the face on the West culture, they opened new doors for that kind of trains you want to sit on. In my view, the academies have wrongly administrated the arts with the 49
an interview with A still from Gentle tear lay upon my feet, HD 07’16’’ 2012
this same bond with the institution, in which you the student is undoub-tedly the one with less power, led me to try to follow others rather than really push myself. It was an unexpected outcome, and a great disappointment. Nonetheless, having gone through the experience, it has made me even more tenacious over my convictions and my practice, and it has put me in contact with people that otherwise I would have not have met, which has led to other things.
sof drawings, and sometimes, by more elaborated maquettes as I have worked in huge scale installations before. Usually I produce crossways of connected works, video and performance, film, drawings and sculpture, so it is the research work that leads me to decide the medium I will use, and the best communication tool for what I want to transmit. Even if I start with an idea, the development is very organic. There may be a detail of the research that triggers my interest, or an image that I want to really use, so I’m never quite sure of what the work is really going to look like at the beginning of any project.
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 works? 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?
The time I put on it always varies… I have made works that the preparation and time have taken a few months of research, experimenting, preparation and compromising or collaborating. Sometimes it took me a couple of weeks.
My work process usually starts with the historic research, as it gives me a better understanding of the space or place. I will start with a series of video documentation of the place that I use as a sort of visual sketches and it gives me a start for the work I want to do. This would then be followed by a series
Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with your interesting work Gentle tears lay upon my feet#196 thatWinter we have selected for this 50
Giorgio Garippa arise. The opportunity came when, in 2011/12, I was given the Artist Moving Images Initiative Award by CCW Chelsea School of art UAL for the proposed cross college work. The shattering sound of the detonations, Kurt Schwitters influence, the war veterans and the picturesque views vibrated as a contradiction of a poetic place. The selected performing people came from different backgrounds, class, age, religion and gender. The main aim of the work was to join together a group of people that didnâ€™t meet before, for four days, exploring the countryside and interacting and sharing experiences or memories of the landscape. During that time, we were isolated from any devise of communication, computers, or mobile phones. It was therefore possible to have a defined picture of all the participants involved, and after four days, to allocate a space for each performing participant.
A still from Gentle tear lay upon my feet 2012
issue and whose stills have been already admired by our readers in the starting pages of this article: would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?
I was invited in 2011 to run a workshop at the Merz Barn summer school experimental space for the Kurt Schwitters project, in Cumbria (about 20 people), with many other artists coming and going every few days. With so much time spending collaborating, attending works presentations from poetry to story telling, video works, and critical discussions every night and the impossibility to use a mobile phone or surf the Internet for lack of connection, the day was much about engaging and interacting with each other in activities or explore the space (the lake district).
Through the interaction of the motionless of time in a (poetic) sense of fading in and out (presence and no-presence), the work exposes the social, cultural and political human relation experiences of belonging to a distinct space and time. In the performing experience, the participants are part of a process that continually changed and permit an exploration of fixed memories and they became part of the historical identity of the landscape becoming an undetached image of contemporaneity.
I noticed the peopleâ€™s constructive behaviour; enjoying spending more time together and improvising experimental works in other ways, due to the imposed detachment of the virtual world.
As you have remarked, the video performance demands an unconscious completion by the viewer: by the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever
Kurt Schwitters himself used to enjoy his time at the Lake District. The communally shared sleeping accommodation is by a river stream and in front of a stone quarry still in use today, where every few days a week the quarry will detonate explosives so loud that it could be heard for a few miles, with the enormous caterpillar machines going inside the tunnels to be loaded with the rocks. The irony was that the accommodation we slept in was for war veterans and Kurt Schwitters was a refugee of war for his art practice. I started to video record and document the place for a possible interest of developing some works if any opportunity was to
A still from Gentle tear lay upon my feet 2012
think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?
My works are interactions of world events and are a spontaneous reaction fed by my interest to belonging to a distinct space or place that we share. This is the reason why I want that the viewers to unconsciously complete the work and / or be confronted by the work (space is the one that we occupy at the moment we are in). As we are all passing by in the Universe, we are presence and no-presence with the body mass, my works are conceived for the ones that want to stop for a few minutes and rethink of the space or place we belong to and to be part to the only one Universe that we all share. The viewer’s reaction is often very different, completing the work in many varied ways, and it is precisely this diversity that enables the work to be fully transmitted… we are all different, but still so connected… Another piece of your on which I would like to spend some words is entitled “I know how the birds sing”. It goes without saying that the landscape plays a crucial role, but it does not act as a mere "background"... so, and since our art review is called "LandEscape", I would pose you a simple question: what is the significance of the an interview with landscape in your art?
The importance presence of landscape (from empty rooms to superstores, and in this particular work the beautiful skyline of the Lake District), in my works is the layers of time-accumulated residues of matter, which unconsciously communicate a psychological familiar environmental of shared values, enabling the viewer to rethink of the space or place we belong to. More than the action of the participants, the space (and often landscape) is the focus of the work, with the interventions merely accumulating whatever meaning and memories that are already imprinted, and which will continue to reside after they (we) are long gone.
A still from I know how the birds sing, 2011
For me, it can be a very emotional and spiritual experience, which I hope I can pass on to the viewer. And we cannot do without mentioning Mopping My Skin and especially An Open Door: in particular, I would suggest to our reader to watch the video directly at your website http://www.giorgiogarippa.com/#!__a-open-door: without any doubt, there's a direct involvement that sounds more personal than other pieces of yours, maybe because you are dealing with your personal experience, moving form Italy to United Kingdom. So I would like to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience as starting point is an absolutely necessary part of creative process.
This is the reason why I use airy, “empty” (in the context I’ve been using space, this word is very much debatable!), and clearly defined spaces. It enables the viewer to place itself amongst the already existing layers, as in a dream like experience, with which it can connect but somehow not entirely be part of, as they are unaware of the historical and emotional “importance” of its past.
I personally believe that what art is it’s a personal 52
Giorgio Garippa In the work performance “mopping my skin” was shown as a video projection for the MA degree show, which was filmed in the same place, and depicts my own experience during that time (and the agreement and disagreement of my work between the academics) on Video and performance. The physical strength used, and the pain in my mouth from clenching teeth and from the continuous kneeling / squatting whilst cleaning the dust, finds resonance with the sanctuary that is encapsulated in fragmented dust around the space (at Wimbledon college of art video and film studios) where the work is performed. By cleaning the residues of dust inside the empty room, there is a physical confrontation with the room (and the institution). The black clothing and the black bucket are communicating together as two distinguished containers (or bodies of containing fluids), with the bucket collecting the dirt from the floor (the more I washed, the more the water became dirty), and the body pursuing it relentlessly, despite the physical limit with the shadow followed the memories of others. “An open door” was an interview of a Palestinian refugee (now with a passport), in which the melancholic childhood prevailed in the face of flashbacks of personal experience, which ultimately led him to leave his country because of the situation. During the interview, he recalls childhood memories using his senses of smell and touch, and the vision of a dream (dreams are stronger than death), and to belong to a distinct space or place and hence reacquire a Universal connection with human beings.
opinion (as I previously said, of course there is acommunal agreement of what art is), and the personal experience will play a facture in the creative process; it will be influential from the starting point, I do believe that the work will partially expose the artist’s mind to the viewers.
The obvious connection with my own experience is the one of relocation (in my case from Italy to Germany, to Kenya, back to Italy, and then to UK via Portugal). For me, the interest is in the context – this sense of presence and no-presence, which is exacerbated by the shock of culture and the very visible signs of that shock. However, we all have these moments. Have you ever met a long lost school friend, or visited somewhere that you had last seen when you were only little? It is the memory of what it was, that remained imprinted and fantasized upon, and then when you are present, it still is as you imagined it but also has moved on… that longing that is really hard to
In my case, I use my own experiences and ideas quite openly, but, regardless of the artwork, every artist uses their own experience as a starting point. Even if someone creates a piece about let’s say rain, it is their own particular experience related to the topic (good, bad, or commissioned) that created an interest in exploring it and make them into a work of art… ultimately it is about the layers of disguise used, but these will always be unconsciously transmitted to the viewers. 53
explain but we all feel and connects us, but somehow we don’t really talk about unless you are physically on the fringe. 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 exist longer?
It’s difficult to give predictions. This overlap has always existed. You only have to look at silent film to see how Cinema was born as an art form that then degenerated into a very distinctive medium for the masses. However, there has always been a group of directors and cinematographers that use cinema as art, and there are video artists that jump the fence and create films. As you rightly pointed out, this frontier is blurred. With advances in technology and an increased emphasis in collaboration, it is hard to define what is what, and will be harder to define just because the artist or the director can call it whatever they want to their work. I wonder however if one of the elements necessary in Cinema is at least a very basic narrative that sustains the length of the feature that is not necessary in Video Art. There is a freedom of interpretation and expression in Video Art that is an interview with hardly sustainable in Cinema, even in the most avant-garde expressions of the genre.
A still from I know how the birds sing, 2011
asking to the artists that I happen to interview, since -even though it might sound the simpler one- I receive the most complex answers: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
Mopping My Skin, 2012,
It is really hard to narrow it down… It is hard for me to articulate the same feelings or ideas in words as I can do visually!
develop new ideas and new visions. Just like a relationship with a person, my relationship with my work is a process of mutual exploration, which, in this case, always leads to an end: the art work in itself. However, there is also another element of satisfaction, it comes without saying, which is when I can transmit many different layers in the work, all connected but distinct, and when you can go back to a work and be certain that all are disguised, waiting to be uncovered by the viewers, time and time again. Oddly, this also the remains of the relationship of the process, in which I become very
But back to the question, perhaps what I enjoy the most is the research process in itself. It is a buzz, an adrenaline! Not really knowing what you are going to undercover and how this is going to be used – I often start with one piece of information, find out something really interesting but a week later have discovered that this is not the real thing, so change direction completely and bring things from other works that have been patiently stored in my archive for the right moment. I really enjoy the process of making mistakes, originate possible solutions and 54
possessive of, and by mystifying it, I can both grieve parting from it but enjoy the fact that it becomes more by being part of others.
Alongside this, I have been experimenting with Super 8 and 16mm cameras, which technically will enable me to explore different aspects. As the year off is coming to an end, in prospect there is a project with a school in the island of Lampedusa, however it is still early days so I canâ€™t really discuss it. I also have a few other things in the pipeline, but again I find difficult to divulge it until there is something concrete to present.
Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Giorgio. My last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I have taken one year off from exhibiting new works. However, and because I work at the Pitt Rivers Museum, in Oxford, I have been able to continue researches of my interest.
However, I regularly update my website, and am very happy to be contacted to discuss new projects. An interview by email@example.com
Les Satinover (USA) An artistâ€™s statement
I received both Bachelors (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees, then began to build a corporate retail career (Vice President Visual Merchandising, Store Planning) that lasted for thirty four years, while concurrently working in my art studio - with a passion for the human figure - with very little exposure to the public. I have returned to painting and drawing full-time, establishing a studio in North Scottsdale, Arizona, where the natural desert terrain presents sweeping vistas into the spatially infinite - coupled with unparalleled light - which filters into my work. As a Realist Figurative artist with an emphasis on idealized male identity, expressing tactile sensuousness, figures are positioned in luminous atmospheric space. The disposition of the human form is sometimes frank but not transgressive. I have been inspired by eclectic artistic influences - Paul Cadmus, Lucien Freud, Jared French, Eric Fischl, Don Bachardy, Jan Vermeer, Caravaggio, Botticelli and Piero Della Francesca, to name a few. I see the world through a tactile lens, sensing volume, form, light and shade, suggesting an engagement with the long history and tradition of the Nude in western art. The human figure captured through this prism, evoking strong emotions for the viewer in the encounter of Flesh and Form, is my central concern. Certainly the viewer can be awed or even a little shocked by the beauty and the disposition, articulation and rendering of the contours of the naked body. Although not didactic, my work is infused with a idealized romanticism and the celebration of the naked. Les Satinover 56
Rising Male, 2011 oil on and pastel on panel 24" x 24" x 3"
An interview with
Les Satinover Hello Les and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual introductory question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
I would argue that in the context of Western Art - and Painting/Drawing in particular - there is a direct artistic link to the centuries old impulse to pictorially touch human emotions, dramas, conditions and drives. Obviously there are many interpretations and definitions of the visual forms contained or presented in a work of art. The relevancy to a modern sensibility seems to me be the tendency to produce new work which contains references to previously produced work, while introducing a challenge that suggests a fresh attitude about or treatment of limitless subject matter. All artists inescapably build upon the past with every new an interview with interpretation. Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold both a BFA and a MFA, that you have received from the Arizona State University: how has formal training impacted on the way you produce your artworks these days? By the way, I often ask to myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity: what's your point about this?
I suppose you could describe my art training as "traditional" in the sense that in undergraduate school at Washington University, St. Louis, I studied in a kind of Beaux-Arts curriculum for the first several years, including Design courses, Anatomy, Life Drawing, Painting, Art History, World History, English, Chemistry, Physics.
Les Satinover (photo courtesy of Ben Wintroub)
I had several instructors who emphasized classical training in the foundation arts as well as many who at that time were completely identified with the Abstract Expressionist movement of the day (AbEx), encouraging unique self expression. I felt a strong, unshakable interest in the human form and revered
many artists of the past in addition to the present artists who were challenging the norms. This was the late sixties and at the time I was an undergraduate student, the expectation was that you would start with the traditional, classical approach, then break down those principles and 58
Les Satinover know, it wasn't until the eighties when a whole new generation of figurative artists started to reach a state of acceptance in the mainstream. In school, I was strongly encouraged to drop my artistic pursuit of the figure, which I clearly would not. So I was by definition, breaking with the institutionalized contemporary norms even though my art at the time, to the instructors, seemed a bit provincial. It wasn't until I moved on to graduate school at Arizona State University and became a Teaching Assistant, that I garnered support from my mentors for my personal choices and artistic direction. So you could say that without the earlier formal training I submitted to, I would not have had the opportunity to react against and respond to conflict, challenge the unsparing criticism (critiques conducted at Washington University were singularly myopic, harsh and public). I remained confident and indeed defiant about my artistic path. And I remain so today. Full disclosure: While I never put my art materials away, I concurrently went on into the
move onto a more conceptual stage or expressionistic phase. So while my first two years of course instruction seemed to suit my instincts very well, the second half of undergraduate school - I was in constant conflict with my instructors over my desire to pursue figurative art. And as we all
Man, 2011 pastel and watercolor on paper 20" x 14" 59
Adam, 2012 oil on canvas 72" x 108" x 3"
world of corporate retail design, and along the path of more than thirty years of that pursuit, I developed business and leadership skills that complement my artistic DNA and strengthen my resolve and rigorous approach to my art work. Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
I do a lot of pre-conceptualizing in terms of the hidden content of my work. Although I have stated that my work is not didactic, I am reaching for particular meanings to be expressed in my more recent work especially. I do know that I will focus on the well defined figure in deep recessional space and I am seeking to embody naturalistic although at times imagined scenes. I will take that up more directly in the next questions.
Earth, 2012 oil on canvas
40" x 60" x 3"
gessoed cotton duck or linen yields a very seductive light filled drawing that almost has its own art life on this rich white surface. Next, I begin to paint entirely over the preliminary drawing, as a grisaille - like a black/white photograph, with strong emphasis on tonal relationships. This too looks like a very finished greyscale painting, allowing me to work out most details of the form, light and shadow, relationships of figure to landscape and overall basic structure to provide a solid foundation for the final phase - where I then begin to apply thin glazes of color in successive stages. Like Piero Della Francesca, the effect that I hope to achieve is an approximation of the luminosity of natural daylight #196 Winter throughout all areas of the painting. I work towards
I determine the figure/model/pose that I will use and then block in the main images directly on the canvas. There are a few specific phases that I work through - to bring the work along. I generally deploy the images on a very large scale now from a photograph, so I firstly finish the figure in graphite, along with any additional key spatial elements. The best description of this phase is that I have executed an accomplished, highly realistic and tight drawing on canvas. The tooth of the 60
Les Satinover of this piece? What was your initial inspiration?
I started with a B/W photograph of the figure. It immediately suggested the reverie of deep sleep that could resonate well within a very broad, sweeping landscape. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by the 360 degree desert vistas, where my imagination fires up every day with the indescribably beautiful and almost infinite views of mountains and desert plains, sky and sun, clouds and wind - which all suggest an affinity for the sublime nature of lifeâ€Ś with a spiritual connection to this place and the seamless passages in human
gradual overlapping transparencies of pigmentation, not allowing areas to be overworked or become too dark. This promotes the transmission of light through each color iteration. My palette is clearly light and bright. Upon close inspection there is an exciting visible degree of mark making that is gestural. Depending on the scale and complexity of the work, the process usually takes anywhere from several weeks to as much as several months, and occasionally a year per piece! Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with Rising Male , that our readers have admired in the starting pages of this article: would you tell us something about the genesis
pastel and watercolor on paper 20" x 14"
E scape Land
oil on canvas triptych/ 48" x180" x 3"
dream cycles. I titled this work DREAMSCAPE. It measures 4 feet high by fifteen feet wide. I want the viewer to experience the same immersion in this space with the light that I am describing here.
other wordsâ€Ś Paint what you Know! Would that not be a limitation on creativity? I even think I paint what I love to see because there is much more to it that I do not know about. The figure and landscape for me is an inexhaustible source of interest, variation and content. And I will say that I have come to terms with why I express myself through my art, what I want to focus on and how it extends my ideological drive to bring back the figure, through the representation of male identity in a contemporarily frank and relevant way. I celebrate the Beauty of the flesh and form.
Another pieces of yours on which I would like to spend some words are  and . By the way, you an interview with have stated that you draw inspiration from imagined beauty: does this allow you visualize your works before creating? Do you know what it will look like before you begin? I was wondering if in your opinion experience as starting point is not an absolutely necessary step for creating an artwork...
This question is particularly interesting because you have referred to some earlier work where I began with an inspiration from both antiquityâ€ŚRoman copies of Greek sculpture, coupled with early Renaissance depictions of Pretoria peopled with contemporary actors adapted to Christian Theologies. I was evolving artistically at the time and heavily influenced to create figures in again imagined spaces where there was a containment of a particular space made by Man, inhabited by Man, sort of like a tableaux, or stage before the eye, with a twist of the spiritual or the suggestion of the mystery of the origin of Man. Therein is the consistent thematic approach to art that I have always strived for. However I do NOT think that you can mandate or command all artists, or many an author to: Write what you Know! In other
The Court of Beauty, 2006 acrylic on panel polyptych/ 64" x 86" x 3"
Les Satinover Many of your artworks represents on the background natural landescapes and I would suggest to our readers to get a wider idea at http://les-satinover.squarespace.com/. And since our magazine is entitled "LandEscape" I couldn't do without asking you: what is the significance of the landscape and -in a wider meaning, of the background- in your Art practice?
So clearly, the natural terrain of this earth is as compelling, infinitely suggestive of the eternal as the human form, and I want to express this kinship we have to all things natural. To take this one step further, one of my paintings is entitled "GAIA." My oversimplified definition of the Gaia term/theory in physics for some of the readers is: That Earth and Man are interconnected like a single organism,
As you have remarked in your artist's statement, the encounter of Flesh and Form, is your central concern: and I can recognize that your paintings express a tension between two extremes: the Flesh and the Form, the perceptual and the conceptual. Do you think that might sound a bit unusual for an artist such as yourself to be a kind of contemporary myth-maker or narrator, today?
This question probes directly into what I think my artistic purpose is and the meaning of much of my work. I do not want to sensationalize but rather push for the acceptance of the nude form as the highest concern of our intellect, to dispel the prurient, but also the prudish inhibitions we possess as a result of many millennia of social conditions and barriers to body acceptance... and in fact raise up the figure as the most beautiful of all subjectsâ€Ś the representation of OURSELVES - imagined and idealized. Hence I seek to represent the tangible and the intangible in an interplay between the two. After all, you see a nude figure, you see light caressing fleshy surfaces, changes in planes, structure beneath surface as well as having highly charged associations, imagined identifications and envy for the tangible, youthful, robust beauty of the subject matter. I will also acknowledge that simple appreciation of the ephemeral fleeting condition of human perfection is pervasive in contemporary media.
Roman Figure Redux, 2009 acrylic on fome-cor 20" x 14" x 1"
a total functioning entity (or mechanism), the ultimate combination and relatedness of the inanimate with the animate. emphasis: Organic relationships. A visual of your pieces that has really impacted on me is the tactile feature of your colors and the sense of movement, especially in  a very "dynamical" painting, that I have to admit id one of my favorite pieces or yours... By the way, any comment about your palette and how has changed in the years?
The figure rising up on a ledge for a while preoccupied me. A little surreal, yes, but still many of the urges I previously described are applicable. Birth of Man dynamics. The rising of the male form symbolically but also psychologically. Tight representation, skin suffused with light, limitless space. During these last 30 years your artworks have been exhibited several times: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, encouraging him: I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?
I have to be honest and say that I do appreciate recognition, both as a form of affirmation of my artistic goals but also as an acceptance of much of my subject matter - to validate it as an important and relevant concern to all, without shame. As I worked in a corporate arena for so many years maintaining a degree of propriety, my work became more personally directed with little public exposure. But clearly I work now for myself, to express my views and deeply felt connections and I harbor a hope that my work will indeed be seen and appreciated and validated with NO stipulations! I guess time will tellâ€ŚThere is definitely an audience for what I produce, albeit a slightly selective one. But now I can't do without posing you a really that I've happened to interview during all
Birth of Venus, #196 2011 Winter oil and pastel on panel 36" x 36" x 1.5"
Artist Studio, 2013 Scottsdale, Arizona USA these years, especially because even though it might sound the simpler one, it gives me back the most complex answers: what aspect of your art practice do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
I think it is self evident that my love for physical BEAUTY is almost a spiritual quest. While I do seek to represent the idealized figure, it is not so much as in the context of the mundane, but rather as a part of the lofty, ineffable, mysterious tangency to ultimate CREATION - that any artist has an occasional hint of, if they are so fortunate as to be open through their own unique artistic practice. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Les. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
I will to continue on with my current pursuits and context. I am planning a new painting with a return once again to multiple figures within a linear time line. I have finished shooting three models and have a fourth one lined up over the next few weeks. I will incorporate many of the current themes that I have described above, and expect the painting's scale to fill a room. I also work now in my studio every day of the week, unless I am dragged away. I feel like I am just beginning every day and I have so much more that I want to say.
An interview by firstname.lastname@example.org 65
Suzanne Stacy (USA) An artist’s statement
I am a self-taught painter creating unique abstract expressionism. I originally studied Graphic Design at Parsons School of Design in NY and the Detroit Institute of Art. While in school I realized I didn’t want to create “art” designed to sell a product, I prefer creating things that are true to me and unique in my eye. I decided to drop out and pursue a computer science degree while still continuing to paint on the side for myself. I paint in the abstract format because there is no plan or rules. Abstract paintings, for me, take on a life of their own. I tend to start a piece with a broad idea based on an emotion or an element in nature and then allow my brush to take me where the painting needs to be. I rely heavily on the emotion of the painting and love creating the individual characteristics in each work of art that create each piece’s unique concept. I use brushes and a palette knife to give each painting texture and depth while maintaining a minimalistic feel. I see and feel what is true for me when I am painting and looking at a finished product. The most I can hope for is another person to have their own connection with one of my works of art. Suzanne Stacy www.stacyartworks.com
Acrylic, Gesso on Ca 36” x 36” x 1.5” 66
An interview with
Suzanne Stacy Hello Suzanne and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
Thank you so much for having me. To begin by answering your first question, I feel anything someone feels or believes and wants to convey their message or feeling in a visual or verbal manner could be defined as art. Art is a subjective definition and it really is defined by the creator and the visualizer alike. On that note, contemporariness of an artwork can be defined as anything that is relevant to the artist at the time of creation. What drives and motivates the artist are the dynamic features that define the contemporariness of an interview with the artwork.
Would you like to tell us something about your background? I have read that you studied Graphic Design at Parsons School of Design in NY and at the Detroit Institute of Art. Are there particuIar experiences that has deeply impacted on your evolution as an artist?
should have pursued a fine art degree rather than a graphic design because my passion really was to learn how to paint and create artwork that was representative of what I was feeling and thinking. While in art school I realized I was studying art in order to learn how to create something that would influence consumerism. I wanted to expand my exposure to different styles of art and really was impressed by the the early abstract expressionists such as Franz Kline and the COBRA movement in particular Karel Appel and Constant Nieuwenhuys. These were artists using bold lines or strokes, striking colors and movements in an abstract manner that I found very appealing. I also am fascinated by Piet Mondrianâ€™s use of vertical and horizontal lines in his grid-based works
As soon as I could pick up a pencil I was drawing. I remember always as a child wanting to be an artist in some manner and was fortunate enough to have the encouragement of my parents to pursue my passion. Early on I was very influenced by the pop art culture that was defined by the clean graphics and bold colors and I styled my early artwork in a similiar, minimilistic graphic manner. I really thought getting into art school and formally pursuing a â€œGraphic Designâ€? degree would be the route I wanted to pursue artistically. I eventually came to understand that I really
After being out of art school for a couple of 68
Suzanne Stacy I happen to ask myself if a certain kind of training could limit or even stifle a young artist's creativity...
For me, because I never really had any concrete formal training in painting, I feel it has allowed me to be more self aware. I have more of a need to feed my creative self and let that creativity flow more naturally than someone trying to stay within the â€œnormâ€? in the art world. I feel more free to experiment and not worry about doing what may sell in the art market or being stuck in one manner of techinque or style. 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?
Frequency" 36" x 36" x 1.5" Acrylic on canvas
years I decided to enslist in the Navy for four years in order to gain some different life experiences and decide what path I wanted to pursue professionally. I continued to draw and paint consistently on my own always trying different techniques and studying other artists. I think that constant evaluation and experimentation never stops with an artist.
Every piece has a slightly different preparation associated but typically I like to initially evaluate what my overall idea and feeling is that i am trying to paint. I am constantly drawing out little sketches on any piece of paper that is near me because at any one time I have many ideas going through my head for paintings and I try and capture as many as possible in order to possibly come back to them as an idea for a future piece. Once I feel comfortable with the feeling or emotion I am demonstrating I can really let my creativity flow off of that basic foundation.
An artist should always continue to evolve just as a person naturally evolves througout life. I could say that every piece of artwork I have ever looked at whether i liked it or not has influenced me in some way, whether it was a way of trying to express a feeling or an emotion though light and color or texture or through the juxtaposition of the composition. When I look at other artists works such as Appel, Mondrian, Franz Kline or any artist, I try to visualize and feel what they were conveying through their work as well as evaluate what feelings I experience in my study of their pieces.
I sometimes will start the canvas by initially sketching a general outline of my composition and build upon that with my palette and more recently I have begun a piece with no initial sketching and apply my paints directly to the canvas. When I feel satisfied with the overall concept of a piece I can move pretty smoothly through the creation process and sometimes it tends to take days to complete one piece as I am building each layer within the piece. I typically only work one piece at a time in order
By the way, as a self-taught painter, what's your point about formal training? Sometimes 69
to maintain my level of concentration on the piece. Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with your paintings Midwest Winter and Bridge, that our readers have admired in the starting pages of this article: would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?
Midwest Winter is my representation of the initial solitude and silence felt when winter first comes. It really is demonstrating the feelings of cold and isolation I would experience while living up in Wisconsin after having moved there from Florida. The sky and overall feel in the air changes dramatically during winter. It can be beautiful, calming and quite peaceful but at the same time lead to a feeling of loneliness. Growing up in Michigan I was always excited by the first snowfall of the season and remember the quiet that would blanket everything with it. With Bridge I am creating a visualizaton that depicts the overwhelming prescence of these great engineering elements and how they relate to our surrounding space. Growing up around Detroit and then spending time in New York city I was amazed and fascinated by these structures and just really how with magnificent they are in the an interview way they possess the landscape around them. I often think about the people living near these structures and what it feels like to be constantly within the shadows of such an oppressive element. I imagine what itâ€™s like to be exposed to the gritty feel of the concrete and the smooth steel of the bridge combined with the noise of traffic crossing over and under it. All while the structure itself competes with the sky and landscape. In my piece Fallen I am exploring the balance between the light and darkness that occurs just between that magical time between true night and dusk. I always have loved this particular time of day and depending on where you are geographically, as well as the time of year, it always produces the most interesting contrasts. 70
Another pieces on which I would like to spend some words are Structure #1 and especially Structure #2, a piece that has particularly impressed me: I definitely love the nuances of yellow and ocra that are capable of establishing such a dialog between darkness and light... by the way, any comments on your choice of "palette" and how it has changed over time?
Structure #1 and Structure #2 are both inspired by one of my favorite abstract expressionists Franz Kline. I love the way the bold, brash lines of his works intermigle with his broad strokes of whites and greys. With Structure #1 I am exploring my study of architectural elements that coexist, sometimes harshly,within our environments and how those structural lines will coexist. Structure #2 takes a softer approach to this study between structural elements within our environments. Here I feel more of a prominent contrast between the elemental lines and the surrounding background through the use of a more natural organic feeling palette. nvas
Disintegrate is a more ethereal take on the how 71
the natural degradation of a structure within our environment can change ones emotional perception on that structure. What was once a majestic, strong creation can evolve into something that has a softer, waning and weakening appearance that always tends to bring a bit of sadness to me. Typically I am most often drawn to a palette that consists of blues, blacks and whites but more recently am exploring a more vibrant and bold palette that includes reds and yellows in combinations with each other as well as including some of the contrast black adds. I am always looking to experiment with different palette colors but will always be drawn to the boldness black and white provides. And as you have remarked in your artist's statement, you tend to start a piece with a broad idea based on an emotion or an element in nature: I would like to ask you if in your opinion, personal experience as starting point is an absolutely necessary part of creative process.
Iâ€™m not sure its a necessary part of the creative process but more ofwith an involuntary part of the an interview process which may not be a totally concious
effort. An artist may attempt to not pull from personal experience when working out a creative approach but creativity is generally derived from all elements that make up that persons conscience whether it is past conflicts, political beliefs, spirituality and ones own natural curiosity. Since creativity is developed within an individual it is not completely possible to stop personal experience from being at least a part of the process if not completely defining it. As an abstract painter, I would pose you a question: I'm sort of convinced that some informations are hidden, or even "encrypted" in our environment, so we need to decipher them. Maybe that one of the roles of an artist, especially of an abstract painter, could be to reveal unexpected sides of Nature, especially of our inner Nature... what's your point about this?
I agree with your point on the role of an abstract painter being one that is revealing of ones inner
for someone to see what is selling and try to emmulate that formula in the hopes they receive the same adolation as the originator. For me, I paint what I feel, see and want to communicate on. I give little thought to what the feedback may be from people who see my work because ultimately for me it is more important for me to like what I have done than anyone else. Everyone will take away something different in each of my works and if it affects them in any way, positively or negatively I am happy either way. In answering this question I gave some thought to how it would really make me feel if I were to start each piece with my priority being the response of the viewer and it made me feel as if it would cause me deep emotional conflict and chaos and in the end that would take away from the total creative freedom I currently experience and the joy at the discovery with each new piece. without asking to the artists I interview: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most and what gives you the greatest satisfaction?
The whole creative process in the beginning of a new piece is where i find the most joy. Digging deep into myself and my emotions on a broad idea and trying to transfer that into an abstract message really drives me to want to continue to create new paintings. This initial process allows me to throw away any fears or insecurities I have and let go creatively and try to communicate through my work better I feel than I could verbally.
nature. Our whole being is inherent on our inner nature and our defining behaviors and having those behaviors perceived by others. Being an abstract artist is that understanding and desire to understand and decipher what that means to the individual and the desire to communicate out that message to their audience.
Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Suzanne. My last question deals with your future plans: what's next for you? Anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
It goes without saying that feedbacks are capable of supporting an artist, I was just wondering if the expectation of positive feedbacks could even influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?
My most immediate plans are to continue to broaden my portfolio of works and really start to explore with the play of colors. Iâ€™m concentrating on creating a body of work in order to put on a solo show next year as well getting involved in some local shows this year. Thank you so much for speaking with me!
I really believe that some artists are influenced by others and what makes a piece â€œsellâ€? within the mainstream. Partcularly today with the digital technologies available making access to information so readily accessible it is very easy 73
Thomas C. Chung
A still from Sun Tzu's Art of War 2
An interview with
MNVisions Hello and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
Thanks for such great opportunity of being here on LandEscape. About arts I like works that can open hidden doors of thought in my brain. If I can experience this brain stimulation, a work of art is a great source of inspiration both for rethinking my present and future ideas and sensations. To appreciate fully a work I have to concentrate but often, when I go into to an exhibition, I cannot always find the opportunity to focus and reflect especially if it is very crowded. For this reason I find very useful exhibitions' catalogues that I can study at home or internet resources about artists. an interview arts with On contemporary sometimes I think that
MNVisions is a one-person creative project characterized by a unique style of realization of digital animation. It is a challenge to show complex stories in few minutes. Films are cartoons and they must be of short duration (maximum 3 minutes) and consist of scenes of up to 10 seconds each. Great importance is given to visual symbolism, as symbolic painters did.
while Leonardo had difficoulties to have money from buyers of his pictures today some artists receive a big economic evaluation for their works. It's a kind of investment, a bet on the name of an artist that could improve value in the future. But this is only speculation not art. Metropolis is still a great film, a milestone of sci-fi. In 1927 was a failure at cinemas because gained few money not covering production costs But today it's acknowledged as the film that mainly influenced sci-fi because it was something innovative that contemporaries did not understand. And this is what I mean for art. A translation in a language that could look reality of the world in a way we commonly don't think of it. And that usually contemporaries don't undertand because it's radical and ahead of its time.
Scenes are all made according to a "neopop" graphics. Priority is given to the use of silhouettes, shadows, specular reflec-tions, digital filtering. Animations do not have dialogues or voice-over speechs. Realism is always seen as an accessory to the scene, with sets bare and essential, focusing mainly on symbolic and ideational content. The sound is a background for images as in the tradition of silent films. All animations are zero budget productions.
Would you like to tell us something about your background? By the way, what's your point about formal training? I often happen to ask to 76
reason. I think that to make art is important to watch the world like a child, to play with the world without seeking personal self-interest. This approach can reveal the world in greater depth. and express it on arts, translating it into an universal language. 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?
Basically I try to put on screen a story I've on my mind. For this reason I only work on complex stories because I animate to express my thoughts and my ideas. I always try to be present on exhibitions because I'd like to debate with observer about what is shown on screen. For me this is the best part of all my works, the exchange of ideas that animations wake up in other people. For this reason my project MNVisions is not intended as a commercial brand. Being something personal and not commercial happens that my animations are refused at festivals because aren't suitable for children. MNVisions is one-person project and I think it will go on being my creative space because I like to have the full control of the process from model creation to animation. For the visual ideation Iâ€™m not focused on technical details, because creating short scenes the attention should be on the ideational content. After all scenes are shot, I add music and prepare the file for screening. This whole process can fill great part of my spare time for weeks. I'm still searching inside me the force that fuels this desire of creating my stories instead of spending my sundays at the seaside but I'll never find a suitable reply. Untill I'll have a plot in my mind to be recreated on screen I'll go on making them.
myself if a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity...
Reading the biographies of the greats of the past I am always very impressed by the fact that many of them practiced different disciplines. They applied in the study of arts and sciences at the same time with excellent results. At first I wondered if a degree is essential in order to create art, whether it was necessary to have some type of background. I quickly abandoned this doubt, I think it is not necessary. Gates, Jobs and Dell does not have an university degree in computer science and they're gurus of information technology. Surely knowing the color theory for a painter can be important, however, being the art something that is based on human emotions and feelings I think it can also be based only on the inner intuition. My CV is poor in arts and rich in other fields but I don't think I'll be penalized for this 77
A still from Sun Tzuâ€™s Art of War
A still from Sun Tzuâ€™s Art of War
Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with your work Sun Tzu's Art of War, whose stills have been already admired by our readers in the starting pages of this article: would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?
Many companies could struggle strategic emergencies, as Ansoff called them. My opinion is that strategists are gamblers; it wasn't difficoult to understand that such level of private consumption couldn't be eternal and there were also alarm signals to be read as Sun Tzu states. For future I don't think that still investing in oil is a strategic idea that Sun Tzu could approve.
I heard many times managers speaking about this book. Carly Fiorina for example, quoted it as her favorite book. You might find it in many bookshops with different title, let me write here some: "Sun Tzu Art of making money", "Sun Tzu for success", "Art of War Strategy Card Deck". You can also google how many websites originated from Art Of War. This book is more admirated by us than by contemporaries of Sun Tzu (a similar case to Metropolis...). Quotes taken from Art of War are gold for twitter users without inspiration to create great impact tweets. My opinion is that it's a great historic book of war fought during the past. I don't think that there is a direct connection between war in China in IV cent. BC and economics at the present. We can consider above all that its written by an Asian and we all have in our mind how tragic can be reading something without the correct background social, cultural, religiuos. I wanted to create an animation that could expose my disapproval for how a great historic book is treated with irony. And if managers had had the abilities taught by Sun Tzu they would have noticed the financial crisis before its explosion.
A feature of Sun Tzu's Art of War that has particularly impacted on me is the way you have been capable of establishing such a dialog between the images that most of the time softly move on the screen and the concepts behind which -all in all- are the consequence of a dynamic way to understand reality... In this case Gordon Gekko has such a contemplative attitude, far from any stereotype of frenzy excitement: I can recognize an effective symbiosis, rather than a contrasting dichotomy... and even though I'm aware that this might sound a bit naif,
#196 Winter 78
A still from Sun Tzuâ€™s Art of War
but this stimulating work makes me think to the concept of Yin and Yang... By the way, may I ask you if you have been inspired with Eastern Ancient Philosophy?
Sun Tzu doesn't want war, he teaches how to avoid it. To avoid war Sun Tzu teaches to use spies and stratagems. He says to be "like water" meaning to adapt at every condition "flowing from mount to valley" moving where there isn't resistence. These are concepts understandable knowing contradictions of chinese mindset. In the film Gordon Gekko seeks informations from insiders before acting on stock market. He tries to buy the flight company solving all the resistance of workers during the meeting at Bud's home.
Yes, I think that Gordon Gekko is one that understood correctly Sun Tzu teachings. I confess that I always refused to watch the sequel so I don't know if Sun Tzu is still quoted or how the characther evolved. My idea of Gordon Gekko is only from the first Wall Street film. I think that Gordon Gekko fully understood not only Sun Tzu but also rules of capitalism.
A still from Der Kommissar
Another work of yours on which I would like to spend some words is entiled Der Kommissar: could you take us readers through the development of this video? By the way, even though I'm aware that this question might German feature to this character?
Der Kommissar is a great challenge. It's a voyage into deep brain with so many psycological aspects exposed in only two minutes. My idea with this film is not to analize them, it's an interview withso short . I leave the impossible for a video analisys to the observer, I just expose them in a story. It's a plot between reality and illusion. The main character is never shown but there are clues to understand what's his job and where he's going. He is reaching a tropical resort where "dreams come true". In travel agencies there are brochures of tourists's emotional experiences toward hedonic holiday destinations.
A still from Der Kommissar
satisfy his passions, has a tragic ending and with the encounter of death. Thanatos appears suddenly taking away life, we'll never know more about the main character because I wanted to introduce a different psycological aspect. At this point in the scene the policeman appears, the institutional and moral authority that should ensure justice.
To underline this concept I also wanted a reference to Plato's myth of the cave when the girl is watching the aircraft landing on the surfboard like a mirror. But when the protagonist reaches the tropical resort impressed by this reality, his insticts of Love arise inside him. Freud identified 'instincts' or 'drives' that he viewed as innate, universal and constantly felt. In defining these drives, Freud is using a dualist approach, Eros and Thanatos interact and one can turn into the other, such a flipping of love and hate, crying and laughter. For the leading actor the desire to
A personification of freudian super ego. We all expect justice, instead the person in charge of it seems ambiguous. He evaluates the crime scene but he seems under the influence of its instincts and drives. Moreover, like any other person. I wondered how this dilemma could be accepted by the viewer, if irrelevant or if it is unsettling knowing that the moral authority is itself prey of duality of life. I think it is possible to develop a film of at least one hour with this plot. You could develop the whole psychology of the characters and review the theme of 80
A still from Der Kommissar
pioneristic pieces of Walerian Borowczyk. But I'm sort of convinced that the real quantum leap of this recent years is not just a matter of technology, or better: technology has extended the possibility of conceiving such pieces... what's your point about this?
I use only freeware programs and I'm not a professional of 3D for this reason all animations I create are done in my spare time. I think that freewares giving the possibility to virtual everyone who owns a computer to create something are really the biggest democratic revolution ever had. There are no other persons between you and a computer with a software ready to create all your ideas. It's easier than creating a short film because you don't need actors, locations, lights, tech equipment. By the other side you have to consider that creating models and animation needs time. And we all have in front of your
travel as it were a "Heart of darkness". But my challenge was to develop it all in only two minutes. If it is an inspiration for a longer film I'll be happy. I selected a german title for â€œDer Kommissarâ€? because I didn't want an inspector like Harry Callaghan. My inspector deals with psycology according to a freudian tradition. When I was reflecting on how the film should expose arguments I read something about Jung, Hegel, Heidegger. They were all from the German area of europe so I wanted to tie the inspector to the thoughts that these great authors inspired me. As you have remarked in the ending lines of your artist's statement, all animations are zero budget productions: it goes without saying that modern computer aided technologies have now made possible to create in few steps what just a couple of decades ago requested a lot of work... and a lot of money, indeed: I'm thinking especially about the first
A still from Pissing The Night Away
A still from Three Questions to
A still from Three Questions to
Feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even influence the process of an artist... What is the importance of the feedback of your audience in your process? Does it help you to find the Ariadne's thread that leads you to conceive a work of Art?
without asking to the artists that I happen to interview, since even though it might sound the simpler one, it gives me back the most complex answers: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
I like the opportunity to express my ideas. Many times I find myself thinking how to deal with technical problems on how to develop an abstract concept currently my mind. How can I make this scene properly in a few seconds? how can I get into the head of the spectator this concept. Often choose symbolism, I find it a very interesting way to solve the problem of time and space. However, there is the drawback that symbolism I draw in my animations arouses similar feelings in people who share my cultural background.
The feedback is the most important part.It's the moment when I open my work to others. Untill that moment all was in my home. After this the an interview with world can hate or appreciate my creation. At this time I realized that the number of festivals where to present works has decreased. Many festivals do not have an edition this year. Perhaps it is a reflection of the current economic crisis. The few festivals that I noticed received 300 to 500 applications for an average number of 5-10 awards. A very low proportion. Remain local initiatives. Even in my town there was until last year an international short film opened to animations. This year has been deleted.
Another thing that happens is when I've finished the whole process and the file is ready I would like to change the scenes making them in another way. I think it's a common thing to many artists, I always read of artists dissatisfied for successful works.
Local initiatives, however, often are restricted to residents. I find very interesting ventures on the web. The possibility to see animations and rate them directly from your home PC. I'm participating with my animation in one of this type of event, I'm curious to see the number of final grades and feedback. It's a clever way to bypass low economic budgets. I hope for the future that such initiatives multiply and become an alternative to the closure of festivals.
Or alternatively happy and proud of works which have little responses from the audience. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts: my last question deals with your future plans: anything coming up for you 82
A still from Three Questions to
professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
time to them but for the moment this is impos-sible, not being a source of income I can not replace my current job. On one other hand I'd like to open the project to more people and expand the scope of MNVisions. but I hit on the fact that I do not write screenplays.
I will continue to produce animations for adults, I do not think I have the ability to tell stories to children. In my creative phase I try to experimentate different techniques and for this that I don't realize animations like the previous ones. What remains the same will be my style because I think I've come up with something original. I have in mind some ideas to develop, always linked by the fact of presenting complex topics. I just finished an animation longer than the others. In this I wanted to do a reflection on the world of television and journalism.
Everything is based only on the filter of my brain, I never use anything written so it would be difficult to start a phase of communication with other people. In the future, however, I could become more disciplined and write my stories. I believe it could be a kind of collaboration that interests me. In this way stories could reach different graphic styles from other artists and share to process with others. But for the moment I'll go on with my own forces.
I consider it a good job, with an irony different than usual. I called it "Three questions to" and the title is inspired by a short story of Russian author Leo Tolstoy. I would like to follow more the production of my stories dedicating more
An interview by email@example.com
Steve Maher (Ireland) I am a multidisciplinary artist working predominantly in the fields of performance, socially engaged, sculptural and illustrative arts. I am from Limerick, Ireland but currently live and practice in Helsinki, Finland. Through my creative practice I explore subliminal cultural distinctions as I have seen them. I am highly interested in the theories outlined in the field of evolutionary psychology, particularly memetics as well as semiology, anthropology, cultural history and general cultural theory. The motivation behind my work has been derived from my own personal reflection on social themes sourced from various pre-existing popular cultural media and ramifications on everyday life by the pervasive ideologies concealed within TV tropes and popular music. It is my position that within the enculturation endured through the formative years of life there exists a duality in how individuals are taught to interpret their immediate environment. This position informs what sources I derive from culture which I then alter in the form of parody to comment on their agreed meaning, parody alone is not my agenda a poignant artefact for conversation and cultural dissemination is my core goal. #196 Winter
Steve Maher 1
Progress is an Unending Means to an End 2
An interview with
Steve Maher Hi Steve and a warm welcome to LandEscape. I would start this interview with my usual ice breaker question: what in your opinion defines a work of Art? Moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?
Definitions are tricky things, for me they lead one down only one particular path of explanation. My own definition for what I do is an equal balance motivation and justification. I am motivated to do things and I am often unaware of the source as to why, often I have a problem with someone or some dominant ideology on a personal level, on a perspective that I don’t quite see eye to eye with. Its not that I don’t respect that perspective but I often find words are too clumsy to express my own counterpoints when faced with this dilemma. Things come to fore visually for me a lot easier although I am probably not an entire clutz when it comes to an interview with mincing words. There is a bit of a sublimatory quality to my work at least and in truth no matter how well researched I become in other art practices I can only really talk about my own work with full authority.
Steve Maher (photo by Patrick Mc Hugh) www.patrickmchugh.com
In college and later in practice artist are asked time and time again to create statements about who they are as an artist. These statements exist to be easily digested by audience members or to be deconstructed for the sake of a blurb. I wont deny that they have a purpose for an artists own self assessment, but often when faced with putting one together I see it as a justification for something I would have done anyway. There is an expectation however even/especially in the art world to conform to requirements and I am no more powerful in opposition against this than any other.
only removed from contemporary art by the culture and the little international club we have made for ourselves. Creativity is at the core of humanity. Art is just history in many ways, contemporary art is what we do now. Contemporary art is as much a trend as a genre. You can’t say today that I make pre-raphilite or impressionist work because they become contextualized by the now, they are contemporary because you watch TV and drive a car.
Anthropologically I think humans are motivated in every facet of life to make creative decisions, whether its picking what tie to wear in the morning before going to work or doodling on a piece of paper while talking to someone on the phone. These are
Would you like to tell us something about your background? You hold a MA in Social Practice and the Creative Environment and a BA Honours Fine Art, Sculpture and Combined media. How have these experiences of formal training im86
Steve Maher with strong emphasis on discourse. I graduated with honours and took a year out to work in a day job and co-run/found Like Studios, Limerick. I did my MA in Social Practice and the Creative Environment, again in Limerick, this is a very unique course and related a lot to my previous larger scale social performances and interventions like Protest...Something and the Un-comissioned Public Art Installations. Like on the BA a lot of the conclusions I came to were in revolt, not to the principles of the genre of Socially Engaged Art Work but to some of the case studies we were presented with. I think this was the point though. There are ethical and moral issues one has to deeply consider when dealing with a community to make art work. You are an artist, they are the community, if you are not careful that relationship can become exploitive. Transparency was the most important lesson I learned from my MA. But sure thatâ€™s all boring stuff, people just want to see some pretty pictures. Right? By the way, do you think that a certain kind of training could even stifle a young artist's creativity?
Yes and no, its a question of scales. Military training could potentially ruin one artists creativity/life where it might enhance anotherâ€™s, people vary a lot and are inspired by a lot of different scenarios. Art college can kill some peoples potential to make art that they could have been making anyway, others find it a successful environment. We are all somewhat institutionalised, the minute we step out of our parents arms for our first day of school the world starts to mould us with its latent idiosyncrasies and pathologies.
pacted on the way you produce your artworks?
I gained the majority of my education in Limerick School of Fine Art and Design, Limerick, Ireland. Limerick was also my home town, I grew up in the suburbs of the city. From an early age I was involved in music in the city, the most formative event in retrospect was the first gig I went to see with my friends when I was 14, it was Fugazi. The ethics of punk rock and DIY culture had a huge impact on me growing up, this was the best extra curricular education one could hope for growing up. It gives you a lot of tools for copping with disappointment.
Before starting to elaborate about your production, would you like to tell to our readers something about your process and set up for making your artworks? In particular, what technical aspects do you mainly focus on your work? And how much preparation and time do you put in before and during the process of creating a piece?
I always have a notepad handy, when I worked in sales or service jobs I learned to split my mind between what the job required me to do and where I wanted to be. I used to be a big advocate for Moleskins when they first became popular but finan-
I did OK in school and got in the BA at LSAD. Sculpture and Combined media is a great course 87
E scape cial reality has led me to use what ever is the cheapest and most easily available notepad. Boredom or boring situations are my strongest ally. My Ideas often take shape as phrases or simple visual contrasts, I will often develop from there and try to research why something was significant to me. The act of making a piece if there has been enough contemplation beforehand should be a relatively short process in relation to its mental conception. I am not a crafts person, I do admire that from of creativity and enjoy/utilize some of those processes but I am not interested in refining the more martial elements of an art making process. I will usually sketch work before I produce it, this sketching can sometimes be the more traditional pen and paper but more recently has become the fine art of creating a well conceived proposal. When I work on something that requires detail I will listen to talk radio, books on tape or documentaries. I like to divide my attention when focusing on detail, it makes me make mistakes that are entertaining to deal with.
an with Someinterview works can take years to come to the point where I am confident to make them, often because these are concepts I didnâ€™t have confidence in initially but re-emerge later as more solid incarnations. I review my notes a lot to see if there was a path that I had not taken (eat that Robert Frost). There can often be the core to an Idea that at the time of inception is blurry and hard to grasp but later becomes more clear, we are in different places all the time, sometimes things line up other times they donâ€™t.
becoming exhausted, a lot can be said with those variations but I had other ideas that I wanted to articulate using different methods. Additionally I didnâ€™t want it to become a craft which it was becoming. Both Anna and Nora were trusting enough to let me do what ever and I think what I produced was a good fit in the show. We had just closed Like Studios which I had co-founded a year previous so I was without a place to work. Luckily my good friends at Faber Studios agreed to let me use part of their studio for a couple of days to produce the piece.
Now let's focus on your artworks: I would like to start with your work Progress is an Unending Means to an End, that our readers have started to admire in the starting pages of this article: would you tell us something about the genesis of this project? What was your initial inspiration?
I was invited by curators Anna Crudge and Nora O'Murchu to contribute to a show they were assembling called Worlds End in the Guest House in Cork City, Ireland. They are both very talented creative individuals and The Guest House is a really great arts organisation so it was a real pleasure to do it. They had seen my degree show work and other pieces that utilized dioramas and furniture. I wanted this to be the last work I made using those techniques as I found working through variations of a theme
The foundation of the piece was made from layers of Styrofoam. I went to a local fishmongers who kindly gave me several Styrofoam conWinter tainers, which as#196 you may have guessed all reek88
Steve Maher terrain which canâ€™t be removed due to the treacherous nature of the climb. Everest is considered this pinnacle of human romantic expeditionary history, to climb to its peak symbolises an act in paradoxical defiance and harmony with nature. It seemed an apt metaphor to describe progress in my mind, I had been reading Straw Dogs by John Gray at the time. A means to an end is something that you are not interested in but that you do because it will help you achieve something else, in a way we all contribute to larger society not conscious of the whole but truly concerned with our own little corner of it. This process is cyclical, it feeds itself. The mechanics of society originate from this point, the idealistic interpretation we have of this mechanic is a simulation. Anyway the most hilarious thing for me is while all these Europeans where coming to Everest to climb it, the Sherpas were walking up and down the mountain side unaffected by the high altitude, doing their shopping. The achievement of climbing this peak is this signifier but like all signifiers it only has cultural resonance because of its consented meaning. Another piece on which I would like to spend some words is Knowledge, which is the title of a song by Operation Ivy, an American ska-punk band active in the 90s. An interesting feature of this installation is the sense of contrastthat you have been capable of establishing between the expectation of a relaxing sound and an aggressive song: that's en effective synergy instead of what could have been most likely a dichotomy"
ed of fish. I cleaned them all several times but couldnâ€™t get rid of the lingering odour. The surface is made of toilet paper attached using a solution of pva, black Indian ink and water mixed in a empty Windowline bottle. The water in the solution broadly enhanced the latent fishy smell. I spread a layer of dried fine sand and then sprayed another layer of the mixture, the grass is architectural flock stuck on with spray-mount and the trees are from hobbyist railway kits. On top of the mound is a little black flag, a paradoxical nod to accomplishment/progress/dominance and a slight anarchistic sentiment.
The idea of using a conch shell for a sound installation had been in my head for a long time, in its development I had considered many solutions. I knew what an audience member would assume they might hear when interacting with such a piece, maybe they expect to hear ocean sounds or some other rhythmic wave based sound sample. I wanted to turn that potential convention around. Music is very much reliant on its context, this is something I have been realising with some of my more recent work. I have always been concerned with music as a cultural form, it is extremely diverse and pervades most peoples life to an extent that could only make most of contemporary art jealous. There are many people who proclaim their hatred for art, you will
At the time when I was making this work I was reading a lot about the history of mount Everest and literal hundreds of bodies that scatter the 89
meet them all the time but it is rarer to meet someone who proclaims their supposed hatred of all music. The contrast that exists in this work could have very well become a dichotomy but I think because of peoples innate cultural receptiveness to music it can function and there is cohesion. Although there is a certain type of shock tactic employed in the work its not as if audience member puts their ear to the an with shellsinterview mouth only to hear expletives and obscenities roared down their throat, shock is not the aim here, it is a good catalyst for the realisation I am trying to create though. Aside from that the song Knowledge is beyond first impressions an extremely insightful and catchy tune, there is a level of maturity in the lyrics that exceeds ones expectations.
I Look Down on You Because I am Falling
kill you” - Someone Famous. I'm not overly concerned with humour though ironically enough having said all that, it is part of the layering I use to complete a piece but the piece is not the humour in and of its self, I am attempting to make strong artefacts for contemplation and dissemination. Humour is a strong leveller.
And we couldn't do without mentioning I Look Down On You Because I am Falling From A Great Height and especially Unfulfilled... In particular, I would suggest to our reader to visit the related page at your website http://www.stevemaher.net/Unfulfilled in order to get a more complete idea… By the way, I think that irony plays an important role in your works, isn't it?
I Look Down On You Because I am Falling From a Great Height is concerned with superiority and religion. I was inspired by the idea of the spiritual pilgrimage up the side of many mountains in the Irish Roman Catholic tradition of atonement for ones sins. At this point let just clarify that I am a sceptic and atheist of the highest order, for some reason I get this almost religious sense of dread when I feel people think otherwise. In this tradition one climbs the side of Croag Patrick barefoot, a mountain famous for annual mass self flagellation. Mountains in ancient traditions were seen as this otherworldly gateway, in later traditions the act of climbing one became this feat of accomplishment
Irony is a bit of a dirty word these days isn’t it? Yes it is a strong aspect of what I do. I do like to play on expectations and assumptions. Parody and satire are strong aspects of my work also, I have always liked being a smart-arse, in my work and in general . It is important to me though, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll 90
Steve Maher tain; this journey is the figures ascension. At the breach of this mountain there is a stairway which alludes to an even higher place. The function of the stairway is undeclared but arguably emphasises the impressiveness of a possible descent. Our hierarchical aspirations for power, our ascent which we laud and venerate is finite and destructive. In this way all ascents are descents, what we contemplate on this precipice isâ€Ś Unfulfilled is again a contemplation on the imposition of dominant ideologies upon personal experiences, it is about the bureaucratic categorisation of essential elements to human living. We are all born, we all(mostly) copulate and we all die. This may seem vulgar but donâ€™t even try to dispute it. In your works you often deal with social issues: in particular, I would like to mention Protest... Something, a performative work that I have found really stimulating. I have to admit that, I'm sort of convinced that Art could play an effective role in socio-political questions: not only just by offering to people a generic platform for expression... I would go as far as to state that Art could even steer people's behaviour: what's your point about this? Does it sound a bit exaggerated?
From A Great Height
My point here is to shine a light on the ineffectiveness of existing forms of communication due to disenfranchisement and the visual/communicative acceleration of our culture. Protest in the form that
in and of itself. I think there is very little separating the modern conquest of climbing a mountain for the sake of it and the spiritual pilgrimage in our primitive little minds. There is still an ideal being put on a pedestal, or in this case precipice. This work was from a series of pieces I created for my degree show which posited stationary scenes where individuals where perhaps contemplating suicide. Teetering between life or death in that moment, not fully in one state or another. I saw this as an apt metaphor for the absurdity life in amongst sublimatory romantic settings, I was trying to describe that sense of sublime fear one often feels when faced with the sheer majesty of the universe. I was using scale in this instance to talk about significance on a universal scale and its positioning atop of furniture was an effort to describe its semantic compartmentalisation . There is a supporting text with this work which goes.
One lone figure leaves his car and climbs a moun91
E scape some ideal when they don't live in the real world etc. If protest is ever to re-emerge as a potent form for lobbying support behind an agenda it needs to be altered to fit with modern dilemmas. As it exist, as a form today it has gone through very little adjustment. Can art play an effective role in sociopolitical scenarios? If art can effect social change I don't believe it can be grand and instant. I don't believe the outcome can be controlled and steered towards the intended point, people have a way with taking what they need from art work to suit their own agenda. You can see this when you look at the fact that the same songs are used by different ideologically opposed political parties in their election campaigns, in the same year. Can good intentions be enough is the question? We are all doomed. You have shown your works in many exh-ibitions: it goes without saying that feedbacks and especially awards are capable of supporting an artist, I was just wondering if an award -or better, the expectation of an award- could even an interview with influence the process of an artist... By the way, how much important is for you the feedback of your audience? Do you ever think to whom will enjoy your Art when you conceive your pieces?
My goal, as it has not been achieved just yet, is to become a self sustaining artist, success for me is to show in platforms where I can communicate with other artists or creative individuals. I still need to eat and pay rent. We all work towards rewards I think and even in the statement â€œI am an artistâ€? you accept
Knowledge all of the historical and institutional positioning that comes with that statement. You can get overly concerned with dissecting the structure of working in the arts, but in all honesty I sometimes find it a bit unfair to examine just art when there are so many other institutions we interact with everyday which are just as equally fucked up. I mean where do you think your food comes from? Your still going to eat that sandwich. Diogenes was a smart man, he saw so much of the flaws in modern Greek culture. But at the end of the day he lived in filth and slept amongst dogs. A lot of people will look at art and attempt to de-construct it, they want to Winter have their cake #196 and eat it too.
Road Safety Authority Mix Tape 92
Shoulda Woulda Coulda
If you can get “awards”, well done. Its not an easy task, it requires a lot of work. I couldn’t let it be the only reason I make art though. At my age I have to work in a day job while I make my work, I know that eventually I will be able to sustain my practice. I would make my work even if no-one could see it but yes the audience is an important consideration. I cant say this for all art, but for me it is certainly a form of communication and its communicative ability is an aspect of the work which in some way could be used to gauge its success. However the scale at which it communicates is not an important consideration for me. If even a limited
R0M3R0 Zombie proof Winnebago
number of people can engage with my work then I find it is successful, maybe this is a privilege of the current age where a young artist doesnâ€™t need to concern themselves with the reach of there work because you have a portfolio of work online. Maybe I am way of the mark, obviously time will tell. A large aspect of my work exists solely as a social and not a visual artefact, its main body exists in its dissemination and ripple effect interaction. I wish there where more channels to receive feedback from an audience but when it is received at the interpersonal level it is extremely important. without asking to the artists that I happen to interview, since even though it might sound the simpler one, I receive the most complex answers: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most?
The biggest satisfaction for me is when something turns from drunken chicken scratchings on a piece of paper into a fully formed and researched concept. I love that point when you know to stop working on an interview with something, it offers a rare sense in this day and age of completion. Its like finishing a great book, its joyous but a little sad, but even more joyous because of that little bit of sadness. Sure work is still open-ended but a part of you realises that your interference with what you have created has to be pulled back, it needs to cycle forward with out you acting as its stabilizer. What gives you the biggest satisfaction?
When a piece involves an element of craft, I enjoy that process. Thank you for your time and for sharing with us your thoughts, Steve. My last question deals with your future projects: anything coming up for you professionally that you would like readers to be aware of?
As you are interviewing me I am taking part in an amazing residency in Haihatus, Joutsa in Auvinen, it has been a great experience to 94
What is Not Seen
make some work outside of my usual context. There are lots of projects in the works that should be happening next year as well as proposals I am waiting to hear responses from and so on. Time will tell. There will be a big show in January at Ormston House, Limerick, Ireland that I co-developed along side Padraig Robinson called Felt and Fat. It is an artist curated group show featuring 8 amazing artists check out padraigs page for more information www.padraigrobinson.com. That is what I am doing in the short term, long term plans I will keep private as as much as I am a skeptic I don't want them known in public incase they don't pan out and I potentially embarass myself with my misplaced optimism. Planned Obsolesence
An interview by landescape@artlover