Mesonya/ is Katinka Bock’s exhibition of new sculptures made for Siobhan Davies Studios. This is the first of three Traces Commission projects to be presented over the coming months, in which three artists have been invited to spend time getting to know the building and the artists and practice that occupy it, leading to the creation of a new body of work.
A: How does your work, Mesonya/, fit into the Traces Commissions? How does it draw connections to the space?
KB: Mesonya/, an anagram of some/any, grew in the dialogue with Lauren, the Programme Director at Siobhan Davies Dance. We discussed how sculptural production would interfere in a field that is in fact not dedicated to present art but dance and performance, a place of production not of presentation. I was keen to work in the roof studio. That space is used by the dancers for their rehearsals and classes, they need the space empty to practice – whilst my sculptures occupy the exhibition space. So, disturbing as a productive element was the starting point. I took the traces commission literally: traces on the common ground. The project is based on sharing and exchange.
A: How does the installation inherently use the location as a means through which to experience the artwork?
KB: I’m the guest in the space, I have to adapt to the dancers’ practice, needs and rehearsal hours. It’s not a museum. I’m interested in the borders of the space. The floor, the walls and the ceiling. The height of the studio is interesting, there is a lot of air- potential space for sculptures and thoughts. It reminded me of the reading room of libraries. The building is surrounded by a primary school. Some works are located on the facade of the building facing the school and in a class room. So the visitor of the exhibition will only visually experience a part of the exhibition.
A: Why do you think it’s so important to become acquainted with the space as part of the development process?
KB: I can’t think without the space and its particularities. Without its practical boundaries the work would be without taste. It’s a choreographic experiment to collaborate or meet in the same space, when you don’t speak the same language.
A: What materials have you used, and how does this differ / draw threads to your previous works?
KB: I work with my usual materials and formal language: Ceramic, fabric, copper, water, plumbing, a football, fired objects.
A: As this is your first UK solo presentation, how has it been working with Siobhan Davies Dance?
KB: It’s a very respectful and interesting collaboration, I had the chance to meet very curious and open-minded partners in the studio and the school. I see it more as an experiment than as an exhibition.
A: Are there elements of movement / dance that you have incorporated into the piece? How has choreography inspired your practice?
KB: Andrea Buckley will do a performance based on her improvisation practice in the space. We exchanged about life and creating, but not about the precise works. Trust and curiosity is probably what we are both sharing in this experiment. As it is a studio (and a temporary exhibition space) and not a stage, I am curious to see how people will move in the space and experience the moment of the performance.
A: How do you think that locality and context affect the final product?
KB: It’s a project that is not centred on the visitor, but on the users of the space, the dancers and the kids in the school.
A: How do presence and absence manoeuvre within the work?
KB: The installation appears or merely disappears depending on the need of the dancers practice. Sculpture is always dealing with mental abstraction and imagination. A human can’t see the front and the back of an object in the same time. Mental and physical movement is needed. In dance the movements often are fast and complex, sculpture stands still but the visitor is moving. I’m curious to see how that comes together.
A: How have you translated traditional media such as ceramics into the contemporary sphere?
KB: Ceramic, bronze, water and lemons, — they are colourful, tasty and a responsive partner in my production. I’m not sure if they are traditional, they are as contemporary as others but definitely physical and that’s what I like. I work mainly alone and do not delegate the production to workshops. That’s maybe something similar to dance. The body is not abstract but opens a mental space while it’s shaped and moved.
1. Katinka Bock, courtesy the artist and Galerie Jocelyn Wolff Paris, Meyer Riegger Berlin / Karlsruhe, Greta Meert Brussels.