Category Archives: artists

Artist Spotlight: Anabel Nájera-López


“I struggle to communicate properly with words. I keep to myself many thoughts and feelings. By creating sculptures, I am able to open a dialogue and be aware of my own subconscious. When the sculpture is finished or sometimes during the process, I feel the release of thoughts and feelings and find parts of me that I did not know before. I am not aware of my actions the whole time during the time of creating, but that is something even more exciting, to reach that point where I stop and everything makes sense for a few moments, and then the questions and curiosity emerge again.”

Mexican-American born artist Anabel Nájera-López was academically trained in painting and ceramics at the University of Texas, El Paso. Working predominantly with sculpture and in a figurative format, Anabel frequently uses materials traditional conflated with the traditional art of craft-making, notably clay. Her often fragmented portrayals of the human body undercut reality, without completely taking it away. Materials morph into flesh, the familiar regresses into the unknown. Through a continued exploration of material properties and modes of production, her work articulates a running commentary of the universal human condition, which conveys an on-going fascination with form and expression.

Her choice of ceramics; a medium historically confined to its utilitarian function, has long sparked debates regarding the status of craft in the world of contemporary art. Her work conveys temporality and duration implicit to the technical precision of making. She says “I like to show the process… marks, texture, fingerprints, brush strokes.” The finished product is inextricably bound with the process of fabrication and materials of production, often leaving tangible traces of its own evolution…

Always pushing the boundaries of her chosen medium, Anabel became fascinated by processes of construction and deconstruction. She describes her approach to ceramics as subtractive, starting with a block of clay and chiselling away in order to achieve her desired result. This led her to begin experimenting with deliberate kiln explosions, before piecing the fragments together again like a puzzle. 

photos by PILOTENKUECHE or courtesy of artist

Fiberglass proved much more difficult to control. She said that she was initially drawn to the material because of its aesthetic similarities with the pigments and texture of skin. She would use darker pinks to create shadows and stitch into the fabric in order to recall lumps and muscles; exploiting the visual properties of the medium in order to map out a fleshy, visceral materiality. 

Sculpture is inextricably tied to matter; through its physical production, its tactile nature and its historical conflations with figural representation. The very act of making in itself is a bodily process. Despite arming herself with protecting clothing, exposure to fiberglass can be incredibly toxic. The silvers would cut into her skin leaving her covered in splinters. The sculpture took over  one year to create. She tells me what is most interesting about the material is that it’s conventionally used to protect buildings in construction. Anabel uses this as a metaphor for the protection of the body; an intrinsic paradox given its harmful nature. 

Violence towards the body also becomes implicit in her treatment of the material, intending to represent unpleasant events that have transpired in her life. Fragmented body parts hang limply by a string, pieces put together again to make an artistic whole. Underlying psychoanalytic impulses in her practice become evident through processes of disfigurement and reconfiguration, beautifully symbolising subliminal trauma and psychological repair. 

Lastly, Anabel invites the viewer to reflect upon their own conceptions of the body, and draws light on the crises in pictorial representation. Aristotle viewed form and matter in gendered terms. While form was considered feminine, matter – on the other hand, was characteristically feminine.  Anabel’s sculptures are non-binary and work to transgress gendered hierarchies. When asked whether or not the ‘grotesque’ is a figure she endeavours to invoke in her work, she simply replies,

“I don’t think they are grotesque at all. I see them as normal bodies.”

What next? While in other countries people take their old clothes to Oxfam, in Leipzig people’s second hand goods can be found in abundance on the street. Anabel wants to work with found material and is currently sourcing unwanted fabrics to create her next sculpture. In doing so, she hopes to create something which is site-specific, while continuing in her on-going exploration of material forms.

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See Anabel’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows:

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist spotlight: Tomás Orrego Gianella

What is love?” is the question Tomás Orrego poses in his video installations, welcoming us to violence. His works draw you in and then knock you over the head, but you can’t turn away.

Love is a fist that smashes every tooth in your face.

Occasionally joking about being a professional disturber of people, this pleasant Peruvian averts calling himself an artist and prefers a simple description: making films. Academically educated in architecture, Tomás decided to abandon it as it became clear it was not the language he needed to express himself fully. From the very beginning of his work with collage and video, the themes stayed consistent: society’s domination of the female (body), violence and love as possessiveness.

This notion of love is exposed in Tomás’s work from different angles of pop culture, rendering the differences between pornography, horror movies, pop music and children’s cartoons, indiscernible. Tomás sees slasher films and pornography as equals in context of their role in exploiting the female body, used only as an object to be retained. The same patterns are exposed in songs and cartoons, confirming how the social construct of love is being forced on us from early age; it shapes and exercises our expectations in adult life.

all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Using repetition, the videos take out the notion of the original, so does his overall working method; the found footage builds an archive for him to subject to various changes. The flesh becomes pixel, the gonzo porn perspective a glitched animation, the pop in the pop song is not there. When persistent work is in question like with Tomás, it makes sense that appealing results are sometimes found by accident too.

In repetitive expressions of simulated fear and lust, the film becomes more tense but also slows down in order to forensically expose itself. It functions as something happening over and over again, commenting on the ubiquity of these images in our society. With remixing the films that have a strong defined formula, he is pursuing authorial narrative. In this deconstruction through repetition, Tomás creates a story that never truly ends.

Noticeable too is the sound and image correspondence. Not only by reusing songs or creating noise, but the visual repetitions alter the sound. Being equally attentive to the audio recalls Tomás’s interest in music. Back in Peru, he is a part of two bands: Los Hijos del Culto and Lorena y Laura, from which the latter one focuses on noise improvisations.

The difficult part for him is to explain his work without looking bad. He considers appropriation of violence having potential to be beautiful. The act of cinema montage is by itself violent, if one thinks about what is actually done in the process. The images he takes are mostly acted and simulated, but real in the situation in front of the camera and its conditions. Re-contextualizing them, a little distance between the real and fictive provides room for the beautiful. Together with the text and repulsiveness, it certainly implies reactions. What is shown on the screens is the reality, and is all about the real people.

After some time, Tomás will put his own videos back to the editing program. In this way none of his works are coined as final absolute version, but become a resource in his archive and will repeat again.

Shock Corridor is the video installation on show at our final exhibition Fast Kotzen. On Saturday, Tomás invites you into a living room with multiple TVs to watch his pirate TV channel. The setting itself is an interesting one if we recall Richard Schickel blaming television for having “reduced the audiences’ expectations of coherence in the development of a plot, as well as its capacity to deal with the more subtle layerings of a more sophisticated kind of storytelling’’. In this room you are able to follow his characters through a cord of situations taken from aforementioned footage, merging with text written by him and remixed pop songs giving more insight to the overall narrative. With inserted trailers for his animated movies and created commercials, the installation gets some light undertones. This eases the viewer’s experience but also reminds us of the living room backdrop and its own connotations.

“Pleasure knows no limit when the hand vibrates. Laugh, cry, vomit, repent or masturbate. Hopefully you’ll do all of this at the same time while watching this pirate TV channel we got just for you, sick fuck. Cheap shock is all you’ll get so turn off your mind. This signal is a vomit of slasher films, gonzo porn, shit stained poetry and mangled pop music. Your fantasies will never be the same again. Pleasure has never been this good. You’ll definitely stay up all night watching Justine, our main star. Watch her body vibrate. Watch her contort. Watch her weep in fear at the lack of control. Watch her digital flesh be enslaved by our device. Welcome to violence. “


written by Samra Šabanović

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist spotlight:Valentine Emilia Bossert

“I don’t understand why I exist. I find it very confusing”. Valentine expresses how her artistic output is her way of making sense of stuff. Though, she also interrogates the idea of ‘sense’. How can there be sense when there is so much chaos and so many ideas and so many memories. She is an advocate of the concept of collective consciousness. If we were all to share common beliefs, common ideas and moral attitudes, could this lead us to a state of sense? Though not explicit, there are underlying suggestions to utopia and dystopia in Valentines work – always questioning the encounters of humanity and to where we are heading.

Existentialism. (/ɛɡzɪˈstɛnʃ(ə)lɪz(ə)m/)

noun

  1. a philosophical theory or approach which emphasises the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

Her own stories, observations, experiences; these are the roots of Valentines creations. Her most recent installation at Pilotenkueche round 38’s first exhibition (Unfinished Hase) responded to her feelings of displacement caused by a constant turn-over of location. The wall hanging was a series of floor plans drawn on thin sheets of resin, all depictions of the homes in which Valentine has lived over the past ten years. Her own journey led her to the question; what is the meaning of a home? Where do I feel at home in my life? The drawings were hung in chronological order on a structure standing adjacent from the wall, allowing the spectator to follow her journey and lack of settlement.


all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Valentine began studying Medical Science in Geneva. It was there she began life drawing classes, “it was the only time of the week I was happy”. The medical sciences became boring and meaningless to her. At the age of 20, having decided that she was not feeling any sense of achievement and was worried about a linear future, Valentine decided to leave Medicine behind and unpick the layers of humanity via an artistic practice. She underwent a BA in Drawing at Camberwell College, UAL then an MA in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University.

When asked about her most successful piece, Valentine refers to her photo booth, first created and installed at a festival in Luxemburg. This piece was designed with accessibility to art in mind. By creating a photo booth, she inserted elements of playfulness and recognition. However, the “photographs” which were produced were not typical photographs. Instead of a camera, inside the booth was a variety of artists, one at a time. Each artist depicted the visitor in their own interpretation and delivered the response to the visitor as a work of art. Valentine’s photo booth project is ongoing. For the Fast Kotzen exhibition Valentine plans to recreate the installation. Currently she is searching for funding to develop a way in which it can be recreated as a portable object to be installed in different locations.

After Pilotenkueche, Valentines next step is to move into her studio space in Berlin – shared with other artists and musicians. Here she will continue to explore the variations of her existence. Creating. Tailoring method to her ideas. Using different methods to deliver understandings of her presence. Oh, and a flat of her own: a temporary permanent residence.

written by Ciara Brown

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist spotlight: Paul Altmann

When walking in the Oststrasse one can stumble upon a store with a charming interior accommodating a range of vintage objects carefully curated by the owners. This new space, formerly a butcher store dating from 1900 whose history is visible on the bluish ceramic tiles, was founded in 2017 by PK local artist Paul Altmann and his partner Antje Schaper. FANG studio works not only as a store for collected rarities, graphics and artworks, but is mutually a studio for two of them and an exhibition space. When visiting, one can also have a cup of coffee or chai and have a chat with Paul. He tells me how this multi-purpose space is their attempt to live a dream of free and open minded work, but is a hard job.

Along with running the gallery, within his art practice this Leipziger chooses political themes to address as a way to handle complexity of the world and times we are in. With photography and video as his main mediums, Paul dwells into wide range of practices; (de)constructing small models for the camera, appropriating found archival photographs, creating video loops, constructing installations in gallery space, text installations on the streets, and much more.

With a strong graphic appearance his images showcase the suggestive power of metaphorically peeling off, but also literally- melting, what we will see later, the real and concrete into a symbol. These symbols in becoming are in a certain way already symbols or simulations constructed by the media and society; toys exercising violence, small models apparently disarmed of previous power, print screens of videos questioning the real in the digital world, revealed conditions and provenance of social games such as Monopoly.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program or supplied by Paul

Act of deducement happens. What is photographed is transited into something else. Here we encounter a ‘quasi identity’ in R.Barthes’ term. In his early work DAVID & NELSON, a simple model is built for the camera that becomes surely recognizable only when slowly deconstructed in a video loop, behaving as a destruction. Now, we certainly know that this is an abstraction of the smoldering of World Trade Center. Here again, an interpretation of a media image is encountered. If one agrees with W.J.Mitchell’s observation that this terrorist act was staged for the camera, we can notice range of Paul’s work sharing similar approach.

To recognize and not take it for granted that photography is always engaged with other media is what we call photo mediation. Paul recognizes this, and questions the pictures that are becoming future history. In this way he is positioning himself among artists that are challenging the uncritical and lazy piling up of the visual. Mostly news are his starting points; news to be thought as already existing images and news echoing those that are yet to come. Paul (re)depicts these with an ambivalent approach since his tendency to illustrate is without ambition to blame or polarize, but possibly to start debates.

In the past few months, Paul returned back to the models and toys as a main referent for addressing their relation to violence. He has been collecting toy guns in order to melt them down and photograph their transition. The toy shifts to an object stripped from its purpose which is a simulation itself; to allow children to mimic attack, and eventually war. Nowadays, they remind us on the presence of violence and are charged with agony of contemporary events.

Overall, much of his work engages with violence in an aesthetic and not directly disturbing way. His ‘transitions’ cause an odd feeling; revealing the media they are engaging with. Going through them with accompanied texts, we gain new knowledge. In The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography, writer Lyle Rexel points out that it is in the condition of contemporary photographs to ‘arrive now within a set of quotation marks’. Here again we return to photo mediation, when images influence others, even the most banal ones. In future encounters with similar referents, Paul’s work will inevitably be one of the quotes.

written by Samra Šabanović 

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist Spotlight: Roman Bicek

“Change yourself.  You see the hypocrisy of trying to change another person.”  Roman prefers to draw attention to an issue, rather than make a statement that can be from an egotistical or self-centred position.  He works with humour and cynicism, not with a mission of political statement.  He likes to keep the viewer on edge, and draw attention to the materials of the object or image made.

By collecting images and text, he builds on layers of meaning.  There is a certain sense of immediacy in the way the work is put together, with his mark making reduced to the few strokes of the material he has chosen and with all the layers evident.  “I’m not gonna make more marks if I don’t think it necessary because my uncertainty would show if I don’t know what to do next”.  Every mark and image has purpose and is carefully considered or edited out, yet there is a sense of spontaneity and play with chance in the drawings and paintings Roman produces.

all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Punk and Alternative culture influenced his youth.  After years in Bratislava, his family moved to England where Roman spent his preteen years skateboarding and listening to the aggressive music of the 80s and 90s.  Having to take time learning English, he got into comics and illustrations.  Visual language started to gain importance, as his free expression through a new language was limited.  Both the influences and the need for expression kept a raw energy to what he put down.  He explains that with painting he wants to be true, to have it unrefined, and have the viewer sense and see the materials as they are.  

Not enough painters ask themselves why they paint or why they choose the medium.  Roman has witnessed waves of painters in the scene come and go, and recognises painting as a problematic material that needs to be challenged by the artist.  The notion of painting as a dead art form has been in conversation for years and as much as Roman sees the limitations of what he is doing, there is a pure necessity to continue doing it.  It has come to the point that art making is therapeutic in many ways, and if he doesn’t do it he feels a great urge to do it.  

Whether he exhibits or not, he continues to choose to struggle and compete with himself and the medium.  Not everything he makes will be exhibited or shown to the public, but the motivation to continue creating comes from a personal need to continue doing it.  He constantly keeps multiple works he develops at the same time, which helps convey the thought with more content.  He dissects images he comes across and thinks of ways to put them together that changes the connotations which may not be very rational at first but builds up to create new meanings.  He consistently challenges his own views and tests them through this on-going process.

Interacting with people he wouldn’t normally get a chance to, and seeing their motivations and passions play out in the open format studio setting of Pilotenkueche has been a humbling experience for him. Being exposed to other artists with different backgrounds, ideologies and experiences in the residency has enriched the quality of his time here in Leipzig. After the residency, Roman will be again immersed in having to work and continue his projects with artist run spaces and collectives he is involved with.  Hence, knowing his time will be precious, he relishes in the time to focus on himself and his work for the remaining weeks here.  

written by mihyun maria kim

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist Spotlight: Ludmila Hrachovinova

“Everything results from something in the past, not coming from nowhere, but rather from something familiar and approachable…” Ludmila talks about the source of her inspiration as something that reminds her of something else past.  A scent, an object, a moment, a certain movement- all of these can trigger her curiosity that leads to a vocabulary of shapes, colours, lines and textures in her drawings and paintings.

The colour palette is always taken from the colours of the reality around her.  Ludmila selects her colours carefully through experimenting with mood boards and sketches before working on larger scale pieces.  She finds it satisfying when she works with the contrasts between vivid colour and that which is blurred.  The varied areas of focus in her work is chosen intuitively, and the aesthetics are a result of her emotions and something in the subconscious that is unintentionally triggered by something around her.

Micro-perspective, human bones, bending of nature, continuation like plants growing, transmission into something else, evolution of things, shapes, corners, tubes, joints, places that bend where two parts connect or come together, all refer back to the body.  She likes the tactile qualities of the materials she draws and paints with.  By pushing, smudging, rubbing, digging, mixing, she tests the limits of expression by the materials to their fullest.

When displaying her paintings and drawings she wants the viewer to have a moment of encounter.  Her paintings are of feelings, of personal experience, and she wants the audience to have a personal experience with her works. The discovery is encouraged by the way she places the works off the wall, either hanging from the ceiling or on a structure which allows the viewer to see it from various angles and from below on ‘mattresses’.  The mattresses are fabrics stitched together with embroidery sown by hand or machine that correlates the shapes and lines of her works as a mirroring of images.  She plays with the position of the works and of the viewer, and encourages interaction.

Pilotenkueche has motivated her to work faster than her normal speed, and for the first time she explores working with pastels, which were on view at the first show at Alte Handelschule.  For the final show, she will continue to work with pastels on paper, and expand to larger works in oil.  How she will display them and what memories we will tap into will only be discovered during the show.

written by mihyun maria kim

Feature image by Charles Park.

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist Spotlight: Charles Park

 Photographing environmental interventions is how Charles describes his work when you meet him. An hour after he will take an awkward photo of you. Charles is severely enthusiastic about sneaking his film camera flash in front of one’s face, in order to catch, mostly an awkward but sometimes decently beautiful expression. To be fair, the developed photographs that he brings to our tables with a smile on his face are definitely honest and vulnerable portraits of all of us.

However, this is not what his artistic practice is all about. In his photographic work, he becomes less spontaneous and gives place to conceptualizing an image beforehand. Here we enter a more silent space; a stillness of a landscape, random forests and bushes covered with pink stripes, abandoned places, and secluded indistinguishable objects collected out of a landfill.

Charles does not record passively, but rather approaches the ‘photographic’ with interventions and deliberate constructions in an environment. This is his way of highlighting camouflaged properties exposing what is hidden before us. His practice aims for revealing and concealing the outside environment, which is what photography itself as a medium does. However, Charles confirms and emphasizes the both exposing and masking as a paradox, mainly in physical interventions he stages for his camera- returning himself, and us for that matter, to the never completely graspable language of photography.

His working process sometimes involves using a metal detector to investigate the hidden in a specific landscape, but also could mean spending a whole night in an abandoned building in Leipzig. In this particular case, he observed the light behavior on the building’s walls and reversed its function into a camera chamber. Here, he took the imperfections of the space and captured the light that beams across on daily basis. The colored designs highlight and help in understanding the layout of the architecture but also the placement of the concrete foundation in relation to the sun.

Heavily influenced by the surrounding landscape of southern California, specifically the severe drought and bush fires, his images reflect the shadows of those of ruins, products of human destructive hand and nature’s inevitable reaction. Photography has always had a strong relationship with geography. In today’s post-photography, when its practice and history is being challenged, it still holds an important role of transferring the invisible in the new geological era we have entered. For the exhibition Unfinished Hase Charles presented himself with a ‘double revealed’ by additionally inverting the colors of the final reproduction of the site intervention, in order to expose what is hidden in the very image itself.

All photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program or courtesy of Charles Park

In Leipzig, what grabs his attention mostly are abandoned buildings, those stripped from their function multiple times. Ruins as ‘imperial debris’ or ‘architecture of oblivion’ to borrow these terms from two book titles, are strongly attached to Germany’s history where architectonic structures have been changing as governments and wars altered them. With new investigations of these places, Charles projects a capsule into the past. Furthermore, inhabiting them means a reunion with the present’s heterogeneity and recognizing its rich texture.

Born in Los Angeles, he has spent countless hours driving through southern California. This perhaps immediately recalls the American photography tradition that has been inspiring a variety of artists still today- the road trip. However, Charles did not take a record of the scenery as his main ambition, but primarily it helped him experience the terrain in a different way- on the move. This frequent driving through has helped him, so he speaks, to understand a diverse Eco climate in only a one day’s work. On the other hand, New York, where he currently lives and obtained his MFA from Parsons the New School for Art and Design, proved that he does not work well in limited space areas.

Knowing all of this, it comes as no surprise that we do not see Charles working in the studio often, but mostly chatting with us. To the greatest extent his work happens outside and on the move while he is appreciating the tranquility of the city. He is strongly determined to overcome the challenges in clearing out his image ideas into our world and focusing on controlling the scene in front of him, with only occasional bad weather standing in his way.

Written by Samra Šabanović

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist spotlight: José Sarmiento

Affection, tension and violence are the dramatic narratives in which José Sarmiento’s paintings capture the viewer. Just as in his work, so do in his life, extremes converge and coexist: in the works of this positive and calm but ambitious person every hint of tranquility disappears.

Being a painter was not an aware decision. Our Colombian artist is drawn to painting and its communication abilities: a communication cut-off from the verbal.

“You don’t think with words, but through painting. It is another way of thinking, deepest; based on the materials and the body”.

According to Sarmiento, there is a space between what you expect to do, and how you redirect it into action, over which you have no control. “Between these two phases there is a huge space, that of direction and loss”. In this way, there is a meeting of the conscious with the unconscious.

all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Between passion and calmness, the constant in José is creativity. Being a confluence of diverse facets and states himself, his artistic work is the result of the infinite artistic concerns that nourish his vision. Within his painting he brings an insightful and intelligent perspective, suggestive connections between literature and cinema, and a contagious enthusiasm that leads him to declare “how chévere art is”. His painting is a clash of all disciplines he loves: he thinks of his projects as a narrative. He takes a moment of an event and expresses it in the purest Baroque style.

There is a strong presence of homosexuality. His works show two bodies longing for devouring oneself affectionately. It exposes the blurred boundaries of the body during sex, showing the animal part of the male body. In its outline there is room for biographical and fantastic. The fantasy of homosexuality, due its historical existence as something forbidden and hidden, José sees as something magical.

The rise to imagination is given. Before and after is the receptor’s choice. To get to this point, he recollects images firstly. He chooses the materials that best fit and starts working on it, with pastel colors and transparency paper being his favorites. His artistic process is based on contemplation, thinking, and subsequent execution. Even so, he is inspired by rapid processes; José does not give opportunity to boredom.

In Cain, Abel, one of his exhibitions, he was showing a confrontation of opposites: works of different resources in perfect connection. In it, he set up a discourse based on differences. Something like the artist’s own metaphor.

One of his greatest inspirations is the German choreographer Pina Bausch, one of the pioneers of dance theater. The idea of ​​repetition and liberation of the movement seduced José. But above all, the philosophy that Bausch safeguards: the constancy that leads to ease. That hypothetical spontaneity of the dance, in the words of Sarmiento, is due to the continuous repetition and its poetic truth.

He was dazzled by Germany’s pictorial history, both expressionism and contemporary painting. From Leipzig and Pilotenkueche he hopes to learn from everybody in the residency and to be nourished by the external artistic process. From himself José expects to generate empathy with the public and transmit his inner message through that particular communication: painting.

Written by María Valcárcel

Come and see Jose’s works in the following shows:

Unfinished Hase

Open:  16 – 23.02.19, 13 – 17h
Finissage: 23.02.19 19h
Location: 
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

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En José Sarmiento conversan y conviven los extremos: la persona, positiva y tranquila pero ambiciosa, quiebra en una quieta armonía la obra, donde todo atisbo de tranquilidad desaparece. La narración drámatica en su pintura capta al espectador a través del afecto, la tensión y la violencia.  

Ser pintor no fue una decisión consciente; simplemente empezó a hacerlo y se convirtió en su medio predilecto de expresión. Nuestro artista colombiano se siente atraído por la pintura y sus capacidades comunicativas: una comunicación alejada de lo verbal. “No piensas con las palabras, piensas a través de la pintura, es otra forma de pensamiento más profunda; a partir de los materiales y del cuerpo”. Según Sarmiento, hay un espacio entre lo que esperas hacer (las expectativas), y en cómo las rediriges al movimiento, sobre el que no tienes control. “Entre estas dos fases hay un espacio enorme, el de dirección y pérdida”. De esta forma, hay un encuentro de lo consciente con lo inconsciente.

Entre la pasión y la calma, la constante en José es la creatividad. Siendo él mismo la confluencia de diversas facetas y estados, su obra artística es el resultado de las infinitas inquietudes artísticas que nutren su visión. Con su pintura aporta una mirada perspicaz e inteligencia, sugestivas conexiones entre literatura, cine y pintura, y un contagioso entusiasmo que le lleva a declarar “lo chévere que es el arte”. Su pintura es el choque de todas las disciplinas que ama: piensa en sus proyectos como una narración, coge un momento, un encuentro y lo plasma al más puro estilo barroco. Hay una fuerte presencia de la sexualidad y la homosexualidad. Por lo general muestra dos cuerpos donde hay un anhelo por devorarse afectivamente. Muestra los límites difuminados del cuerpo durante el sexo, mostrando la parte animal del cuerpo masculino. En su trazo hay cabida para lo biográfico y lo fantástico. La fantasía de la homosexualidad,  por su histórica relación con lo prohibido, lo oculto, para él volcado en la magia.

Mientras los espectadores salivan por conocer el final de la historia, José toma un único extracto de su narración interna para dar pie a la imaginación. El antes y el después es a elección del consumidor. Para llegar a este punto, recolecta imágenes. A partir de ellas escoge los materiales que mejor se ajusten y empieza a trabajar sobre ello, siendo los colores pasteles y el papel de transparencia sus favoritos. Su proceso artístico se basa en la contemplación, en el pensamiento, y posterior ejecución.  Aún así, le inspiran los procesos rápidos; José no da oportunidad al aburrimiento.

Caín, Abel, fue una de sus 4 solo exhibition. Ésta fue la confrontación de los opuestos: obras de diferentes recursos en perfecta conexión. En ella, configuró un discurso a partir de la diferencia. Algo así como la propia metáfora del artista.

Una de sus mayores inspiraciones es la alemana Pina Bauch, una de las pioneras de la danza teatro. La idea de repetición y liberación del movimiento sedujo a José. Pero sobre todo, la filosofía que salvaguarda Bauch: la constancia que lleva a la soltura. Esa hipotética espontaneidad de la danza, en palabras de Sarmiento, se debe a la continua repetición y a su verdad poética.

De Alemania le encandiló su historia pictórica, tanto el expresionismo como los pintores contemporáneos. De Leipzig y de Pilotenkueche espera aprender de las personas que residen con él, tener otras perspectivas y nutrirse del proceso artístico externo. De sí mismo, busca generar empatía con el público y transmitir su mensaje interior a partir de esa comunicación tan particular: la pintura.

Written by María Valcárcel

Artist Spotlight: Isabelle Kuzio

“I’ve got seven fly swatters, if you need one.” Isabelle allows herself to take part in buying as a form of research, an ironic response to her concerns in consumer culture and economic theory. Other things which occupy Izzy’s studio space: slime, croc shoes, glittery rubber cockroaches, a bicycle helmet, a collection of shiny fabrics and other apparently misplaced items. Each day as she enters the studio with her industrial sized bag over her shoulder, I am curious to discover which playful objects are gathered inside. Perhaps an unintentional performance in itself.

Collecting is a part of the process. Izzy’s archive of objects has been gathered over time, some of them new shiny objects bought here in Leipzig, others having travelled with her from Edmonton, Canada – her home town. When she buys an object, she is often not sure what they will become.

“Sometimes I have an object for years before it becomes a part of my art” explains Izzy.

Though, after a month of gathering items in her studio at Pilotenkueche, Izzy had founded a pattern of function in some of the objects. Each were an extension of the body. Objects to be worn, carried, held, used by the self. This realisation brought Izzy back to the question; How do we consume, wear and own objects with the desire to be perceived in a certain way?

all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

“KUNST BRINGT ERKENNTIS – ERIK ERKENNT.” Erik, a six year old boy, is overwhelmed by Izzy’s installation in the Unfinished Hase vernissage. A humorously oversized charm bracelet, placed on 2×2 metre satin cushion: the room’s assertive kiss of kitsch. After experimenting with painting some of her gathered objects silver, Izzy was reminded of jewellery. Jewellery is something precious which we wear with the hope to be admired and desired.

In particular – charm bracelets. They, themselves, a symbol of Izzy’s practice of collection. “Charm bracelets are really personal as you chose what’s on them, but you only have the cliché symbols to chose from.” But her charms do not fit that of the cliché symbols. Izzy’z charms are playfully recreated from her miscellaneous items; a flipper rebranded with a heel and diamante embellishment, a sponge hulk hand with a glamorous manicure holding a smart phone, a personified croc shoe, wearing braces.

It is evident in her surreal creations that Izzy is inspired by sci-fi movies of the 70’s with her irreverent hints to a dystopian future. She speaks of the acceleration of technology, and how it has changed our relationship to everyday objects whilst allowing us to secure our humanic positions in the world.

Technology has enabled us to be more stable when it comes to fighting the unexpected wraths of nature, but when everything is made available to us with new technologies, do humans become a resource: Human capital, in which we become defined by what we provide. And maybe the most extreme form of accelerationism – a world in which humans have become obsolete.

All of the above being ideas that loom over me, as I leave my conversation with Izzy. When asked if she has any ideas of what she will create for Fast Kotzen, her next group exhibition at Pilotenkueche, Izzy explains that she will continue to explore the term Self-objectification. “I wanna do some crazy special FX make up,” she claims. Maybe a zombie, maybe a Bratz Doll. She wishes to take the focus away from her collected objects, and instead shine a light on how we self-aestheticize ourselves to become the object.

Written by Ciara Brown

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Come and see Izzy’s works in the following shows:

Unfinished Hase

Open:  16 – 23.02.19, 13 – 17h
Finissage: 23.02.19 19h
Location: 
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist spotlight: Henrike Pilz

Henrike struggled not to be an artist. As a daughter of a woman painter, she was aware of the problems of being a woman artist. Studying history was a compromise, and it did not make her happy. Finally, this German made up her mind to become what her body asked for. Her artist career commenced with realistic painting, which she finds as a “pure imitation, a matter of practice, you don’t need to think”. As this became insufficient, she researched the historical movements and aesthetics to discover her own voice.

Painting in her life is an impulsive act and way to clear out her thoughts. When in act, she enters into a trance where thinking becomes easier. Henrike is inspired with the pictorial process itself where she thinks not only with her hands, but where her artwork is also intuitive.

Cy Trombly, Joseph Beuys, Silvia Baechli, Marcel Duchamp; the main sources of influence for Henrike Pilz are evident when looking at her work. She is attracted to art concepts and changing state of mind through art; primarily her own and hopefully awareness of the public. Not far away from working led by intuition, Pilz wants her vision to stay focused on the concept.

all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Ever since she was a child, her mind was full of ideas and questions. Finally, the grown up child took the path of the research, providing a way for the curiosity to be shared. One of her purpose is to make art for the society as a place for empathy.

When the idea comes, Henrike feels that something is sprouting within her. The only way of inspiration is having time for herself. In a Pollock-style, Pilz takes the ground as her canvas and blends the colors from different color cans which are her primary tools. Whilst she uses this instrument to display her interior world, the whole process is developed in a slow way of repetitive looking and painting. The main tool is the can, the second is the paint brush reserved for the details. The constant in this process is the frankness and clarity.

The artist is not working only in this medium. In 2016 a documentary movie “XXS – decompose, a strategy”, made by Henrike and her team, was released. It was about the DDR- System. The country, the socialism east Germany in times of the iron curtain. The movie was based on interviews with four people talking about their personal lives.

Contrary to the institutional idea of having idols instead of artists, the real success for Henrike is to develop herself through art, to be comfortable with herself and have a peaceful mind. Impressing and inspiring people with her abstract paintings would be yet another success.

Written by María Valcárcel

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Come and see Henrike’s works in the following shows:

Unfinished Hase

Vernissage:  15.02.19, 19h
Performances: from 20h
Open:  16 – 23.02.19, 13 – 17h
Finissage: 23.02.19 19h
Location: 
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany