Not Random Art - Page 24

So many artists and artworks have influenced my art practice in lots of different ways, whether it be a small or large influence. Patricia Piccinini has been a role model and great influence on me throughout the years. She is an Australian artist, who works with a variety of media. Piccinini’s sculptural works such as “The Welcome Guest” and “ the Long Awaited” focus on the aspects of connection and empathy. At first glance her works are very uncanny and disturbing, yet if you look past your first impressions, her creatures have a beauty with them. “They are more vulnerable than threatening” Her works appeal to the audiences’ empathy and makes the viewer look beyond their, strangeness and see the connection. Piccinini’s works reflect our own world, but they are altered by her own personal perceptions. Like me, Piccinini is very interested in getting to people emotionally. She enjoys seeing the viewers rise to the challenge of liking something they didn’t think they could like.

You state that your work focuses on the aspect of childhood fears, particularly your childhood fear - we would like to ask about the role of the memory in your practice and the way your memories are translated into your works. Also, can art serve a psychodynamic, therapeutic tool to work on our past experiences? Is it a way of acting out?

I am fascinated by memories and the memories that stay with us as we grow. Memory has always been an important part of my practice, especially the memories I keep with me, because we are all experts when it comes to our own memories, fears and life experiences. We have first-hand knowledge when it comes to this.

I feel as people, we are built and grow around our memories and experiences, they make us the people we are today. My childhood fear, the fear of dolls developed at the age of seven after a very vivid dream involving dolls. As a young child, this felt more like reality than a dream, it felt so real. This one small event would define my existence for years to come. To interpret my feelings of fear, anxiety and utter terror through this series of work, I replicated perfect sculptures of these doll heads using wax and handmade moulds one head at a time. This was terrifying to me but I knew the audience would only see a familiar child’s toy. They would not see them like I truly saw them. I deliberately destroyed, melted and mutilated these sculptures to convey to the audience the fear I had of dolls, to create a sense of animation within them. To portray to the audience how I truly saw the dolls, horrid, ugly and terrifying. Art is one of the most therapeutic tools out there. For all artists, art is a way of expressing emotions, past experiences good and bad and feelings that come from deep within. It helps us to visually discuss topics that are difficult to openly talk about. In a way, it’s easier to show people visually what’s going on in our minds. Just like journaling or talking to a therapist, it gives us a sense of relief as we pour our emotions into our work. From my experience, art is a way to work out past experiences, for instance, before starting this project all my sisters and my dolls were locked away in the attic, I was so anxious by them they couldn’t be in the same room as me. At the start my fear got the better of me and I was extremely slow with the whole process. I couldn’t have dolls in my house so they lived in the booth of my car for the first few months. As time went by I slowly overcame my fear and the dolls could be left in the house in a bag and then with no bag. My fear is still not truly gone, my bedroom is still off limits to all dolls, but as I melted and destroyed the dolls head, my fears started to melt away, making it more bearable, still residing in the back of my mind but more bearable now.

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 relationship between the emotional and intellectual perceptions of my work varies from audience to audience to audience. From exhibiting my work in different exhibitions and environments and from talking with the viewers, each one in my opinion, has an emotional connection with the work. Their first impression often is one of disgust, some are uneasy in the space while others are terrified and cannot look at it for long. But as the time passes, it gets easier to look at. They accept the work as a whole. They are going through all the emotions I went through with my fear without realising it. Others view my work in awe and see a sense of strange beauty within it, be it the colour, the craftsman ship, the animation and the strangeness within it, they seem to see through the fear and connect emotionally with it on an entirely different level.

On an intellectual level people connect with the portrayal of fear in my piece, be it a generic fear in life or be it the fear of dolls. I have had many discussions with people about the unintended portrayal of topics such as abortion and miscarriage within the piece. Each individual sees different things within my art works that relate to their own opinions and experiences and are usually surprised when I tell them the real meaning behind the piece. I always say take what you want from the piece if that’s what you see/think then that’s what it is. Everyone connects with art differently and that’s ok with me.

The immersive nature of the viewing experience is very important in my art process. I desire to connect with the audience through all my artworks. Weather the audience has a positive, negative or neutral reaction to my work, each viewer is still connecting to it in some way and seeing a visual aspect of my mind, visually seeing my fears in this case.

As an artist, it is very important for the audience to connect with my work, it makes the work come alive, it lets the viewer experience some of my fears and emotions and gives them an insight into who I really am. They can also take something from the work, something only they truly understand and this idea is fascinating to me, there are so many people in the world, each with their own knowledge, experience, thoughts and opinions, everyone different in ways, but at the end of the day we are all people and to connect with a handful of these people around the world through art gives me great pleasure.

, my expressive search path. I knew that one day I would been payed from a personal point of view, not from the point of view of the reputation or the economy but personal satisfaction, linked to the artistic results. In my opinion painting or drawing mean, first of all, to be honest, in other words not to try to do something, that you can not to do, but to work hard, so that the acquisition of the technology allows you to get to do what you thought. My vision of the world through the pictorial aesthetic, is the union between a real passion to communicate the analysis of the things, that are around us and the filtering of them through a compositional choice, but above all, is the safety sensation that each brush stroke, every sign, represents the subject of the painting, the main character and the bearer of the message. I can finally say, that in the last years , I am ready to say, here, that these are my pictures, I feel mature and I present them to you.

Would you like to tell us something about your artistic as well as life background? What inspired you to be in this artistic point in your life when you are now?

I was lucky enough to have as a teacher and friend, a great Italian artist and master of the woodcut as Tranquillo Marangoni. The first thing he taught me, and that I will always take inside me is that we need have hurry, you need to take care of every detail so that what you present to the audience, is really what that you want to show of your intentions. So, in order to do that, you have to be prepared in the artistic discipline and in the medium, that you have to learn, so that an artist or a painter or a designer can build through manual techniques , a painter or designer has different possibilities of interpretation.

Each technique must be studied in order to understand its meaning. Michelangelo, Picasso and Bacon are the painters that I love, they have focused their artistic expression in the study of the human figure , and especially every deep aspect of the Aristotelian view of the world, but my interest is, above all in the feelings that a human being receives from his senses.

It becomes for me the same meaning of the painting, and everything that I do on the paper or canvas, is represented by the sign, that expresses the final product of the artistic work. Meaning and significance are mixed in the representation of a very fragmented world, confused and disoriented. The computer screen or smartphone is a multiplier of images, and I sometimes wonder, if they need also my image. I answer yes, they need, because the representation, in this limited space in height and length, but not in depth, has to be investigated, in order to represent the vision we have of this fragmentation, this deafening silence of humanity overwhelmed by events and immersed in a seemingly unknown context.

For this representation, I choose different ways , I paint a natural or urban landscape, an abstract painting, or something it can remind a sort of surrealism, because using the painting as a medium, I can represent the different souls of nature around me.

Each technique expresses the representation. And the representation expresses the passage of time.

The relationship between my hand, the medium and the surface, a result obtained by means of the time, that I dedicate to the revelation of what is my summary on the colors and shapes, and through what I have seen and undertaken as, then I transfer it on canvas or sheet of paper. Time is the true protagonist, represented by the technique of the whole represented image.

My paintings and my drawings to be appreciated in all their fullness, should be observed very closely, in the same way that I conceived them. You have to put the viewer in front of the work and let him to explore it, like you are in a place and if you want to see everything that is around, you have to move your eyes in every direction.

I suggest this way to view and appreciate every work, but especially mine, whatever the way and the mean used.

What in your opinion defines a work of art? And moreover, what could be the features that mark the contemporariness of an artwork?

II must admit I find this question incredibly hard! What defines a work of art??? I keep coming back to “originality” and “passion”. I think if someone has created something from scratch with his own hands, with passion, with heart and soul, whatever and wherever that spiritedness and desire stems from, no matter how beautiful or how ugly, you could call it art.

As for the contemporariness of an artwork, I don’t necessary believe there is a specific feature which defines the work modern. All art at one point in time was “contemporary” in comparison to what came before it.

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?

Definitely being female in this day and age influences my aesthetics. I guess you could say I am a feminist artist, not the bra burning, sign wielding type, but I certainly believe in equality for women, particularly in art. I empathise with women involved in the art world of history past and am awed by their courage and how far female artists have fought to shine through… but it still isn’t over yet. Through my art I believe I am conveying a woman's sense of self. Her individualism, her beauty, sensuality and mystery, her sexuality, strength and heart.

Your art seems to be a quest for “balance between abstract and realism, manipulating lines and colours to create a kaleidoscopic feel while remain a meticulous sense of order using acrylic and mixed media.” What is the role of technique in your practice? In particular are there any constraints or rules that you follow when creating?

The very beginnings of inspiration for a new painting is to look for a pose. I will often troll through images of Avant Garde fashion photography, ballet, dance, naked portraiture and/or body-scapes to find just the right one. Once I have the pose that strikes 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.