Intervista con Flurina Badel

2 Dic



Oggi presentiamo l’intervista a Flurina Badel, artista svizzera.
Abbiamo assistito alla sua performance a Verona, presso la galleria La Giarina, in cui si cuciva letteralmente un abito addosso. Siamo rimaste a riflettere e, dopo aver trovato le nostre risposte, abbiamo deciso che avremmo voluto sapere di più di lei e di quello che era per lei la performance esposta.

We read from your cv that you began as a journalist making documentaries and you travelled a lot as well. Since 2009 you’ve been working only as an artist. What brought you to the “art industry” (considering your beginning with documentaries)?

I am a very inquiring person and I love to listen to stories as well as to tell stories. Probably this brought me to journalism. My need to devote myself to a subject for a longer period of time was probably the reason for me to move from news journalism to documentaries. But being there I noticed very quickly that i wanted to tell my stories differently from what was possible for a television program. I wanted my stories to be told in a more open, more abstract and more associative language. I was looking for wider means of expression. And I wanted to give the audience more space for their own thoughts and emotions. When I started with my second film (a research about how women’s relationship to menstruation changed during the last century) I already began to work in a more experimental way. My colleagues then commented on whether I now intended to do art work or documentaries or what. So I quitted my tv-job because actually I knew it since long. Since childhood I knew exactly the feeling which I wanted to be my fundamental attitude towards life. I didn’t know then that it meant to be an artist. But doing art work is at the moment the only activity which enables me to do what I am interested in, what i’m searching for, to do what I can and to grow.

In 2013 you began a master class in BELLE ARTI. Why did you choose to return to study, since you’re already a performer and artist?

From when on do we consider somebody as being an artist? For me „being“ never is accomplished, being is a movement, a process. I have a lot of things and ideas on.
Until now I adopted all my artistic skills and all my art knowledge autodidacticly, intuitively. Now I am ready and willing to look into it also in an academic and analitical way, based on art history, theory and philosophy. Therefore a university is the appropriate environment. The professors and tutors as strong counterparts help me to reflect upon my work in a critical way and help me to find my own position in the art world. I consider the master class as a very enriching experience. And besides it is a lot of fun. The lively exchange between students generates a lot of new ideas. It would be great to be a part time student for the rest of my life, rummaging through all realms of life. I love to delve into something, to research, to pervade it and to transform it into something of one’s own, something new to me, which eventually moves somebody else and helps to discover something own and new to him/her.

flurina2We had the opportunity to attend your performance at La Giarina in Verona, where you literally sewed a dress on your skin. Could you please tell us how you came up with this idea and which was your message through it?

The performance presented in La Giarina has developed from the performance “under my skin I”, for which I asked people of my personal environment to give me words, phrases and sentences connected to states of fear. I noticed that most of theses words were self-destructive and seemed to spin around in our minds on and on like autosuggestion or mantras. Although violent and offending negative words and sentences give us the feeling of hold, comfort and security. It is striking that negative feelings as fear, hate and grief seem to be more familiar to most of us than positive feelings. Obviously most humans tend to trust more in negative feelings and to make them their shelter.
These were the basic ideas for which I was searching an artistic translation and continuation. Whereas in the first performance I integrated those words and sentences of fear, the second performance focused completely on the ambivalence of the act: the injuring of the skin and the suturing of the wound. The atmosphere of the performance is soft, similar to the devotion of a child lost in play.

Your body has always been the focus of your operas. It’s showed in your performances as well in your photos. Which is the meaning of this “tool”?

The body is not playing the main part in all my works, but very often in photos, videos and of course in my performances. The body is a very interesting issue. It is the center of interaction between interior and exterior world. It is a shelter and a prison. It is an instrument, a tool and a means of communication, a shed of memories, a mirror of the inner world, a seismograph of all inner and outer processes. And it is the part of myself that I am able to control, even though not at all.

Another recurring theme is the sewing. Sewing sweet sentences on tissues, or sewing bodies and hearts. What’s inside this gesture for you?

I consider my work as having three main branches: stitchery, video-installations and performances. The strongest, the most continuous and the most elementary among the three ist the stitchery.
I always had a strong affinity to thread, needle and tissue, I grew up with those things. My mother is a textile artisan, her female ancestors were seamstresses and spent their lifes stitching and embroider white cloth as bed linen, tablecloth, handkerchiefs or ladies’ underwear. Deplorably I didn’t get to know these women but obviously they have left some traces in me. But I moved on to stitching on paper.
I love the meditative aspect of stitching. I like to be forced to slow down, even though it costs me quite an effort to be patient. But then it starts to get exciting and thrilling.
In 2011 I wrote a little text about my stitchings: “I stitch fissures, gaps, scars, scuffles. I braid marks, warts, lichens, enmeshments, excrescences. I connect threads on the threshold to different moods. I pierce the needle into paper again and again. I pick and stoke and see.”
But I am still advancing the stitchery. Today I am working with stitchery much more conceptional then 2011. And who knows whereto it moves.

At the end of your performances, a lot of people mentioned Marina Abramovic, because the similarity with her work are almost predictable. Is she an artist where you take inspiration from?

Marina Abramovic is an interesting artist. I like her early works and them together with Ulay. Of special interest for me is the way Marina Abramovic treats autobiographical material. Even in the case she assigns her biography to another artist as e.g. Robert Wilson who‘s gorgeous play „Life and Death of Marina Abramovic“ I deeply enjoyed.
The moral impetus and the spectacular display of pain however are not part of my work. But of course we aren’t in the nineteen-eighties anymore, where these aspects were very important. I benefit from this art heritage. It allows me nowadays to adopt much quieter and subtler tonalities in my performances without being less firm and demanding. The puerile attitude e.g. which goes through „under my skin“ gives the whole performance a subtle, tender and even naive touch but together with the needle and the blood it creates a strong emotion.
I don‘t know exactly wherefrom I take the inspiration. I mostly love life, I love most people and the mostly of the world. This and all the things which I don‘t like, form my source of inspiration.

“My beetroot story” is a bit far from these themes. You’re in a red liquid, as you’re inside an uterus. It seemed to me like an ancestral act, more relaxing than the other works, where the pain was very prevailing.
Which were the needs behind that video?

Perception is an individual thing, depending on one‘s actual mental, emotional, physical constitution. Everybody has his or her own space or range of associations. Some see „my beetroot story“ as a video of an embryo in an uterus. For others it symbolises a love act, possibly due to the woman‘s fast breathing. Death as well has already been seen in the video, due to the woman disappearing in the red liquid. The video contains all this and more. All associations and interpretations enrich me. But I don‘t want to provide the public with own interpretations.
„My beetroot story“ has been created in 2011 and is one of the first works to pick the ambivalence in the relationship between man and nature out as a central theme. It‘s about the feeling of being safe and protected in nature on the one hand, while at the same time there is helplessness and threat. A huge issue, which still keeps me busy. The focal point of „my beetroot story“ lies in the questions of wherefrom and whereto and whether origin and end will meet, not in terms of time and space, but of emotion and energy.

In the art world you can find more and more performances, video and photo supports, long-term projects. It’s always difficult to share something new, since the tools are different from the past. What do you think about the art world, since you decided to live inside it? How would you define the last artistic years (worldwide) and where do you think the art will lead?

Wow, what a question! A good starting point for a panel discussion. Maybe we have some wine with it…
My mother in an artisan and my father an artists, so I grew up surrounded by art and artists. For me the „art world“ is not separated from the rest of the world. There is only one world and we all live together in this one world. Making art means dealing and disputing with, looking into and reflecting this one and ever changing world.
And as to your point of making something new: for me art is not about creating something new in comparison to others, but about creating something own and that is always different and therefore new. It’s about the process of doing, the transformation and continuation. And besides, there is a constant development of new techniques and materials, what in itself generates new scopes and new topics. And last but not least man’s perception also changes. So we can look on something old and see something new.

Which are your projects for the future?

A project has a beginning and an end. This is a restriction I don’t really like. The inition- and endless of the present will keep me busy in the future.


Una Risposta to “Intervista con Flurina Badel”

  1. niclacalegari dicembre 2, 2013 a 2:21 pm #

    L’ha ribloggato su CalliopeArte.


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