Thank you to everyone who was able to come to our vernissage at Alte Handelsschule Friday 15 November and thank you to those who came back for a second look when it was not so crowded or came to see the works during our open times. We, at PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program are very happy to engage with the local community and the artists were thrilled to meet you. We were especially moved by Amazonian artist, Ingrid Pumayalla. The smoke from burning Palo Santo entered the space as the shamanic creature made its way through the room. This was not a menacing creature, but one conjured to protect. She sang, “My grandmother has a secret. There is gold and silver hidden beneath the earth.” As the treasure is discovered, her voice grows fainter and fainter.
We are equally excited about the final show of Round 41, Overwhelmed Incorporeal Happiness that will open at PILOTENKUECHE on Saturday 14 of December. We are very much looking forward to the performance of WIR SIND ES SELBST.
David is back! He is a Vienna-based artist, born in Leipzig and has spent his founding years here. Now he is at PILOTENKUECHE, rediscovering and appreciating his home city with a fresh pair of eyes. After 12 years in Vienna, he is observing the changes that Leipzig has undergone. But he has also changed. He is able to use his accumulated knowledge to discover new facets of his childhood Leipzig. The adult David is finding this new perspective on the past a very interesting experience.
His Leipziger roots manifest throughout David’s work. Knowing his family history and that of the city, we can understand David’s art on a more personal level. He grew up near the coal mines and his grandfather was employed within the industry. David childhood was informed by stories of the coal quarries and exposure to the landscape on a daily basis. He praises the aesthetic power of quarries. “It is like a hurricane” he says, describing the visual impact of the “moonlike landscape”.
David is a painter, who has also received professional training in photography. Thus, occasionally he utilises both disciplines in his practice. He found that photography alone was too clean as a medium and limiting in certain ways, whereas in painting David was able to integrate the momentum, the energy and the movement that is present throughout the creation. He also mentions that the lines and shapes on the paper trace artists’ morphology, adding an additional quality. Therefore, David uses large formats as they give more space for physical freedom and an opportunity to interact with the piece in a bodily manner.
Although his approach to painting is very expressive, David is very attentive to the detail and thoughtful about the materials he chooses. The choice of medium is tightly knitted to his birthplace and early exposures. David’s paintings have a very graphic aesthetic to them, he’s work channels the métier of contemporary drawing. He paints almost exclusively on paper using charcoal, ink and graphite, producing high contrast images. He prefers to work on paper as it is less eternal than canvas, outlining the value of the present moment. The use of charcoal is self-explanatory, but is not by accident why he uses solely a specific brand of ink. David says to have a nostalgic connection with the ink from Rohrer & Klingner (a company established in Leipzig in.1907). This ink was the top choice in schools, used by children to learn writing.
He is also a gardener. His love for botany was ignited when he was assigned a tiny corner in the family garden. His corner plot grew bigger and bigger with each passing year. Now he can proudly speak about his collection of flowers, particularly his wild roses. As a gardener David is enchanted by the change of season, especially the springtime when nature comes back to life out of nothing. He is equally fascinated by the seeds and their ability to stay dormant for decades, just to be awakened by the right circumstances. Currently, whilst back in Leipzig, David is researching plants that are reappearing in Leipzig’s old quarries. Within his art practice he integrates motifs of flowers, plays with their symbolism and creates harmonious Ikebanas. He is intrigued by Japanese zen gardens as well as tea rituals and Japanese ink painting.
David is a curious person and a multifaceted artist.David adores opera, he will be the one who is humming or whistling a fragment from a classical piece. Currently he is smitten by Shostakovich 11thsymphony, but obviously being born in Leipzig he had the love for Bach placed in his cradle. David is interested in Bach’s’ approach to composing, his use of mathematical principles, Fibonacci sequence as well as numerology. David tries to apply these techniques himself, he studies principles of harmony, but is mesmerised by contrasts. He is attracted by Vanitas and recognises both the beautiful and the ugly, We need both. David says: ”It is life, there is dirt and it is beautiful!”.
David manages to interweave various disciplines, techniques, personal history and symbols in a surprisingly harmonic and balanced way, creating art pieces that complement each other and form a complete oneness. Though one doesn’t have to recognize the information embedded to appreciate aesthetics of his work.
Drawing is some sort of release for Travis. If he is stressed or off kilter, the process of using just a pen on the paper can reset his balance. That’s why he always carries at least one sketch book with him. Travis is a natural prodigy in drawing. The way he draws his lines confidently makes you think he is connected to an inspirational source, what he says assures this: “painting is like meditation for me.”
Travis was busy painting since he could hold a pencil. His mother has his art works documented since early childhood. While he has tried his hand at print making, sculpture, egg tempera and many other mediums, but he always comes back to drawing. He could easily say that art is his calling.
Travis made his profession academic, but after he made sure he had developed his own style and found confidence in it. “I was against the idea of going to an art academy for ages,” said Travis. He had seen many artists who had gone through academic art studies and that have had ruined their love of art and they started working in offices after that.
Architecture is a strong source of inspiration for Travis’ sketches, just as dreams are his muse for illustrating. He believes everything that happens to him during daily life gathers and assembles in dreams. This is where subconscious enters and makes a distinctive show. He places high value on dreams and wants to spend as much time exploring them as he can.
Mapping is another field that Travis is obsessed with. He explains, “Maps are from the very first means that human could use to understand and describe his surroundings.” Maps are like a common language for people, and Travis likes to communicate or transfer a feeling with his audience through his work.
Currently at PK, he is working on a series of maps from an unknown place. He believes maps can recall something in people from their historical memory hidden in their subconscious, especially when the map is produced from his subconscious and not necessarily from the reality outside. So with an art piece like that, people connect through a hidden chain and communicate on a Meta level.
Written by Elnaz Mostaan
images supplied by artist
To more of Travis’ work you can check his Facebook page, and of course you are welcome to the following exhibitions:
Lucy often complements monumental structures with delicate creations, showcasing her knowledge of materials, craftmanship and attention to detail. She has studied metal sculpture and though she truly enjoys working with metal, she found it limiting to observe the topics she is interested in, hence her work also integrates other materials and techniques such as embroidery, sewing, drawing and painting.
Lucy’s main interest lays in border areas of bodies. She views these zones as a representation of a second or a third layer of the skin. As an example, she points out how attached we are to the clothes we wear. We treat it as another part of ourselves in terms of self-expression, as well as our cultural influences. Lucy explores these regions as she sees it as a very sensitive and an important area, where interchange between an individual and the society happens. She remarks that the layers and borders somehow define and protect us, but also separate us from the rest of the world
When asked how she developed a deepened interest in the subject, she refers to the time spent studying in Istanbul. Lucy remembers not feeling particularly safe as a woman commuting during late hours. She recalls her domicile having protective bars in front of the windows. There was another set of bars in front of her terrace and an additional set between her and her neighbours. Then there was, yet another barrier enclosing the residence and its garden. She contemplates; “Being home and safe, being outside and being unsafe. Being home and wanting to be outside, but feeling safe and still having your own space.” This led to her creating wearable pieces such as a whimsical jumpsuit made of bubble wrap. A piece that allows one to stay safe and meet their social needs. She laughs:” ..leave the comfort zone! You need to be alone sometimes; have no friends. It is necessary to get a character!”
Currently Lucy has begun to reflect on domiciles as bodies of a collective and the history they carry. She investigates border areas, but in a bigger scale, outlining the importance of biographies inserted within the habitat. She says: ”When we live somewhere, we put our own experiences and traces into the building. And the building and its architecture influences us and how we move and feel.” By playing with form and volume, she observes connection between the tenant, the embedded history and the architecture. Lucy is exploring the means to portray this relationship and to showcase the 2-way interaction she creates sculptural work that simultaneously outlines and references the initial object and exists independently. These art pieces are predominantly new objects, yet also a poetic reflection and a remembering of the archetype.
The work for the first PK exhibition, Reset unsettling flesh layers, is cross stitch on silicon and is suspended with metal rods. At first glance, it appears to be one tone. Closer examination reveals more than 28. When creating a painting, flesh is rarely a solid, but more a series of similar hues. Lucy has managed to represent skin and all it’s complexities, while at the same time highlighting its seeming simplicity.
Ingrid has a special connection to the ancient roots of the earth. She is bound with nature, symbols and rituals. She has a specific sort of respect for shamans, knowing them not as witches but instead as the wise people who knew the knowledge of herbs and health and secrets of nature.
Her professional path took a new directlon when she was a student in university. She decided to stop studying business administration and redirect her time and energy to her old desire of being an artist. She purposely chose to study at a photography school in Lima, which was founded in 90’s and focused on psychoanalysis and photography. Now she had the time and insight to look and see what photography meant to her, conceptually and technically.
“Photography changed my state of mind and relationship with the world,” says Ingrid. The portrait project she did of her family, left her with a deep impact and some sort of internal emotional healing. Because her family are immigrants, she had to travel around to make a portrait of them. The experience was like putting bones of a body back together again. Migration is a painful phenomenon within Peru, the history goes back to 70’s when people from rural areas started going to big cities. Due to colonization, they have lost nature, language and this was with the feeling of displacement, violence, loosing identity and home. It is also important for her to contribute to preserving Quechua (Inca’s native language) as a Peruvian artist.
Her thirst for making art took her to London. She still works with Photography but her studies in M.A. of fine art opened a space for thinking even wider. “Not just clicking and see what comes out after, but also the process of photography, directing a photo and the dialog you can have with the space and all the surroundings in a photo including the performance in the course of the photography,” said Ingrid.
Ingrid’s Peruvian origins has her telling stories. She tells me a memory about a Shaman who gave her a cup of his potion and tell her “now I’m giving you the Art”. In shamanic culture Art means knowledge to heal and see yourself and your environment and find what you have lost. Going to a shamanic ceremony got her thinking, what those individuals were trying to find. In a post-colonial community, what have people lost collectively. It makes her question the active role of an artist in the position of having that “Art” in a society as a shaman in a community, this makes the fundament of her work, her concern and her quest.
Her enthusiasm for story telling furthers her works in making film. Currently Ingrid is doing photography and filmmaking alongside with other mediums such as wool, stones, woods and etc. for making installations and performances.
Here in PILOTENKEUCHE her project is a fusion of parallel methods specifically textiles and knitting skill from Quichuan culture and language, In a figurative narration of an oral story or a myth. The myth is about now and about the fires in the Amazon, 20 years of deforesting Peruvian Amazon, combined with the concept of migration and with the strong play of nature.
written by Elnaz
image supplied by artist
you can find out more about Ingrid on her website, and you can come down to the following shows to see more of what she is doing.
Natacha is an emotional painter and a confident performer. She who loves Jazz, birdsong, and finds dark techno to be the best for mixing paint. Natacha is deeply influenced by Modernism and the Baroque époque as well as Christian art. Natacha cites big names; Picasso, Matisse, Soutine, Van Gogh and contemporary artists such as Luc Tuymans, Louis Fratino, Alex Becerra, Daisy Parris, Antonia Showering, Stevie Dixx etc. Currently she’s indulging and studying Francis Bacon. There are books of his work next to the easel and a play of liquid forms and hues of violet in her sketches.
Natacha’s work is highly self-reflective, and she chooses to share herself with the spectator. She pours her inner world and feelings onto canvas and boldly explores human vulnerability and fragility in her performances. She stands relentlessly strong for the absence of boundaries between life and art. – They are entangled: communicating, supporting, inspiring each other to construct what feels like her discourse throughout images. As a highly visual individual she needs to eat with her eyes, it is a physical urge to paint. This undeniable obsession with the imaginary manifests in a complete devotion to the practice. Artistic expression organically lives within an artist, so how one could separate this part of their own identity, caging it, denying it oxygen by taming it and taking it for a walk just occasionally? Natacha is confident, she knows that she is supposed to paint.
We talk with Natacha and Daniel in her working space at PK, about creating, but mostly about destruction. They both seem keen on destruction as a form of construction. Daniel’s work is very geometric and mathematical, he deconstructs it down to a triangle, whereas Natacha’s approach is more sensual, and she refers to the metaphysical, the soul as the primordial form and intense irrational experiences coming from the very most intimate, allowing to reach primordial archaic human state embedded in an individual. She extracts the essence, uncovering our core values. To ask ourselves, to the communities, what do we stand for? We notice that the theme of destruction is being actualized and tackled from different angles by several participants of PK, perhaps a reflection of the happenings on a global scale. Damaged connections with nature, change caused by deforestation, mono-culture agriculture, irresponsible industrialization, excessive consumption etc.
Although Natacha defines herself as a painter, her performance piece “Crucificação e Deposição de Cristo (Crucifixion and Deposition of Christ)” serves as a strong artefact of her convictions. Natacha uses her body as a tool. After depriving herself of sleep for 3 days, she arrives at the exhibition space exhausted and in a half-conscious state. Then Natacha goes to dream, making herself a part of the artwork, exposed, fragile and undefended. Natacha says that she wanted to be there fully – as an artist, as an art piece and simultaneously displaying the fragility of the human condition. She Embraces the terminal devastation of life, resetting back to essential values and sometimes giving a rayon of hope.
Alison defines herself as a travel sketcher who does not want to spend her best years in an office. But she is savvy enough to know that as a creative you’ve got to be stealthy and find a way to sell. An artist needs to consider themselves as an enterprise; grow a thicker skin, get organised and be clever! Alison is frank and modest, yet confident in her capabilities and eager to give advice.
Trying to pursue a creative career means a lot of risk taking, so it’s better to diversify your skillset and don’t put all your eggs in one basket… Begin with a spreadsheet, make a list, map your brain, asses your skills and look for a niche that you could successfully position yourself in. And remember to keep learning throughout life. There is always something to learn from a job or a life event, good or bad. It’s about putting our energy into what we believe in and then work twice as hard, with no guaranties.
Alison’s rigorous mindset and self-organisation skills have resulted in two book commissions. The first book documents her travels in South America where she sketched, photographed and gathered material. She also includes personal stories of travellers from different backgrounds and various age groups. These fellow travellers reveal their lives and present interesting and different life paths. Her other book is focuses on food culture in Hong Kong, and depicts different cafes, bars and restaurants in that city. Alison’s work is shaped by people she interacts with and is highly dictated by the environment she’s exposed to. This is no surprise when “travel doodler” is how she defines her work.
Alison wishes to contribute to society in a positive way and she finds that encouraging people to pursue their dreams allows her to do so too. She says that there are other ways to go about life and give back to others. She wants to inspire people through her published books. Her love for print is tightly connected with the concept of a public library. These institutions are accessible to general public and have existed for a long time. It’s a great platform to spread ideas and to inspire people.
Alison is eager to continue to be published and have her books in libraries, but it is not about personal glory or recognition. This work is based around a self-meditative practice that allows her to reach out to people and to motivate them to practice their own self-realisation. According to Alison, chasing the dream is the fun part and finding new original ways to keep it alive brings joy. Nobody wants to be stuck in a loop. It’s important to keep moving and trying says Alison.
Throughout her stay at PILOTENKÜCHE she wants to get to know more about Leipzig’s rich history in printmaking. Alison plans to investigate more traditional printing techniques and try her hand in the now oh! so trendy risograph printing. During the upcoming weeks you might find her around the city, sketching buildings and searching stories for her next project. Maybe her next book will include city landscapes of Leipzig or a story from a local resident!