The artists invited to realize a project at 1646 are asked to engage in conversation with a correspondent via email or DM, be it someone previously unknown to them or whom they’re already familiar with.
This conversation spans the period before an exhibition is completed. 1646 invites the correspondent at the other end of this exchange to ask questions so they may be guided through the artist’s decision-making process and how their initial ideas develop toward completion. It provides insight into the artist’s body of work and is intended to paint a picture of the otherwise untraceable choices that constitute the artist’s practice.
KvG – OB
What I remember of your studio presentation one year ago is the
life size staples you put in the space as if they were naked actors
not to know exactly what to do with the following:
hanging screens and digital prints as background shapes
text blocks piled on top of each other
drop cloths, monitor screens and rolled up engraved carpets.
If I would be a staple – without factually stapling something for
the time being – I would be wondering as well about what to do in
a space with e.g. a “background shape” on a canvas that usually
hangs on a wall being a mere image – on the foreground, so to say.
MAY 28: OB – KvG
The “staples” : ) were doing what staples do, functioning through
exerting a feeling of pressure. The five monitors in the installation each displayed a version of an animation which spelled out
“Squeeze Through”, the animation was made by shaping a clip of the
finals scene of “Twilight IV: Breaking Dawn”, which shows the protagonist Bella turn from a human into a vampire.
What struck me about the transformation scene was that Bella blew
up and expanded, she entered a completely finite state in which
there was no more room for change. Somehow this makes me think of
objects and the way they have agency while being still. I wanted
to make this animation because I was interested in working with a
video clip in a similar way that I would work with a piece of steel.
The animation and the structures created a movement of expansion
The pieces of neoprene hanging and laying on the floor were printed with images from shampoo commercials. The commercials depicted an action rendered through digital effects that was the same as the
transformation scene, a dead hair ingesting in protein and coming alive. Neoprene is also very absorbent.
There was feeling coming out of the immaterial coldness
of digital effect of transformation, one that was very
material, one that become very involved in the materiality of the human body, pushing it through to the other side of the alien.
(The “Backgrounds” and the small monitor sculptures were
part of a different body of work, the staples didn’t have
to deal with them)
13 JUN: KvG – OB
It took quite some time for coming back to you. My sincere apologies!
Your interest in objects being in a state of change comparable to changing into a vampire is striking when I think about my first experience seeing your works in an
installation. I felt at once being in an hospital. There organic processes of curing or perhaps genetic engineering come into mind. It creates a strange sometimes
14 JUN: KvG – OB
The printed shapes on canvas are free standing, they
float on an empty plane, so to say. The whiteness could
quite well function as a background, but the individual
shapes themselves seem to be meant as background if I
read the title well enough. Interesting that an outspoken form, a shape, is used in the second place in some kind of a hierarchy where something else is on the foreground, apparently in the first place. The images depicted in the ‘Background shapes’ are
printed on canvas. I guess, such a canvas may be used as
a background e.g. in one of your installations, but then
the canvas itself is turned into a position of a decor.
In that case another title would be more appropriate. If
the depicted shape is used as background, then it must
be a plan to make such a shape e.g. in one of your installations. So still work to do… or not.
These works (uniquely printed, if I am right) are ordinary prints on canvas, although following the code of a seriously made authorized artefact (referring to painting). I must say, a bequestioning strange title I have
here steering paradoxal readings.
21 JUN: OB – KvG
I think the idea of curing is interesting in relationship
to that particular body of work. But curing through maybe malevolent or unsavoury methods.
The uncanny bit of the healing process, ranging from
over-prescription of medication to attachment therapy. Healing practices today can often be ethically ambiguous and its difficult to know how exactly to deal with
our bodies. Not that I am somebody that distrusts modern medicine, but I do think that it provides for a certain anxiety.
When I see the bit in a shampoo commercial of the hair follicle is being infused with abstract formations of “proteins”, I feel as though it provides a general visualization, an imagination of how one’s body is fixed, that it
heals in smooth gel-like swoosh. It makes me imagine the
body as plastic, magical.
The scene that I picked from “Twilight IV” for the “Squeeze
Through” animation functions in a similar way to a shampoo commercials, it also uses pseudo scientific imaging to show the transformation from human to vampire. For me
it’s interesting to see these very similar depiction methods being used for different purposes, standardizing the depiction of bodily functions through digital effects.
In the new body of work I made for 1646 I think we would talk more about degeneration. There is material submerged in water and it elicits a strong bodily feeling.
This show is very different from the work that I have been
making recently, but still touches on the topic of the
visualization or perception of the body as alien somehow.
The sculptures are very low tech, they consist of a soft
PVC outer shell, water, steel, concrete, chilli peppers,
a tram rail, and a garden ornament.
They are also quite introverted, because they mostly refer to themselves, the entry point for the viewer lies
mostly in their materiality and their presence in the
space. They function a bit like voids, drawing in the
space around them.
22 JUN: KvG – OB
Aaaagh…., Olga, curing through malevolent and insensitive methods in order to come to achieve a healing process…..?! If I may position myself – as a viewer of your
work from a certain distance – in a light speedy personal three-moment historiography, i.e. a choice out of my soft hard disc (of my brains):
When I was a child of about 10 years old I quite often
went with my father to oneI remember an article from 1975 in an academic weekly Dutch newspaper Intermediair about Rhesus monkeys
that were literally cut off from sight by a brain surgery. They became blind and yet they could be trained to react on and ‘see’ dark and light objects in their
I remember the image from the late nineties of a mouse
bearing a human like ear (the ‘ear’ was actually an earshaped organic structure grown by seeding cow tissue cells).
Nowadays neuroscientists install on-off neuron switches in the brains of mice with the goal to isolate and knock out information of specific memories. “We know
from studies in both animals and humans that memories
are not formed in isolation but are built up over years
incorporating previously learned information”, American
neuroscientist Mark Mayford says. “This study suggests
that one way the brain performs this feat is to use
the activity pattern of nerve cells from old memories
and merge this with the activity produced during a new
It is likely that these personal experiences of remembrance may have triggered of what I wrote earlier to you about the atmosphere when stepping into your installation and work. This is me, apparently….
Olga, you once stated not so long time ago that individual imagination works as a critical authority and that an art object may be looked at from vagueness as a
starting point in the relationship between that object
and the viewer. This brings me to the position you are
in being someone collecting visuals, apparently- made of objects trouvés or hand made objects – waiting for per-
ceptual phenomena (from whom?). In this sense the collection of water conserved objects you show in 1646 at
this moment is perhaps closer to your previously made
works as an attitude, if it comes to how it is presented
as objects for the sake of conceivable interpretations
on the viewers side. If the above is me, how do you see
the images you collect, handmade or not, on your side?
25 JUN: OB – KvG
Thank you for sharing those three moments with me, it’s
interesting how one can relate to certain things through
very specific events in their lives.
As for the objects that are part of the sculptures: I was
trying to pick objects that were common place with little serious emotive value to me and probably to most other people. Therefore I chose mostly building materials,
decorative garden items I found in a discount shop, and
I bent some steel to look like ornamental gates or hand-
rails. I was trying to collect objects that were very generic and unspecific, ones that were perhaps specifically unable to trigger memories or association as you account-
ed to me in your previous email. Or that they would trigger so many memories and associations that none would be able to stand out.
I just wanted to use these materials to create a feeling
of severe physicality and they don’t have meaning outside of that. I was mostly thinking in mass, weight, volume,
of the five hospitals in the
Dutch district Zeeuws Vlaanderen he was working in as
the only internist. I am used to men and nurses in white
dresses keeping white mice in a laboratory injecting
them for the benefit of the patient’s health; amidst
chloroform, the attractive smell of ether mixed with the
dominating musty smell of mice.
those kinds of “sculptural” concerns. But also interiors
becoming exteriors becoming interiors…
Of course, I realized, when you encase anything in water,
it becomes very sentimental. I must admit that the idea
of decadence was stuck in my head as well while making
these, not that decadence is sentimental.
I also just saw the very sad images of small live turtles
being encased in water and sold as key chains, those are