Not Random Art - Page 58

Hello Athina 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?

The changing and unstable situation around me has been going on a while now, and has affected me as a human being through direct ways (making my economic status harder to balance than before), and indirectly through getting more acutely aware of other people' s suffering (for instance being last year in my island of origin, Lesvos, coming in contact personally with people from the wave of refugees and immigrants). Yet, all this is not without benefit.

Financially , things are more challenging and make me want to work harder in any way possible, emotionally I find myrself feeling more compassion for other human beings, inteĺlectually I am trying to see more clearly and be open to other's insights and solutions and in all this, art and it's multiple facades along with technology are an extremely effective vehicle. Taking under consideration the fact that I happen to be going through a faze in my life which wants me open and thus ready to respond to these challenges. The shift that happens in the identity level, substratum, while importance of values are influenced by circumstances, I understand, cannot leave the matter of aesthetics untouched, a new aesthetic has to be born now and has already, which takes into consideration the rhythm of events.

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?

In my twenties I was in love with Leonardo Da Vinci and Vincent Van Gogh. I so much identified with their work. Αlso I was strongly attracted by Paul Gauguin but never saw his work influence mine. In my thirties I found myself creating my mobile scuĺptures, as I named them, and after a big exhibition I had with them in Athens it was mentioned to me that they resembled Yves Tinguely s work. I was not aware of that at the time when I was creating the particular work, but when I saw later some of the artist s pieces, I was astonished by the resemblance indeed and I concluded that there exist art paths, so, when you take them, you find relevant people in them. Anyway, through my theoretical studies while working on an MA in the School of Architecture here in Athens, recently my thinking has mostly been affected not by artists but philosophers like Bachelard, Bataille, Foucault, just to mention a few, and lately I have developed an interest in Japanese anime and manga.

Many of your works focus on a very sensual experiences. You invite viewers to open their embodied emotions and experience the softness of the liquids, combined with the hardness of the rust. Could you share with the readers aesthetical, emotional and sensual background of this fascination?

I am glad to hear that my art uses body language, although the struggle I am in, is always to convey my message and concept to the viewers, so, evidently, in that battle any language I know can be used.

Yet I saw a piece of art in the London Frieze last year totally unique in the use of elements such as liquids. It was on the ground an area covering about twelve square meters,and with height not more than twenty cm, the surface was all water and inside it one could see all kinds of elements and things floating, painted and real. I wish i could have come up with an idea as such.

It is impossible to avoid the topic of body consciousness, embodied emotions and the image of body that we see on your artworks. What is the vision of the body, revealed in your artworks?

In my work the body is often present or its gesture and the traces of it, but it is rarely the theme. (Unlikely, Maria Hassabi 's work at the MoMa recently, is totally focused on the body image and shape in space). For instance in one of my works one sees a three fold expression, earth, sea and seashore, sky. The idea was to transfer into human language the ever existing nature. In this human transformation there is pain of acceptance involved, which is expressed with the body, while it realizes that it can only experience the world, cannot have it. (Performance, and at playlist art and performance, you tube channel).

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

ess, embodied emotions and the image of body that we see on your artworks. What is the vision of the body, revealed in your ar

e more challenging and make me want to work harder in any way possible, emotionally I find myrself feeling more compassion for other human beings, inteĺlectually I am trying to see more clearly and be open to other's insights and solutions and in all this, art and it's multiple facades along with technology are an extremely effective vehicle. Taking under consideration the fact that I happen to be going through a faze in my life which wants me open and thus ready to respond to these challenges. The shift that happens in the identity level,

have no specialization, so I'm really good in anything, that does not mean I am good for nothing... I tinker, I'm interested in the do-it-yourself. Most of the time when I have an idea, the medium comes at the same time. And each time it is a different one. I don't choose it because I

a human being in dynamically changing, unstable times? In particular, does your cultural substratum/identity form your aesthetics?

all started at the Academy of Fine Arts in Trondheim, Norway, in the mid 90's and with my research in Video Art and the History of Video Art. During that period, I experimented with the cameras available at the time, such as Hi8, Super-8, and DV. I learned how to edit using Avid and produced numerous small experimental art films. Conceptually, I was inspired by video artists such as Nam June Paik, Bill Viola, and Bruce Naumann amongst many others. I used effects and experimental sound in my films. It was a very exciting time for my development, and I explored all kinds of filmic work, from 80's video art to more experimental directors of the time, such as Peter Greenaway, Jim Jarmusch, and Hal Hartley as well as the greats such as Federico Fellini, Luis Buñuel, and Jean-Luc Godard. So my work was shaped by this strange hybrid of influences: everything from animated MTV shorts to deeply conceptual post modernistic cinema.

Later on, I started to build video installations, combined with photography, objects and performance. From this, I started to become involved with stage art and independent dance and theatre. Several directors have given me the time and space to experiment using multiple video projectors, and my work has become an active element onstage, sometimes interacting with the performers. Every project has been useful in some way for exploring and refining my ideas. Now in my capacity as film director, I'm able to call upon my experiences gained from working as a cross disciplinary artist.

Your artworks are revolving around the problem of social identity and cultural affiliations. 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 belong to a minority group in society and that identity is always a part of me and my work. I don’t believe my artworks are changing due to unstable times but that I'm working my way through a theme and a method over time. The content of my work is becoming more and more personal and I think that is because I dare to be more honest with myself. What I find interesting to work with is in my immediate presence. When I collaborate with stageartists, we often focus on a current political theme. In these collaborations I work more as an art activist and have a broader openess for the aesthetics. My work is then more experimental with research on different ways to develop live presentations in the space.

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?

“Revolted 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.