A very special in-depth interview with Cabinodd Director Ella Buzo. Cabinodd’s partnership for 2011 BLOOOM is excited to be the world’s first interdisciplinary presentation platform for artists and art projects in the creative industries. The second edition of BLOOOM will take place from OCT 29 – NOV 1, 2011 // STAATENHAUS AM RHEINPARK, COLOGNE. Check out the interview after the break.
Please give a short introduction to yourself/company or what you do.
Cabinodd is a visual arts consultancy and gallery located in the heart of the cultural district in Enschede, the East Netherlands. Cabinodd’s intimate showroom is tucked away in a SeARCH Architects-designed residence on a listed post-industrial site. The complex is also home to a museum and artist’s studios.
Ella Buzo created the company in 2003 as an extension of a popular art links website which featured surrealistic, unconventional, wonderful contemporary art. This was followed in 2005 by a desire to provide a real-life platform for artists and the launch of Cabinodd Collections. The concept for the gallery is based on the ‘Kunst-und Wunderkammer’ or ‘Cabinet of Curiosities'; personal collections of man-made and natural objects to wonder at and about. The gallery’s emerging international artists are known for their high level of technical skill, off-beat and often challenging subject matter. Cabinodd’s belief in its roster of artists as well as the desire to promote high quality work, has led to a broadening of activities to incorporate curating and consulting, as well as corporate art services. Its mission is to champion the work of innovating contemporary artists and a genre-expanding work that continue to enrich the art world today. Collaboration with other galleries, cultural entrepreneurs and art professionals is a key ingredient in all Cabinodd projects.
What are you contributing to Blooom this year?
Mixed media and paintings by gallery’s artists: Kirsten Wilmink, Buddy Nestor, Kwon Kyungyup, Birgitta Sundstrom Jansdotter’s and Mr. Sauli. And new sculptures by the guest artist Ludmilla van der Spoel. Here’s an introduction.
“Drinking beer and eating bratwurst with potato salad are part of any other normal day for the Meier family in Meppen. Just like every other German family, they are members of the local football and shooting club, proud owners of a garden plot, and they are always in a bad mood. Their narrow-minded petty bourgeois mentality and distinctive dress style are infamous: (socks!) Birkenstock sandals and traditional Bavarian Lederhosen.”
German artist Kirsten Wilmink is a 2011 Sandberg MFA Graduate specializing in cross-media design. Wilmink’s preferred method for observing and rendering the stereotypes and prejudices that are widespread within society is staged and digitally-manipulated photography. Her bright photos are often centered around family and home life. A few recurring themes are family and social life, particularly friendships and relationships, as well as cultural history. Wilmink’s ‘The Truth About Germans’ series is a humouristic take on some of the more well-known stereotypes about German people. Her approach is unsparing: clothing, accessories, locations, postures and even facial expressions are staged, photographed and later digitally exaggerated with intense care. The artist further loads the images by using her own (German) family members as models. The detail-rich, hyper-realistic images invite our close scrutiny– and this engagement is rewarded with a wealth of small satirical details and hidden symbolism. The ironic wit of ‘The Truth About Germans series leads inevitably to deeper consideration about the nature of truth, truisms and clichés and the narrow cultural nuances that separate these perceptions.
Buddy Nestor’s intense portraits of contemporary female artists and friends provoke visceral reactions with anyone who encounters them. Large and looming, and particularly when set side by side in a gallery setting, the distorted faces materialize– as ghostly and horrific as if conjured up from the supernatural realm. The works in this ongoing series have been called “beautiful and repulsive; an unsettling paradox, rarely found” (Hi-Fructose Magazine, 2011). “Consequently, each portrait seems to pulse, its essence both oozing and surging forward into the viewer’s subconscious.” (Stacey Ransom). Nestor’s physical and psychological images are an attempt to capture the true nature of humanity. Each painting is a complex exploration of the individual, penetrating the layers of his subject’s psyche yet maintaining an uncertain mystery. There is a dichotomy present which churns us through notions of the beautiful and the grotesque. The human figure is disintegrated into a familiar, yet unrecognizable form. Left before us are emotions that become parasitic to the viewer. Sadness, fear, hope, loneliness and joy, all cycle through moments of terror and grace. Nestor uses acrylic, spray, and graphite to create the beautifully distorted paintings and ‘spiritual X-rays’.
Born in 1975 in Seoul, Kwon Kyungyup graduated from SeJong University in 1999 with a major in Fine Arts, and is now a student of the graduated school Master’s course of SeJong University. She currently lives in Ilsan and works in Gana Art Jangheung Atelier in South Korea. Kwon Kyungyup’s figurative paintings reveal an unassailable world of sensuality, duality and emotional imprisonment. She approaches her figurative paintings in a way in which her subjects are depicted almost as inhuman and immaculate beings, as if the body is merely a storage for deep
memories of pain, loss, and trauma. Her paintings represent wounded souls sheltering within bandaged boys and girls. The bandage-covered faces are symbolic of a wound the body remembers: a spiritual, ontological wound that purifies or sublimates emotion. In Kyungyup’s work tears are positive equipment for delivering emotions. The eyes of the figures are focused on the object that brought the sense of loss. Pearls similarly stand in as tears and as a metaphor (trope is artspeak for metaphor) for the meaning of emotional purification, curing, and sublimation. These works are exquisite and intimate portraits of human frailty and resilience.
Mr. Sauli graduated from the media design programme at the Piet Zwart Institute in 2009. His graduation project, Mimetrics, is an ongoing exploration of the structure and techniques of visual narratives, focusing on their application in films and recently also in music videos. Diving into cinema’s alternate realities, in a way that no previews or written summaries can describe, Mimetrics presents a movie as one simultaneous image, or map, of an entire film. In this way, the visual language of cinema–- narratives of color, texture and image (as opposed to dialogue) – becomes visible to every viewer. Mimetrics is a series of photographic c-prints of various films and music videos. Mr. Sauli combines classic motion pictures like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, ‘Amelie’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with music videos by Daft Punk and Foo Fighters to create new visual artworks. His work is inspired by directors and filmmakers like Michel Gondry, the Coen brothers and Jan Švankmajer.
Birgitta Sundström Jansdotter is born in Gävle, Sweden and living and working in the Netherlands since 2001. Within the variety of emotions and expressions, lines and background patterns at her disposal as a painter, one element in her portraits remains constant: the figure-subject always appears centrally in the composition. The figures seem isolated, as though they’ve been removed from their original context, as if they are actors about to play a predefined role to recreate a scene in a predefined play. Making an obvious allusion to the movement of Pop Art, these portraits are taken from images of the modern culture. While the women depicted are shown in different settings and situations, they look down at the viewer in an oblique reference to the advertising industry’s use of the female icon– as an idealized and beautified object. In so doing, Sundström Jansdotter has translated and transmuted the familiar images of popular culture into the language of painting.
The guest artist Ludmilla van der Spoel is fascinated by the rugged landscapes of the North. Wandering along the shores of the upper most northern parts of Norway, she collected small pieces of driftwood that have been eroded and washed ashore by the cold Barents Sea. On these barren, snowy shores you could also find the remains of arctic animals. Once there was a young polar bear who wandered adrift on a melting ice-floe all the way from Spitsbergen. It landed 50 years ago on the same beach Ludmilla collected her driftwood. Combining this story to the beautiful silver-white pieces of driftwood which she collected, led to the emergence of the “Arctic Fleet“. Van der Spoel’s “Arctic Fleet“ is a collection of small white ceramic sculptures, each placed on a piece of arctic driftwood. These works are a dreamy fusion of a human and an arctic animal resulting in a kind of ethereal hybrids.
What excites you currently about this year’s event?
Cabinodd is very enthusiastic about the opportunity to show our artists in Germany, and we’re particularly excited about our first BLOOOM presentation. It’s very inspiring being surrounded by such a great mix of creative talent from all over the world.
The cross-disciplinary character of BLOOOM is an especially attractive aspect of the event; it feels like we are all part of something big and new. The art world is undergoing some radical changes at the moment, and it looks like the traditional concepts of art presentation are being re-engineered for a future in which creative industries will work more closely together. Galleries and art agencies are looking for new ways to collaborate and cross-pollinate, both within and outside the sector. Everyone is searching for new formulas for exploring new ideas, engaging with innovating artists and readying the art sector for the next economy. It makes for an openness and energy that is almost palpable.
Why is it important to participate in the event?
BLOOOM mirrors the cross-disciplinary character of contemporary art, particularly with respect to what is going on at new and experimental galleries, as well as with the newest generation of artists. It’s important to have a platform for these ideas—especially to support artists who don’t necessarily conform to traditional art world rules and expectations. Speaking from a personal point of view, art should reflect basic principles: the experiment, novelty, aesthetics, skill and the pure enjoyment of making. It’s similar to a child untouched by the ‘real world': a naturally curious and creative spirit that’s free to explore and whose imaginative powers are still unfettered. That’s what Cabinodd artists are about. From the experimental new media works like those of Mr. Sauli, which take the music videos to the next level, or Kirsten Wilmink’s use of her own family members, editing skills and a sense of humour to take aim at the simplest ironies of human existence. The same is true for the Cabinodd artists working in traditional mediums like Kwon Kyungyup, Buddy Nestor, Birgitta Sundström Jansdotter’s and Ludmilla van der Spoel. There’s an internal source of inspiration common to all of these artists– it’s rooted in the emotional, the spiritual, the visceral and most beautiful facets of being human. Cabinodd’s art is best experienced from the heart.
Taking place within the same time frame as ART | FAIR gives all the BLOOOM participants the opportunity to offer the established art fair audience something different and visually refreshing, as well as to inspire and entertain a new generation of art lovers and collectors. Together we have the responsibility to continue to promote, support and encourage creative talent, and to let the public and collectors know who we are and what we have to offer.
What do you hope to get out of it?
We are looking to expand our network of art lovers, art collectors, fellow galleries ‘in crime’, artists and more generally to inspire the public to stay curious about talking, enjoying, wondering about and buying artworks.
Who are some artists that you are looking forward to seeing?
I am looking forward to discovering new galleries, art and artists showing at BLOOOM and ART | FAIR, as well as new works by familiar faces such as the Strychnin gallery artists Daniel van Nes, Raf Veulemans, David Stoupakis, and Saturno Buttò who is also represented by Cabinodd in the Netherlands. It’s also exciting to be showing together with the artists and galleries we have worked with before in previous projects. Lennard Schuurmans (represented by Shop Around) for example, has worked with our corporate art collections. Cédric Laquieze, who is represented by artkitchen gallery, and whose work we were proud to present at our first Liaison Amsterdam exhibition. And Daan Roosegaarde with his latest work FLOW 5.0 who will shortly be opening the ‘Plug-In’ symposium at TETEM art space where I also do programming and marketing.
Anything you’d like to plug?
It only seems right to plug the ‘Plug-In’ symposium at TETEM art space in Enschede on 23 November about the concept of the running exhibition ‘User Generated Art’, with works by Theodore Watson, Kimchi and Chips and Navid Nuur among others.
Last but not least, in March, 2012 Cabinodd and four other galleries will be presenting international imaginary realism at the new Dreamscape exhibition. And starting on 26 April 2012 is the amazing project ‘The Artery Show’ in collaboration with zw/artprojects (www.zw-artprojects.nl) and TETEM art space (www.tetem.nl). We’ll be showing artworks from more than 30 private collectors, together with a three-part exhibition and educational program about the world of art so check cabinodd.com soon for more information.
Finally I’d like to do a special shout-out to all EMPTY KINGDOM fans to come and join the BLOOOMmania in Cologne!