Not Random Art - Page 142

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14

I am a creature of habit. I do the same things everyday. I take the same vitamins. I buy the same food. I have rituals in the studio. It is necessitated by the kind of work that I do. 75% of my sculpture are, at least in part, welded together. Welding has it's own rigorous demands, safety clothing, protective eyewear, a clean and dry work space, magnets and clamps to hold things together, cordless grinders and drills. Working with power tools as an artist requires organization, but it is a ritual that sets me free. I listen to the same music, mostly Afro Beat and Jane's Addiction. I have a fire extinguisher handy. The weld itself is red hot. If this metal touches anything flammable it bursts immediately into flame. It keeps me honest. I use similar construction techniques on a lot of my sculptures, the center is often a 3/8 inch threaded rod, welded or bolted to a frame or support. In my kinetic pieces I often use an antique metal drill as the central column, things move off into three dimensions from the center. I drill holes in antelope, deer, and goat skulls and bolt them to the work. I use cameras, and musical instruments, and filament light bulbs. I do it over and over. I have built a vocabulary of language and technique. Repetition is the source of my consistency as an artist. These are my constraints.

We would like to pose a question about the nature of the relationship of your art with your audience. Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context? 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 think I am more conscious of my audience when I am writing than when I am creating sculpture. I do think that languaging plays a major role in my work, something that I was leading to, but may not have touched on in the questions about emotional and psychological narrative. I am always making an effort to tell you about the structure of my thoughts, because of the medium, sculpture, there is not a moment by moment narrative about the work, like there is in time based art, music, or even talking out loud, but there is an attempt with language to attribute a kind of symbolic, or sign based order in the title. The title for me usually comes up when I am sketching the piece, or playing around with materials, figuring out shape and weight, like I mentioned, whether or not I will drill a hole in an antelope skull and bolt it to the metal frame, what pieces can be welded together, what will have to be glued. What I want to do is make people chuckle. I was sitting in a gallery, while people would move through the space, and when they got to my sculpture SMARTPHONES made out of steel, two vintage telephone handsets, and a bicycle horn, they laughed. This is a thrill for me. People tell me they like my titles, and think I am using the play of differences, to make titles that address my audience, my culture, and my self. This is about all I know about the difference between emotional and intellectual perception, it all seems mashed up. I am creating meaning by smashing things together, like a particle collider. I did a series of sculptures, THE STRING QUARTET THEORY and THE CLOUD CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, made with violins and moving parts, that played with this idea directly. In these works, as well as in about 50% of my sculpture, there are kinetic elements, gears, an antique breast drill. I am inviting my audience to turn the crank, and move the sculpture. I did a series of 5 zoetropes. These are about as immersive as I have been with the final work. People are turning a crank and looking through slots in a wheel where they see a moving image. Sometimes, I try to isolate the viewer by mounting goggles onto the outside of the apparatus, kind of steam punk VR.

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

I spend a lot of time in front of the computer or on my phone, I guess or speculate that it is some kind of mystery. That I am finding out something, that I am following the clues. I am unlocking the hidden chamber, the false bottom and the empty space. I am amazed by what I make. I stand stupefied by what I come up with. I am witness to the rapidly cycling memory of today. I'm just going to keep doing that.

me (YES!) I take it from there, drawing up a rough sketch adding patterns and geometrical shapes which contrast the lines of the main silhouette.

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.