Friday, June 21, 2013

Open Studios at the Cite.

Last night was Open Studios as the Cite Internationale des Arts -  and what a great way to meet some of the other residents! It was complete visual overload as many of the residents are visual artists of one kind or other and I can't remember all the wonderful things I saw but here's a rundown on what I do remember:

Beautifully delicate glassworks by Goldie Poblador. She sweetly demonstrated how she makes her tiny women and offered to give me a go sometime. Before my eyes, a long tube of glass had become a girl - with just a long butter knife (seriously!) as a tool to make the indentations of buttocks, legs and navel. You can see some of her work here.

In a group show, one of the pieces that caught my eye was a small diamond of quail eggs, the insides of which glowed golden because they'd been covered in gold leaf. It was icon-like - the eggs with all their symbolism, the use of gold leaf, the rigid diamond structure containing such fragile possibilities. The artist, Joanna Manousis also has a website.

I saw the work of two Estonian artists, Krista Leesi and Heino Prunsvelt. Leesi is a textile artist and had a dictionary of textiles (?) on display. 100 copies of this artist's book were made - and I want one! It's full of word and image play - so the definition of waffleweave (as in the fabric some tea towels are made of) is accompanied by an illustration of a waffle weave hanging (made by Leesi) - made out of - yep, actual waffles! The book is beautifully designed - check it out here.

Her partner, Heino Prunsvelt is a graphic designer and had postcards on display - these are commercial postcards which share elements of Leesi's visual humour. He also had a display of his work on a laptop and spent some time talking about the graphic elements of some of the logos - really interesting as it's an area I know little about. His website appears to be under construction, but you can read here about his design of a badge in support of the veterans of Estonia's Defense Forces.

Christine Herzer uses poetic text and images to explore identity and emotion. Entering her studio was like walking into a very personal dreamscape. She plays with texture and image, overlaying them with words that hint at, without explaining, a narrative of yearning and slow self-relisation.

Finally, I ended up at Inez de Vega's studio. Inez is another Australian - a performance video artist. She was showing two short videos. One of them was based on a performance (inspired by Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin) she did in Federation Square - 'Hit Me if I Smile'. Dressed in historical costume she challenged people to do just that - and the reactions she got were hilarious.

The other video, is an account of child abuse. Using a 'film-colonising' technique de Vega juxtaposes a minimal monologue exploring the personal landscape of suffering against images from Leni Riefenstahl's film, Olympia. It's a courageous layering.

I saw many more studios - and I know I've left out work that resonated with me - but by the time I got back to my (very plain) room I was visually exhausted! It did make me very conscious of how bare my walls are. I resolved to try to do something about that. I also thought I might 'post' a poem on the door of my studio every so often, despite my bad handwriting. I do wish I had a printer with me - I'm sure I can stuff printed - but where? Small problems like that I find difficult to resolve. 'Ou est l'Officeworks?' simply doesn't work!

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