My work is concerned with depicting and exploring interpersonal conflicts which, though they may seem characterized by human freedom, are often imprisoned in a system. I am concerned with the feeling of helplessness as well as the abuse of power, particularly the destruction that can be caused by a subjectively felt lack or abundance of control. The idea of submission, be it to an idea, a dogma, or another form of charismatic authority as well as the transference and projection of emotion onto others, in particular animals, inspires my work.
In “Escaping From Freedom” I have studied tandem acrobatic performers, such as trapeze artists, synchronized swimmers and acrobatic clowns, in particular a pair of female clown twins. Their act consists of them both wearing the same body tight multicolored stripe outfits while they are attached to each other at all times. Each of them acts as a constantly reaffirming mirror to the other and it becomes impossible to identify the proper body parts to the proper person. There is also this physical tension and stress between them because they have to hold on to one other while they act as silly clowns for the audience.
In “Horses Walking Uphill” I have depicted horses walking up a hill in a zigzag line. In it I am trying to understand what happens when feelings are projected onto animals in terms of time, the progression of age and mortality. I was watching a documentary TV show about a family of three wild mustangs, a male and female and their offspring. They were captured in Nevada by the Bureau of Land Management with the help of a so-called Judas horse that lead them into an enclosure. The male mustang was so upset that in his desperate attempt to escape he violently broke his neck against the enclosure while at the same time fatally injuring the female. Animals seem divine, maybe because it is assumed that they are not aware of their own mortality. I think that they express their emotional suffering in a direct, non-passive aggressive and physical way.
On the other hand In “Procession” a man is holding his dead lover’s head in his hands, mourning her loss. She is still conscious and in her wish to be immortal, she tries to mold the shape of things after her passing, but already she is being overruled by the townspeople which have begun an ancient ritual where they go out on the street making a racket with all her kitchen utensils to summon a new wife for the soon-to-be widower. Her will is trampled by the chattering townsfolk.
I tend to start by making a drawing that then gets turned into a template. These templates create loose boundaries that leave room for deviation and interpretation. Formally I have been looking a lot at German expressionist painters, in particular E.L. Kirchner. I have been studying the way he used color to outline his subjects or exaggerate emotions: he seems to use color like an extension of the depicted, permeating and extending its consciousness. I am also drawn to some of the same source materials such as folk art, Swiss folk art in particular with its traditions, the two dimensionality and directness of its expression and its preference for primary colors. I am also inspired by traditional textiles from the Coptic to the more geometric Bauhaus pictures as well as intimidating imagery from the middle ages with monsters and eternal hell.