Not Random Art - Page 119

Hello Helena and welcome to NotRandomArt. The current issue of our magazine 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?

I grew up in small industrial town in Slovenia as a multiracial child. In my early adolescence I felt disconnected  from society and I am sure that this affected my personal development. Probably it was also one of the reasons why I have become interested in psychology of the individual, which is clearly shown through my art. As you probably noticed my artistic approach as well as selection of my motifs have oriental characteristics. I believe these are reflecting the search for my lost national identity.

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?

My work is influenced by understanding (or misunderstanding) of my personal development. I was thinking a lot about my identity which consequently opened the questions about real and imaginary.

 I used to continuously over think and conceptualize myself and the world around me until I realized that the concepts I have made were often not necessary useful and usually far from the truth. I am using the realistic approach to express the banality of conceptions and it's denotative characteristics.

What I find interesting is that these beliefs are not expressed just through the selection of motifs but also through the process of making the works. The techniques that I use are truly time-consuming. That means that I am spending much more time on doing the work than thinking about it which keeps me focused on the present moment. It is my way of meditating.

Could you identify a specfic artwork that has influenced your artistic practice or has impacted the way you think about race and ethnic identity in visual culture?

During my bachelor studies of print-making in Academy of fine arts and design in Ljubljana (SI) I was reading a lot about the history of Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts which was founded in the same year as Documenta in Kassel (1955). It is an event and exhibition with long and uninterrupted tradition. It established itself as an event that, in the post-war decades, has managed to present art in “global” terms – regularly hosting artists from both sides of the Iron Curtain and, very early on, transcending the Eurocentric viewpoint by showing art works from the Third World, in particular from the non-aligned countries. That is how I have got in touch with prints of artists from oriental world which made a big impact on my current way of working.

The abstract expresion of your works is very powerful. Could you tell us more about the aesthetics of your works and both its consequences and meaning for the effect you achieve?

In my works I am searching for purity and oneness of the forms. I am discovering the beauty we could find it in the nature, yet in more fragmental and confusing way. Technique of this revealing of forms is based on imitational technical processes in which I am selecting special ‘beauty’ from the nature and transforming it into artistic ‘beauty’.

 Selection of elements and motifs of my compositions was not based only on its conceptual groundwork but also on its visual effects. Because I wanted to explore the volume, details, uniformity of contrast and light effects (which are fundamental for aesthetic sensation of my work.), I searched for rich value of colours and light in selected elements.

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? Can your works be seen as an invitation to discover some secret rooms and the dark side of the human mind? Do you feel like your artworks can communicate the ideas on the unconscious level during the viewers’ experience?

As artists we cannot absolutely determine the perception of the viewers. we can control it to some point, but in the end perception is a very subjective concept. Symbolic recognition is always a matter of personal experience. And my job is to articulate in a visual effective way, so the work can catch the viewer's eye and make them think about the work, relate to it and hopefully discover something new about their own personal experiences.

How do you see the relationship between emotional and intellectual perception of your work? Do you see it as a merge and rather agree with the idea that emotions, which per force belong to the individual experiencing them, should influence the cognition of attributes belonging to an artwork?

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.