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WINTER

2019

AMIT LEBLANG - TOM HRICKO - GUILLAUME MARTIAL - ALICJA BRODOWICZ - KRISTINA VARAKSINA - GIUSY CONCOLINO LOREEN HINZ - JASON HOROWITZ - ANNE CECILE SURGA - MATT PORTCH - CRISTIANA NEGOESCU - MICHAEL GATZKE

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EDITORS’ NOTE VISIBLE SPECTRUMS We are extremely proud to present the first issue of Visible Spectrums, a London based Contemporary Art Magazine that actively promotes artists from all around the world who challenge and engage with the canons and narratives of Art History. After reviewing the works of the many artists who responded to our Winter Open Call, we are excited to showcase the work of thirteen extraordinary artists, whose works inspired us. From close-ups of heavily pasted made-up faces to shots of a bald headed man, this first issue hopes to encompass a wide variety of mediums, methods and themes. Whether we found ourselves enlightened, enthralled or repulsed by these artists’ works, they all changed our perception of a certain art historical canon. In order to teach art history effectively, Alexander Nagel wished curriculums would include “a wider set of reference points that cannot be arranged chronologically”. In 2016, the curator Jean-Hubert Martin conceived an exhibition called “Carambolages” which embodied the ideals and possibilities created by a true transhistorical approach. The exhibition allowed for an artistic manifestation in which chronological and art historical linearity were challenged in order to create a space where the spectator’s gaze became the curator of the space. The associations made by the viewers created a multitude of individual art historical narratives which allowed a whole new range of visible spectrums. Objects were no long submitted to an artistic hierarchy, and artworks were valued and discovered through the visual experience they ignited. We hope the readers find themselves to be the curators of this magazine, flipping through the pages, stopping, coming back to each work and creating their own artistic experience. �

This project was born from a collaboration between Courtauld Institute alumni, Oxford University graduates and a former 2019 exhibition organiser intern at the European Cultural Centre, a collateral event of the Venice Biennale. Coming from different disciplinary and artistic backgrounds, the founders of Visible Spectrums wanted to create a magazine that showcased artists who challenge the assumptions of art history’s linearity, who deepen and question our understanding of our art historical traditions. We hope this magazine has succeeded in creating a space which encourages readers and viewers to actively think about the methodologies and theoretical approaches to art history. We would like to thank every single artist who trusted us to showcase their works. We are very grateful for their collaboration and are eager to see what their next projects will be. All of the artists’ websites are listed on the content page. We very much encourage our readers to visit these websites as the works presented here are only a small selection of an artists’ whole oeuvre. Without further ado, please turn the page to discover crooked feet, fish nets, stoned corsets and empty pools. Every single one of them an essential creation which re-assesses the ineffable power of art today.

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Copyright Š 2019 Visible Spectrums Online Magazine. Please note that Visible Spectrums does not own any of the artworks or the images that are shown in the website. All artworks are under the artist’s copyright. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the artists showcased in the magazine.

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For permission requests, please contact the artists via their websites, or contact the Visible Spectrums Editorial Team who will transfer your request to the relevant artist.


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MICHAEL GATZKE

HTTPS://WWW.MICHAEL-GATZKE.DE

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CRISTIANIA NOGOESCU

HTTP://CRISTIANACOTT.COM

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KRISTIANA VARAKSINA HTTPS://KRISTINAVARAKSINA.COM

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GUILLAUME MARTIAL

HTTP://WWW.GUILLAUMEMARTIAL.FR

AMIT LEBLANG

HTTPS://LEBLANGAMIT.WIXSITE.COM/AMITLEBLANG

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ALICJA BRODOWICZ HTTP://ALICJABRODOWICZ.COM

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JASON HOROWITZ

HTTPS://WWW.JASONHOROWITZFINEART.COM

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MATT PORTCH HTTPS://WWW.MATTPORTCH.COM

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LOREEN HINZ

HTTP://WWW.LOREENHINZ.COM

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ANNE CECILE SURGA

HTTP://WWW.ANNECECILESURGA.COM

GIUSY CONCOLINO

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HTTPS://GIUSYCONCOLINO93.MYPORTFOLIO.COM

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TOM HRICKO

HTTPS://TOMHRICKOPHOTOGRAPHY.COM


FRONT COVER, OVERLEAF - LOREEEN HINZ/ GENDER IS MY BOYFRIEND BACK COVER - LOREEEN HINZ/ GENDER IS MY BOYFRIEND

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MICHAEL GATZKE BETWEEN CHAOS AND ORDER

Your works seem to hover between abstraction and figurative realism. Do you believe this is at the centre of your artistic practice? “I follow two divergent painting principles, abstraction and human figures, often through collage. The resulting compositions can also be understood as a tension field of the spiritual and the physical. Moreover, the sharp contrast creates a new symbiotic view, where the sum is more than the parts.”

How do you create the textured appearance of your landscape? Have you developed a specific technique? “The creative process is a balancing act between purposeful self-forgetfulness and conscious control. Chaos and order. My goal is to avoid painstaking caution that I find inhibitive. To find a result that neither follows the calculation nor pays homage to randomness alone. It is the way to gain clarity and make the world more comprehensible and more explainable. Technically, I follow a process that results from many overpaintings. A tecnhique in which it is important to use the mode of action of different color emulsions and steer these carefully in the direction that I want.”

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How do you think your works react to the canons of history? “Of course the conventional timeline of artist, sometimes considered as ‘Old Masters’ (of contemporary art), has influenced me greatly. I am talking in particular about Georg Baselitz, Peter Doig, Anselm Kiefer, Daniel Richter or - less famous - Hans op de Beeck. Not to notice would be to close your eyes. However, it is important to build on such a foundation on the one hand, but to build one’s own building on the other hand - to be as authentic and unique as possible.”

HOOP BY THE SEA, CALIFO


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ORNIA


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Would you classify your works as either sublime or existentialist? “I would say neither. My latest works are based on an attempt to capture the slowness of images, countering the tempo of electronic picture noise. My pictures lack anything colorful and loud. Ostensibly nothing happens, or very little, but everything seems possible at any time. Perhaps the sceneries found here only form the resonance of my inner worlds. There are not really real pictures of landscapes, but open wider horizons and come from abstraction. The few people and animals appearing in collage form seem archaic and concentrated. They do not really participate in their activities.�


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AUTOMATON

A CUP OF TEA


CRISTIANA NEGOESCU PERFORMANCE // CONCEPTOGRAPHER

Your performance of a Cup of Tea is neatly framed by the surrounding architectural structure. Do you see your performance as separated from everyday life? “I think that this is one of the questions I always ask myself about performance art in general. How much does it need to be a hermetic metaphor for life? At least in what I do, I find it to be a representation for different life situations. This is of course only a lousy performance art definition. No, I do not see performance art separated from anything, I think it is deeply rooted in the everyday life. It is more time-based than site-specific, although it suits some places better than others. But it exists there, in the moment, for a limited period of time and then it drags reminiscences after it, in the context where it happened, then in everyday life.”

Today is my first day after a performance that I just did, called “Fortuna Brevis” that initially did not have anything to do with gender in my head. Now that I look back at it, it was packed with gender symbols, I mean it had an iron as a main focal point, so…. I do not think that at this point I am in the position of complete free choice when it comes to talking about gender issues in my work, it is somehow on, like a pressed button, by default and my choice is only how deeply I go into it every time, if even that.” A CUP OF TEA This performance was inspired by the zen koan: “A cup of tea” : Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

How is ‘gender performance’ played out through your works?

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

“Some of my performances are purely based on gender issues, some of them have nothing to do with them, yet I see myself tapping into this more or less all the time. It’s funny because I only see it after I do it, and then I realise how people immediately see it. They see it through their own past experiences or symbols learnt throughout their lives.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!” “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

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//AUTOMATON PERFORMANCE How do you think performance art and happenings can be considered not in isolation but linked intimately to the role of painting, sculpture and installation, and always contextualised, both socially and politically? “I think that performance art is both isolated from painting, sculpture and installation, yet also always contextualised both socially and politically. Most of the time, I find it more socially and politically engaged than other forms or art, sometimes considered as escapism (but that’s another story). Sometimes, I find it more engaged because I think that performance art cannot really be decorative, although aesthetically pleasing. At the same time, I think that they are all intimately linked and one could not exist without the others, even if it is only in its potential. Even if a sculpture does not happen, it still would exist in my head as potential to happen. It is even easier the other way around, as a sculpture is the result of a performative action. I also think that any type of art resulted from any medium - or a lack of it. Art has a social and political role, as much as responding to in the initial mind-set it was thought in. I think that, eventually, the message is very important to me, and it is what I want to say, from any perspective, that concerns or interests me. The rest transforms into something that resembles more an enveloppe to this message.”

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“Without film, no performance history”. Would you agree? “I don’t know who said that he would give away every painting of Jesus for a single snapshot. I think the documentation of performance art is very important and I don’t think this should be lost, so regardless of the means of documenting it - not only in a moving picture - I am totally for it.”


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KRISTINA VARAKSINA MAGICAL REALISM

Do you consider the subject of your photographs to be transhistorical? “It is certainly my goal to create a transhistorical subject, a story that can be relatable and at the same time reference art history, becoming our cultural memory.”

In conventional terms, a fashion photograph might be understood as an image made specifically to showcase clothing and accessories, often with an explicitly commercial purpose. How do your works challenge the norms of fashion photography? “I believe fashion photography has been a form of art and self-expression for generations of photographers for over a century. And it is the same for me, I start with things. I like to say stories I like to tell. Fashion brands come in second, they just serve as my means. For example, I ask myself what color do I want to use? Blue. What style should my character wear? This or that designer. It is more important for me that my model “lives” in the frame, rather than posing and demonstrating clothing and accessories in it. I always try to create something meaningful.”

Can you explain the meaning of your title ‘Magical Realism’ ?

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“‘Magical Realism’ comes from an early 20th century artistic genre, in which realistic narrative and naturalistic technique are combined with surreal elements of dream or fantasy.”

// THE ART OF FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY


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MAGICAL REALISM How do your works explore vulnerability, and sexuality through visual metaphors? “In each image in the series there is a prop that hints a certain aspect of the female. For example, there is a seashell on the wall in one image, it resembles labia, it’s open and is facing the viewer, it is sexual and vulnerable at the same time. In the other image there is a rock sculpture, but the way the rocks are stucked is very unstable, so it represents strength, endurance, and insecurity at the same time. In the third image there is a picture frame behind the model, so she becomes an object in the frame, something to admire, something of value, but also something that has to fit standards and expectations.�

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GUILLAUME MARTIAL

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// ANIMALOCOMOTION

LA VACHE, 20X30 CM, BACKLIGHT PRINT


Your work is reminiscent of the early photography of Eadweard Muybridge, as well as the Free Lumiere’s Danse Serpentine. How does your work build on early studies of motion? “Photography has not changed technically since its invention, only the acquisition of media has changed. It is still just light that enters a box, in which there is a receiving medium… When research on moving picture started, photograph-scientists, like Muybridge, used photographic methods as tools and proofs for scientific truth. Is the galloping horse always touching the floor or is there a moment when the horse levitates? Can we show evidence with an image that secures the movement? In the work Animalocomotion, named after Muybridge’s work on the movement of animals, I take the opposite view - because any image is pure creation and invention, it is a fiction made of real elements. A still image can simulate movement in several ways. The various animals that I created are just designed with light. Thus, photography is a way to write with light. I return to the basis of photography.”

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LE CHEVAL, 20X30 CM, BACKLIGHT PRINT ON LIGHTBOX, 2015

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Why return to the early steps of movement photography? “As a photographer, I am interested in the porosity between reality and fiction. Any picture is a charade of its author who becomes a kind of magician showing the real through his own perspective and vision. How is that possible? Is what the author gives us real or false? Going back to the basis of motion picture is like a malicious mockery of these scientists that wanted to show evidence through image, as if it held unquestionable truth. An image is nothing else than a reflection of the real deformed by its creator. In my work, I enhance the deformation of the real but I am always using real physical elements, thus one has to question what one is looking at. That is what I find fascinating about photography. Moreover, I use my body like a character playing with the feasibility of reality or fiction. In Animalocomotion, the movement allows me to create the shapes of some animals. Cinema plays an important role in my work. In terms of movement, I’m kinesthetic. Furthermore, going back to the basis of photography was a way to re-examine the picture and its creation.”

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You explained that play and derision interplayed with your investigation on the place of man in space. How do you merge humour with existentialist questioning? “Humor and irony can be weapons, even more powerful than actual weapons. Recent French history sadly showed us that. Voltaire, in his work Candide, used the same weapon of humour to describe and denunciate atrocities in the world. It is also a way of perceiving and being in relation with our surrounding environment. Humor is a tool of description of the world and displacement of the focus. Art is a game and the artist sets his own rules, he is the conductor that directs the dance and the orientation of the real, even more when he uses photography or film. Any space where the human being lives can be perceived differently depending on the place he stays. Photography is the same for me. Derision and humor allow me to question our living spaces. In my work, irony and fiction crash with reality to question our comprehension of the world and man’s place in space.”

EXCERRO QUAM REIUR? QUI DOLUPTATEM CONSEDIT QUIAT DOLLABO. PIDUCIETUR Could you tell us about your photography process? How do you play between REPERSP EDIONET, NONSEQUUNTIS the possibilities allowed by shutter speed, exposure time and editing? ERSPED COMMO IN image. “My photographic process isMAGNAM pretty simple. Most ofCUPTATQUE the time mental pictures come before the photographed I set up my camera on its tripod, have my automatic distant trigger and try various positions just like in the movies NOBIT UT EVENT ULPARCIA to catch the best visual shape. In Aminalocomotion, the time of exposure is few seconds in which I coordinate the

movement of my body to create shapes of animals. Interestingly and amazingly, here the movement of my body creates a still animal. For the editing I look at the power of images and search for consistency. Just like Étienne-Jules Marey around 1890 with his photographic riffle, I used chronophotography. In some of my artwork like “Chair Throw, backdated in 1882”, I recompose numerically the different phases of the movement into one single image. A plastic chair thrown Utemquae in thePorquis air in 1882 always lands on its feet, just like a cat, guaranteed by the picture!”

To what extent does French artistic culture inspire your work?

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“The French artistic culture is rich and inspire me in a number of ways. The dada and Surrealist movements played a lot with irony and humor and they had it right! They have a significant influence on my work. Moreover, filmmakers like Méliès or Max Linder are a great source of inspiration because for me, they represent the French finesse, elegance and creativity.”

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// ANIMALOCOMOTION // UT MAIO ELIA SEQUO MO BLABORE PRATIS MAGNAM EATUR MIL ETURIS DOLORER IAESTRUM, ATE VOLUT PRA SEQUIS ILIT FUGA. AD ET LABO. ET VOLUPTATQ. Luptam qui aut qui officid que verumquis veris quam ius. Ad quias digento rectio tem ut maximi, sinto inveles re doloreperio. Et autem iduci res in porum quam voluptiore, quas invelesti sum quia volorehenis accum quam, quam dolorio rectenis imusani que quas ellum aut ut fugiae iliae et eosam cuptat estin porrumq uiatibus plaborporit dolorum es dolorum nonse nem doloruntus.

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Rate dolorum fugiate voloris magnitae nia culpa explitias dolut offic temquas a plitius delesectium quisqui od quae seque experchit ommodit aquat. Iderferes et il ium ium et facepuda qui nihit dolupta tempero blant, iumqui aut quatent, cus nobis porrum res di officiam, quodic tem que ius es ma voluptur? Quibus rerferupta volupit assimus as dolupidebiti dis nosandanis expelit, officip sandicipitem fugit, anti con plique estibus, que nos.

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LA VACHE, 20X30 CM, BACKLIGHT PRINT ON LIGHTBOX, 2015


FAT ON CANVAS You stated that your ‘Fat on Canvas’ series protests against the history of painting. Could you let our readers know in what way your work opposes the canons of art history?

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“The canons of art history, in painting especially, are saturated with images of naked women. All the great artists who wanted to paint the human body, develop their skills and explore the boundaries of the medium itself, painted mostly naked women. From the Renaissance to the Modern period, and even after it, for Vermeer, Lucian Freud and others, naked women models were always there. In my eyes, the modernists are the most hypocrites. Picasso, Monet, Manet, Modigliani, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and others claim to have changed the essence of painting, but they all are using women image in the same casual way. When I walked in the main museums in Europe, I saw the great masterpieces of the great famous artists, all men. Generally, it isn’t even the point of the work. Picasso didn’t paint naked fat women, he painted shapes and colors. The tendency to ignore the content and look only at the form is common practice and was instilled in us in art studies. I was disgusted by the infinite amount of female body images in the museums, and shocked by the fact that accompanying texts almost never refer to it. The private collections, the galleries, as well as the museums, all seem to be blind - by choice - to the moral and social meanings of showing 400 naked women in the same space. Am I the only one reflecting on the meaning of exposing so many female images? My experience was similar to wandering among porn sites. My project Fat on Canvas only showcases men. Men who look like Tony Soprano and my dad. They stand in their underwear, looking at the observer and smiling, at times alone and at times embraced as couples. I used their figures from a feminist standpoint, or out of spite, and paint only men and not women, to objectify them and take away some of their power. I am a young woman who paints older men. I win! They are referring to the canon of naked model posing for painters, ridiculous and monumental at the same time.”


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AMIT LEBLANG PROTEST AGAINST THE HISTORY OF PAINTING


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// “I COULD NOT CREATE IMAGES OF WOMEN” To what extent has queer theory and/or queer art impacted your work? “I am not sure I believe there is a thing called queer art. I am also suspicious about anything called feminine art or black art. I do however feel related to queer theory and feminist theory. Since I am currently a straight woman (until I discover otherwise) I act from that perspective. The part of theory in my works is always on the border between public and private. The theory I studied in philosophy classes is never only theory, but always enters my mind while I work, and turns into a part of the psychological reasons to my creation. Fore me, the paintings of the homosexual couples are a portrait of intimacy more than a way to showcase the queer agenda. One of the restrictions I imposed myself coming in to this project was that I could not create images of women. There are enough of those in the world. During the process of painting the men, I began asking myself more personal questions. Is it ok to be fat? Is it ok to be fat and happy? Is it ok to be fat and loved? The body that is compressed into clothes, compressed into a frame, the borders of the painting or photograph that press and compress it, like the clothes that no longer fit me. The couples in my paintings are showing my own search for peace with my body inside a relationship, and the hope that intimacy of that kind will free me of those feelings and self-critique. Through these men I can look at myself. I often think those paintings are all self-portraits. There are a few theoretical thinkers who impact me a lot, that are placed in the line between queer and feminist theory, such as Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Judith Butler and of course, Michel Foucault. I find my place in the timeline of art theory when I read the texts by those rebels, who opened my eyes to the foundations of my perception of gender, sexuality and body image. The doubtful point of view of the images around us, the fact that they are all influenced by porn and economic forces, are leading me to create an image that has connection to the porn world but looks for intimacy and delicacy. A lot of my models are gay porn stars I found on google search. I chose the subtler images, trying to give the sarcastic and harsh world of porn a humanity and another kind of attention, attention that is maybe, still, after all, more feminine.”

How does your personal experience studying in Israel fuel your creative process?

“Living and studying in Israel has a strong impact on my creative process. My BFA required constant attendance, intensive training and parallel work on many projects. I came from a system that moves fast, shifting between mediums constantly - a very “Israeli” way of working and studying - hectic and pressurising. I see many of the characteristics of the Israeli mentality in the military experience we are all obligated to participate in. In Israel, there is a mandatory military service, for girls it lasts two years, and for boys three, from the age of 18 to 20 or 21. The effect that kind of system has on each generation is significant. It takes it toll. The Israeli society is on constant fighting mode, always threatened by countries surrounding us. Even if that threat is partly imaginary, and the danger is not that grave, it feels like it is. The situation in the occupied territories and in the conflict areas in Israel is complex and sinks into every aspect of life. The intensity, the rush, the anger and the violence are all visible in different doses everywhere. In my project Fat on Canvas, the desire to rebel against the artworld and leave my mark has a relation to the military and masculine culture I grew up in. A while ago, I met an artist from Switzerland, who told me she knew some Israelis from her travels. She asked me about Tel Aviv and it’s reputation as a nightlife city. I said “it’s only because we all feel we are about to die tomorrow.” She said “all the Israelis say this same sentence about Tel Aviv.” That encounter made me realize that maybe this mentality is one we choose, rather than it being forced onto us. Maybe that point of view is so common because we all hear the same words, without reflecting on them and deciding for ourselves. When you meet someone different from you, you discover who you are.”

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// EXCERRO QUAM REIUR? QUI DOLUPTATEM CONSEDIT QUIAT DOLLABO. PIDUCIETUR REPERSP EDIONET, NONSEQUUNTIS ERSPED MAGNAM CUPTATQUE COMMO IN NOBIT UT EVENT ULPARCIA

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Utemquae Porquis


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// “LEARNING HOW TO PAINT THROUGH FEMALE MODELS FIXATES THE BRUSH” The process of painting is made evident in your works through the broad and visible brushstrokes. How do the stylistic qualities of the painting reflect the subject matter you are depicting? “When I painted the men, I tried to create an inseparable connection between the body and the character. They don’t exist without their bodies. I constructed them from patches of paint, without a preliminary drawing, existing without a skeleton, only flesh, their character and body intertwined. The poses of the men that give them their monumental and grotesque, intimate and modeling character, are what allows them to exist in the first place, and on the other hand, the pose is meaningless without the material presence. Content and form are the same thing in these paintings. In these paintings I wanted to adjust to myself the mannerism of the “male” body: rough, thick, heavy, and all other stereotypes. I wanted to start from the beginning of painting and look again at the basics of the color wheel, light and dark shades, and the way two dimensions turn into three. I had in mind the painters such as Josef Albers and Martin Kippenberger, with a bit of Dana Schutz and Jenny Saville. I think about the human body throughout history of art and the tradition of painting lessons. Nude model is a common way to learn how to paint and it is often one of the first experiences art students encounter. Usually it’s a woman. I suspect that learning how to paint through mostly female models fixates the way we use the brush and the way our hand creates its own style. My decision in this project was to learn how to paint, from the beginning, through male models. In a way, I looked for the style that is created when you paint fat, old, bald, hairy, homosexual, absurd men. I also wanted to bluntly show the materials of my paintings, showing their components. It is also one of the magical things I see in painting: it is a clear specific image but at the same time it is only color on canvas. In my paintings I try to allow those two motives co-exist and reveal themselves to the viewer. When I work on a painting I often work quickly and intuitively, not thinking of the whole picture, and the minute I take a few steps back I am surprised by the way those splashes of color merge into something clear. This moment in the studio is shocking and one of the reasons I still do it.”

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ALICJA BRODOWICZ V i s u a l E x e r c i s e s. A Series of Diptychs (2018)

‘In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.’ Alice Walker

“Human body and nature. Microcosm and macrocosm. The human form: irregular, wrinkled, saggy. Imperfect. Nature: wild, mysterious; sometimes incomprehensible, but always extraordinary. Abnormalities and perfection. By re-tracing the unity of formal elements, compositions, lines and shapes in the form of diptychs, the inter-relation of the human body and nature becomes apparent. This analogy leads to the realisation of the perfection of both. Estrangement from nature has led to the abuse of the environment and the body. Only through a reconnection with nature can we rediscover self-love and make the imperfect body perfect once more.”

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ALICJA BRODOWICZ

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ALICJA BRODOWICZ


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JASON HOROWITZ

JESSICA SPAULDING

Queer subjects have been denied a world and must conjure one into being”, states Julia Brayan-Wilson. Do you believe your photographs address this issue? “Yes, I believe my photographs examine this issue in a couple of ways. First, the scale, close-focus and hyper-realism of the images force the viewer to confront the subjects on their own terms. Their presence is palpable and inescapable. Second, exhibiting Drag in galleries and museums has proven validating for the participants. They often feel that their world is ghettoized and seen as separate from mainstream culture. The exhibitions an publication of the work offer a way to share their reality with the larger world.”

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How do you think portraits and landscapes intersect within your work? “For me, the place where portraiture and landscape come together becomes the expressive terrain of the human face and form -- they coexist as two sides of the same coin, depicting psychology and personality through a fusion of the micro and macro.”

TYRIA IMAN NO. 3


// DRAG

Do you believe scale can dehumanise and abstract the human body?

“I believe it can work both ways. Oftentimes, individuality can be lost with the abstraction that scale brings. Throughout the course of shooting Drag I worked to avoid that result by not going too close. It’s possible to get lost in all that fascinating detail and texture and I always wanted to maintain a balance between that abstraction and the presence of the individual. Plus, I believe that all that minutiae -- the way that makeup is applied and the small details of expression -- are simultaneously visually engrossing and psychologically telling about that particular person. In essence, the details that manifest with extreme scale become important portrait elements as well.”

Do you believe your works challenge the traditions of portraiture in art history? “I think that my work examines ideas of portraiture and strives to create an aesthetic that is based in what’s real rather than ideal. People are simultaneously attractive and repulsive, ideal and real -- and that tension is what makes us such fascinating subjects. Drag approaches that dichotomy directly through the balance it strikes between depicting the subject in toto and magnifying detail.”

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TYRIA IMAN NO. 3

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JESSICA SPAULDING NO. 3


TYRIA IMAN

How do the apparent juxtapositions of texture in your photographs parallel the tensions between identity and gender? “The tension between identity and gender manifests itself in Drag through the metaphor of makeup, which acts to simultaneously cover and reveal. The places where makeup and bare skin meet or where a bit of unshaven stubbleshows through, shatter the illusion of the mask and bring those identity tensions to the forefront.�

LASY SOFIA KARRINGTON BOUVIER NO. 1

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MATT PORTCH

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“I like to keep my pictures simple, clean a present-day objects. Almost as if the imag I photograph a scene, I like to capture eve simple and mundane; the detail of the cap My creative vision is to capture a calm an response from within.”


and graphic, which resonates with my background in design. I also want them to be absent of people and any notable ge acts as a snapshot of my own childhood memories; could the picture have been taken now or forty years ago. When erything across the frame in complete focus to give a heightened sense of reality. Given each picture is deliberately pture is just as important as the subject and becomes a character of the image in itself. nd melancholic disposition in the landscape and create a scene of discernible simplicity to evoke an emotional and

// ETURAT SIT ERUM CONPO LUPTAM QUI AUT QUI OFFICID QUE VERUMQUIS VERIS QUAM IUS. AD

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EMPTY POOL, CALIFORNIA


EMPTY POOL, CALIFORNIA57


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HOOP BY THE SEA, CALIFORNIA

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LOREEN HINZ // R O O T S You explain how photography was long admired for its capacity to capture details. Is that something you aim to challenge in your works? “No, definitely not. I am not the photographer, whose pictures have to be sharp and perfect to be good ones. Often I play with blurs or unsharp details. However, I use the photograph to build realities, to fool the human eye, and to amaze the observer. Through a skillful application of light, time, and small objects in front of the camera lens, I create minced light, smeared moments and contained movements that have a strong affinity to classical painting. In other respects, I agree with Max Ernst: ‘Please, gentlemen. Art has nothing to do with taste. Art is not there to be tasted’.”

Would you describe your works as ahistorical? “No, no way. Our visions are are shaped by our culture, our society, but also by art. For my inspiration, I deal a lot with art, its staging, poses and different lighting situations. The Old Masters form a historical context, and since I am often inspired by themes or pictures of the Old Masters, I would not consider my work to be ahistorical. Maybe as a kind of homage or photographic renaissance. That sounds lofty, I know. But that is how I see things.”

How do your works rethink the idealised traditional depiction of the female body in art? “For me, it is always exciting to see how the ideal of beauty changed over the centuries. The female naked body was considered beautiful for its fullness and litheness, later for its delicacy and androgyny. Just like today, it was also tricked, and only a few women looked like the idealized beauties found in paintings. There was no cellulite, stretch marks, pimples. The bodies were regular and gracefully erotic and mostly served male fantasies. Just like today. Spoiled and accustomed to perfection, of course, my eye strives for it and just like the painters of past centuries, I try to create the perfect body. However, I always try to redefine the term by choosing models like a very feminine boy or an unusually fat woman. For my artistic work, my model does not have to have classic model dimensions, but tattoos or piercings, colorful hair or false nails or eyelashes disturb me enormously. The model is designed to radiate a natural beauty that inspires me. A high quality and also a certain elegance. In the post-processing, I then remove annoying elements, smooth skin or remove pimples, so as not to disturb the unearthly overall impression of beauty through everyday normalities.”

You define yourself as a fashion and fine art photographer? How do you think these two domains will evolve in relation to each other in the future? “That is a good question. I see so much fashion photography, out of the box, without statement or aesthetics. I hope that this is just a trend, that at some point the human eye will long to go back to aesthetic images, to a sense of beauty. It is a field of great tension. Magazines or designers do not want to be too arty, so they can sell better. Galleries do not want to be fashionable, for the same reason. I hope that both sides are evolving, I think it would be a win for both sides. There are soothing individual cases, where this works quite well, but individual cases are unfortunately not visible in the big crowd.”

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ANNE CECILE SURGA

UNTITLED, 2019, CARRARA MARBLE, 45 X 25 X 12 CM


UNTITLED, 2018, CARRARA MARBLE, 50 X 13 X 9 CM

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UNTI

ANNE CECILE SURGA


ITLED, 2018, CARRARA MARBLE , 21 X 23 X 19 CM

Would you describe your works as feminist? “At this point, being a feminist is just as much part of who I am as me having brown eyes. I do not wake up in the morning and proclaim “I am Anne Cecile, I am a feminist,” but it is a position that I have in most aspects of my life, if not all. The condition of women in contemporary society and the history of fight for women rights is something I am really passionate about. I keep on reading and learning on a monthly basis on this issue, even though I have to admit sometimes I chose to refrain myself from doing so because I know it always ends up with me being really angry. I do not try to actively make feminist artworks. I really want to point out issues that are recurring in my life, and as a woman I experience the world from a certain stand, that is very different from a man’s life experience in general. For this reason, I feel more entitled to speak about women issues and to stand up for them. I am not positioning myself again men, but have a pro women discourse. It is obvious that my personal beliefs come out in my artworks, even though I want to tune them in a critical and elaborate way, instead of just throwing them at the public in a harsh and aggressive manner. I hope this position can foster a dialogue with the public and a reconsideration of society at large. I might be a big dreamer but I believe that the many qualities of art enable it to have a positive impact in society. A big feminist dreamer.” You transform hard materials, such as marble, into modified, malleable objects. How do you think the materials you use in your Corset series parallel the way in which they impact the viewer? “I am lucky that with sculpture, and particularly with marble, I can connect with the public not only on the intellectual level but also on the perceptive and more guttural level. I make art with a phenomenological mindset, hoping that the viewer will experience the artwork the same way. I am trying to say as much as possible with a limited visual vocabulary, because I do not want to give a straight reading of the artwork and I want to let the viewer explore and use his critical mind in order to find his own interpretation of the work. I believe that everything we experience, we do with our brain, our heart but also our body. I am trying to integrate this bodily perception in the material in order to offer a new clue of understanding or interpretation, one that cannot be directly explained and refers to natural reactions that we all can experience. Different materials have different ingrained associations: for example, if I think of marble or stone, I will personally think of warmness, softness, skin and probably luxuriousness, while if I think about metal I think about the cold, chains and weapons. With ribbons, I think about fragility, softness and candies. Everything is categorized, this is how the human brain works, we do not put everything in the same box, but some main ideas are shared by certain groups of people. I play with these perceptions and categorizations, and create mind ricochets between the thematic of the artwork, the material and the way I chose to transform and shape it.”

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// PINK CORSET

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// G R E E N C O R S E T Could you please explain your statement “my works can be understood as elaboration of emotional reactions to societal issues” in relation to your Corset series? “I made the corset series in 2017, as I was reflecting on the level of freedom a woman has upon her body and her image in the current society. There are two pieces that include ribbon into marble, which refer to how behaviors are learnt from a very early age. For example, the way we treat little girls, telling them to be pretty, nice and overall presentable while we push or accept little boys to go play outside and be more outspoken. Here the marble is used raw to refer to the raw and malleable mind a child can have, and the ribbon is piercing through it, in a gesture that at first could be understood as “cute”, but really, I am denouncing it as an imposing and intrusive act. The third piece is a black leather rope going through a polished pink marble. I am here referring to a woman body and I am playing again with a perception of desirability and everything that goes around it. Desirability is very important for oneself - but what if we are submitting ourselves to a specific image of desirability only because “society” taught us so? What is our freedom power and where does it lie between acceptance of the group and independence of choices? In this piece, the corset seems to be sewed directly into the skin of the woman, allowing a second reading of bodily pain which refers to the struggle of women having to subject their bodies throughout centuries in order to fit in. I think it is interesting to see and understand this series with my piercing series, where I question the notion of

Do you believe your works inscribe themselves in the long tradition of classicizing marble female nudes?

self-inflicted pain to create a new notion of beauty that goes against the values of western society. The person submitting herself to it bears in mind that the gesture could position her as an outsider of society. With the Corset Series, I wanted to reference the pain and self-inflicted deformations women feel and still think they have to go through. I believe the constant disapproval of women’s body plays a part with the overall disap-

proval of women as entitled and equal human in our society. Thus, my reaction was to create artworks that show how unfair, sad and dangerous it is to submit one’s mind to ideals without having a critical understanding of them, just because it is the way ‘we have always done it.’”

“I believe there is a predisposition both for the public and for artists to link marble with the representation of the body, because of its historical uses. When I first started with marble, I had a more realistic style, and now I think I use figuration in a more minimalist tone. My artistic research led me to focus on the essence I want to translate in my work, while getting rid off the superflux. I do not position my work against the classical representation of the body, but as an evolution or an extension of the possibilities we have to interpret the human body as a vessel for experience. The notion of the male gaze on the female body is central for me, and I am trying not to follow this path -which I consider we all have ingrained in our subconscious in different ways - in order to create a new esthetic of representation of the female body. It is a very sensitive path and I hope to achieve new representations which protest again stereotypes that sensualize victimization or sexualize strengths. I want to move away from the Madonna-Whore dichotomy in order to find a voice that is true, respectful and incisive. I dream that if I can catch this sensitive and volatile perception in my artworks, maybe I can spread a message across society and give new ideals and models of possibilities for women of all ages.”

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CORSET


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Susan Sontag states that “to photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themsevles, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.” How do you react to her understanding of photography? “From my point of view, photography is one of the artforms capable of extrapolating sensations. A single moment can produce a concrete image of the era in which we live, capturing everything from emotions, lifestyles, society and environment. Unlike this statement by Susan Sontag, I see photography as a tool to help us understand ourselves and our surroundings through a different language. Not by making objects and by violating the people photographed, but rather by giving value to life, showing the greatness and power of the connections that occur within us and that we express both outside and inside.”

Can you tell us a little more about your artistic process? “Before starting any project, I think a lot about what I want to represent. My projects are mainly conceptual. First, I spend a long time looking at my surroundings, until I find the stimulation to represent the feelings and the soul of what I observe. This happens mainly thanks to my great devotion to psychology, and my desire to represent what can be defined as abstract and impossible to photograph. But through conceptual photography, I find a way to express what I feel through photographic series, which refer to a concept, so that everyone can deal with them.”


How was studying and living in Florence influenced your works? “Moving from Calabria to study in Florence gave me the opportunity to see and live different lifestyles. Getting to know people from different cultures allowed me to open my mind and experiment new situations. Living in this city made of art has given me the opportunity to look at my surroundings in a deeper way. Milan is also very important for me, and gives me a contemporary point of view of today’s society. Nonetheless, I never forget the teachings I received from Catanzaro, which allow me to show the genuineness of feelings and the strength of connections between people and within ourselves. Every place where I have lived or visited has left me with a particular form of knowledge and a different way of seeing the world. Through my works I transmit the feelings I have experienced through all my life experiences.”

“I think photography has already created a bridge between figurative and abstract vision. Personally, I prefer photography that tries to capture abstract situation. Above all because photography is able to mix abstract shapes and figurative forms, giving extremely innovative points of view. In my opinion, abstract forms such as feelings and soul are the new frontier of photography that tries to give a visual perception of all that is abstract.”

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Do you believe photography can bridge the distinction between figurative and abstract forms?

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TOM HRICKO


ECHO BEACH

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Your photographs show a striking sensibility towards materials. How can textures and touch be transformed through photography? “Photography is a medium which depends on light for its existence. Textures, and therefore touch, can be rendered in various ways depending on the nature of the light which illuminates the textured materials. The visibility of textures can be greatly exaggerated or virtually eliminated through the choice/use of light and, to a lesser extent, optics. Understanding these and other process-related variables allows the photographer to achieve the intended result.”

How do your works engaged with your believe that “photography allows one to extract elements from consensus reality”? “‘Extracting elements from consensus reality’ means choosing which objects to include in the frame and which ones to exclude. This extraction is one of the many transformative steps in the picture making process, which can result in a photographic rendering that differs greatly from the original ‘consensus’ view.”

Would you consider your works as directly challenging the history of photography? “One’s work becomes an inevitable part of art history simply due to its existence in time. However, whereas the timeline of art history is linear, the location of one’s work within that timeline is not necessarily so. Traditional art historians apparently feel the need to define artistic movements in terms of logical progressions which, in my experience, conflicts with the non-linear nature of the creative process.”

How do these works engage with the rest of your artistic practice ? “I cannot separate parts from the whole.”

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Profile for Visible Spectrums

Visible Spectrums, ISSUE 1  

We are extremely proud to present the first issue of Visible Spectrums, a London based Contemporary Art Magazine that actively promotes arti...

Visible Spectrums, ISSUE 1  

We are extremely proud to present the first issue of Visible Spectrums, a London based Contemporary Art Magazine that actively promotes arti...

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