Not Random Art - Page 105

Hello Sam, 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?

As my practice currently concerns the notion of making feelings a visual entity, I am putting feelings on a platform above the aesthetic. By doing this, I am recognising my identity which is not defined by how I look, but rather, how I am. By presenting myself and my body from the inside, out, I am questioning the way in which I am perceived as an artist, a woman, a human being. I often use aesthetic materials within my practice such as acrylic paint, which highlights the contradictions often apparent within my work. This notion of juxtaposing the internal and the external also reflects the current political and social climate: full of contradictions, which in turn of course contributes towards my identity. I must conclude by saying that I can’t separate myself as an artist and as a human being, as art is a direct result of my experiences, which therefore is my identity.

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?

Specifics about my life background is not relevant to the audience, as my life background is the spark which fuels my practice and is therefore only relevant to me as the artist. As my current work manifests from my feelings, I use personal experiences and emotions as a means of production. These experiences can range from the mundane all the way to personal life crisis’, though the strength and progression of the work is not measured through the type of experience, but rather through the communication, research and development of said work from that initial spark.

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?

Although personal experiences and emotions are the prime mover in my artistic practice, I refer to artists and am influenced by artworks in many different ways, often when those emotions are not in place to make art. I use artists to cultivate my work, so I could not possibly identify just one. Concerning my paintings, I was influenced by Maria Lassnig’s ‘body awareness’ paintings. Here, I made ‘body map’ paintings, which explored how my body felt from the inside with one hand, and then painted what I felt with the other hand. Lassnig similarly mapped her body from the inside, out, where she particularly emphasised how she felt as a woman artist working in the 20th century art world. Regarding materiality, I am influenced by Karla Black, and I am particularly interested by her use of material to suggest stereotypes of femininity to scrutinise the audience’s clichéd associations. When concerning the performative aspect of my practice, I am influenced by Devon Forrester-Jones, and the way she works with improvisation, performance and communication, whilst drawing the audience in through her engaging pieces, such as Devon Forrester-Jones (2016). Like Forrester-Jones’ work, I involve the audience in my practice. Although I do not verbally ask for their participation, I invite the audience in through my use of material and ritualistic approach to the piece, making my piece something to be experienced. Finally, I am not just influenced by artists and artworks, as anything can impact my work at any given time. For instance, as my work is so concerned with my internal state, I am therefore interested in things which question the internal state and make the audience question themselves in the process. This influences include the 1999 film Fight Club, and the 2014 film Birdman. Even the Fight Club soundtrack by The Pixies, Where is my Mind has haunted my dreams and influenced the thinking around my work.

What is the role of technique in your practice? In particular are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating?

Although my practice can be very intuitive and spontaneous, where I will often trust my own instincts and try out new ideas, it is still set around many precise rules set as a framework to make. One of these frameworks concerns the application of material and the technique I use to make. No matter what the art form I am using, whether this be sculpture, painting, performance or installation, I have to make the work with my hands or be involved physically in the work in some way. I need that connect with the material and the work, where I will either apply paint with my hands sitting on the surface of the work, manipulate material live, or sculpt using soft materials such as clay or lard. That sense of physical connection then strengthens the emotional and internal connection I have. Ideally, this then transfers to the audience, making them feel drawn in and involved in the work as well.

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.