2018’s Aesthetica Emerging Art Prize Winner, Electra Lyhne-Gold – whose work is currently on display at York Art Gallery as part of the Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition – re-imagines the languages of everyday life, considering the wider implications of advertising and commerce from a social, economic and personal point-of-view. As we enter the final week of exhibition, Lyhne-Gold discusses her practice and highlights from the show.
A: Can you explain the key concepts behind your winning piece, Lost in Translation?
ELG: As an artist working in moving image, performance and photography, Lost in Translation brings together components of all three mediums to re-think our relationship with advertisement and role as a consumer.
A: Artists’ Film is a growing genre. What is the significance of video art and moving image in contemporary culture?
ELG: We are now living in an age with so many ways of watching and viewing content. This has resulted in a relentless bombardment of moving images, both in public and private spaces. I feel we have become desensitised by the volume of this constant exposure, particularly in relation to advertisement, which has affected our attention spans.
The flip side to this is that moving image become so much more accessible. Video art – for me at least – sits somewhere in between television and cinema. It is an immediate medium through which to respond to our current surroundings.
A: How does Lost in Translation engage with – and subvert – the language of advertising and cinema? Why is it so important to address this in 2018?
ELG: Adverts are omnipresent. As John Berger writes in Ways of Seeing: “advertising is about social relations, not objects.” They subconsciously dictate and reinforce roles and stereotypes within society. We project ourselves onto the image they sell us.
I became aware that the characters within commercials were often based on or represented particular stereotypes. In Lost in Translation, I attempted to embody and imagine these characters by removing the visual component and to visually mimic and respond to the original audio. Mimicking and re-imagining these characters became an exercise which felt somewhat reminiscent of silent cinema – a moving image medium devoid of sound. In this piece I act as the barrier and the interpreter between the visual and the audio.
A: What are your highlights from the Aesthetica Art Prize Exhibition?
ELG: It was lovely meeting the other artists and seeing their work. All the work in the exhibition is really impressive. I was particularly moved when seeing Jiayu Liu’s installation Ocean Wave, and hearing her talk about it. It poetically brought the real-time movement of waves on a beach in China to York Art Gallery through a looping video and live data, simulating their movement via electric motor slides. It really seemed to emulate the flow of the waves.
I loved Jukhee Kwon’s cascading paper sculpture consisting of discarded pieces from various Encyclopaedias, meticulously cut by hand. Every time anyone walked past, the delicate strands fluttered in the air.
A: Can you tell us about your future projects?
ELG: Currently I am working on a series of performances and photographs made from a recent visit to Italy. In these works I am exploring the potential for particular imagined narratives within either fictional or historically charged places. The architecture of these locations often became the point and subject of how I engaged and performed to the camera in both the moving image and photographic works.
One of these locations is a sunken church which features in Tarkovsky’s Nostlaghia, a structure which is slowly sinking into the earth. Some of these photographic works will be shown in The ING Discerning Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London this November.
The Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition closes 30 September. Find out more here.
1. All images courtesy the artist.