Not Random Art - Page 70

Hello Nikolas 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?

I have always found my sense of self - thus my identity as an artist - to be mutable, diverse and permeable. My cultural background is quite diverse. I am a racial genetic “mutt”. I am Jewish, African-American, British, French, Dutch, Russian and American Indian. So I have never been able to identify solely with one particular race, religion, cultural niche group, etc. Growing up mostly in LA in an extreme melting pot of cultures, and also growing up in South Dakota, Canada, Virginia, New York City and San Diego, I’ve never felt that I was a part of one group or culture in particular. My father is a Jewish New Yorker who moved to Los Angeles in 1963 to work as a Cinematographer in the film industry. His father came from the Ukraine in 1906 at the age of 6 and became a political radical who was a life long member of the American Communist Party. My mother is African-American, white and American Indian. She spent the late 50’s and early 60’s singing and playing guitar in an all girl folk band that toured the world managed by Doug Weston who owned The Troubadour in West Hollywood. My maternal grandfather was the son of an ex-slave who had fled the racism of the deep south to make a home in California in the 1920’s, while my paternal grandfather was the son of a jewish garment worker who fled the racist pogroms of Eastern Europe at the turn of the century.

I was influenced by the art movements of the early 20th Century and by those occurring in my own time. I found beauty and truth - inspiration - in art from as far back in time as 30,000 BC and also in the sci-fi Pomo literatures of Jean Beaudrillard’s America, Philip K Dick, William Burroughs, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.

This is all expressed in my art in many ways. For one thing the figurative elements in my work are never culturally or racially specific. My use of figuration bends towards a universal “every-(wo)man” always as devoid of cultural specificity as they are often of any gender. I think I seek to erase my own identity or lack there-of thus that the viewer can imprint his or her own self upon the levels of experience reflected within my work. In fact, though it may sound paradoxical, my works have at their core an essentially autobiographic or self portraiture based content.

Also, having grown up in the extreme urban environments of big cities was well as very very close to nature, on farms, I bring both of these landscapes into my work. They are abstracted in the extreme - horizon lines, vertical lines and geometry, the organic forms of nature are made by pressing paints between layers of plexiglass - but they are there and they are made in quite a conscious way to point towards the references of nature in urban and natural landscapes.

You state: “Art in general exists as one of the very greatest therapeutic tools affecting real change in people’s lives through activation of their conscious imagination and their personal and collective unconscious. “

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?

In my youth I was amazed by the works of 20th Century Icons like Robert Rauschenberg, Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso, who I was aware made some paintings on plexiglass or glass. Also, one of my favorite films is Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Teorema” and in that film the main character is a young artist who paints on plexiglass. By the time I graduated High School and went on to Art School in the late 80’s - I attended The Rhode Island School Of Design and The Boston School Of The Museum Of Fine Arts - I went through a period of intense questioning and searching to find out exactly what kind of “artist” I was to be/become. That was when I really discovered a life long obsession with the idea of making art with layering plexiglass and other transparent media.

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

As I have chosen to utilize very specific media to make my work, I have to use very specific techniques. My Plexiglass Assemblage Painting Artworks involve paint, layers of plexiglass, light and the surrounding space the art is in, due to reflections and viewers seeing directly into and through the artwork. One of the influences that has made me choose this formal technique is the ubiquitous use of glass and lit transcluscent signage in the architecture of our modern global culture. I am referencing this in every work I make. Unlike the myriad formal modes one can adopt when painting on paper, canvas, wood, etc, working on plexiglass is entirely unique. I am forced to find various methods of creating transparency, translucency and varying degrees of opacity. These are juxtaposed against one another and as they are on layers their densities reveal and obfuscate as the eye delves into the works layered surfaces. I could describe to you all of my secrets but I like the idea that the final works conceal and reveal themselves in mysterious ways. Light acts as a literal art supply, a media, that is colored and pushed around within the works jewel-like or holographic multiplicity of surfaces. Reflections in the spaces where the art is viewed also play an equally important role. I can make certain areas of the plexiglass more or less reflective and this becomes a tool in my arsenal of formal techniques. One of the many paradoxes is that while my description of my techniques here makes my creation of the works sound very intentional and formally rigorous, and in many ways they are, they are also made in a meditative, automatic way, in which I often disregard any rules and attempt to find novel, extremely subtle and discrete formal nuances in the works as I am making them.

\\\\\\\\\\pen> by Cécile. B. Evans, I realised that numerous “decaffeins” live and breath in the media more animately than in real life like image of Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away and recreated by high definition graphic in her video. And after his death, that director of the film <Hunger game> wanted to put him by computer graphics for scenes he had not completed, show us arguments between real and un-real is no more useless). If I bring this subject to my work, I don’t think that we are really that real even in real life. quote the film <Ghost in the shell> again.

“There are countless ingredients that makes up the human body and mind. Like all the components that makes me as an individual with my own personality. I have a face and voice to distinguish myself from the others. But my thoughts and memories are unique only to me. And I carry a sense of my own destiny. All of that blends to create a mixture which forms me and gives rise to my conscience.” This line show us limits of science that can’t define living things. In my point of view, the only way to prove myself in the city is “by papers.” We can’t identify ourselves as citizen without ID card, passport or certificated documents. Finally whether in cyberspace or real world, we all exist by text and information and it means these things can be deprived and decaffeinated anytime.

This harsh essence of two different world share gives me a lot of things to think for my work.

Could you tell our readers more about the meaning of your ideas of presenting modern society?

“In the city space, the citizens are registered as information by texts and numbers on paper and we are defined and limited by this information collected.” This is exactly like analogue elements in the material world that are digitalised as signal and symbol by bits and pixels on data and they are controlled and recopied by big data formed.

Since we revolve around the issue of communication this time, we have one more question: in yur opinion, can art change the future for inter human communication? How can art help us make sense of these complex histories?

As I mentioned above, I think the most important and powerful feature of art is “to make people think.” Today in the modern society we are all exposed by overflowing information and medias. we say that internet culture is interactional but most of overflowing information in cyber network has already ‘answer’.And the one-way relationship between this ‘fixed answer’ and ‘accepting us’ is violent itself.

Art doesn’t have the answer. It’s publics role to find it. And if each one can have different answer, it means there will be a room to communicate. I believe that this uncertainty and obscurity of art can improve diversity of thinking and communicating and make the place not only for interaction but also interhuman communication.

Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Darip. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving?

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.