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.