Not Random Art - Page 99

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15

)Hello Vincent and welcome to NotRandomArt. The current issue is revolving around the problem of communication and identity. 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?

Identity has always been a complicated issue for me. I was born and raised in Taiwan, but due to my parents effort to immigrate to Canada in my early childhood, I was sent to bilingual schools in Taiwan and spent most of the summer in Canada for years. Even though they ultimately decided to stay in Taiwan, I have always felt like an outsider in my own country, the early contacts with western culture might have caused my detachments to traditional Taiwanese values. Personally, I think Taiwanese culture and my Asian heritage does not contribute to my aesthetics as much as I would like it to, but the sense of not belonging has major impacts on my work on a conceptual level.

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 when you are now?

There are two phases of my life that inspired me to be the artist I am today. When I was in middle school, I was considered a troubled kid by many teachers and peers. I would spend the entire day drawing on my sketchbook and ignore whatever the teachers was lecturing. I then had a deal with my teachers that as long as I put up a weekly comic and artworks on the bulletin board they would agree to let me continue drawing in class. Through my artworks, teachers and classmates started to understand me and think of me differently rather than a weirdo that lives in his own world. That is when I realized that art is the most powerful communication device, it transcends language and judgements. Then I made the life changing decision in my life after a few years, I moved to New York City to study fine art at the School of Visual Arts, where I was introduced to the immense possibilities of art and the power of sculpture. I have been exploring the potential of three-dimensional objects ever since.

Could you identify a specific artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about your identity as a participant of the visual culture?

David Altmejd’s sculpture, Untitled 1 (The Watchers) made in 2009.

Your artworks reveal stimulating search of an organic symbiosis between different levels and layers of representation of embodied emotions. Your artworks evoke question about how do we perceive our bodies as aspects of emotion and cognition and how are feelings represented in the body itself? While walking our readers through your process, we would like to ask you if could give more explanations to this approach, as well as do you work with your body to evoke emotions you translate into your artworks?

As a sensitive person, I think about my behaviors and desires. I feel a sense of guilt about saying things I don’t mean, harboring aggressive thoughts, or mistreating the people I love. It makes me wonder: Why are we the way we are? How can we make sense of the complex network of our thoughts, behaviors, and desires? Or is it futile to rationalize the human condition and all of its absurdities? Through creating artworks, my attempts at making sense of myself and the chaotic world unfold.

Taking art functions as psychoanalysis and therapy for me. My work, however, transcends the personal. Through each work I create, I learn a little more about human vulnerability in relation to the outside world. The tension between the higher self (superego) and bodily impulses (id) is a recurring theme of my work. Through Sigmund Freud’s theory of the uncanny and Julia Kristeva’s concept of abjection, I came to recognize the impact the body has on us psychologically. After all, everyone can relate to one’s own body on a personal level.

You use an overlay technique to represent a different vantage point on the built environment. What is the role of technique in your practice? In particular are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating?

Technique is a central part of my practice, I employ a variety of different techniques and materials in my work, they often represent different layers of our mind-body problems. For instance, I employ polystyrene foam, polyurethane foam, and silicone rubber to represent the body, bodily fluids, and skin. The irony of using synthetic materials as flesh betrays the dichotomy between our organic and ethereal minds and machine-like bodies. Furthermore, I leave armatures and layers of materials exposed to disarm the figures’ psychological defenses, allowing us to dive deep into the complex human psyche.

There isn't a set of rules that I follow when I create my works, just like the growth and decay of our body, my art making process is rather organic. I usually have a vague idea of what I want to make, but through time the idea transforms and grows along the transformation of the physical product. In other words, I cannot follow any rules or plans, my finished works never end up as anything close to the idea I had originally planned.

line and in the medium, that you have to learn, so that an artist or a painter or a designer can build through manual techniques , a painter or designer has different possibilities of interpretation.

Each technique must be studied in order to understand its meaning. Michelangelo, Picasso and Bacon are the painters that I love, they have focused their artistic expression in the study of the human figure , and especially every deep aspect of the Aristotelian view of the world, but my interest is, above all in the feelings that a human being receives from his senses.

It becomes for me the same meaning of the painting, and everything that I do on the paper or canvas, is represented by the sign, that expresses the final product of the artistic work. Meaning and significance are mixed in the representation of a very fragmented world, confused and disoriented. The computer screen or smartphone is a multiplier of images, and I sometimes wonder, if they need also my image. I answer yes, they need, because the representation, in this limited space in height and length, but not in depth, has to be investigated, in order to represent the vision we have of this fragmentation, this deafening silence of humanity overwhelmed by events and immersed in a seemingly unknown context.

For this representation, I choose different ways , I paint a natural or urban landscape, an abstract painting, or something it can remind a sort of surrealism, because using the painting as a medium, I can represent the different souls of nature around me.

Each technique expresses the representation. And the representation expresses the passage of time.

The relationship between my hand, the medium and the surface, a result obtained by means of the time, that I dedicate to the revelation of what is my summary on the colors and shapes, and through what I have seen and undertaken as, then I transfer it on canvas or sheet of paper. Time is the true protagonist, represented by the technique of the whole represented image.

My paintings and my drawings to be appreciated in all their fullness, should be observed very closely, in the same way that I conceived them. You have to put the viewer in front of the work and let him to explore it, like you are in a place and if you want to see everything that is around, you have to move your eyes in every direction.

I suggest this way to view and appreciate every work, but especially mine, whatever the way and the mean used.

What in your opinion defines a work of art? And moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?

II must admit I find this question incredibly hard! What defines a work of art??? I keep coming back to “originality” and “passion”. I think if someone has created something from scratch with his own hands, with passion, with heart and soul, whatever and wherever that spiritedness and desire stems from, no matter how beautiful or how ugly, you could call it art.

As for the contemporariness of an artwork, I don’t necessary believe there is a specific feature which defines the work modern. All art at one point in time was “contemporary” in comparison to what came before it.

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?

Definitely being female in this day and age influences my aesthetics. I guess you could say I am a feminist artist, not the bra burning, sign wielding type, but I certainly believe in equality for women, particularly in art. I empathise with women involved in the art world of history past and am awed by their courage and how far female artists have fought to shine through… but it still isn’t over yet. Through my art I believe I am conveying a woman's sense of self. Her individualism, her beauty, sensuality and mystery, her sexuality, strength and heart.

Your art seems to be a quest for “balance between abstract and realism, manipulating lines and colours to create a kaleidoscopic feel while remain a meticulous sense of order using acrylic and mixed media.” What is the role of technique in your practice? In particular are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating?

The very beginnings of inspiration for a new painting is to look for a pose. I will often troll through images of Avant Garde fashion photography, ballet, dance, naked portraiture and/or body-scapes to find just the right one. Once I have the pose that strikes me (YES!) I take it from there, drawing up a rough sketch adding patterns and geometrical shapes which contrast the lines of the main silhouette.

From there I sketch my plan on to a blank canvas (always making changes and additions to the new layout). Once I am happy with that I start to add colour. My fine lines are all executed without masking; using a small brush, even hand, and steadfast concentration. Then I apply layer upon layer of colour until I achieve beautiful unyielding saturation and impeccable print-like quality.

How do you see the relationship between emotional and intellectual perception of your work? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience?

The emotional and intellectual relationship of my work always begin as two very seperate things. At first glance, my art may seem frivolously aesthetic .The colours are vibrant, and deliciously arresting. But then you look a little closer, even through the simplicity of the block colour and basic lines of geometry and pattern, there is always a story within… and that is when the emotional and intellectual perception of my art merge and the true beauty is discovered.

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.