Not Random Art - Page 68

Well, I think it’s absolutely natural to explore the body through the arts. Humans invented painting to represent inert but also alive objects and to have an interaction with them. And of course the body is the object, in the sense of a material, that we know the most. So it makes perfect sense to represent it. The body is what relates us to the real world. It is the only “object” we really possess and we never lose, because If you lose your body you are dead. In fact is the body who loses you, it loses the conscience, but the body is what remains.

And it is also the image we produce to the world, the price we pay to take part in reality. It is also a big price. We struggle a lot with the idea of our own bodies as a whole but also something restricted by both living and dying. I relate with Freud’s idea that we are born being an organism, and when language develops our psyche starts to redefine the body. Language spreads through the body and we feel it physically. That is why we are an organism but the body is something you have, not something you are. My work is just a way of redefining the body through images, which are a language in itself. But it could be through everything really. I think at the end every piece of art talks about the human body, in one way or another. Maybe not directly, but the fact that it is an object done by someone is already related with at least, one person’s body, the one who created it.

How do you see the relationship between emotional and intellectual perception of your work?

Well, the way I see my work is different from the public, I tend to think it in terms of process. In my process the intellectual part is only before or after the painting itself, not during the act of painting it. So I read about different subjects in philosophy or psychology, or storytelling and myths, and then I plan the images. When planning the image I try to have a few ideas in mind but very vague, nothing really established, then I try to let myself go and think nothing while doing sketches or color scales. Then on the work, I try not to think much about what the picture means, but more about color, composition, representation, etc, elements of the aesthetics of an image. Sometimes the intellectual part comes after the work is done. Of course I need something to begin with, but for instance, sometimes I have two ideas that have nothing to do with each other and later, when the work is done, it seems they got together on the painting without doing it on purpose. As for emotion, I really don’t like much to use that word, because for me art is more about perception than emotion. It causes emotion to those who look at it, but that doesn’t mean you paint emotions. For example, for me it is much more useful something like a light reflection I saw that created a visual artifact in a tree at night, rather than sadness or joy captured on an artwork. I don’t think you should necessarily pursue the expression of your emotions in your art. You feel different things while doing it, but that could or could not have anything to do with the piece you are producing. I think emotion is the public’s call, not the artist’s.

Your artworks provide audience with a multi-sensorial experience. They can give both meditative and touching experience. Your works are strictly connected to the chance of establishing a deep involvement with your audience, both on the intellectual, emotional and – I dare to say – physical level. I would like to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process? In particular, how much do you consider the immersive nature of the viewing experience? How important is for you the feedback from the receivers of your artworks?

Yes, I think that personal experience is indispensable to do art, but not personal experience in the tacky sense of painting your personal feelings. Feelings end up being limited. I think people do arts, and at some point, if the relationship between what you want to say and how you say it is honest, the personal experience appears captured on the artwork, whether you like it or not. I would use the expression “personal experience” in a very radical sense, like the way you move your hand, the way you mix colors, all those aspects that make the work done by you and not by any other person. But very often those are not elements one can explain with words. That is what makes a painting unique. I think the things you perceive with your senses and the experiences you have in relationship with your surroundings are going to reflect in an artwork you do. Your hand is there, your body is there as an imprint.

When I am painting, normally I don’t have in mind the experience of looking, specially not the experience of others. In any case, I have a sense of a ghostly public, a vague idea of a public, which ultimately determines what I personally would like to see, so somehow the public is me. If the images you want to see are already done by someone, you don’t get to do them yourself, what is done is done. But if you have a vague idea in mind of something you would like to see and nobody did it, then you have to do it yourself. In any case the result is never what you had in mind, so you end up in the same place as you started.

The viewers very often have a very visceral feeling around my paintings because they normally see the image before knowing anything about it. And since the works are expressive and not realistic, many people tend to forget there is a coherent reason why the painting was done, what is the meaning. The intellectual analysis comes later or sometimes it never comes. Many people don’t go beyond their taste, and whether you like it or not is such a fast question to answer for them, but very often I can’t do anything with that information. Other people ask me the reasons and grounds and then the conversation becomes more interesting.

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.