Tag Archives: painter

Artist Spotlight: Zara June Williams

Life is like a game. The Australian artist Zara June Williams explores the unexpected and the intuitive of the creative process. Approaches such as combining different individual paintings and interacting with remain marks and droplets of the paint allow her to view the familiarity with a new lens. She invents rules for her art-making and stays playful with the colours and forms. Her art practice seemingly parallels to the nature of life as a game, where we developed regulations and strategies, and laboriously invest ourselves into it.

“Sometimes I think there’s so many aspects that are very complicated, but then it also is nothing. That’s how I feel about being alive in general. It’s everything, but it’s meaningless.”

Zara’s paintings come across as a game of vertigo and chance. Roger Caillois introduced the four elements of game in his 1958 Man, Play and Games (Les Jeux et Les Hommes): Agon, Alea, Mimicry and Ilinx, which means competition, chance, simulation and vertigo respectively. Intrigued by the remains of the process, she lies down papers beneath her paintings to catch the drops. “I guess I speak a lot about chance.” Often she wonders whether it is the unintended trace or her paintings are the actual work. “I think the interest came from feeling too egotistical or too controlled. A lot of it came out of not being satisfied about the outcome, because I can anticipate about it too much.”

To add the unpredictable quality into her work, she sets up certain parameters and games. For example, she took a cluster of wooden frames found on street which resonance Jose Dávila’s “Homage to the Square,” and lands it randomly on the surface. She then paints between the edges of the frames and repeats the process of interacting with the unintended composition of structures. “It’s almost like someone else in the room doing something when I’m not looking and I have to respond to it.” Zara is meanwhile interested in working with found materials which already come with a character she can react to.

Her captivation of inviting chance to interfere with the work rises from the desire for the sense of an instant novelty. Ilinx,the Greek word for “whirlpool,” means the alteration of recognition, which Caillois defined as “an attempt to momentarily destroy the stability of perception.” “Assemblages is another way I can surprise myself from the outcome.” She cuts her paintings into half and plays around by putting different pieces together. “Just by the act of joining two sides together, I instantly see a complete image that is complicated, which I haven’t seen it gradually worked up. There’s a freshness of it that I enjoy.”

During the residency, Zara has started to experiment with integrating photography and painting. She takes pictures of her works, collages them in photoshop, and then transfers the resulting image on another painting. “I don’t think of it as photography, but more of a way to create enough information – information I have that is too much, it needs to be collapsed upon each other and find its ways to happen in an organically and aesthetic pleasing way.”

Written by Huai-ya Lin

See Zara’s work in the upcoming exhibitions


Saturday 17 August 

Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig


Friday 20 September
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9

Artist Spotlight: Izdihar Afyouni

There is no such thing as passive spectatorship in the work of Palestinian artist Izdihar Afyouni. She explores dualities such as subjugation and agency, violence and eroticism, abjection and subjectivity. Complex narratives emerge. They present disenfranchised subjects; women, prisoners, migrants and refugees. But her viewers are not any more confronted with these narratives as they subjected to them. At times, she will employ processes of unconscious identification in order to provoke a psychological response. Others, she will creative immersive participatory performances which facilitate feelings of (consensual) discomfort. Through these means, alienation and biologically sanctioned injustice is literally enacted upon the bodies of the viewers themselves.

Izdihar was classically trained in academic figural drawing and recently completed her MA in Art and Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London. Although primarily working on large-scale paintings, she operates as a multi-disciplinary artist and independent curator. Both politically and psychologically engaged with understanding the body, Izehar is specifically interested in individuals who have been subjugated and experienced abjection.

Abjection was popularised by Julia Kristeva in her work Powers of Horror. Building upon the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Jaques Lacan, the term refers to the separation between the self and ‘other’. This is derived from cultural narratives of horror or discrimination, it is the state of being ‘cast off’. Izdihar is fascinated in intense forms of abjection, manifested in decades of trauma. She says that this occurs when horror becomes the only language you know how to speak, when war becomes your ‘psychological currency’.

Describing her practice as research-led, she will begin with a concept and develop it theoretically. However, at times the concept will develop with the work itself. This is especially true for her paintings.  For they speak a pictorial language which transcends what the written word can express alone.

Stylistically, she considers herself a figeral painter, an abstract expressionist and a contemporary Surrealist. But we’re not talking about the dream imagery of Salvador Dali. It’s a Surrealism for a more contemporary age; one which is imbued with a so called ‘horror aesthetic’. Much of her paintings induce nightmarish qualities, only amplified by the grandiose scale which is intended to dwarf the spectator. Izehar will at times use her own blood, ground into the paint.

Blood has particular symbolic pertinence to her practice, not only for it’s festishistic properties, but in its connection to real people. In her on-going series and curatorial project Thicker Than Blood,Izdihar looks at the impact of state policies and bio-surveillance measures which regulate free movement, bodies and individual agency. In the initial instalment, which took place in a London Dungeon, viewers gained entry into the space upon providing a small sample of their blood. Their experience of the piece was then contingent on the amount of white blood cells shown in their results. While some viewers were treated to a performance, others were subjected to an interrogation. But there was a method to the cruelty. The oeuvre is intended to draw attention to the ethical and psychological ramifications of racial and genetic profiling.

During her time at PILOTENKUECHE residency, Izdihar has returned to painting. For the group’s first show at Kunstkraftwerk, she created a triptych entitled ‘She’s A Cult’. The piece is inspired by the early Italian Baroque painter Artemisia and art-historical interpretations of female violence. Artemesia is today considered one of the foremost progressive painters of her generation. In an era when women were largely excluded from the male-dominated community of artists and patrons, she has been hailed by art critics as representing the rhetoric of the  ‘power of women’. Through a direct re-imagining of Artemisia’s ‘Judith slaying Holofernes’, Izdihar sought to highlight similar contemporary paradigms of displacement with regard to the continued exclusion of women from artistic discourse.

For the group’s final exhibition ‘Wrestling with Impermanence’, She completed another large scale painting exploring a sustained pre-occupation with the figure of the abject.

Written by: Ellisha Walkden


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

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

Artist Spotlight: Karine Fréchette

Wide spectrum of bright colors, illusion of movement, complex composition with psychedelic elements – that what defines Karine’s Fréchette art work. Her art can be described as a blend of Op art from the 70s and abstract art, especially when it comes to the composition. Karine’s art practice is inspired by other artists such as Bridget Riley, Claude Monet or Frank Stella. One of her biggest inspirations is Czech abstract painter Frank Kupka and his visionary and mystic composition. When one comes closer to Karine’s paintings, they are almost hypnotized by the entrancing wave-like patterns.

I have a feeling I found my artist style by accident. It just happened. Somewhen during my masters I start to do those trippy, almost hallucinating imagines and then I just lost control”.

Karine is a Canadian painter, based in Montreal. The city itself had a big impact on her art work. Montreal has not only a long-time history of an abstract painting, but it is also full of contemporary art and blooming cultural scene. At the same time, while living there, you don’t see big names that often. Most of the famous paintings can be seen only on the internet. That’s where Karine’s interest in digital word, 3D modeling and scientific imagery comes from.

She chose Visual and Media Arts as a major for her Bachelors, which she studied at Université du Québec à Montréal. It was a multidisciplinary program, that combined video art, glass, painting, ceramic and other art techniques. “I got completely lost there. I didn’t know what I actually want to do. For a long time, I was really into video art and you actually can see a big impact of that on my current art. But then I decided to focus on painting”. Karine obtained her Master’s degree in Painting and Drawing at Concordia University.

Her artist path was pretty straight forward, as Karine never did anything else but art. She always felt that the most meaningful thing she could do is to paint. “To be honest first I thought it is impossible or even too ambitious to have pretensions to become a professional artist. But I just kept doing what I enjoyed. It took me some time to get the confident to say: yes, I am an artist and that what I do in my life”. In 2018 Karine won a Joseph Plaskett Award in Painting, which helps fund emerging Canadian painters who will live, create artwork and travel in Europe for 9 months. That’s how she found herself at Pilotenkueche residency in Leipzig.

Here Karine is trying to work with new materials and apply new techniques. Instead of traditional canvas, for the current exhibition she used slightly transparent fabric and neon colors to create an illusion of flowing waves which represent circles of life. As much as she likes Op art, she doesn’t really like to follow regular shapes. To achieve more organic lines, she just tore a piece of paper and used it as her shape. “Usually there is no plan or even a sketch beforehand. It is a pure improvisation. I like that these is always something between control and working blind. I think it is important to have a feeling that you are working a little bit blind even if its controlled”.

Despite the fact, that it has been almost 10 years since Karine started her artist career, she still keeps experimenting with her style and trying out new things. “Even though I know that my style is not going to change radically, I am really scared to stuck in one way of doing things, that’s why I always want to move forward”. After the residency at Pilotenkueche, Karin is planning on joining a long-term residency back in Montreal. One of her future plans is also to do a project in which she wants to interact more with the space and light and try to involve audience to discover her painting in a new way. Depending on where a visitor stands, he or she can see different dimensions and the drawing become something different.

written by Kristina Nizamova


You can see Karine’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows:

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

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: 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


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
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