Personal Relations Artist Interview, Valerio Guadagno (TINA)

We are very happy to publish the last of our Personal Relations Interviews. Please read a personal account of Valerio Guadagno of This Is Not Art.


Would you tell us something about your artwork and how you responded to the brief?

I developed an idea I had in mind for a long time. It’s a sort of double portrait of He-rmes, my alter ego. He holds a baby version of himself in his arms: it’s actually a way to represent and define identity through the reconstruction of a father figure.

What did you gained from this international collaborative project?

This project has given me the opportunity to present my personal research in very different contexts. I was at the three openings so I also had the chance to meet most of the people involved and that made the interaction with these interesting persons much more stimulating. I’ll do my best to attend to all the next events related to this project cause I’m very proud to be part of it and I hope that Personal Relations will be the starting point of many more challenges and collaborations.

What do you feel the role of the artist can be in relation to current political affairs?

I don’t believe in the romantic idea of the artist living his life in its proud isolated condition, but this doesn’t mean art necessarily has to deal with political affairs. It’s a matter of personal choices, even if every artistic research can somehow be considered as an expression or as a re-interpretation of the world the artist is living in.


Miniature portraits were often given to as political gifts to kings or ambassadors. What message would you embed in such a gift?

My miniature portrait suggests that you can only achieve autonomy and authenticity by learning to take care of yourself. It’s a process connected with growing up and improving yourself and your own world.

What do you think your collective brought to the other groups and what do you think they brought to your collective?

I find it very difficult to have a clear vision of all the artworks and I am still not sure about the characteristics of every group. Anyway, I think every contribution is important because the concept behind the brief becomes extremely meaningful thanks to the amazing variety of approaches. I also believe that this project would grow even stronger if it could manage to create a unique international “family” of artists, without focusing on single national groups.


One of the aims was to create an opportunity for the artist to work on a unique and inspiring conceptual brief and become part of a collective work , was that successful for you?

Of course it takes time to create a fully operative network of people. At the moment I can say that I had the pleasure to meet some very talented and friendly artists and that it would be very interesting to start some common projects with them.

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Valerio Guadagno, My father’s son – TINA

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Personal Relations Artist Interview, Clive Burton (LG)

In anticipation of the opening of “Personal Relations” in Vicenza on Saturday 29th of April, we are pleased to publish the interview to artist Clive Burton, member of The London Group.

Would you tell us something about your artwork and how you responded to the brief?

The very interesting and inspiring brief was, layered and directional which inspired my response to be similarly layered and conceptual with a personal twist.

The idea of an object holding the spirit of a personal gift was both intriguing and mystical, calling for an object that transcends itself. It is often the magical qualities within an ‘objet trouve’ and the visible signs of its mystical history that can help carry that transcendence.

A small mobile phone sized, iconic – like, old brass framed mirror found in a flea market in southern Spain fitted the bill. The small mirror itself being partly corroded, scratched and blurred with some of its silver missing reflected an image that appeared aged and evoked a curiosity towards its identity and interpretation.

By photographing my own image in that very mirror then superimposing the print upon the mirror itself the visual paradox was cast. A reflected image set in time recording its use yet denying the future function of the mirror itself. Colliding and combining the present time and history into one visually oxymoronic image. The result becoming a sibylline and enigmatic object that transcends the sum of its parts offering many layers of interpretation. It is at this point that he the object hopefully leaves the artist and embarks upon its own life and journey in time.

What did you gain from this international collaborative project?

One of the major gains from the international project was the specific set up to illustrate the nature of a European culture. To show both the common and the individual aspects of the artist’s work across the initial three countries involved. The first showing in London mixed all the works up in one continuous line around the gallery. The second in The Hague Holland the work were in three distinct separate blocks according to the artist group and country. Each group hosting the exhibition had the liberty and the choice to display the works differently so the imminent third show in Italy will by definition be different again. This illustrates so well the common collective and the creative diversity of the artists and their groups.

 What do you feel the role of the artist can be in relation to current political affairs?

I feel that the artist per say has a no specific or obligated role in politics unless through choice. Art can be divisive, inclusive, challenging, confrontational, and arguably at its best provocative. However everyone’s creativity, opinion and comment are the fundamental building blocks to their culture which in turn creates and shapes the society and politics in their lives. It is the diversity that gives valve to the culture.

 Miniature portraits were often given to as political gifts to kings or ambassadors …what message would you embed in such a gift?

My message is embedded in its title ’Self Reflecting Icon’ … relook into and question yourself … reflect upon your thoughts and actions.

What do you think your collective brought to the other groups and what do you think they brought to your collective?

The Concise and precise answer is simply successful collectively, interaction and cross fertilisation of concepts and practice.

 One of the aims was to create an opportunity for the artist to work on a unique and inspiring conceptual brief and become part of a collective work , was that successful for you?

The ‘collective work’ was a very interesting and successful curatorial concept which was extremely well orchestrated and executed at the same time allowing all the works their individuality. In fact the whole experience was what it set out to be, a very successful ‘unique and inspiring concept…’

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Clive Burton, "Self, Reflecting Icon"

 

 

 

“Personal Relations” going to Italy!

“Personal Relations” is at its third presentation!
On Saturday 29th of April, the exhibition will open at the Mirror Gallery in Vicenza, Italy.
After London and The Hague, we can’t wait to see how Italy has responded to the call and installed the exhibition. An exciting programme of events organised by Questa Non E’ Arte/This Is Not Art will make you want to go back!

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Personal Relations Artist Interview, Jacobien de Korte (PULCHRI)

Read our interview to artist Jacobien de Korte, member of Pulchri Studio, in The Hague (NL).

Would you tell us something about your artwork and how you responded to the brief?

After reading the invitation, my first thought was that it would be nearly impossible to realise my work in such a small format.  More accurately: I wasn’t used to work in the way being proposed, the size of the work being smaller than 15 x 10 cm, including the frame.  For a while, I’ve held off the invitation, but in the meantime I started thinking on how to still do this. I realised that it forced me to think in a different way about the elaboration and this attracted me. Together with the prospect of collaborating with international artists and working at different locations, I decided I wanted to participate in this project.

What did you gain from this international collaborative project?
I attended both openings, in London as well in the Hague, and I very much enjoyed meeting new people and talking to other artists about our projects and about art and life in general. As an artist, most of the time you work alone. This project gave me the feeling of belonging to a group. I find it amazing how everybody interpreted the project in his own way and from a different cultural perspective.

What do you feel the role of the artist can be in relation to current political affairs?

I think that the independent thinking and the sensibility of an artist are very important. To act as a sounding board, to retain a critical view and to dare to express this, to put forward possible solutions through another language -namely the language of visual arts- may affect and trigger a wider vision which allows us to continue to communicate.

Miniature portraits were often given to as political gifts to kings or ambassadors …what message would you embed in such a gift?

The work I’ ve chosen  for this project, isn’t a portrait in traditional sense.  On my portrait, where the face isn’t visible, you can see the sitter photographed from the back. The work portrays introversion, the sitter is not immediately visible or even unrecognisable, but has its own presence and the right to have “a face”, an existence.

What do you think your collective brought to the other groups and what do you think they brought to your collective?

In my vision, in art collectives the artists should remain autonomous. Everybody’s contribution will therefore be different. I hope I can contribute with my work, as described above, and by my personal presence, which allowed me to interact with several people.

One of the aims was to create an opportunity for the artist to work on a unique and inspiring conceptual brief and become part of a collective work , was that successful for you?

Sure it was.  I had not previously participated in international projects like this one. As I indicated before, in the beginning I was a little bit reluctant to take part in the project.  So far I’ve been present at every opening. Finally I was initially anxious to give this interview, but now I find it very refreshing and meaningful.  For this I’m thankful.

http://www.jacobiendekorte.com

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Jacobien de Korte, Hotelroom 6 – PULCHRI

Personal Relations Artist Interview, José Krijnen (PULCHRI)

This week we are excited to publish the interview of José Krijnen, member of Pulchri Studio in The Hague (Netherlands).

Would you tell us something about your artwork and how you responded to the brief?

I am interested in human gesture as an ambigous phenomen. It is individual yet universal, it is bound by time and context, yet timeless. I made a miniature of hands wich are holding a cup with a specific folkloristic pattern ‘boerenbont’. The cup covers the face. I always paint people whose head is either covered or outside the frame, aiming to explore gesture instead of  individuals. In history, miniature portraits where a diplomatic gift. Because I am Dutch I chose to show a typical Dutch pattern with a typical Dutch habbit. In the Netherlands it is a common habit to invite someone for a cup of coffee. You’d ask this if you want to get to know someone better, but also with your family or even for business purposes. You ask: Would you like to drink a cup of coffee with me?

What did you gained from this international collaborative project?

I enjoyed meeting colleagues of other nations. I like to contribute together with other artists to co-create this body of work. I have never painted this small size before. I wanted to make a ‘Jose Krijnen’ miniature ans still taking serious part in the project. It was a challenge to translate the concept to my work. But since then, I have been painting a lot of miniatures. I found that this small size helps me to concentrate, I like it.

What do you feel the role of the artist can be in relation to current political affairs?

Not so much. I think art shoud reach a level beyond political affairs. All people are responsible for political affairs. Of course it helps to create international bonds and artistic exchange. But I would also enjoy this project in a context of different political affairs. I – as an artist – am more interested in the artistic value of art. You will always be influenced by your time and context but does the thing/ piece of art still work/ speak over 300 years? That is  an interesting question about art…

Miniature portraits were often given to as political gifts to kings or ambassadors …what message would you embed in such a gift?

I would invite them for a cup of coffee to share ideas and experiences. Dialogue is only interesting when people are different. Differences are a source of wealth/ richness. I like diversity instead of just my own nationality…and still I will always be determined by it. But there it starts.

What do you think the project brought to your collective?

My collective liked the fresh and all-round concept (art-history, commitment, new media) of the project and the oppertunity for international exchange.

One of the aims was to create an opportunity for the artist to work on a unique and inspiring conceptual brief and become part of a collective work , was that successful for you?

Yes, I enjoyed the people and their artistic views very much. I like collaborating with other artists and making a work together.

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José Krijnen, Boerenbont – PULCHRI

 

Personal Relations Artist Interview, Antonella Ferrari (TINA)

Read here our second interview with Italian artist Antonella Ferrari, This Is Not Art

Would you tell us something about your artwork and how you responded to the brief?

The theme of the show is quite significant to my practice, as a lot of my work has to do with human relations and how we connect with others, both in the public and personal sphere.
The video presented for this project, is more personal and introspective and focuses on the relationship we have with ourselves. Glimpse is a black and white video, composed of two identical clips playing side by side in a loop. In each clip I am portrayed turning my head to glance at an identical mirrored image of myself, on the other side of the screen. The loop and time offset between the two clips prevents eye contact between the two figures. One lowers the head just as the other is about to raise hers and meet the other’s gaze. The intention is to play with the elusive nature of self-perception and the inability to see our selves as a whole, coherent entity.

What did you gain from this international collaborative project?

It was exciting to explore some of the ideas surrounding my work in a wider context and to collaborate with other artists with different practises to create such a powerful concept/installation. Although at first the size restriction seemed like a real challenge, it actually opened up new possibilities. I never thought of presenting my video in such small format, on a mobile phone. I think it really worked, as it added a sense of intimacy to the work, which I hadn’t thought of before.

What do you feel the role of the artist can be in relation to current political affairs?

The last year has felt particularly disheartening, due to political matters and humanitarian crises around the world. Now more than ever it is important to reflect on these issues and try to develop cross-cultural relationships. I hope that art, as well as other forms of communication, can help us bridge division and connect with other people around the world. Art has no borders.

Miniature portraits were often given as political gifts to kings or ambassadors …what message would you embed in such a gift?

My work in particular would like to be an invitation to reach out and connect, whether to others or to our very selves.

One of the aims was to create an opportunity for the artist to work on a unique and inspiring conceptual brief and become part of a collective work, was that successful for you?

Absolutely. I loved the way 150 works from artists across three European countries were brought together and displayed in such an interesting way. Although retaining their individual identity, the single works collectively merged together, to create a whole new entity conveying a very strong message.

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Antonella Ferrari, Glimpse – TINA

Personal Relations Artist Interview, Paul Tecklenberg (LG)

We were keen to find out more about the miniature portraits and the artists behind them. Therefore we interviewed some of the  artists participating in Personal Relations.
Please find here the first interview of Paul Tecklenberg, member of The London Group.

Would you tell us something about your artwork and how you responded to the brief?

When I first read the brief, I thought you wanted a self portrait. I started to draw out some ideas and I quickly realised that I wanted to use the full allocated space of 10x15x10 cm’s. In the past, I have used glasses filled with water as lenses to enlarge images though and I was toying with this idea. The problem I had is at first, I couldn’t find the right size glass. As it happens in life, someone left a small empty whisky bottle on the wall outside my house and it was the perfect size. I made six or seven versions, enlarging my face through a  gherkin jar, honey jar, small v-shaped glasses and the bottle. Out of all of them, the bottle worked the best. I like the way the photographic paper captured the imperfections in the glass and the light refraction. I also like the vulnerability of an open bottle on a shelf.

  • What did you gained from this international collaborative project?

For me, I enjoyed being in a group show on this scale with artists from across Europe. In the London show, I liked the way the exhibition was hung all on one line, with the artists from different nationalities mixed up with equal space between each one. It felt egalitarian.

  • What do you feel the role of the artist can be in relation to current political affairs?

The role of the artist can be one of defiance, determination, solidarity, resistance, commentator or visionary.  The artist can also be irrelevant to the political discourse.

  • Miniature portraits were often given to as political gifts to kings or ambassadors …what message would you embed in such a gift?

Maybe the message embedded in my miniature portrait is “moderate your drinking or drink to oblivion’.

  • One of the aims was to create an opportunity for the artist to work on a unique and inspiring conceptual brief and become part of a collective work , was that successful for you?

I think the aims and aspirations of the show are admirable and liberating at a time when nationalism is on the rise. I enjoyed the show and it celebrates a rich diversity of approaches to miniature portraiture.

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Paul Tecklenberg, Spirit – LG