Untitled (bridging language)
Charlotte Horn, Arbesa Musa, Anastasia Pavlou, Noemi Pfister, Nicola Spycher and Kathrin Siegrist, assembled by Kathrin Siegrist
Painting has this quality of the ineffable,
of something that most of the times doesn’t manage to be put into words satisfactorily. Everything is kind of visual.
We should talk about visuality generally; visuality as a language by itself.
It is very simplistic.
It touches very much other things that we negate or discard or do not understand. Would you consider reading a book as visual?
It is obvious that seeing and perceiving are
implying different cognitive levels.
The comparison of text and painting is nice to me. As painting is so lay down with convention there is also a kind of grammar to it. Semantically, the way the painting is made, you can read a lot into it –
The painters’ gestures are in the object, and you can get information from that: a certain attitude is represented in the gestures.
I read this text from Marcel Duchamp about words that you create without even existing. He mentioned that you don’t choose anything: everything we do is because we’ve been through something.
I had this in my mind for a very long time.
I wanted to be able to understand what I choose or what life makes me choose. I wanted to understand myself first. This is how I started my own project:
to paint something I couldn’t choose.
There are different kinds of painters’ approaches. Whereas for some paintings it’s more important you experience and see it for others the context is more important.
I’ve just realized I don’t even question that I am painting anymore.
I just do it.
I don’t spend like a second
thinking maybe I should be doing something else;
not at all.
You have so little time.
You want to make things.
I work very much idea based. Initially there can be an image, a movement, a color, or a feeling. To make a good, surprising image you have to surprise yourself,
which is very hard,
because you cannot think of something and surprise you at the same time except if you are painting with your eyes closed. Some people do.
The decision must be out of your mind.
What I did is
I used to try it by way of materials.
When you stuff around a lot, uncarefully, and you put all your brushes into one thing and the other and you mix oil and water and trash and things like that:
The situation starts creating itself,
I didn’t consciously make something – the conditions that surrounded something become part of what it is.
For me that was a very simple way of
thinking differently about
It’s important to be surprised.
I can relate to that.
I want to break free from an initial idea I had, to feel I have made something that shifted through me. I am working with a lot of different media:
I need to be able to jump around,
to have the conversation between painting and sound and sound and sculpture.
It always has to be related to me, to my body, to my environment or to something I encounter.
I like to play with scale, to enlarge things that are very small or vice versa.
I have a completely different approach.
I can only paint when I exactly know how it is going to look like. I can spend two weeks of making collages, taking pictures, and looking at colors.
I feel like a constructor.
It is a lot of brain work before I start with a painting.
I am not such a relaxed painter.
I am reading some interviews with the American author Kathy Acker. She talks a lot about plagiarism – using other people’s texts for your own writing – I can transfer this idea to painting.
Why not take what you like?
Authorship. To what extend? Who cares?
A lot of people can be obsessed about their individuality and owning something. That cannot happen,
no basis of reality.
People have simultaneous ideas; people get informed by things.
Yeah, It’s all there. We all get it from somewhere. If you see a line that inspires you, you won’t be copying because you can’t probably.
It’s more like a remix.
It is interesting to speak about sources and inspirations to understand the process of painting. When you confront yourself with something
you have to take position.
Either you put a comment on it, or you make a reference to show: this still exists,
you shift the context completely.
Stealing is allowed. It is a tool to speak about other stuff, to put your own meaning into it or to question it. It is very important to be transparent about what you have been inspired by.
For me it’s not ok to steal. To be inspired yes but not to steal.
I would rather ask you to do something together than to just take your thing and to make it mine.
Where is the difference?
How do you think one is stealing and one is inspiring?
A different level of being conscious about it?
Stealing is a bit a harsh word.
When a picture is out there you consume it, as a maker and as a viewer. We consume images all the time.
That becomes you in a way,
even if we don’t think about it.
Even if you’d try, you won’t be able to make the images you consume the same ways as you have them in your mind. You will make your own thing. If I look at a painting, at a certain line and I think:
oh, that’s a good solution for this composition.
I would never consider it stealing at all, because I will use it the way I want to use it. A color exists.
It’s nobody’s color.
A condition of constantly being influenced; consciously or unconsciously. I find it rather interesting to be in common minds.
I like that.
Why not be in this pool of things?
Its super nice.
I came here like a green leaf.
I was extremely influenced by what I have seen around in the painting studio.
In a great way.
The question of friendship and relationship that evolves over time working together is a question I ask myself. The painting studio is depending on who is there; what kind of vibe is being sent by people around:
The space can completely shift.
I learned about the huge range of how people visualize in their minds, or not. Visual is not visual, people have a very diverse visual imaginary.
We all have different relationships with the visual.
To access this, there is a huge potential in painting.
Painting influences your vision. You see differently. It’s a way you look at things. When I am painting, I am abstracting, wherever I look afterwards,
my brain tries to deconstruct,
to be able to paint,
Do we have any conclusions?
I have to go; I have to paint.
From a conversation between the artists Charlotte Horn, Arbesa Musa, Anastasia Pavlou, Noemi Pfister, Nicola Spycher and Kathrin Siegrist, assembled by Kathrin Siegrist. The conversation took place on March 29th 2023 in English as a bridging language. All participating artists currently work in the painting studio/workshop of the institute Art Gender Nature HGK Basel, FHNW. The painting studio was the starting point of the conversation: a collective brainstorming event around practices and experiences of the artists working in the space.