Oslo Art & Fashion Festival

2018 Interview on Collect Oslo Art and Fashion Website

Exhibition at Vérité

Click the photo to visit the event site. Interview follows.

 

 

Q & A:

COL: How old are you and where are you from?

RW: 33 calendar years. I’ve had the good fortune to be from a loving family in Illinois.

COL: What do you do?

RW: In a comprehensive view: studying the proposed divide between the material and metaphysical, the dream and waking landscape. In concrete terms, a process of field recording with photographic exposures, sound, video, material, documenting and editing the documentation, studying history and the scientific properties of the materials, and representing literal translation of materials through sense phenomena through visual an installation art, privileging kinesthetic knowing. I think Descartes got things twisted and there are aspects about reality I want to make sure to emphasize, to bring value to. My goal has always been to make awe, wonder, hope, and beauty in meditative connection present in my work.

COL: How long have you been doing it?

RW: About 20 years. In 1999 I participated in a group field project, working with artists from neighboring towns to create a formal representation, carved with mowers into a field, visible from space. This was the first time I concretized the desire to work with vision, body, space, and landscape.

COL: What’s your first artistic memory?

RW: Tap, jazz, and ballet class in the gymnasium.

COL: What inspired you to pursue a career in art?

RW: Intrinsic motivation. The idea a career is a choice has always seemed like a post-modernist
dream. There are things people can do, cannot do, and things we cannot help but do no matter what’s going on. The latter could be described as inspiration, or something else. The something else is a bit closer to the truth. If I could be inspired to be a programmer, electrical engineer, geologist, or medical doctor I would have done that. I’ve succumbed to some kind of motivation beyond a sense of I. It sounds religious, but it’s not. Terrible things happen when life goes out of its flow.

COL: Do you remember your first work of art?

RW: I don’t think I can. I can recall receiving local newspaper coverage as artist-of-the-month for a pseudo-cave drawing I made. Pseudo because it was paper stuffed with paper to create a visual impression of being a rock that I then drew stick human and animal figures and rudimentary shapes on. It was strange experience, because a collaged rendering of an underwater, shopping mall plan with an environmentally friendly, self-supporting ecosystem seemed more artistic than the “cave” renderings. I suppose what other people find interesting became interesting to me then: the sense of questioning “What on earth (is going on)?”

COL: If you could have any piece of art in history, what would you choose?

RW: I am greedy with art, so I would want to own the work of my contemporaries. The work they make boggles my mind. Space would be a primary necessity as my colleagues tend to work in various mediums.

COL: What is your relationship with fashion?

RW: A loving and deep relationship. Fashion has somehow been attributed to all kinds of vapid
critique for being shallow. Fashion itself isn’t these things, fashion, of all things touches on life itself-the body, expression, and from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, the frequency of colors permeates what we can and cannot see. On a political and economic sense, the power of choice, to support and value labor or to do the easier thing and commodify and code the crap out of slave labor. I took an independent study in freshman year of high school and turned away from fashion because I was a wimp who couldn’t handle these weighty issues, but as the years go by, I am right back in this interest, with a stronger stomach and more motivation to work through the changes.

COL: What does the word “collective” mean to you as an artist?

RW: For some reason I thought of communication and telegrams. I got to checking out the etymology of the word (one of my favorite things to do), and indeed, there is something about collective that is about transmission of communication for force. Nature has a way of gathering resources to creatively disseminate, and so collective feels wholly functional in terms of art. I’m also part of an international artist group, Ex Nihilo, formed by artists working literally on different continents in different countries. As a collective, we provide the support to each other necessary to keep doing our work.

COL: What is the best and worst thing about being an artist?

RW: The best thing is being honest-about everything and doing what’s in my heart to be done, working through the ideas, understanding where symphonies come from, reading texts and wasting very few moments if any on luxuries such as boredom. The worst thing is thinking I can ever explain how much work is involved and reminding people the value of labor. The rise of the human as an ideological individual perpetuates an archaic myth of lifestyle, which is about a flimsy narrative that somehow manages to perpetuate the ages. I still find this a “best part” in that being honest serves a performative role of describing. Describing work and life is really something that doesn’t have working hours.

COL: Who do you admire?

RW: This is an incredibly long list to start, and one I honestly should ask people if they mind if I bring up their names. My parents have worked hard and loved nonstop, 40 years married. I admire that. Most of my friends have moved countries, at least once, and that is considerable effort-admire that. Architects, designers, painters, people who keep doing what they do and say what’s on their mind no matter what is popular or not, I admire. Since things have gotten a bit extreme, I’ll say I admire that, save for the folk who have really gone nasty with ideological agendas. I don’t admire dogma but I don’t find heresy in times of radical political correctness to be a major offense. Authors are some of those I admire a great deal. Words are a tough medium to work in, and to attribute the ideas to their name, courageous. Sorry for dodging the question in the most direct sense, but I also want to respect the privacy of the people I admire-for I do admire them in ways words will fail anyway.

COL: What can we expect to see at this year’s festival?

RW: A lot of work pulled of elegantly. One of the striking features I’ve noticed in the Oslo Art and Fashion Festival is how much effort is made, how much beauty and value is given, and how enjoyable the entire experience is. The kind of effortlessness appearance always involves the most amount of work. I think if people can’t see it, they can feel it somehow by looking. Or at least I can. I can’t wait to see the rest of the festival.

COL: Who are you excited to see?

RW: The artists! I read their histories, see their work-but as hinted, artists are working all the time. It’s a rare occasion to actually get to see the artists themselves, and express the appreciation for their work. And, my friends. So many fun evenings and relationships are neglected from working. The festival is a chance to see awesome people I’ve missed for weeks or months.

COL: How important is the ability to expose your art to you and your creative field?

RW: Essential. Making for myself is about as interesting, to me, as eating alone. An activity done out of survival necessity, but really the joy is connection. From a sense of survival in the time of value/commodity exchange.

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 09.24.29

Nature érotique

 

The video (blatantly) depicts fetishisation modern pop culture made out of nature as a means for marketing to machine assisted generations. In the absence of physical labor, mental and emotional labors are extracted as modes for perpetuating life processes.

Audio by Ben Sound 

Ex Nihilo invitation 5x5

Ex Nihilo

 


Catalogue

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Exhibition “Ex NihiloVideo Walk Through of Exhibition at La Macina di San Cresci 

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1


As if out of nothing, after two years of cogitating the possibility of making an exhibition that would speak deeply of our longing for a reconnection of body and spirit, Ex Nihilo comes together embracing difference and individuality. Even though the titled, Ex Nihilo, was chosen two years ago, Pieve di San Cresci, a special place-space emerged out of nothing presenting us with the very same question, which we have thrown in the deepest void vacuum of ideas, and desires that reside nowhere but within us. Building blocks began falling into place until it physically appeared in the most magical way, building our confidences and throwing us back into the unknown. This exhibition was conceived to be a communion and an exchange among those artists, with themselves and with the space that it inhabits. The display of the art objects was designed in harmony with what is, to create what it can be. Creation, therefore, becomes a movement from inside out outside in, in the particularity of everyone’s heart.

–       Marcela Gottardo, exhibiting artist, curator, and exhibition designer


Ex Nihilo installation is dedicated to putting form to an ongoing dialogue with 5 international, women artists.

In our attempts to make sense of the strength and fragility of human life, we began to speak about how things come together, take form, and from what often appears as out of nowhere from nothing.

Latin for ‘of nothing,’ Ex Nihilo installation focuses on existence, conditions of the body, and the ‘Barely There’ nature found in artwork of women.

Ex Nihilo looks at the emergent qualities of a given situation and the space from which the exchange, like 5 elements of nature, 4 plus void, the appearance of nowhere comes from a combined dynamic.

What artist Rachel Wolfe calls: “la beaux monde creatif,” is the ‘Barely There’ thing that emerges from an ongoing conversation of trust, collaboration, and witness as it forms the basis for making, it’s also an often over looked, because of its immaterial qualities. While immaterial, the ‘thing’ made from emergence is for sure not “no-thing.”

When artist Sweet Samson invented the term: “Nesslessness,” ‘ness’ the essence of something denoting quality and state, -‘less’ “without,” the state of being without state, the essence of empty, what does this feel like? Something so empty, it becomes full, full of possibility.

The question Points of Connection, Ex Nihilo continues to ask: How to make present the sense of mercurial absence, from which life force flows?

In continuing the work of Ex Nihilo, we 5 artists working together realize and expand themes of work to include ways women-as-seers historically have been made ‘Barely There.’ We take this quality into our forms, and let it inform, in a positive way together.

When we see each other, presence takes shape as an offering, a gift, and the ‘Barely There’ echo of possibility transformed into the something emergent from Ex Nihilo.

–       Jamie Grace Davis, exhibiting artist in residency at La Macina di San Cresci


Delia Pérez Salinas Tijerina

Shroud, 2017
Hand patched silk, mirror, and wig
79 x 56 and 79 x 56 cm

Mimicking the church floor considers the importance of primitivism. The conquering of countries development of their own hegemony, we now call identity. I believe humans are more ritualized than before. Black satin emphasizes mourning we are born with and how a self is in juxtaposition with pedagogy. A mirror beside the satin checkered tile rug symbolizes freedom of the underworld as our ancestors believed, the wig signifying a once lively eternity.


Jamie Grace Davis

The Bones Sculptures, 2017
Unfired clay and wood sticks
295 x 138 cm

Form and Formless, an abstraction from the core of our bodies, there, but unseen. We all share: “bones.” These are imagined bodiless bones made of clay, turning to dust.

Jamie Grace Davis

The Garden, 2017
Installation design, co-curation by Marcella Gottardo.

“The Garden” is an exploration in what artist Andre Feliciano calls “Floressiance.” By themselves these paintings are small moments of ‘nothing.’ Together, the whole experience becomes something to take in, all at once, a feast for the senses. The room is heavy in orange fragrance. 🍊

Jamie Grace Davis

Soudad, 2015-ongoing
Acrylic painting on bed sheet
Queen

“Soudad” An Arabic word, about ‘journey’ loosely translated: “to see from the highest place of your dreams.” I have been taking this painting with me to every location of Points of Connection. It has all the indexical marks from all the other paintings I have made along the way. It’s a registration. The shapes form themselves through layers of time, trust, and highly calculated risk. It’s the thing that’s always underneath all the other paintings, the thing most unseen. It has become the provisional, situational foundation.

“If I take this thing and reposition it, over and over and do things to and put it in different circumstances, when and how will that thing take on that ‘Barely There’ quality? Things that are the most discarded have this. Things that travel a lot have this. What goes into making something that has a magnetic presence no matter how simple it appears?

I’m interested in how an aura is actually formed. What is the mechanism?

Walter Benjamin wrote: “We know that the earliest art works originated in the service of a ritual—first the magical, then the religious kind. It is significant that the existence of the work of art with reference to its aura is never entirely separated from its ritual function.”

Ritual is a form of repetition, a way of participation, to build a relationship with, to belong. Ritual is transforming discomfort into comfort, discord into balance and harmony, senselessness into meaning. When I think about this as relates to dance, I think about it in terms of gesture and posture. Gesture, an action repeated over and over and posture, a fixed shape.  Posture emerges from the gesture itself, sometimes as a stop, a pause, a wobble, of its own volition. This can be applied to mark making in a painting.

All the pours, casts, imprints and registrations: are from gesture. The fixed appearance of movement, posture.

Between the two things of gesture and posture is something else -something ‘Barely There.’


Marcela Gottardo

The Language of the Sun, 2016
Ceramics, plaster, and galvanized iron
430 cm x 320 cm

Soon after moving to Italy, after living twelve years in the United States, I felt an immigrant, a migrant, again. The burden of language, it’s limits, beauty, grace, and the continual sense of being misunderstood -even when standing in my own country, Brazil, granddaughter of Italian immigrants. The weight of the stars hit me, crush me, torn me upside-down, inside-out, fired me, freeze me as an un-programmed thermostat. Under yellow orange green brown oak trees, I walk, surrounded by ancient histories and mountains; I ponder the heart of lost civilizations buried beneath my feet. Homeland less, walking this land crushing leaves and bones, smelling blood and crying out, looking up and looking down, my littleness, meaningless existence.

While the morning dew reveals the spider trap among sweet purple flowers, the undisturbed mud beneath the water pond hides death and decadence. An accelerated unsettle heart craves more, beats thunders welcoming what cannot be possible known within words.


Rachel Wolfe

Memoria Technica, 2015
Series of 5 monolithic photographs
90,64 x 180 cm

Rachel Wolfe

Teknovisuell Experience, detail of detail #5, 2015-2016
34 x 134 cm Photograph on vinyl

Memoria Technica is a series of 5 monolithic film exposures realized as seasons, axiomatically marking the vertical landscape in relationship with the human body in magnetic resonance imaging. The monolithic image as marker in the sense and perception of passage through time.

Works in Ex Nihilo: Summer, a caustic season; Spring, a vernal pour; Autumn, a hieratic vessel.

Absent from Ex Nihilo: Winter, an imaginary obelisk; and Origin, an aorist horizon, are absent. The absences create, as Jamie Grace Davis calls, Points of Connection.

Teknovisuell Experience is a series of 7 images. Dimensions vary relative to Architecture. Images of water emphasize ethereal qualities of digital imaging technology and engage viewers in a physical relationship with the image/vision and body/space.


Sweet Samson

Not almost nothing, 2016
Acrylic and carbon fiber on canvas
43 x 43 cm each

Sweet Samson

Ester, 2017
Aqua resin, acrylic and carbon fiber
7 x 8 cm

In the Art nothing is for sure until an attempt is accomplished.  Although, nothing is for sure thereafter as well.


 

Special thanks to Mimma and Duccio for allowing Ex Nihilo to come to fruition in this very special place.

Rachel Wolfe_Stop Bath

Stop Bath

Stop Bath, artist-curated, multimedia installation containing two, monolithic images from Memoria Technica, original video and sound composition, then projected at Lekter’n. View the video projected into the space on Vimeo and FilmEssay.com Read the interview on Oslo Fashion and Art Festival. Exhibition supported by Epson & Interfoto Norge.

LEKTER`N Stranden 3, Aker Brygge 0250 Oslo, Norway kart/map

THURSDAY  Oct 12th  FRIDAY Oct 13th 2017 –  kl. 17:00 – 20:00 
SATURDAY   Oct 14th 2017 –  kl. 12:00 – 20:00 

Interview from Oslo Fashion and Art Festival Website:

Rachel Wolfe (b. 1984) is an American-born artist and photographer, living in Norway since 2015. Her work is realized in mediums of images, installation, drawing, painting, video, performance, and traveling objects. The Print Atelier represents images from Human Needs.

Rooted in disciplines of dance, painting, drawing, piano, voice, Wolfe has been making solo and group projects, working with land, space, light, and photography since 1999. Theories in Chinese medicine influence her work navigating themes of beauty, sense, feeling.

Awards and scholarships include: 2015 First place by the jury, Imagining New Eurasia exhibition in Gwangju, South Korea. 2015 Woelffer scholarship and 2014 academic merit award from Otis College of Art and Design, 2013 Academic scholarship for social psychology study in Matsuyama Japan, 2009 Historic Pathways winner from Indiana State University.

QA:

U: Who are you and what do you do?
RW: I am Rachel Wolfe I make art considering the site and utilizing materials and images of photography, including light, video, sound, and performance of body.

U: What characterizes your work?
RW: Sensory dynamics in the nature of desire. Human, felt experiences are important in a bottom-up approach to understanding versus a concept-to-completion mode of working. Beauty services the process in various forms as elements of nature are always in the work.

U: How would you describe your personal style?
RW: Based on what I am learned about style I would say everything must always be in service of dynamic movement.

U: How do your own experiences influence your work?
RW: Synesthesia is something I thought everyone has but later came to find out, they certainly do not. I use my sensory sensitivities and route them through a process of omission relative to the site, and to a history I am interested in daisy chaining with.

U: What will you be showing at the uncontaminated festival?
RW: I’ll be exposing ways of gazing upon a horizon to consider the perception of motion through time. This sense of temporality as a form of continuous movement and how that relates to bodily senses.

U: What do you want to communicate through your work?
RW: Reverence as an important tool in agency. Trade economics are sometimes spoken of as a force in opposition of life, and in the sense of hurriedness or performance anxiety, one could certainly become at odds with their lives and relationships. My work is demanding in a subtle way of slowing down, that most to gain by giving in to what is working through choices with what’s there. My hope is locating an orientation of intrinsic desire and value-to go forward from an aesthetic experience with an embodied sense of wholeness.

U: Do artists of today have some kind of social responsibility?
RW: Responsibility is such a rich space for conversation. Artists have the responsibility to keep making work, and to start talking with people in a way that doesn’t create an intellectual paywall.

U: What does uncontaminated mean for you?
RW: Uncontaminated is an idea about an ideal. For example, the idea of blue blood or a form of purity that in reality is an impossibility. For example, mud is still always dirt. That kind of aspirational dreamstate feels a lot like a mental space one could achieve through traditional forms of meditation.

U: What is the most important thing in your life?
RW: Being alive.

U: How do you feel right now?
RW: I feel like having a proper bath. Where are all the bathtubs here?

U: If you could change one thing in the world today, what would it be?
RW: Remind people the generative quality of cooperation and the value of a well-considered no.

U: What are the main reasons you are joining us for the festival this year?
RW: I am interested in art and fashion and want to connect with people to learn about what they desire-what brings people out of their homes to connect with each other in public spaces.

U: Who or what do you value as a great inspiration for you creatively?
RW: Opposing points of view from books, family, and friends. Paying more attention to noticing phenomena in nature. How many different ways can something I think I’ve seen a million times reveal something new about itself?

U: Can you elaborate on an important moment in your life where you experienced a big change, chose to make one or another event which altered your way of thinking or your approach to creativity?
RW: Deciding to be the author of my time, which is a never ending dance I still trip over my own footing with. After decades of training, the red thread is making something out of the desire to make and create value in the satisfaction of the making process.

U: How does digital and social media affect or inspire your life and creations?
RW: Being prone to affective disorders, I really try to keep an arms distance with the broadcast version of life. I wonder a lot about the ways in which the intimacy of viewing a distant life up close affects psychology and if there could be some kind of epigenetic change relative to the emotional change in media technology.

U: What do you define art?
RW: Art requires discipline, something that is worked on by an artist and through a diligent practice and vision work is made. Is Duchamp’s urinal art today? No, that was an artefact as a testament of a notion that somehow art is one thing or another-that art is about ideas or feelings or one thing or the other. Art is art. To conflate art as anything other than the word itself services rhetoric or belief-both of which I am interested in being free from. I have a great faith in people and the ability to know. Art and artefact can have a close relationship but they are different. I as one among many people practicing art today may be in a practice of making artefacts more than art, and that’s something I’m always looking closely at within my work as well. Does this diminish what artists are making; I don’t think so. I do find the conversation valuable moving forward.

U: What is your definition of artistic freedom?
RW: Discipline. Having gone through a phase of coming undone, and going in many directions, I’m in a process of refining.

U: Is there a difference for you between art and commercial/commissioned work?
RW: Commissioned work has always been easier for me, to work in a dialogue. Making art for myself entails far more responsibility which then requires a lot more time. A few months at a residency can accomplish a lot, but it is still not the same as having years to work on art.

U: Do you struggle to find artistic freedom in the span between commissioned work and your personal needs to express yourself?
RW: Personal expression is not an area I struggle with or work with in my art.

U: What do you aspire to? In the near future? In life in general?
RW: Aspire is a great word. I wouldn’t go panting after doing I do though. The question I’m often asking myself now is what is truly essential and can I live with today, tomorrow, and 50 years from now.

U: How do you feel art and fashion intervene?
RW: Aesthetics and function. The formal qualities of how something looks conveys a great deal of ideas. Aesthetics as signs of ethical choices isn’t a new concept. There’s a lot of value in considering what aesthetic choices are relative to fashion, and then wondering the function, does this work. And if it doesn’t work, ie can the body stay warm, does the systems circulate healthfully, this kind of questions have a lot to do with the intersection of art and fashion. The head and body need not be severed from the other, you know?

U: What is a great example of a fashion art collaboration in your view?
RW: I cannot look at fashion and not see art. When I see art, I have a desire to somehow become the art I see. I have seen so much incredible and daring fashion and art these past years, I am afraid I can’t call out anything specific right now.

U: Where do you think art and fashion is heading in our digital age?
RW: People are demanding more from each of their purchases. Less is not more now. More in fewer items is the thing. A lot of the digital future is already available today but not yet on a wider scale. Someone once advised me to invest in black clothing, that this pigment would become rare in the future. For some reason this stuck with me.

ELVELANGS I FAKKELLYS

Elvelangs i Fakkellys, Oslo, Norway, 2018 & 2017

2018: Dual Site Installation including Vesper Monumenter and Et Dypt Nett, Frysja in Nordre Aker Bydel and Smelteverket in the Vulkan Mathallen

Vesper Monumenter, 8 sculptures with light and single channel video projection


Et Dypt Nett, 8 sculptures with light 

2017: 9 Worlds of Image and Light, Smelteverket, Vulkan Mathallen