Interview Carte Blanche. I dont believe in anything.
By Natalia Gutman
1) What inspired you to built this raw and encompassing corridor inside the embassy?
I was inspired by this particular space because it is a kind of in between space. It is a passage that leads you from one beautiful double salon into an even more spectacular corner-dinning salon. The dinning salon is the most important room of the embassy, this is where agreements are being made and sealed. People come here with an agenda, they want to negotiate, or give a proposal – so there is a certain humility connected with a visit at the embassy. I wanted to enforce that feeling by taking over the whole passage and building a large scale corridor creating mixed emotions.
2) There is a certain command inherent in the way the visitor walks through the corridor – can you elaborate on this idea? You don’t have a choice you have to enter my corridor in order to get to the dinning salon.
I like to give a small push to make people behave in an unusual way. I activate the visitor. The ceiling of the corridor is covered by rope, and the closer you get to the entrance of the dinning salon the lower they flow. You literally need to bow your head. It is a very tangible interaction, which also becomes psychological. You simply can’t enter the dinning salon without an effort.
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3) There are very few elements in this work, and yet the ropes, the holes and the concrete-looking walls create an unsettling atmosphere – could you explain what your intention is with these particular elements?
I like to puzzle the beholder and I have created a kind of discomfort, something unfamiliar or even unheimlich in this situation. All the elements in the installation are basically a part of the construction, while also containing some built in references. The ropes are reminiscent of something maritime, a gym hall - or hanging… And if you go down this road the holes designed to carry the ropes start looking like a pillory and the vertical sloping plates go as far as evoking a guillotine. The concrete walls are raw and sandpaper-like and the rope is gritty, which becomes a prominent contrast when coming from these soft rooms with carpets, gobelins and fabric wallpaper. You do not normally have concrete walls in places you like to hang out. Cellars, bunkers or dungeons have this unprocessed feel and look. The light is dimmed, and you don not know what to expect on the other side of the ropes.
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4) You always work in large scale and with a diverse range of bodily engagements – why do you have this interest? I like to work holistically.
In my works you can’t get away with just being an observer. I want to engage body, mind and soul. I am intrigued by our capacity to sense with the whole body. I like the Alice in Wonderland-idea – where you enter a queer universe. You enroll in another time and space. This work has some very particular references, but beneath all of that, I am also looking to make people take more notice of them selves. By creating such a contrasting space I might be able to create an unexpected awareness of one self. Space and environments have an enormous impact on us, but most people are not aware of how much information, meaning and power you can create with space. Space is something very immediate it has the quality of affecting all of us. You don’t need any skills or explanations to experience space. The meaning of the work arises from the particular sensation in each of us.
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5) I know that you enjoy the process of building your installations – why do you like this physical work?
There is something cleansing about it. The reduction to only focusing on the materials is meditative. My hands are working and my brain is shot off. I become a manufacturer and the
more repetition the better. It is a way to surrender to your bodily existence - a rare opportunity. Of course I am preoccupied with the idea and concept of my work, but the process of preparing, cutting, building is of great importance to me. I like to be the master of my own work and the processing of the materials makes us belong together.
6) Your title I do not believe in anything seems so determined - why have you chosen this title?
The embassy is a very charged place and you can almost suffocate in all the stories, decorations, tassels and grandiosity. Even my installation in spite of it’s minimalism becomes rich in meaning because of the site specificity. There is a kind of minimalism in the statement, which underlines that even minimalism is always context based and determined by how the individual is going to read it.
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