Not Random Art - Page 127

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15

Pejo

The Belgian artist couple. In real life and in artistic life a couple that made its way into the glass art world, Johanna as Laureate Master in stained glass and fusion techniques and Peter an award winning international designer joined hands and minds to create contemporary glass art.

They started with modern stained glass windows but gave it a three dimensional twist by adding perspective. Glass needs light so they mounted it in frames with LED lights, that way the stained glass windows can be hanged anywhere and still have the sparkling colors as it was hanging in the window. Now they have set their mind to glass fusion. Starting with small abstracts mounted in old wood to large figurative glass works. Experimenting with new materials and techniques, creating a whole new fantasy world where the art lovers needs to use their imagination to see the color in what looks at first sight a black and white artwork. The natural reflection of the glass guides them. Being restless, the search of creating new, original and different glass art, drives them to think out of the box. No boundaries that’s the new approach. Their glass art stands alone, not in frames. It’s a more dynamic and powerful presentation that suggests movement and speed. Therefore, their newest creations are made with broken glass, fused together in realistic scenes, portraits, sport events, animals or the capture of a book story. Their strength is not only exclusivity but they make everything together by talking (read discuss), drawing, presenting, imagining, laughing and enjoying the new ideas to create that one piece they think should be the next in line. And believe me, they have a lot of lines still to be explored.

Pejo’s glass art is found in many homes in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Norway, Denmark, Thailand and even the United States of America.

www.pejoglassart.com

pejoglassart@gmail.com

Is there any particular way you would describe your identity as an artist but also as a human being in dynamically changing, unstable times? In particular, does your cultural substratum/identity form your aesthetics?

Our identity is formed trough our education and the way we were raised, both our fathers were artists, one was a sculptor, one was a glazier and both were painters. Born in the late 50 ‘s, (pre internet or even television at home) meant that we had to use our “imagination”. A piece of wood could be anything, a sword, a horse what ever we wanted it to be. We created whole new universes just in our minds, “Avatars” avant la lettre. We both had a different life. We met at the age of 8 and kept in touch all throughout our teens. We started living together at the age of 19 and saw the world change, social control disappeared, people got caught up in life, society wanting more, better, faster and cheaper. We also were victims of that time but happily stepped away from it, much to late for our feelings because now we are creating and we feel time is running out. We have too many ideas to be able to get them all done in our lifetime. The artworks we saw at home and by visiting, at a young age, museums and galleries all over Europe certainly changed our perception on beauty and skills. Fascination, admiration and the ambition to create such strong scenes, sometimes with only a few strokes of paint, stayed in our minds.

Would you like to tell us something about your artistic as well as life background? What inspired you to be in this artistic point in your life where you are now?

In this throwaway society we want to create lasting artwork, glass can last forever, we recycle objects formed by nature or men to complete our vision and presentation. We never compromise for the money or the glory. What we create is from the heart and we both have to be convinced that the artwork we make has soul, can make us proud and happy. Exclusivity is our motto. I, Peter studied photography and graphical design. Worked for years in the photo industry and ended up with my own publicity studio. Due to back problems I was forced to quit working on regular bases.

olted by the Thought of Known Places… Sweeney Astray” by Joan Jonas was one of the first performance installations that really made a huge impact on me. I was living in Paris during this time, in the early 90s, with a lot of influences from different cultures. It became the starting point of my own work. Joan Jonas practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual, and the authority of objects and gestures. Jonas continues to find new layers of meanings in themes and questions of gender and identity that have fueled her art for over thirty years. She is a great inspiration still today.

It is impossible to avoid the topic of body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity that we see in your practice. What is the function of the identity appearing in your artworks – is it a canvas used to present your ideas or rather the subject of the art? What inspired you to use this as a theme in your practice?

I have been developing my visual imagery since I began studying art and film - from conceptual thinking, composition, using light and colour in different ways, through all the different techniques I've utilised over the years in my work and in my collaborations with stage artists such as dancers, musicians and actors. My approach is always developing through exploring these things. Visual imagery in essence is your way of experiencing what you see and transforming it. This is my world that I want to share and express through my art. The body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body and personal identity is part of this visual imagery, the emotional essence in my practice. Always present and always developing in different themes and projects.

Marina Abramovic stated: You see, what is my purpose of performance artist is to stage certain difficulties and stage the fear the primordial fear of pain, of dying, all of

which we have in our lives, and then stage them in front of audience and go through them and tell the audience, 'I'm your mirror; if I can do this in my life, you can do it in yours.'Can you relate anyhow to these words?

de-identify myself, by losing my roots, my culture, I would be very happy. Unfortunately the human being does'nt choose the place where he is born. He grows up in a society that automatically identifies, through education, culture, family... More than ever I think it's more important to go on a way of self-knowledge with the aim to meet “the other”.. This other without which we can not exist. It's the same for the artist. It is more important for me to be focused on my practice than to try to define it according to esthetic criteria of identification. It's probably the reason i like to remember the painter Matisse who said or wrote that an artist must never be prisoner of himself, prisoner of a style, prisoner of a reputation.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Could you talk a little about experiences that has influence the way you currently relate yourself to your artworks?

All my way is influenced by encounterings.

It began by the meeting with my professor of literature at school. More than giving French or Literature classes, she brought us to discover texts, movies, plays, visual artworks and to think about on what we saw or read.. Thanks to her that I met Pierre Vincke, a theatredirector who was worjink in the tradition of Grotowski ... Both of them have led me to go to theater school. In this school I had meetings. Meetings with artists but also and especially human beings that made me discover. I always need o discover rather than to master a practice. It's probably the reason my encounter with Monica Klingler and Boris Nieslony was decisive for me and led me on the path of Performance Art which is a form still difficult to define. Each performance artist has a different definition of what it is...

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about race and ethnic identity in visual culture?

No I don't have a specific artwork that has influenced my artistic practise but many.

I'm influenced by some philsophers as well as poets or musicians or dancers or visual artists but also by some places or landscapes or atmospheres ... For some years, I was used for example to go to India where I was used to follow some traditionnal muscians or to learn bharatanatyam and practice vipassana meditation... Of course this experience has impacted my art work.... This brought me to think and work differently... My experience in India brought me to discover traditionnal strong art and paradoxally to the way of Performance Art. But there I see one common point: to make no separation between art and life and to be here and now, without projection on the future.

It's difficult for me to speak about race and ethnic identity. But I can say that today we miss more and more this notion of “to be here and now” which is more present in some cultures ... By practising Performance Art, it's my way to be connected to this way of thinking. And even in this field actually it's more and more difficult. The society and the art world brings us more and more to plan in advance, to define our work, more than to do. Just to do. To do what we deeply need.

And of course, my encountering with Black Market International and later the notion of Open Source or Open session via PAErsche have also a big impact on my work. When we go on that, each of us perform by sharing time and space but without trying to convince each other on some common way. This is for me a wonderfull way how we can meet each other, regardless of our origin, our race or our “identity”...

Many of your works carry an autobiographical message. Since you transform your experiences into your artwork, we are curious, what is the role of memory in your artistic productions? We are particularly interested if you try to achieve a faithful translation of your previous experiences or if you rather use memory as starting point to create.

My memory is clearly a starting point to create. I don't have any autobiographical message. I use my personnal experience ( what I feel , what I see, what I learn, what I ear...) to work. It's a motor or a material. I'm not able to paint, so I can't do something with red or white or yellow or black colors. All I have is life, a body alive. And I need to do something with that...

My sensation about life sometimes is too intense then I need to transform this intensity in some action. Some artistic action... If people can take something from this action this is great... but I don't want to give them “a specific message” or to control the translation of my experience.