Not Random Art - Page 114

You are a versatile artist and you incorporate a lot of media in your works, including drawing, photography, and oil painting, showing an organic synergy between a variety of expressive capabilities. Still, drawing is the central technique that you come back to. What is the role of the multidisciplinary approach in your practice and what is the special characteristic of the technique you are being pulled back to?

I actually think it’s about the precision. Painting doesn’t come naturally to me; it’s unpredictable and messy. Drawing allows me to hold a single pointed tool and make specific and detailed marks. It’s immediate too, which is very important. The urgency of getting an image out of my head is intense; I don’t have the patience to mix colours or wait for paints to dry! Some images call for painted mediums and others for photographs, but most of them want to be drawn. I’ll often try different mediums to experiment. Sometimes I need to write a piece of music first, and then the image will come to me. I remember in art school we had to make a sculpture of an animal, and it made absolutely no sense to me because I wasn’t interested in doing that. Everyone started to sculpt cats and dogs and bears, and I was just sitting there with nothing. I realised that since an idea wasn’t appearing, I had to create an environment for it to be born into, so I set to work on a piece of music that felt emotionally right, which was a sort of oceanic, reverberating, bass-saturated electronic track. I knew I’d find a creature in there. And I did: it was this aquatic micro-organism with an undulating, wave-like outer body. It looked like the physical embodiment of a sound wave, and also a bit like a manta ray. So then I could start the sculpture.

Besides my abstract drawing, there’s also life drawing, which is a fascinating experience. For the past two years I’ve been focusing on drawing the human figure, because I had never drawn people before and wanted to catch up. There is this rush – I guess it comes from the intensity of concentration required – where I’m analysing and measuring and empathising and marking the paper in a rapid chance to capture the moment. It’s a test of my ability to connect with the model in the brevity of a 5-, 10-, or 20-minute pose, and to execute my anatomical understanding at the same time. Those studies are where I learn to trust myself, to explore different techniques, and to push myself to find the form. It’s so intimate, too. I find myself connecting so strongly with each person I draw.

What is really drawing attention to your works is the way they accomplish a difficult task of creating a channel of communication between the conscious and the unconscious sphere. When walking our readers through genesis of your works, would you shed a light on the role of metaphors in your practice?

I was lucky enough to have as a teacher and friend, a great Italian artist and master of the woodcut as Tranquillo Marangoni. The first thing he taught me, and that I will always take inside me is that we need have hurry, you need to take care of every detail so that what you present to the audience, is really what that you want to show of your intentions. So, in order to do that, you have to be prepared in the artistic discipline 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. I don't think I am trying to communicate specific messages in my artwork, but rather I am interpreting the world and reflecting it. Imagery is the language of my heart; it's what I can truly communicate with. To be still and to observe, and let the images flow in, is a wonderful feeling. I never try to obscure the world into metaphorical imagery - it's more that I often understand things initially through visual metaphor. For example, if I'm going through something emotionally painful, I might see the brief image of a contorted gesture. And if I decide that the image should exist as a photograph or a drawing, then I start paying attention to it, and I might begin to understand it as an unexplored emotional state. This is what the Submorphic series is about: the movement from one state of being to another, and the awkwardness of that transition. There is always this strange moment when I'm working – and many artists are the same – when I suddenly know the piece is finished, and the mood is right. Someone else might look at it and say it's incomplete or underdeveloped, but I know that it's as far as I can take it, and now it's got to go out into the world. I love that feeling, because it's like the piece itself is speaking to me, and I have to be so minutely in tune with it. Every motion and every mark I make is part of this beautiful partnership with an inner voice, and it's my voice, but it's also something bigger than that. These subtleties are very important to me and they guide me through each work that I undertake. I have to be really sensitive and responsive throughout the process.

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?

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.