In the video interview with Karin Mamma Andersson I really appreciated how candidly she spoke about her studio practice, including the success and the difficulties she experiences from her way of working. I have known about her work for a few years, but was really more familiar with her early works, and thought the video about her studio practice really assisted with my understanding of the work, even though almost none of the conversation was directly about that.
The stillness and quiet uneasy feelings that come through in her work have been points of interest for me in the past, but I have not done a lot of research about her practice. Though I don’t identify with much painting, her muted palette, strong sense of collage and use of large areas of textured colour give a printmaking feel to her works.
“It is a quiet, messy, illogical confusing disorder. It is here that dreams and the subconscious come in.” — Karin Mamma Anderson
The fractured picture planes, isolated figures and palette all work to give her work distinctive moods, with feelings of uneasiness through her unsettled figures. I always through there was something similar going on in her work to Jockum Nordström and Marcel Dzama (I didn’t realize her and Jockum were a couple, but that really explains that) who all employ these floating figures, sometimes in spaces, but mostly somehow dissociated form them.
I love the way all these artist use found imagery, and that their archives of collected images become integral to their practice. I have found myself adopting a similar way of working; cataloguing inbetween the making, and allowing those outside influences from photography, deign and museology to meld the aesthetics of my work.
I appreciated how Karin spoke about working figuratively, and addressing how it is hard for the audience to deal with figurative work. It is easier to talk about symbols and objects, and I think I have shied away from fully figurative work lately because of the challenges it faces. I don’t want it all to be deemed as sentimental, but do think there is a lot of value in figurative works. These types of work have the power to shift how we see ourselves beyond photography and present new imagined worlds. Maybe this is a challenge I should consider tackling again?
On the studio practice side of this video, I so appreciated how Karin spoke about her drive to make work.
I have been feeling so conflicted the last few months about whether my voice is one the art world really needs right now. I really identified with Karin when she said she wasn’t sure if she would be accepted because of her secure childhood, and that maybe she had had it to easy. I have been feeling the same, and am trying to identify more purpose in my work, to over come these uncertainties, but I think it will just have to come through time and building some confidence in my own voice. Like she said, you have to have an athlete’s mentality, and continually push yourself to do one more lap when you feel like giving up. I am feeling a bit in the deep end, and trying to find the energy to do that one more lap.
I also agreed with her idea that you have to go around in circles to find yourself, to understand your surroundings. I feel like I have been going around in circles for a while, doing these laps, trying to get better, continually trying to do better, but not yet feeling confident in the end goal. I think like her, I just need to keep trying to put work out, fill the void when its gone, and just continue to grow, do better, do more with more purpose, and not give up half way through this tough lap.
note to self: HANG IN THERE.
Jon Sasaki, Hang In There, 2012