STOP BATH, 2017, multimedia installation, images from Memoria Technica, single-channel video, audio composition, at Lekter’n. Interview on Oslo Fashion and Art Festival. Exhibition supported by Epson & Interfoto Norge. View Stop-Bath video at FilmEssay.com
THURSDAY Oct 12th FRIDAY Oct 13th 2017 – kl. 17:00 – 20:00 SATURDAY Oct 14th 2017 – kl. 12:00 – 20:00
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.
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 (in Oslo)?
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.