MUNTHE ART MONDAY: Nana-Francisca Schottländer
Tell us about yourself and what you do. / Do you pursue any specific themes in your art - if yes - could you explain which and why? / Could you explain us more about your process and how you normally work?
I have a background in dance and physical performance and have since 2001 worked with choreography, dance, performance, installation, video, photography, text, objects and a lot of hybrid formats in the intersection between these. I am interested in exploring relational creation – both between people in audience involving and activating performances, in site-specific work with spaces and places, and also in the encounter with more than people such as rocks, mushroom cultures, landscapes and phenomena such as wind, soil, tides and vegetation. I am interested in where aesthetically framed, mutually re-spectful and curious exchanges can create new expressions and spaces of cognition.
Through my work I try to explore different ways to approach this, and often my processes are a kind of laboratories to investigate themes and concepts in collaboration with others/other. The research process itself is the actual work, and out of this process come experiences and materials, which are further pro-cessed in different work formats. Usually, I am busy challenging my own understanding of existence – both theoretically and intellectually, but also by using my body as a tool to embody and activate other experiences and realizations in the encounter with the world. I do not commit to a specific format, but more with the terms that the project or study calls for. I often collaborate with others in my research too. I am currently working on my upcoming project HABITAT + BODYSCAPING. The project focus on the Landfill at the extreme tip of Copenhagen’s North Harbour: the result of 8-9 years of landfilling in an area that was previously the ocean. A semi-toxic land of the future, where scrapes from the abdomen of the city body are formed in dynamic choreographies between people, machines and everything that spontaneously comes to life here. It is an extremely relevant place to relate to the perspectives on mutually formative exchanges and entanglements between man, matter, city, nature, the past, future, body and landscape that our time calls for. This summer, it will culminate in a major exhibition installation in the Tunnel Factory, an audience-choreographing landscape performance at the Earth Depot itself, which plays in connection with Metropolis’ summer season ’21 and a publication that examines the area critically, speculatively and curiously. All parts are developed in collaboration with a number of talented artists, who are invited into the project’s studies.
·What – in your opinion – makes a great artist? / Can you name some other female (artist) that inspires you and explain why they do so?
The artists I am most inspired of, are curious and challenge themselves and the world and reality we live in. They have other ways of experiencing on, new ways of understanding ourselves and our be-ing in the world. I am a big fan of artists who put themselves in risk and use their own lives as materi-al. There are e.g., Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Calle, Björk, Marina Abramovic, Virginia Woolf. Their medias and expressions are different, but they span universes that I as a viewer can step into. I can let myself be absorbed by their world and from that understand/ sense myself, and my reality in other ways. They are actively present in their own work, both as subject, object and on basic material. Their deeply personal starting points contains and unfolds something universal. I also think that SIGNA (Danish performance group, who I have collaborated with for several of years) can do some of that. It’s great for me that an artist can create something that moves – and give me a brighter understanding of the world.
Do you have an ultimate goal and wishes for your artwork?
I am probably pretty strict about my own work understood in the way that it’s central to me that the audience should move actively. I don’t like to something that just exists without grabbing those who experience it. There is always something that calls for our attention and exchanges it with unimportant stuff, that makes us become stupid and careless and in our status quo. I want my work to be special and to do something different, but it’s not always the case. If I don’t go 100% for it, I might as well let go. I don’t want to waste either mine or anyone else’s time and attention on indifference art. I hope that my work in its own subtle way can help to change something in the way we experience and live out ourselves as people, in the world in interaction with all that is here with us.
We would like to talk more about gender and how or if you have experienced that is has affected your work?
I have previously had both a very curious and also a little unreflective relationship to my own gender, and to the position in the world it entails. Maybe it causes the fact that I am partly raised up asexual and don’t necessarily perceive myself as a unique woman. I have been slow to under that other do it, and what it means – and to understand the necessity of me relating to the sign or narrative that my body and gender causes. The body has always been the central in my artistic work, and since it is a woman’s body, I have en-countered both my own expectations of what such a body should be and do, as well as other’s. I have lately in my work experienced being provoked by being judged on my female body instead as a hu-man body, and in step with that, I began to relate to my gender in my artistic work. I sometimes feel a bit like a novice – and is a continuing study of how I can accommodate and use myself and my body as material with the codes, my gender gives birth to, while at the same time challenging and breaking them to point out more than the gendered. There has been a lot of focus on how our gender affects our professional opportunities as women, and on the exposure our work has received or not received because of it. I think it is an extremely im-portant conversation to hold on to. There are quite a lot of statistics that shows how the picture has looked for a long time. They speak their own language and fortunately, they make it so clear that we can’t help but only relate to the structural dynamics that have been difficult to put on the agenda in the past. I think it is important to keep in mind that this is not a whim or a trend, but a movement that must and will give rise to some other ways of acting for the institutions that shows and handle art – and choose which artists to expose. At the same time, these structural tendencies also easily become part of our own, built-in perception of the value and justification of our own work. They must be challenged from inside – both by each of us and together as a community.
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