Not Random Art - Page 141

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15

Hello David and welcome to NotRandomArt. The current issue is revolving around the problem of communication and identity. This seems to be an important theme in your works. 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?

Identity is to aesthetics, as a passport is to a person, a cultural representation, a deliberate but necessary fiction. I am in the process of applying for a new passport, just in case things get heavy for those of us on the margin. There are forms to be filled out. Pictures are taken. Money changes hands. There is no outside text. No one should be pushed into the margin, and nothing should be pushed to the outside. Honesty is the best police state. My heroes are Jewish intellectuals, musicians and comedians. My work is trying to tell a few good jokes to the ever present audience in my head. Presently It's a tough crowd. Laughter is the best medicine show. I am currently working on a few pieces for a pop up show in May. The nice thing about pop up shows, like identity, is they only last for a few days. This gives me the opportunity to create works using perishable ingredients. In my last pop up show, I made a beautiful kinetic sculpture out of steel, violin necks, an antique drill, a pushcart wheel, and 4 thick cut bone in pork chops. It was called VIOLINS/VIOLENCE. For my next show, I will make a piece out of a western style cap pistol and a head of cabbage called KRAUTLAW. I am also working on a piece with a large eggplant called MOB OF GANOOSH. When I am making sculpture, I am asking leading questions to my self. There are no prefabricated answers, but there is a consistent vocabulary and a visual language. That is my aesthetic. Occam's razor is my methodology. The principle (attributed to William of Occam) that in explaining a thing, no more assumptions should be made than are necessary.

We definitely love the way you question the nature of reality and representation, unveiling the visual feature of information you developed through an effective non linear narrative that establish direct relations with the viewers: German multidisciplinary artist Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". What is your opinion about it? And in particular how do you conceive the narrative for your works?

Laurie Anderson said something to the effect of, "I am in my body, like most people are in their cars." I would add that, "I don't drive and I've never even had a license." I had a stolen, or perhaps we should say borrowed, car that I use to drive around in Williamsburg Brooklyn. I drove it into the city a few times, and got into an accident with a parked car. Regarding what Thomas Demand once stated that "nowadays art can no longer rely so much on symbolic strategies and has to probe psychological, narrative elements within the medium instead". I would agree. I would add that the key to understanding this is that the narrative elements are actually inside the medium. They are hidden in plain sight. There needs to be tension that the audience understands even if the artist themselves is unaware of it. There is a dialogue that happens, not only between the viewer and the art, but inside of the art itself. There must be a polyphony of voices represented, each with their own understanding, and dialectic. I think that the irony or tension between what is revealed, or concealed, to both the artist and the viewer, are the most important aspect of the work. Take, for example, my sculpture WORLD WIDE WEBBED FOOT. It is a leather boot, bolted to a rubber flipper, the whole thing is painted a duck's foot yellow. There is no technology in the piece but the uselessness of the flipper to the boot, and the boot to the flipper, creates a satisfying narrative about the redundancies of the medium.

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?

The concept of a piece like Marcel Duchamp's 1917 FOUNTAIN probably slipped into my mind at a very early age -before I could even understand it. It happens on so many levels. As a form, as a meditation on sanity, and sterility, as a primitive culture object, as a joke, as a redefining of the role of the ready made object in art. Duchamp was a master craftsman even when he didn't craft very much. There was a work to his work, even when he was what the English call "taking the piss."

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

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.