Art Reveal Magazine - INTERVIEW
Art Reveal Magazine - INTERVIEW
by Anne Grahm – ARM Team
In my art, mostly revolving around video-art, installation, sculpture and photography. I often deal with social issues that are on the global agenda such as consumerism, multiculturalism and representations of reality through the media. My video-art works attempt to examine the relations between image, movement and music and the cultural baggage each of these elements contain. In my sculptures and installations I frequently use readymade materials as a means to explore the tension between the common nature of various everyday objects, and their potential to become part of a work of art. Many of my works deal with the cultural weight various foods hold, and use food and its cooking and consumption methods as a symbol for cultures associated with it, while referring to the unique social context of each dish. An example for this is the use of popcorn as a symbol for American culture and values, in such works as the video installation “Kiss Me Popcorn!” and the painting “Popcorn Making Instructions”. In much the same way, the seeds in the installation “Seeded Floor” represent the connection between the Israeli culture and its Eastern roots, while in the photo set “Hot Cream”, ice cream and a tabun oven represent Western and Eastern cultures respectively. As part of my artistic process, I use the vast realms of the Internet as a virtual field where I gather my readymade video and audio materials, that come from different times, places and genres (documentary, commercial, etc.). The cultural mixture I create in this way becomes a post modern tapestry of East and West, high and low, and various post modern formalistic contrasts such as sound and image. I work in a freestyle manner and the technique I use for each work is determined in the process of creation, often altered and adapted to best suit the idea behind the piece. My work process is born from a concept that becomes matter or from matter that becomes a concept, but both of these aspects always retain an unexpected relationship and attempt to remain fresh and expand the boundaries of the artistic object’s role.
Who or what has a lasting influence on your art practice?
My daily life and events I go through clearly affects my art, either directly or subconsciously. It is also easy for me to say that, very clearly, I’m affected by the Media. If via the computer I use to create art, or the news I regularly consume. My most significant influence is my mother. She is the most important character in my life, and I would not be where I am without her. She is my inspiration and muse. We are both very opinionated and critical about current events and social issues, to the point that we tend to think differently from most people. For example, we share the view that there is too much stimulation in the different media outlets today, where in the past things were more simple and easy to understand. The overwhelming fast flow of information today causes people to quickly browse through new information, be less patient about topics they already understand and, as a consequence, be less tolerant towards each other on social networks and eventually also in real life. Or, when something breaks down around the house, people just decide to throw it away rather than thinking how to fix it or reuse them. Being disrespectful to your belongings can translate to being disrespectful to other people, particularly to those who are different, with a disability or facing a personal challenge. They may act in the same regard to these people, asking to literally throw them away and replace them.
Tell us more about your artworks.
As a multidisciplinary artist, I create in different mediums: painting, sculpture, video, installation, ceramics, photography. I have an inner drive to create art in various ways, although nowadays I focus on painting. I find it important for my works to be conceptual while remaining visually aesthetic. I incorporate a lot of humor in my work, so viewers can more easily take in my ideas without feeling alienated by the common distance some feel when viewing conceptual art. I usually address issues such as multiculturalism, modern representation through the Media and consumerism. I use readymades in all my works, in videos, painting and sculpture. In my videos, for example, I fold the audio into the visuals to create a powerful statement. In other works I use ready-made materials that enhance the original objects, like in my work “Nike” where I added red nike shoes to a dark, heavy wooden sculpture of a travelling man. It can work the other way around, like in my work “American Bonfire” made of three heavy blue ceramic cylinders decorated with light fluffy marshmallows I lay on top. I include images in my work, some of them iconic, and through different methods of painting and using a variety of materials, I compliment and emphasize the part of that image that should stand out, in a composition that is pleasant to the eye.
What is the most challenging part of working interdisciplinary?
What is most challenging for me is not necessarily a specific medium, but rather my aspiration to completely master any method I use separately or in parallel, when I combine different materials together to a high quality work of art. I wouldn’t like to generalize, but if I had to point out a few similarities between art mediums, they all require technique and an understanding of the materials used, their limitations, which one is the best to work on a specific concept and an ability to envision how they would look in a gallery setting. Therefore in addition to a technical understanding and adequate skill in a medium, it is important to have an initial background to realise which medium should be used before the creative process even begins. Sometimes during work I stop and take time to re-evaluate and get a wider perspective, to see if there is anything that needs to change. I reassess the artistic practice entirely, to see if the work is perceived in the right way, and if it still works in a display setting in the same way I imagined it. I consider changing the medium, adding materials, altering the concept or creating an edge necessary to understand the work.
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture?
In your opinion what does art mean in contemporary culture? The significance of art today is immense. The role of art and culture is to place a mirror in front of society, so it may reflect our current reality and the ideas that shape it. Through art, we are able to listen to marginalized voices, get alternative perspectives and hear opinions that may be different from our own. Art can represent values or ideas, but it also raises questions that make us better as a society or as individuals with a broader sense of awareness and understanding of others. All artworks have a purpose, even if it is unintentional, naive, abstract or expressive. It still will indicate and hold an essence of our current time and way of life. Even having “no meaning” is a strong statement. Contemporary art is founded on pillars that reach long back into our history, which otherwise we would not be talking here today. Since the dawn of man art was used to establish communication within communities through mutual use of symbols, up until today through the use of computers, smartphones and social media that serve that same purpose on a much broader scale. If we forget or neglect art and culture, we practically lose our basic means of existence.
How would you describe the art scene in your area?
The art scene I am part of is extremely intense. It is not easy to create art and be an artist in the reality I live in. There is not enough investment in art and culture, and much of the funding that should have been directed towards art is diverted elsewhere for unjustified political reasons. Current events take over the news on a daily basis, there is not a dull moment. I live in a dynamic region that can be wonderful one moment and then instantly the complete opposite. On the one hand, this situation is great creative material but on the other hand I would prefer a more relaxed reality, where inspiration and motivation would come naturally with no external assistance.
What do you like/dislike about the art world?
I love the great freedom that art gives me, and that in art there are almost no boundaries beyond your imagination. You can take your ideas and travel to distant lands in your mind with no restrictions. Creating art that began with an idea in your head just feels like magic. When I studied art I felt as if I’m in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter books. Everyone is creating and making magic. There were groups of students that focused on a certain medium, like ceramics, painting etc. And every artist who specifies in a particular medium, shares some characteristics with the material they use, just like the different houses in Hogwarts. For example, the ceramics students were pleasant, delicate and warm people, just like the clay they were using for their art. I especially resent individuals that knowingly exploit young artists, promising exposure in exchange for money, with no real value whatsoever. The entire concept of “showing work at all costs” should completely be done away with. Those individuals, galleries and institutions I perceive as absolute con-men and criminals who take advantage of artists that only want to show their work and to be recognized for what they do. One can categorize them as ‘light’ deceivers, some that are a bit more sophisticated, professionals that exploit artists as a way of making a living and finally the masters of their trade, which are a sad and unbelievable fenomananoe. I like trustworthy people, fairness, honesty and directness in the art world specifically and in general.
What are your future plans?
I’ve been working for quite some time on new works, some of which are a continuation of previous work like my floor installation “Seed Floor”. Some of my new work is not related to other works. There is always a visual relation between my works, especially that now I am doing more paintings and developing a style that I had envisioned for many years. It is derived from the pop imagery technique I usually use, combining color and substance and placing them on the canvas. You will be able to see these works in the near future. I am in contact with a few galleries that would like to work with me and present my work, in addition to some museums around the world that I am in touch with. I’m finalizing the details and am very excited to show my work.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
My family always has a great influence on me and my work, either directly, since I constantly consult them about my art, or indirectly – I find inspiration in little moments between us and in experiences we have together and apart and I believe that it all sinks in and slowly forms ideas and concepts, even if only subconsciously. I also find inspiration in the family business – my parents own a toy shop that also sells magazines and stationary, and it is always very vibrant, full of people and colorful pop items, so it’s a good place for me to explore current trends and the ways I can incorporate them into my work. I am influenced by people close to me but also by artists, philosophers, writers, and anyone that I encounter that has a fresh perspective on things. I try to keep an open mind and to develop a dialogue that may be artistic and even somewhat existentialistic.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
Like I mentioned before, I once wanted to be a chef. At one time, I was also a professional athlete and competed in light athletics and short distance running events. In general I like sports, especially soccer and basketball, so I did see myself pursuing an athletic career of some kind. I’m also a very big film and TV buff.