How do you find working within the Danish contemporary art scene?
I find myself quite good here. I used to live in Paris before and I struggled to focus there as it's such an intense and stressful city, where you're always on the urge of making money. Here in Copenhagen I've been able to find more affordable studios and the lifestyle is comfortable.
I had no network when I first came here and I my impression was that the art scene was rather small and difficult to approach as a non-Danish artist. But during my time in Copenhagen I've seen lots of new spaces opening, many of which are artist-run spaces, and the whole art scene seems to become more dynamic and open to including foreigners.
The design and craftmanship in Copenhagen and in Scandinavia in general is inspiring for me - there's a line of beauty in this city that happens to really capture me.
So you feel integrated in the art scene here?
Well yes, and even more now as I won the national solo prize at this year's spring exhibition at Charlottenborg. I see it as a strong statement from the jury to award a foreigner in Denmark the national prize.
You talk about your works as excisting in an interspace; you work with sculpture, painting and photography and the result is somewhat illusion-rendering - almost surreal at times. What drives you into this investigation of form, material and texture?
I'm interested in disturbing the immediate experience of objects - in disturbing our habits in the way we apprehend things. Therefore the illusion-rendering aspect of my practice.
Working in an interspace between sculpture and photography, more layers of understanding - more levels of interpretation - are added to my works. Essentially my practice raises the question of whether the work's excistence is image-based or object-based - or whether it can be both.
I guess I'm interested in calling for more attention and intimacy when it comes to perception of things.
My works excist between the solid and the fragile, the ordered and the chaotic – they are contradictory, they constantly cross borders and demand multiple approaches. In this way they have a distorting dimension to them as well - however subtle.
A photographic print is both a representation and an object in its own right. I'm interested in the transformation of what was initially an object – a sculpture in physical space – and in exploring this new multilayer excistence of it.
Why do you think we see such tendency within the contemporary art scene to question given forms and material?
We are surrounded by images today and we increasingly see things through images – therefore, one must notice – do these images become an integral part of the absolute experience we have of things. Simulacrum is part of our contemporary life reality.
Questioning the immediate appearance – challenging our perception of what is real and what is representation - comes natural I think. New understandings of the reality of things in digital times are constantly evolving and this resonates in art explorations.
In extension of this, it striked me that many of the works presented at Charlottenborg reflect on exactly this: their own materiality. An investigation of material and appearance seems to me pervasive at this year's spring exhibition - how do you think the many works play together from a curatorial point of view?
I think definitely there is a line of reflection concerning the ability of material to play with illusions, to disturb our first interpretation of it and to create new realities. I therefore see a stronger exhibition this year - a stronger curatorial statement. There are fewer artists presented and less space in use – so, eventually, a cleaner line makes a bigger show. I am quite happy about it as I think it supports the choice of artists better and our works – similar but different – play well together at Charlottenborg.
Your works are very neat - there's a fine aesthetic to them and at times they even appear as some kind of craftmanship or design objects. Does beauty enhance or restrict the artistic gesture in your opinion?
Well, initially, at the very beginning of the process of my work, I let myself free to explore and to experiment without limits. I have no conceptual starting point and I'm not neat when I work in the studio – I'm quite messy actually. This part of the process is important to me as this is where errors are done and the chaos reigns – but ofcourse, it must count for me, that I'm happy with how the result looks like, that's its neat. Back in France I used to work more minimally than I do now and my works were more polished. It's a personal process for me, moving towards a gradual rupture of neatness, so to say.
As pointed out previously, the beauty of this city inspires me, but it also constrains me – or, to put it more clearly, it feeds my taste for the neat finish and therefore also restricts the exploration of the opposite.
I guess our appreciation of the neat - less passionate and bombastic - expression is a cultural thing. The reserved, minimal artwork – left to countless interpretations – reflects a more general attitude in this part of the world.