Evelyn Bencicova‘s photography is at once unnerving and beautiful in its symmetry, it makes a mockery of the human ability to over indulge cooperation. Her colors, whether brilliant red or quiet gray, pop out of the photograph, screaming into your eyes at the speed of light, but seemingly faster. My, oh my is her work something to marvel at. Check out her interview:
Why have you chosen on trying to pursue the point where commercial and artistic meet? What role does commercial photography play in your work? Why is it important to you?
There is one factor of commercial photography which I consider really crucial and important for my work. It needs to speak to people. Commercial work is never made just for ones sake or pleasure but to address some message to the audience. The main purpose is to sell or promote the product but I’m not speaking about this concept rather the presentation. I want my work to be seen not closed behind the gallery walls. I would rather exhibit on public and avoid any elitarianism of art world. Art should come near to people and people closer to art. I hope it will:)
In much of your work the faces of the subjects are mostly or all obscured. For someone who focuses so heavily and unabashedly on the human form, why have you chosen to omit single most important area in terms of communication of emotion? Do you feel more challenged when creating a sense of emotion in your work without the faces of your subjects? Or more liberated possibly?
I don’t like to show too much. You have to read behind the lines and not expect the story on the first page, there are many ways to show emotions other than human face:) I
By hiding faces and avoiding styling Im trying to get a rid of any classification. Person on the photo is anybody and everybody, just human being with no specific name, age or social role.
Walk us through Ecco Homo. Where did it come from inside you? How did the idea come to be? Where did you shoot? What did you tell your models when you were shooting? What instruction did you give them? What were you thinking when you were shooting? What about when you were editing? How did the finished product reflect your original idea? How did it change through the execution?
There is always a certain gap between my vision and the result. Therefore I learned not to follow one clear image in my brain but rather leave some space for creativity and accident. Usually I know what I want but the way how to get there develops in the process. I would give up ECCE HOMO for example if I would not give it second try after first shooting which ended up as a failure. Topic of this project is very complicated, I would tell that it should speak with feeling rather than explanation. ECCE HOMO is about humanity and its behaviour patterns in society. This project represents my thought at that moment but in very abstract, simplified way.
What did you learn during your research for Asymptote that completely shocked you? In your description, you mention that you think younger generations lack interest and insight in an older generation, why do you think there isn’t interest? Why is it important to you to understand this previous time? Do you think any of the ideas of under the socialist regime were revolutionary or beneficial? Why are straight lines and neat angles associated with conformity?
ASYMPTOTE is a collaboration with my close friend and video artist Adam Csoka Keller and we just finished it few days ago. It is always difficult to find the point when the project is done especially because we are never satisfied. Asymptote started more than year ago as a project focused on socialist era in former Czechoslovakia. The whole topic is so extensive and complex that we can spend our whole life and still wont cover even considerable part of this period in our history. Therefor we decided to create our own interpretation of this topic which is influenced but not fully based on history of socialism. We went through a lot lot of research and interviews with people who experienced this era in various stages and positions. They shared their stories and opinions of the regime as many good as bed ones so I don’t consider myself to be in a position to judge this. I just think that it is pity when country refuses its own history and tries to hide its traces. People we met grew up with certain ideals which changed too quickly for some of them to adapt. Everyprevious one but also this one.
Asymptote is build on real historical references but through the eyes of young people who grew up in another time and political regime with different rules or values. It opened interesting dialogue between these generations and we started to create comparisons and bridges between present and past. We used authentic locations and showed typical architectural monuments in contemporary aesthetics characteristic for the whole project. In Asymptote people appear as patter, part of architecture or a regime. Individuals lose their characteristics in the form where their became one and alike, where every difference represents a mistake.
You use a somewhat stark, almost muted color palette. can you tell us why? How does color affect perception? And how have it used it, or used the lack of it, to influence the emotion of a piece, to bring out a particular idea or meaning? In Close, the only real color in the photographs is supplied by the subjects, how do you think the negative space influences the photographs and how the viewer reacts?
Im using mute colours when I want to put the focus on the action itself. Colour strongly influence our perception and you can manipulate where viewers attention will go. Im working often on real places with explicit purpose or history but I also like to use neutral locations, which I would describe as non-spaces.
I prefer to leave some questions open. Where is is it? Who are those people and what are they doing?
There are many answers and any of them can be the right one. Every person builds his or her own story which can be different from my interpretation.
What are you working on now? Do you have any upcoming shows?
I was announced to be one of Hasselblad masters so I will shoot a project on medium format camera which will be published in the book. Outside of that we want to challenge ourselves and take ASYMPTOTE project from computer screens to higher level. For the first time we will try to design and organise whole exhibition,
that will have a form of interactive performance. It will take place 11 March, in Bratislava so anyone and everyone is welcome!
Do you have a favorite pair of shoes?
I really dont care about it, normally I don’t own more than 3 pairs of shoes, which I wear as long as possible. I love UNDERGROUND shoes, which are quite eccentric but very practical and confortable:)