Not Random Art - Page 103

Hello Pete 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, it is good to speak with you. To your question, my studio practice directly engages in the negotiation of multiform cultural identities. I am expressly concerned with exploring the intersection of contrasting cultural identities, cultural appropriation, and conflation in the expression of otherness, as it pertains to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. As for my cultural substratum, I was born in Bogota, Colombia, of Indigenous ancestry, adopted as an infant, and raised in the southeastern U.S. in a multi-racial, middle class family. The divergent spheres of origin and culture, longing and estrangement, insider vs outsider narratives, and the transmitted and received, are all deeply important to my identity, my studio practice, and my aesthetic.

Would you like to tell us something about your artistical as well as life background?

As a child, I grew particularly, maybe even obsessively, interested in the woven wall hangings, wooden sculptures, and colorful patterning of Central and South American art, in my family home. In addition, my father was an avid record collector. I used to stare at the covers of his jazz records quite a bit. It seems like every jazz record from the late 50’s through the 60’s featured modernist abstract paintings on the cover! These two things combined, were essentially the genesis of many themes I am still working with today.

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?

I was immediately and personally, affected by the work of Joaquín Torres García. His work, and his writings touch upon linkages between Indigenous, Latin American symbolism, and modernist abstraction. His work forged a connection to multiple converging histories and cultures, which I found fascinating.

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.

Memory serves multiple roles in my practice. In terms of research, there is the idea of nostalgia, explored through the fetishization of indigenous motif. Many of the objects from my childhood still exist, both physically and through documentation. Their forms and patterns still inform my work. In this sense, one could also view my practice as a type of memorialization. My visual research used to be concerned with manifesting ‘faithful’ recreations of indigenous patterns. I was heavily engaged in researching the artwork of the Muisca, and Tolima peoples, among others. In my current practice, I am less focused on any sort of recreation that attempts to be ‘faithful’ to the past, or memory. I would like to avoid any tendency towards an essentialist or reductive view. Currently, I am especially interested in the slippage, which occurs when attempting to articulate these translations.

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

I am extremely rule based. A great deal of which has to do with the formal lineage of abstraction, I have digested. I try to treat the formal and conceptual aspects of the work in a similar way. They are both subjected to non-hierarchical multiplicity, overlapping, and fragmentation. There is a constant positioning and re-positioning of the equivalent and non-equivalent. It is not quite a method of binary opposition, but the elements are pitted against each other. I also have a strong tendency to create a point of rupture, and then continuation in the composition.

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?

I am often iterating the two dimensional in sculptural form. I reference indigenous patterns of the Americas, retail and home décor motif, and Modernist geometric abstraction, most of which are 2D. There is an interplay between the plane and the space around it. Ideas of architecture and interior décor certainly play a role in allowing a more immersive experience. The relationship to the human-scale object creates a different way of navigating for the viewer. I have also been working with the ideas of display, and representation. Some pieces are more installation based, and perform in a manner more akin to a didactic display. In this manner, the plane becomes a wall for display, division, and framing. The relationship of scale to the viewer is central in the way they are experienced

. I am currently exploring
more immersive structures. I anticipate the scale of my pieces to grow, and become more expansive, and dynamic, as my practice evolves.

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.