There’s now only one week to go to enter your artwork into the Aesthetica Art Prize. Open for submissions until Wednesday 31 August, the internationally recognised award provides a dynamic and varied platform on which to showcase new work and innovative projects. The Prize welcomes a range of entries from established and emerging practitioners in the following categories: Photography & Digital Art; Painting & Drawing; Installation, Performance & Artists’ Film; and Sculpture & Three-Dimensional Design. We speak to longlisted artist Adam de Neige about his participatory piece, Beneath the Flow, which was staged at the Venice Biennale and encouraged audiences to question the value of artworks in a “parcours” context.
A: Beneath the Flow invited audiences to explore the value and substance of artworks in an alternative way. Where did the idea to sink four artworks in the Venice Lagoon come from?
AN: The Venice Biennale is a huge spectacle of all kind of artworks. I was interested in a transcendence of visual sense. I just asked myself what else can I show? From that point, playing with the setting and surrounding of the artworks, events, but also their exclusivity and inaccessibility (underlined by the “Preview” days by Invitation Only ) were further logical steps.
A: Why did you choose the Venice Biennale as a site for Beneath the Flow, and how did you select which pieces to submerge?
AN: The Biennale is not only a big art exhibition, it is also a parcours; a labyrinth formed by Venice´s architecture itself. There´s no trip to Venice without getting lost a few times. Going from pavilion to pavilion, one exhibition to another feels like you’re on an adult Easter egg´hunt (comparable to the recent Pokemon Go phenomenon)! Creating a project in Venice was not only showing an artwork, but using the city, the event, and the crowd. It’s a rare occasion of many factors coming together in a perfect way. Concerning the submerged artworks, I didn’t give much information about them. I can tell you they have a visionary character. They were made for this project by imagining my art in a more or less distant future, how it may have evolved by then.
A: You are a versatile artist who works in range of media. How do you decide which medium is best suited to each project?
AN: I love trying out new things and I have lot of questions in my head. Each artwork/project tries to answer some of them but also creates new ones. So the creative process is bi-directional. I match the subject to corresponding media, but some media and technologies also give me new ideas for projects. Sometimes I know what I want, I know the project, but the answer on “what is the right way to do it” is a very indirect and subtle one – until the day I find it and can finally realise the whole thing.
A: Having experienced a wide range of cultures, from Iranian to French and Austrian, how has your personal life of moving from place to place impacted your practice?
AN: I learned not to be attached (or I unlearned to be attached) to a place. Of course people carry different cultures and experiences with them. Even though or maybe because this is so, I feel the need to move from one place (but also practice) to another, in order to be as creative as I can. For me it was normal to encounter new people, new cultures and new ideas, so that’s why I try to be as versatile as possible in my approach to art.
A: Can you discuss your upcoming projects? Do you have any further participatory installations or performances planned?
AN: My recent project, Seamless, was conceived for my solo-exhibition in MUSA, Vienna, which then moved to Traklhaus in Salzburg (where it will be on view until 24 September). The piece questions the freedom of goods, information and movement and it evolves around the colour blue. Interestingly, Lapis Lazuli stone, the very first natural blue pigment came to Europe from Afghanistan and still does. However, it was –and is– reserved for the powerful and wealthy. Trade relations, may they be equal or colonialist, push the global movement of goods but also people. Following these thoughts, I tried to understand the following questions: is art in most cases still bound to its traditional and physical place, if so how and why? And how, for example by the use of new technology, can I create an accessible experience to people.
See more of the artist’s work: www.adamdeneige.com.
Entries are open until 31 August. For more information and to enter, visit www.aestheticamagazine.com/artprize.
1. Adam de Neige, Beneath the Flow.