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Whereabouts are you from and how was growing up there?
I grew up in Malta. I don’t ever regret or wish that I was born elsewhere, and I still think it is pretty cool to have been born on one of the tiniest islands that has its own language and quite an impressive rich history. However, I always knew that I’d want to get away from it at some point. Malta is an insular country very much influenced by religion where you are made to feel that you have to devote your life to its rules–rules I knew I would break / not be able to follow. It felt too conservative, I somehow felt alien and knew that I wouldn’t be able to fit into this model that I was expected to follow when I would become an adult. Other than that contemporary art was kind of non existent (in Malta) at the time and I had already been looking into some art schools abroad, specifically in London, where I felt I could finally be able to express myself better without being judged or looked down on, and finally explore topics around gender, identity and sexuality within my work that I had always been very much interested in however never felt comfortable or able to back at home. Now the situation has somehow changed and the contemporary art scene is growing; there are some great local artists, interesting galleries and project spaces. More recently I have been more intrigued in showing work there. I feel Malta is somehow at that exact right time where people are very much open and want to discover different work that is thought provoking that challenges societal norms and is not fearful to go against the grain. Also from the artist’s point of view I would think it’s super exciting to show work there because there are specific issues and subjects that are still up to this day unacceptable / looked down on or deemed obscene, and this is quite rare, especially when you compare it to places such as London where everyone is somehow free to do whatever they want to do without being censored etc.
You studied Visual Communication at the RCA; how did this design based course influence your artistic practice?
There was a point where I was considering changing courses as I felt the work I was doing [if ever I wanted to define it] would make more sense or be suited better within a fine art environment. However there were students doing all sorts of things in Vis com. I was doing whatever I wanted to be doing and my tutors were supportive of the work I produced and never had any problems or objection to it. I would think that the course really taught me what artist I’d like and not like to be and the same goes with the work I produced.
Why Angelina Jolie?
Easiest first answer – I really admire Angelina Jolie and find her super beautiful and sexy so that is the honest truth.
Second answer–my work examines the humanization of and interaction with consumer objects. I manipulate consumer objects to delve into themes that relate to the real and the fake; dreaming and reality; to fiction, such as ‘fan-fiction’ / ‘perfiction’.
I am also inspired by hyperreal wax sculptures, and how, as Eco explains in his book ‘Faith in Fakes’, the hyperreal wax sculpture becomes more real than the original, which becomes somehow invisible. This work explores what’s real and what’s fake and the close proximity between the two
Phrase taken from a tune / video I made :
‘i’m just crushing on celebrity pretending its the real thing, wanking and pleasuring in front of Angelina Jolie, its just a fan fiction a depiction…’
I reference a lot of pop culture within my work – and most often refer to the texts/poetry turned tunes as post-pop.
Dismantled cars / industrial materials feature in your sculpture. How do they relate to the sexuality that's present in your performances?
My solo show ‘Perfiction' was specifically looking into car crashing and heartbreak.
Throughout my work I am often playing between soft and hard
I was examining the use of wax as a material because it felt relevant to the body of work I was creating. Wax symbolises flesh and its ‘softness but I was also looking into harsher materials such as car components and steel; these ‘hard’ materials symbolising the pain and agony–the difficulties of love.
How important is it that these objects are present in the space where you're performing?
I have always worked with various media, but its only in the last couple of years that I feel I have finally been able to bring all of the work together without losing context. Moving image and sound have been part of my practise from the very beginning, however it took me a while to feel ready or commit to performing live. But I always felt this was crucial for the work and that it would give it more meaning. I feel that myself performing further brings out the vulnerability which is an important element in the work itself.
I do believe that the sculptural work / paintings etc work on their own and vice versa this is something that I consider when creating a body of work, however I often feel that the audience as well as myself get a richer experience emotionally / physically when I'm performing.
We enjoyed seeing your show My Womxn is a god My God is a Womxn the other night; what were the other ladies performing and how was it synchronised?
The work was mainly looking into derogatory terms used for womxn such as slut, bitch, witch, hag, cunt and somehow reclaiming them. Also I was looking into witches most specifically the witches’ broomsticks. As well as Joan of arc.
Most of my performances often are assigned certain rules and often feature choreographed elements, I also borrow or reference everyday gestures as well as ‘femaleness' / ‘maleness’ clubbing, sports/ exercise, hitting/ defending, pain / love / sex etc.
Some of Roxman’s Vidscan be found here:
Which artists do you admire and why?
There are so many artists I admire, however I would have to say that most feminist art and queer art from the late 1960s up until today inspires me greatly and fills me with hope and makes me even more passionate about what I do.
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An interview with the talented multimedia artist Tania Granada, Bogota:
What kind of Art do you make?
The visual art that I do is ‘diverse’ I’d say, mainly because I use different ways to create images; drawing, painting, photography, video and sound design sometimes are all part of the creation process of a piece. I make moving images in animation and video, but I also like the idea of making still images where you can feel some kind of motion.
What influences you?
Impressionists paintings might be an influence to me in the way figures are portrayed and also how light is depicted. Figures, in these paintings, I feel have a certain ‘blurriness’ that allows them to ‘breath’ and become alive; also, the light in this style of painting I think has to do a lot with the notion of time passing. In moving images lately I am strongly influenced by Wim Wenders’ films; the way he portraits landscapes and people is compelling to me, sometimes it’s like you’re staring at a living photograph.
See one of Tania’s Videos here.
Does politics influence your work, if so, how?
Yes… rather than with a specific political discourse, with a position as a human being and member of the society I live in. That translates into the work with certain longings, fears and conflicts. With the current political situation in my country, where resources exploitation is done irresponsibly, I feel the need to try to preserve nature as it is today, and that has made my work revolve over the theme of natural landscape in the last few months. The Colombian landscape is diverse and complex, its richness and difficult geography are at the centre of our political issues, such as the distribution of the property of land, displacement of villages and not sustainable ways of resource’s exploitation. In that sense, there is a political background to this subject; maybe my work is not ‘political’ per se, but my way of thinking around this subject is by making it something central, something alive and of importance.
The landscape became an interesting subject to me as I started noticing how important was its role in many Colombian movies at different times. In these movies, the landscape is almost a character; so present in the psyche of the ‘actual’ characters and influent in the development of the story.
What’s the process behind your work?
Experimentation has been very important to the process, if not the process itself. In this project, I make decisions as I go and I think and plan while I make, and that has worked so far. I’m making digital and analogue paintings (watercolour and oil pastel), once finished, I combine them in the computer in Photoshop and start to experiment with motion in Premiere. Later, I make the music/sound for the images, trying to give them more texture or depth.
Please explain the concepts behind your moving image piece.
In this piece, I want to explore if it’s possible to tell a story through no dialogues or human characters, but only by moving images of landscapes. Animation allows me to see and show things differently, to exalt certain aspects and to give life to things that appear to be asleep; with this technique I believe I can explore how this entity can be seen not just as a setting but as a character, with its own timing and course of actions. Furthermore, it revolves around the question of, what is landscape without a human figure to which we can measure it?
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