Not Random Art - Page 113

Hello Léna 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?,

Hello, thanks for this wonderful opportunity!

We are all creative beings, and I think a lot of problems arise when we don't create. I feel that having integrity to a creative vision, whether it be in the field of art, or music, technology, ecology, economics – whatever contributes to positive and humanistic change – is super important. I have the sense that while art reflects the world, it’s not purely ideological. Art can be novel, it can be transcendent, and it can drive us into the future. Although I embrace various types of artistic expression, I feel that art should always inspire. And I don’t mean inspiration in the sentimental, corny sense of the word: I mean a real provocation; a spurring of meaning and introspection. When we are inspired, we connect to our inner selves. And then we have a real chance to evolve. For me, making art is a matter of livelihood. If I don’t make art, I lose myself – I become mute. Inevitably my cultural identity informs my artwork, but while some of my work might deal with psychology or the human condition upon analysis, I'm rarely thinking about these things directly. My work is predominantly abstract or surreal, and so my creative process is usually much more elusive and mysterious. Only after the idea arises can I draw any rational meaning from it. I find ideas to be really extraordinary – they just manifest out of nowhere, sometimes fully formed, or in the narrative of a dream. In terms of my identity, I feel I have the responsibility to realise these ideas. Sometimes I'll be on a roll with a project, but then it slowly wanes and I feel like letting it go. I've got to remind myself at that point that this idea is unique, and that I am in the unusual position of having it. Whatever it is, and whatever it means, I can allow it to exist in the world. No one else is going to do that.

We would like to ask you a question about your background: You have completed your Visual Arts study in 2015, and previously studied linguistics and philosophy at Melbourne University. How has the solid formal, interdisciplinary training influenced your evolution as an artist? And in particular, how does your cultural substratum relate to the way you connect with art making and its aesthetic?

After high school I did my BA in Linguistics and Philosophy to expand my knowledge and to exercise my analytical mind. My love of linguistics and philosophy really helped me to examine myself and my place in the world. It also continued to feed my artistic investigations, because it gave me all these wonderful theories and allegories and concepts that I had never thought of before, that I loved to translate into my own imaginative imagery. After my BA, and in an attempt to find something I was passionate about that I could actually make money from, I began to study Nutritional Medicine. I got to a point that I was working so hard on my medical studies – biochemistry papers, physiological schematics and all of that – that my creativity and artwork became more and more neglected. I was also going through a major break-up at the time, and my depression manifested itself in panic attacks, which would either occur in the student clinic or in the middle of the night. It was a horrific time. Nutritional medicine was definitely not for me, and ironically – nutrition is supposed be enriching and wholesome – it was making me miserable. After an exhausting period of self-analysis and reflection, and in my final year, I decided to leave. I ditched the whole thing, and turned to my art. Letting go and ignoring all of the voices that say, You’ve come this far, you’ll fail if you back out, and, you’re going to be broke forever as an artist, was hard, but it was vital – and I mean that in the very sense of the word. It was life-saving. In terms of my artistic education, I had always hesitated to study art formally because I thought it might hinder or restrict the true imagery that I wanted to explore. After some years of teaching myself how to draw and paint, and after a year of leaving Nutrition, I finally decided that some formal training probably wouldn’t hurt. So I enrolled in a Diploma of Visual Arts. The most significant thing about the course was not the practical training, but the community. I had turned away from an environment that was sucking the life out of me, and towards a family of like-minded and inspired individuals. It allowed me to learn to express myself in ways that I’d been afraid to before, and to take a good look at the dark and repressed parts of myself that I hadn’t dealt with. So, while the formal training of the Diploma had little impact on my art, the exploration of my identity, meeting these wonderful people, and feeling at home, did. After various attempts at trying to be something that I wasn’t, I finally began to accept myself as an artist. And it was that initial step that spurred me to develop my techniques and skills, which I continue to do through a combination of listening to the advice of more experienced artists, and a commitment to regular practice and experimentation.

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.