Between virtual reality and Japanise manga; between surreal tales and crime beat; between TV icons and hidden perversion. Mixing her traditional background to humanise digital techniques, the Italian artist Ilaria Novelli gives birth to eccentric female characters playing with the contradictory tendencies of our society.
Rather than suggesting an ethical behaviour, the artist combines the sources of her daily inspiration to reverse the usual stereotypes of our current society. From daily news to science fiction to the Great Masters of the past, the artist’s inspiration is in constant evolution as well as her works.
Secretive and not very talkative, Ilaria speaks through her images suggesting creative ways to go beyond the obvious appearance in the every-day life. Pushing the contradiction between what we are used to seeing and how the world is changing, the artist leaves open the question on how we perceive culture and society towards a critical analysis of our times.
Combining traditional and iconic images with contemporary techniques, Ilaria offers an example of how to think of, and play with, new tendencies and technologies without losing the human elements and symbols of our traditional background.
Waiting for her new year’s inspiration, here is an interview with Ilaria about her future projects and artistic journey.
1 – Between surrealist images and digital collage, how did you start to explore and prefer these techniques?
I have always been fascinated by technology, robotics and science fiction, disciplines and concepts consolidated and romanticized by every form of artistic expression. We tend to distrust the digital representation, it’s considered less virtuous and humanized, so I try to use it in a more artisanal way, leaving room to imperfection and to the human component. Starting with the collage, I turned it into a more immediate and intuitive technique both in the realization and in the elaboration, a combination between the handmade and a virtual immanent.
2 – For your pieces, you usually take inspiration from anime and fairy tails as well as crime beat and current events. How are these elements giving form to the diverse personalities of your characters?
Anime is my cosmogony, when I was a child I copied Japanese cartoons’ characters, a starting point to explore my personal mythology made of all the visual and cultural stimuli that surround me. In the past years, I have detached myself from the fanciful components even if I have kept the illustrative form to represent my themes. I have a very personal universe based on my experiences and imagination, I create in a sort of straightforward and private journaling style. Even the personality of the anthropomorphic figures always reflects my mood and my interests, I use current or historical events only if they are aimed at expressing them.
3 – In between childhood and adulthood, your naughty girls are combining conflicting emotion leaving the interpretation open for the viewer. How is this ‘ambiguity’ representing the identity of women in our society?
The feminine and individual soul has suffered the violent impact with the ranting, huge and unpredictable wave of the massifying contemporary culture. Beauty and eternal youth are essential dogmas as well as a collective shared knowledge. Our counsciousness is conformed and aligned as our evolutionary path.
4 – In your works, the naive pictorial style clashes with the brutality of contents, pushing the viewer toward a critique of the social and cultural dogma of our society. How do you see the potential of art in revealing the contradiction of our society for the new generation?
I believe that art is always maieutical and never didactic. The viewer must create or understand the truth or one of its versions.
5 – What are your future projects?
I’ll have two exhibitions both in the USA for the upcoming year. The first at the MF Gallery in New York, I’ll be the only Italian with two American artists: Lou Rusconi and David Scott Montgomery.
The second one is mostly an all female collective show “The Slap Show” curated by the artist Kawaii Suga, a charity event that will collect funds for homeless women.
Sine Senze is Martina D’Anastasio, a young artist based in Rome. Since her childhood, she is living in between reality and an underworld populated by fairy and magic creatures. Drawing her imaginary friends to bring them to life, Martina transforms painting and drawing into the language to narrate the underworld in her mind.
Starting her studies with realistic and photorealistic painting technique at the Rome art academy, the themes of Pop Surrealism capture the artist’s imagination during a trip in the US at Dru Blair’s School of Art. Mixing these two techniques, Martina plays with elements of reality and fantasy to explore human emotions and giving form to new worlds playing with the visual elements of our contemporary society and traditional fairytales.
Combining traditional and classic icons with grotesque and surreal elements, Martina offers a personal and intimate perspective on our world with a unique lens that challenges the borders of what we consider real and logic.
Exhibiting around Italy, Europe and US, here an interview with the artist about her work and future projects.
1 – Could you tell us where your art name comes from and why did you choose it?
The name Sine Senze is a mash-up between English and Latin: it means senseless, without sense.
2 – In your works you combine photorealistic paint with Pop Surrealism themes. How did you arrive to prefer this combination of media?
I’ve been always fascinated by the photorealistic technique. You can reproduce something that looks real on a “flat” surface and if you think about it it’s more abstract than abstract art. It’s an illusion, it isn’t real. It took me many years to learn this technique. I had to work really hard, especially on colour value. But you know, as many artists I’m never satisfied, and just “repaint” reality bored me at some point. I needed more. Since I was a kid I’ve always been playing pretending to be someone else like a fairy, a witch, a magic animal. I’ve always had an alter world in my mind, full of weird creatures and imaginary friends and the way to bring them to life was to draw them. I draw since I remember, since I was a little kid. It is my way to communicate: I paint, I draw to tell you a story. I learned to paint and then I combined this skill with my inner imaginary world and that’s how my “Pop Surreal” journey began. In my painting I’m telling you a story.
3 – How travelling and meeting international artists have had an influence on your artistic journey?
I’ve met so many important artists. Some of them inspired me so much but some of them disappointed me as “real people”. I’m sure I might look delusional to some of them as well. I always think that it’s better not to know your hero: when someone is your“Art Hero” stays in your heart as a flawless soul and that’s how it should be. I know, It might sound depressive!
4 – Especially after your trip in the US at Dru Blair’s School of Art and the immersion in Pop Surrealism themes, your works often play with uncanny and beauty. How does this tension represent the combination of reality and fantasy in your work?
Travelling around the United States was a dream. I learned so much, I saw so much. It is a place where the beauty and the ugliness of this world live together, like the yin and the yang. Reality has both the faces and I wanted to express this in my art. Fantasy is the other face of reality, sorrow is the other face of joy. I wanted this tension to be expressed in my art, I want my inner world to meet the reality and built a connection between the real world and the dreams world. That’s why photorealism wasn’t enough for me.
5 – Can you tell us about your current projects?
Now I’m moving forward on my “Broken Mirrors” projects and I’m also working on “blurred” portraits series. I can’t wait to show you more! In those paint the central question is the Io (self), our identity, our bound between this world and the other one, how we are fragile and so incredibly strong at the same time.
Marco Bevivino is a Roman artist expert in music, pizza and supplì. The ‘arty’ name Marco About comes from his old music band, the Think about. He does not like to be defined as an artist, at all.
His creative journey starts with hand-made music posters, bouncing around freelancing jobs; a too long experience as a graphic; to end up in a silkscreen laboratory – where he seems to be finally settled. Meantime, before jumping into interactive urban projects and festivals, Marco used also to present his illustrations in different art exhibitions, until he decided to leave the ‘arty-world’ forever – excluding some rare exceptions.
During this unconventional journey of exploration, Marco plays with traditional and digital medium without ever losing is humoristic and direct style. Despite his disillusion of our times, the artist plays with animals and weirdos to interact with the audience making jokes on our contradictory society. Here an interview with Marco about his work and his thoughts on the potential of art to interact with people.
1 – How did you start between illustration and music?
When I was about 16, I began playing in a punk hardcore band. At the time, the posters of the events were completely hand-made. Where I use to hang out, talented guys usually created posters for their own music shows, with scissors and newspaper clippings.
I have been always drawing, but only for myself; I just did some graphics work for the shops around my area. As soon as I had the chance to make a poster for my own band, I immediately rebound to try out possible combinations of images and words. Supposedly, someone thought that I was not that bad after all, and slowly I got commissions for concerts, festival and different kind of events.
2 – From graphic to silkscreen to pen and pencil. What is your favourite medium?
Surely, my favourites are pencil and pen on paper because of their immediacy; it is where everything starts. Years ago, silkscreen captured me, and I hand-printed a lot of posters. When sometimes I still need to print something, I usually go to the lab where I use to work as a graphic.
The graphic, unfortunately, it is a boring work that I always try to avoid.
3 – You often portray animals humanising their emotion and behaviour. How do you see the relationship between animals and us?
Animals are the true inhabitants of the planets, while we are dirty and disrespectful hosts slowly leading the world to the collapse. Actually, animals’ emotions are a way more beautiful and pure than human’s one. Not fully understanding them, however, in my drawings, I tent to attribute to them our behaviours… and they don’t really deserve it!
4 – Working as graphic and musician, you are often in direct contact with your public and your work has a strong visual impact. Does the art need to be communicative for you?
Thanks for the ‘musicians’! Actually, I don’t play very well and I am singing even worse in a hilarious punk-rock band.
But yea, I believe that art is here to communicate, to tell you: ‘hey you, something is happening here, can you see?’
This message should arrive to all, and for this reason, I think that we need a language and images clear to anyone. In the end, the scope is to communicate, even if it is difficult sometimes.
5 – You are also part of the artistic collective M.U.Ro to renovate forgotten areas of Rome with Wall Painting. How would you describe the potential of these artistic interventions in the city, particularly in the social context of Rome?
I collaborated with M.U.Ro a few years ago. The Roman artist Diavù initiated the project to renovate some of Rome’s areas. I did an intervention painting some little animals in a park of Quadraro and some others in a pre-school.
Among M.U.Ro, Rome is full of realities working on the requalification of the city through art, but my experience with Wall Painting ended at the time.
I am sure that these are projects full of potential. Today, a few years later, my position about is slightly changed.
I believe that a huge monster of cement is not going to change with colours on it. Actually, the risk is to give more attention to something ugly and bad located compare to the landscape.
In this sense, sometimes, maybe we should be more careful in choosing where and how to paint.
Antonio De Blasi is an Italian illustrator and portrait artist from Orbetello, Italy. His passion for drawing grows in time, expressing his impression of life and the evolution of his artistic maturity. Self-taught artist, Antonio explores every-day gestures and human emotions with graphite and pencils, playing between the figurative and surrealist imaginary to give form to his subjects on paper.
The investigation of human feeling is combined with the inspiration coming from the sea, that gives to the artist’s figures a unique personality. Because of the ephemeral and magic character of his subjects belonging to a mysterious world, the artist often collaborates with publishing houses to capture the atmosphere of poetry and narrative. The use of graphite and the sea imaginary accentuate the intensity of the emotional expression, guiding the imagination to infinite stories.
The artist just left North Carolina after the solo show The Black Sea at the Jake Roger Gallery, following the collective exhibition LP_Lost People in Tuscany. While waiting for Antonio’s next destination, we asked the artist about his work and his artistic inspiration.
1 – You are a self-taught artist with a strong passion for drawing. Which style has inspired your personal artistic journey?
Yes, I am a self-taught artist: I ever had masters nor courses. I did explore drawing in the museums around me, copying the works of the greatest masters and analysing art catalogues. I also love the artist’s biography, I have lots of them, they have always been a central point of my activity. I have been inspired most by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Hayez and Modigliani while, between contemporary artists, surely by James Jean, Nicola Verlato, Saturno Buttò, Marco Mazzoni, Agostino Arrivabene, Andrea Martinelli.
2 – Which subjects are challenging and motivating your artistic research?
I love the human figure in any of its forms and I love to represent it both in a realistic and surrealistic way, often combining it with elements connected with my other main passion: the sea. My current production is going in this direction. My artistic research focuses on the study of the sign and on the form before the colour, the study of darkness, I use just little colours that are emphasised by the blackness around. I do not paint or use brushes.
3 – Between your past projects, which one has most influenced you as an artist?
Surely the illustrations for books allowed me to work with editors, writers, poets and journalists; the exchange with these personalities was, and still is, fundamental for my personal growth.
4 – You have been part of the group exhibition LP_LostPeople, about loneliness, loss and travelling. How these concepts are relating to your personal artistic vision, also in relation to the Italian situation?
I feel very internally the theme of loneliness: is a fundamental element not only for drawing but also for my personal equilibrium (I am happy and a good company only when I have been enough on my own). The figures of my piece are the portrait of my loneliness, and my studio is the ideal place to give form to my works. About the idea of travelling: I see my artistic path as a long and undefinable journey that with pleasure also ended up in Badia a Ruoti with the group exhibition LP.
Based in Genoa, Sergio Marsala is an artist and illustrator from Modena, starting his career with Franco Buffarello, Sandro Cortesogno, Lele Luzzati, Gianni Polidori, Sergio Fedriani. Bouncing between theatre stage and comic illustration, the artist plays with familiar figuration and everyday suggestion to understand our daily life. In the solo exhibition snaturar corrivo, for example, Masala portraits little monsters representing the doubts that we try to hide every day. These creatures, however, are funny and clumsy to remind us that we can learn how to playfully face our fear.
Exhibiting between Italy, England and Franch, Sergio is also juggling between different activities that are constantly feeding the diversity of his work. Moving between children illustration, underground publishing and collaboration with theatres and cultural events, the artist explores different medium and approach to specialise in collage.
Sergio is now getting ready for his new exhibition for the Coaster Show 2018 edition in Los Angeles, after participating to last year edition. While we are waiting for his new creations, we asked Sergio about his work and his last project Lost People, a group exhibition about loneliness, travelling and identity. Presented for the first time at the Beu-Beu Art Festival, Lost Kids combines the playful approach of the artist with a reflection on identity in a fast and mobile world in which we constantly rush to become adult and too often we forget how to play.
You are mainly working on stage design and illustration, specialising in collage. What do you like most of these techniques?
For what concerns the first two activities, which I usually approach in a similar way, it is the opportunity to interact with the text (dramatic in the first case, narrative in the second); I have always been interested in capturing the suggestion from the world of literature to transform them within visible ambient and imagine.
The technique of collage fascinates me for the opportunity of creating something new, re-using/re-locating/attributing a new meaning to something already there, even better if it is useless but conserving a trace of the previous story. I often reuse wastes for my creation, both for stage design and illustration. In a similar way, lately, cardboard is my favourite support for painting and drawing.
You have also organising children workshop. How did this activity influence your artistic creativity?
My research began years ago from a childish approach to drawing rather than academic, to which I have always been deeply connected to. I carefully observe how kids are drawing in preschools and I have a small collection of their works that I often look up to take inspiration. Actually, that’s also why my work for LP, Lost People exhibition is Lost Kids. For the same reason, I have always been attracted by ethnic art and Art Brut. Any time I have the chance to make a painting with kids I do learn something new.
Are the subjects of your pieces connected or inspired by your every-day life?
I would rather say that they are inspired by my oniric life, which most likely is largely influenced by my every-day and previous life, by the art I have seen and by.. what I have eaten for dinner!
I try as much as I can do something out by dreams, imaginary character and atmosphere, which is not easy at all.
How do you relate the themes of LP– LostPeople with your individual and artistic vision of the world, also considering the Italian socio-political context?
When I draw my pieces, I let my inspiration to come out unconsciously and automatically, and the same was for the theme of the exhibition. the Italian socio-political context has probably emphasised my tendency in depicting the monstrous, nowadays very relevant theme.
Last Saturday, Sala Blu Gallery launched HeArts – Exhibition by 31 Women, curated by Rossana Calbi in collaboration with Linda de Zen. This show collects 31 portraits captured by Laura Penna, and it will run in Rome until the 30thof September.
It was 1943, when Peggy Guggenheim’s female exhibition,The exhibition by 31 women, took place in New York between several critics. In these unforgettable times, the role of women was changing because of the war and the constant need of help was slowly transforming the structure of society. The general mentality, however, was still deeply entangled with traditional ideas and the exhibition was so criticised that even “The Time” refused to talk about.
Behind all the controversial polemic, the show is still inspiring contemporary initiative with new meanings and interpretations. In collaboration with Rossana Calbi and Linda de Zen, the artist Laura Penna photographed 31 women from the art, theatre, music and sport Italian scene, to homage to Peggy Guggenheim’s exhibition.
With her photos, the artist wanted to immortalise the tenacious attitude and the unique personality of the artists and athletes protagonists of her project. The intent of the photographer is to highlight the authentic expression of these women, that are keeping transforming themselves and their passion for the society, constantly looking for an alternative way of being women today. The exhibition shows us new possibilities for our role in the society, without forcing any label but leaving it to our individual research.
The open and ongoing nature of the project created connections between the photographer and the artists, who decided to contribute to this research not only with their portraits but also with their creations. These new connections offered the opportunity for lateral events. During the opening weekend, Laura Penna captured with her camera other artists to add to her collection; or the live painting of Gerlanda di Francia to present “Aurora nel Buio” of Barbara Baraldi, on the 22ndof September.
The debate on the role of woman today is still vivid and far from its end. This exhibition illustrates us alternative examples of being women, giving us the opportunity to open a conversation and reflect on our self from a different angle.
I had the chance to ask the artist Laura Penna about her project:
– The most criticized Peggy Guggenheim’s exhibition inspired you and Rossana Calbi for the content of this show. Today the genre debate is still vivid and complex, there is any particular reason why you decided to dedicate this exhibition to the women universe?
I had already photographed several women and I have always found it good to share ideas, projects and unconventional shooting with them.
When I was reading the biography of Peggy Guggenheim, I find this fascinating story of the EXHIBITION BY 31 WOMEN project. At that time, that exhibition was almost a scandal, the art world considered male artists only.
This kind of consideration has certainly changed since then, but unfortunately, some discrimination occurs still today. heArts was born merging these considerations. It’s a project that aims to enhance female’s arts.
– You photographed 31 different women from the art, theatre, music and sports world. What captured your interest in their stories?
The project started from the music world, the closest one to my background.
Then I tried to push my research on the artistic field where I had never worked. It was really exciting to know personally writers and painters whom I knew only through their work.
Also, there was the meeting with Alice Caligiuri, Kickboxing champion. A wonderful soul, full of contrasts. Shy, at first, and then explosive.
On the set in his gym, we had a lot of fun.
With each artist was born a special feeling and with some of them, a real friendship.
– You have been always working with backstage, music and portraits. How this project connects with your previews work?
I have joined two great passions: music and image. For 10 years I collaborated with music webzine and magazine
For this reason, in my first project “ALT – Artists like Them”, the portraits were made exclusively with musicians.
For ALT I was inspired by the photos of famous artists and painters of 900. I did a great search in the art and photography world. A research that has continued over time until the heArts idea.
These projects are definitely related to each other.
“Betwixt and Between’ debuted on the 24thof February at Circomedia, presented by CirqOn the Seam. The story tells how two women, interpreted by Océane Sunniva Peillet and Alice Watson, learnt how to communicate crossing a linguistic, and cultural, divide. Directed by Gwen Hales, the show used an experimental mix of physical theatre and acrobatic techniques to tell us their story.
CirqOn the Seam is a rising company that investigates the boundaries between disciplines, mixing physical theatre and aerial techniques. Their debut show, “Betwixt and Between”, explored the power of physical communication working around the limits of verbal language.
The story was about two women that met in a world outside of space and time. One being Spanish and the other being French, the only thing we could recognise about them was their different languages. But this time the words could not create a bridge between them to start with; on the contrary, words created a barrier in the understanding, not only for the two characters but also for the public. However, even without understanding the spoken language, the personality of the two women was immediately delineated: the French character, interpreted by Océanne, is loud and a bit clumsy, firm and determinate in her intention while the Spanish character, interpreted by Alice, is carefree, playful, graceful and quite silent.
Their story began around crossed ropes and twinned trapeze bars. When the two-crossed trapezes separated, it became apparent that the ropes were attached to each other via pulleys. And that’s how the relationship between the two women started to develop authentically. Because of the connection between the two trapezes, they had to abandon the verbal communication to play together instead, interacting physically with each other’s movements and forms.
Through these games, also our impression of their relationship evolved throughout the piece, driven by the artistic interpretations of the two performers rather than the technical ability required to use the equipment. It is because of this “childish and playful” approach to the trapeze that the audience came to understand this silent conversation, breaking down the communication barrier created by the language.
I have interviewed Gwen Hales, the director, to find out about their company and their work behind the scenes.
1 – “Betwixt and Between” is your debut show as a company. What is the main interest that brought you to work together? And what are the future projects to further develop the physical research of your company?
I was brought in as a circus director to work with Alice & Oceane after they decided to apply for funding to make a show. They’d been experimenting together for a while before I got involved, and I was intrigued by their ideas. Both were experienced trapeze artists before working together on this new piece of equipment which was 2 trapezes with the ropes attached to each other via pulleys.
PersonalIy, I have spent lots of time working with pulley-based aerial equipment. I find myself fascinated by simple mechanics, and love to investigate how circus bodies can interact with ropes & pulleys to create height and interesting visuals. As a director I like to create as much of a 3D picture as possible.
2- The equipment you used for the show, two trapezes with ropes attached to each other via pulleys, is particularly hard and required a lot of experience on areal equipment. However, the show focuses more on on the development of the two characters rather than on the experience of the two performers. How did these choices influence the personality of the two characters on the scene?
The equipment itself has it’s own character, and there was no way we could ignore that. We called it “The Beast” because, although quite exciting, it had a habit of pinching fingers and toes, and was quite unpredictable at times. The manner in which the two trapezes are connected means that weight must be balanced – and this lends itself to telling a story about balance. Oceane is slightly heavier than Alice, so there was an inherent inequality to their physical journeys on & around “The Beast”. These inescapable facts led us to playing with the differences between Oceane & Alice, physical differences and emotional differences. The development of the characters emerged slowly, as we explored the nature of “The Beast” further.
3- The two women of your story have learnt how to trust each other and cross their cultural divide only when they abandoned the verbal communication. On the other hand, the latest political developments are slowly bringing us to give more and more importance to our cultural origins and to the differences between us. How would you relate the meaning of your story with the global situation?
We knew the show was about miscommunication and during some of the rehearsal sessions, we talked about the refugee situation. We discussed a situation where you might find yourself in a place where you don’t speak the language or understand the cultural niceties of the land you end up in. Misunderstandings can occur through language, but also through not being able to ‘read’ the culturally-normalised physical actions of another person. For instance, when greeting someone, where you are normally ‘allowed’ to touch each other is different for different cultures – holding hands, touching noses, slapping someone on the shoulder.
I think that through the show, we are saying that acceptance & curiosity are useful tools if we are to understand another’s strangeness.
My own personal take on the current global situation is that problems are made worse when people stop trying to communicate. This is the same for close personal relationships as for nation-leaders.
For the last show of the season, Hagit Yakira Dance Company came to Bristol to present “Free Falling” after touring around England. The performance was an exploration of different anxieties based on the autobiographic experience of the choreographer, Hagit Yakira, as dance movement therapist.
The show began in silence. The two dancers on the scene started moving around, always connected, in a circle of movement without direction. Air Hunger, the opening section, was an exploration of an anxiety attack and how our body reacts to it. The absence of music amplified the sense of isolation and suffocating lack of air, the dizzying feeling of spinning around, being stuck in a cycle of confusion.
After the interval, all four of the dancers were on the scene. Even in the distance, the dancers were always connected to each other as they moved through space. Free Fallinginvestigated the fear of falling. This is a feeling that all of us have experienced at some time, as it is deeply connected with our everyday ambitions and challenges. It is a psychological fear, which in some scenarios can prevent people from moving forward, as any steps they attempt to make could result in a fatal fall without chance of recovery.
Both sections were characterized by repeated portrayals of the idea of falling and being rescued. This theme evolved throughout the show and the feeling of not seeing a way out developed, which intimately resonated with the audience. However, it is the redundancy of the very act of falling that can open up the possibility of a way out. We are constantly afraid of falling, and indeed of failure, but it is often this fear that allows us to appreciate the presence of those around us. The performance closed with a single performer who stopped dancing and walked away off the stage. The others followed behind him, leaving him the space to find his own path to recovery.
The exploration of these anxieties came from the choreographer’s experience as a dance movement therapist. Since she founded her company in 2007, Hagit Yakira has always focused her studies on autobiographic research, working on communicating the emotional aspects of the kinds of experiences that everyone can empathize with. The stories she illustrated to us deeply touched her as a human being. According to her philosophy, she mixed choreography with improvisation leaving the dancers free to choose how to interact with each other following her directions and produce physical displays of emotions and feelings natural for them. The freedom she left to her dancers has been also left to the audience. The structure of the choreography offered a key to empathize with your own sensibility and create your personal story, without being driven by an “easy interpretation” because of the nature of her experience.
“Free Falling’ will be again on tour in Autumn 2017. In the meantime, I had interviewed Hagit to know about her performance and work.
1 – The core of your work with your Dance Company is focused on sharing autobiographic stories and on the physical exploration of emotions and feelings. What inspired you to research and work in this direction?
The autobiographical aspects are there as a source for creating relationships between the dancers and me during the process. They are there to create a bond between the dancers and me, and build a trust – mental and physical trust, and in order to give the work the depth it needs, the honesty it needs, and the rawness. I truly believe that this kind of work, process and journey create depth, connection and ownership; it creates a real sense of care, thus the dancers care about the subject matter as much as I do, it makes the process about the dancers as much as it is about me or my ideas of the subject matter; it makes it about us, about our meeting points, our connections and affect on one another. What I mean is, is not that the work is about us, there is something bigger than that in the work, but the process is about the moment – or moments we meet – and how we meet and how we develop together – and this gives the work a real depth. This belief or even insight and understanding comes from my background as a therapist I think. I want to note that what we share in the studio stays in the studio. I don’t add it in the choreography itself, what we hear in the studio is not something the audience will hear, in that way it isn’t about sharing those personal stories on stage, not at all, but actually about something more abstract and poetic.
I am a great believer in emotions and feelings. The idea of what affects us sensually, physically, mentally. Our relationships with others, and how these relationships affect us and transform us as human being. I understand the world through my emotions, through my feelings. I first feel. And this is why my work is also and always about emotional journeys. My work is an extension of the woman I am.
2 –Free Falling particularly reflects your philosophy as choreographer and teacher. It is based on your memories, on your individual experience as a dance therapist. Because of this intimate connection, how did you feel working on this show? Has it been different comparing with your preview works?
My work is always personal and always emotional. I see emotions and the idea of creating an affective experience for the audience and the dancers as a concept, an intellectual concept and a sensual one, and this is something I always explore through the different subjects I look at in my choreographies. What is different in this work is the fact that I feel more secure in my practice, and therefore can take more risks and stretch my comfort zone, and the comfort zone of those who collaborate with me. I feel I can go deeper in my practice, go more into details, make it more profound and articulated.
3 – During the show, often the dancers helped each other using their bodies or using the clothes to suggest the right movement. How much your job as therapist influenced the quality of movement you have been worked on with your dancers?
It is more the way I wish to see the world, or the beauty I can sometimes see in the world – support, help, relationships, connections. This is something that the choreographer in me and the therapeutic interest I have mingled together. The movement quality is what interests me as a choreographer and not so much as a therapist. The therapeutic side in what convey the subject matter, the empathy, the emotional journey I want to choreograph. The movement material, quality and structure are my choreographic choices.
4 – The experience you had as a therapist is unique for you, and your dancers come from a different background. How have you worked together to translate your memories into dance and built a choreography readable by anyone?
I have to say that I am or at least I was a dancer/performer my self and I work as a dance teacher as well, in that way my dancers and myself have also a lot in common. My experience as a dance movement therapist was fairly short – and even though it does (and very much so) influence my work and the way I see the world, relationships, art, it isn’t the only thing that shape my work as a choreographer. On the contrary – my experience as a dancer/performer and my experience as a teacher have a very big impact as well.
I never wanted my dancers to translate my memories – not at all! I wanted them to find their own sense of falling and recovering. I wanted to see where the subject matter meets them. Their physical and mental interpretations of the subject was much more important to me than my memories or their understanding of them.
As for my memories, I think I can answer it in this way: I wanted my choreography to convey something I find very humane: it is the subtlety in emotions, the complexity of feelings, and the way I perceive the notion of recovery: slow, detailed, comforting, supportive as well as chaotic, scary and desperate.
5 – Free Falling will be on tour again in Autumn 2017. There is anything you would like to change or investigate more deeply until then?
The evening keeps changing all the time. I have already changed the costume, I took the sounds away in Air Hunger, I changed the timing of the interval; it all happened during the tour.
I believe there will be more changes. I want to see how I feel when I see the piece again in the autumn; we are taking a short break now, and will be back to tour the piece in the autumn. I want to see how the works – the choreography ‘meets’ me and the dancers after that break; how I feel when I see the work again after the break. I think only then I’ll know what needs to be changed and rework. In that way it is a never ending story of choreographing; as long as I develop and change throughout the tour, so does the work…