Not Random Art - Page 30

Hello Jarvis and welcome to NotRandomArt. The current issue is revolving around the problem of 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?

Today, everything is changing fast and most people feel confused, disconnected and very stressed. Art for me is a way to heal. It is a very intimate activity that allows you to interact with the world on a different level, without the screen of the mental activity. It enables you to experience life in its rawer, purer state. So there is the identity of the artist and there is the identity of the person. Probably both are linked. As an artist, you are taught at a very early age to doubt yourself, not to trust your instinct, to dismiss your craziest ideas and eventually to merge with the ‘norm.’ As a person, you don’t even know who you are anymore. You cannot trust yourself to become an artist, or to be able to make a living out of it, and you eventually merge with the ‘norm’ as well. The act of creation takes you back to yourself. It connects you with your true identity, beyond words, concepts and ideas, beyond all the –isms, beyond the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘musts.’ So I definitely think that, yes, my cultural identity forms my aesthetics. Growing up in a western European industrialized country, I identified with some images of what art ‘is’ and what art ‘should be’. That’s a bias. And that’s something you have to learn. The most important thing is not whether your cultural identity forms your aesthetics, it always does and always will, for everyone in the world, because you have to start somewhere, No, the question is whether you’ll have the courage to let go of other people’s rules in order to create something true and real.

Would you like to tell us something about your background? Could you talk a little about experiences that have influenced the way you currently relate yourself to your artworks?

I’ve always loved drawing and painting. I started when I was a child and never stopped. At 20, I went to live in Paris, France, to do an art school. I used to spend all my free time drawing in the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. I also worked as an assistant in an art gallery facing the Louvre. And at some point, I got fed up with all that and decided to leave everything to go and live in Australia. I needed a new start, I needed to define myself as an artist after all the knowledge I had been swallowing. And I needed sunshine! I love artists who offer something wild, something broken in their art. Basquiat is one of my favourite, and I’m often more influenced by the way the artist explains his/her art than by the art itself. I trust the process. The result (the painting) is but a side effect.

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?

I would say ‘Le Grand Verre’ by Marcel Duchamp. And to a larger extent, everything Duchamp has created. His work took me to abstraction and helped me feel free as an artist. Free to make mistakes, to discover, to try, to follow my heart. Art is something personal that gets universal when shared. But first, you have to be willing to let go of your preconceived ideas, your fear of not selling and not pleasing, and you have to find your voice. Duchamp was deeply revolutionary in his time and he is known today as the father of conceptual art (for the better and for the worse). But, most of all, he was daring and confident enough to break free from the artistic norm of the 20th Century in order to take laughing back into art. Art is a game and should never be something too serious.

When one is looking at, experiencing your works, one is being confronted with the mosaic nature of life: fragments, pieces, emotions, separated, examined, zoomed in, co-existing in a symbiosis with unrestrained nature, life that paves the way through weakness and emptiness. Could you share your thoughts on such interpretation of your works?

I really like this interpretation. There are always some empty spots on my paintings so that the viewer can see what is underneath the colour and the paint, so that she doesn’t forget the raw material or the blank canvas, the white paper which are the support for the paint. Once you’ve covered every piece of your canvas in paint, you cannot go back to the pristine white canvas. So every move you make is important. The colours I add on the support are life paving the way through the emptiness of the blank canvas, as you said. And life is a roller coaster of difficult and wonderful, beautiful moments. It’s a kaleidoscope of emotions and events and thoughts and people. A crazy, colourful dance of separated fragments that are linked together by the support.

Urbanoiz is a project of making a “culture” not just for artworks. I’m interested in various fields like fashion, music and merchandising…etc. And if it’s story about our life in the city, I always hop on to work on this project regardless of any creation form. Recently I’m preparing for really interesting project, so that people can interact with my art work more closely in the city. I will make more efforts to let people find this “urban noise’ everywhere in the city. This is going to be very hard, but I am thrilled to continue this project.

t all started at the Academy of Fine Arts in Trondheim, Norway, in the mid 90's and with my research in Video Art and the History of Video Art. During that period, I experimented with the cameras available at the time, such as Hi8, Super-8, and DV. I learned how to edit using Avid and produced numerous small experimental art films. Conceptually, I was inspired by video artists such as Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, and Bruce Naumann amongst many others. I used effects and experimental sound in my films. It was a very exciting time for my development, and I explored all kinds of filmic work, from 80's video art to more experimental directors of the time, such as Peter Greenaway, Jim Jarmusch, and Hal Hartley as well as the greats such as Federico Fellini, Luis Buñuel, and Jean-Luc Godard. So my work was shaped by this strange hybrid of influences: everything from animated MTV shorts to deeply conceptual post modernistic cinema.

Later on, I started to build video installations, combined with photography, objects and performance. From this, I started to become involved with stage art and independent dance and theatre. Several directors have given me the time and space to experiment using multiple video projectors, and my work has become an active element onstage, sometimes interacting with the performers. Every project has been useful in some way for exploring and refining my ideas. Now in my capacity as film director, I'm able to call upon my experiences gained from working as a cross disciplinary artist.

Your artworks are revolving around the problem of social identity and cultural affiliations. 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?

I belong to a minority group in society and that identity is always a part of me and my work. I don’t believe my artworks are changing due to unstable times but that I'm working my way through a theme and a method over time. The content of my work is becoming more and more personal and I think that is because I dare to be more honest with myself. What I find interesting to work with is in my immediate presence. When I collaborate with stageartists, we often focus on a current political theme. In these collaborations I work more as an art activist and have a broader openess for the aesthetics. My work is then more experimental with research on different ways to develop live presentations in the space.

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?

“Revolted 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.